There are two major things that should concern the American people about mainstream media. We’ve seen one of them very blatantly rear its hypocritical head since the start of election season in 2015: major left-wing bias. The other is even more dangerous and if we don’t take hold of the first, we’ll be faced with the second.

Before we get into the more severe threat of mainstream media, let’s focus on the one that’s clear and present. Mainstream media has been “left-leaning” for over four decades. Some may remember a time when the media was actually right-leaning. Those days are obviously behind us; anyone who doesn’t qualify for Social Security benefits has likely never seen right-leaning mainstream media (other than arguably Fox News and WSJ) in their adult life. The major shift that we witnessed in the most recent election cycle is unabashed bias. There was still a semblance of subtly in their bias during the Bush43-era. Today, they’re loud and proud about being leftists.

There are righteous cries by conservatives to do something about this problem. The Democratic Party’s propaganda wing has become so engrossed with their own rhetoric that they’re having a hard time understanding why there’s any opposition to them at all. It’s imperative that conservatives do what they can to simultaneously denounce mainstream media’s bias and to promote independent and conservative media that needs help in being the countermeasure to liberal talking heads.

It must be the people who bring about this change. It cannot be the government. This brings us to the bigger threat that could engulf us: state-run media. Today, it’s practically impossible for anyone to imagine a press that’s controlled by the government. It’s never been the case in America (despite rumored efforts by the “Deep State,” the CIA, and other powerful government entities) for the government to have control over the media, so very few are concerned about it. We should be.

If recent history has taught us anything, it’s that the sentiment of the American people can be shifted very quickly. In the beginning of Barack Obama’s presidency, nearly 70% of Americans opposed same-sex marriage. Even Californians outlawed it for a time. Today, less than 40% of Americans oppose it. In less than seven years, the sentiment on this topic was changed through liberal indoctrination in colleges, massive propaganda campaigns in the media, and pressure put on those who would oppose the practice.

What we’re seeing happening with the media is not indoctrination from one side. Both liberals and conservatives are starting to see needs for “restraints” on the media. Not to sound too conspiratorial, but the rise of the “fake news” narrative is designed to get us to not trust ANY media. There has always been fake news. In fact, it’s not any worse today than it was a decade ago. The difference is that we’ve put more of an emphasis on it through social media. We’ve given it a tangible name and defined it as a bogeyman to be feared.

Tearing down the 1st Amendment freedom of the press concept won’t start off as state-run media. It will start as “limits” to what can be reported. It has already started with calls by powerful people in government to rein in their reports by forcing verification before news can be published. This comes in the form of strengthening libel laws that yield consequences if reporters get a story wrong. All of this is being packaged in a way that the people can get behind without realizing that they’re supporting restraints that harm the Constitution itself.

The problems of fake news and liberal bias are real. The battle must be waged by the people, not the government. If we call for the government to take action, the only way they can solve the problem is by taking us several steps closer to the bigger problem of state-run media. Instead, we have the power as Americans to fight it through our voices and our dollars. I would love to help lead this effort, but there’s already too much on my plate. Someone needs to do it. Someone needs to step up and start directing the grassroots to fight the liberal bias and fake news problem without the government getting involved.

Mainstream media outlets must be made aware that if they’re going to be biased, they won’t get our money nor our page-views in the form of clicks. That’s not to say that there’s not room for commentary or op-eds, but those must be clearly delineated. Smaller media sites, particularly those who adhere to neutrality, need our support. As for conservative media, we’re currently outnumbered and outgunned. We need help to be the commentary that opposes our liberal counterparts.

All of this sounds hard. It will be. The alternative is for the government to step in and take action. That is not a valid solution. Once they start, history tells us they cannot help themselves. They’ll take it further and further until the media is a shell of what it once was. To those who say that this would be a good thing, remember that if they’re just a shell, someone will be pulling the strings. I’ll take a left-wing mainstream media over a government-controlled media any day of week. At least bias can be countered through discernment and spreading the word. Once the government gets involved, it quickly turns into oppression. If that’s allowed, it will be almost impossible to reverse.

The only righteous way to tackle the problems we’re seeing in the media is for the people to address it from the grassroots. Calls for media oversight from DC will not end well for Americans. We need a free press to stay free. We need free Americans to change the media’s ways with our voices and our dollars. We do not need anything that will harm the 1st Amendment regardless of how appealing that may seem to some today.

Blogger at the home of a Forgotten Man

By John Ruberry

Donald J. Trump’s presidential honeymoon with the media lasted sixteen minutes, which was, not coincidentally, the length of his inauguration address.

Since then, the media, with a few exceptions, has been relentlessly attacking the president, and by media, I’ll use the definition Rush Limbaugh gave this morning to Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, which is ABC, CBS, NBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post and USA Today.

I’ll add one more–a big one, CNN, sometimes called the Clinton News Network.

The media is striking back with an assault on the presidency not seen since the height of the Watergate scandal.

And Donald Trump is fighting them–and the media can’t ascertain why much of the public, their public, is siding with the president.

Because conservatives don’t like cheaters.

Among the damning revelations from the John Podesta emails hacked by WikiLeaks was clear evidence of collusion by some of these allegedly neutral outlets during the 2016 presidential campaign, most notoriously when CNN analyst Donna Brazile twice supplied a planned question to the Hillary Clinton campaign prior to a CNN-hosted debate with Bernie Sanders.

Viewers of those two CNN debates were cheated by CNN, which employed Brazile, as they rightly expected the Clinton-Sanders matchups to be, let’s use a popular term from the time when several Chicago White Sox players conspired to throw the 1919 World Series, “on the square.” Sure, Brazile, was fired, but only after she was caught the second time feeding a debate question to the Clinton machine. That says a lot. Oh, where did Brazile learn of these questions? Did they come from a low-level CNN staffer?

Liberals, with the possible exception of the most ardent members of the growing socialist wing of the Democratic Party, dismissed Brazile’s cheating as just the way the game is played, which is not how White Sox fans greeted news of the 1919 fix broke a year later.

Before there was fake news there was a fake World Series.

Here is my conservative-or-liberal litmus test: If you were angry–or still are angry–about media collusion with the Democratic Party during the 2016 campaign, they you are a conservative. If you are not, they you’re a liberal. It’s that easy.

Which explains why the media, again using the definition I gave earlier, is astounded that Trump not only attacks them millions of Americans are cheering him on.

After dutifully reporting on media collusion immediately after it was revealed, the media promptly ignored the scandal–their scandal–which is not the case with Russian interference, and yes, alleged hacking of the election by Russia of the presidential election, whatever that entails. It probably entails nothing. WikiLeaks’ founder, Julian Assange, repeatedly insists that Russia was not the source of the hacked Podesta emails.

Okay, you skeptics out there, you are probably thinking to yourselves that I am citing only two examples of CNN collusion, and that done by an analyst, not a reporter.

Still still for a moment. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Jake Tapper, both of them anchors, the latter is the network’s Washington correspondent, were caught colluding by WikiLeaks. Other colluders captured in the WikiLeaks net were the New York Times and CNBC’s John Harwood, the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank, Glenn Thrush, then of Politico and now of the New York Times, and Brent Budowsky of The Hill.

When Trump said on the stump “the system is rigged,” the colluders proved him right.

The Forgotten Man and the Forgotten Woman, that is, the people who play by the rules and try to make an honest living under increasingly daunting odds, elected Trump, despite the rigging.

John “Lee” Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven

And the cheating media still can’t figure out why most Americans despise them.

You Democratic cynics are probably still thinking, “Everyone does it.” No they don’t. Very few media outlets are conservative ones, so the opportunity simply isn’t there for Republicans to collude. The only instance of GOP collusion in a presidential campaign I can recall is George Will’s vague self-described “inappropriate” role in the 1980 Debategate micro-scandal.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

This is the 3rd and last of three guest posts I did for Ladd Ehlinger’s site back in late 2011.  I’m reprinting them here (With Ladd’s permission) because I think the election of Donald Trump is a significant event in the culture wars and these posts (and the follow ups that I intend to write) serve to explain what happened to our friends on the left who are still pulling out their hair over the events of November.  While Ladd’s old blog isn’t there you can find the original piece via the wayback machine.

“In the hands of a skillful indoctrinator, the average student not only thinks what the indoctrinator wants him to think . . . but is altogether positive that he has arrived at his position by independent intellectual exertion. This man is outraged by the suggestion that he is the flesh-and-blood tribute to the success of his indoctrinators.”-

William F. Buckley Jr. Up from Liberalism.

One of the most important aspects of the culture wars as fought via cinema is the concept of challenging the status quo with subtlety. One might make a statement with The Crying Game and be assured of critical acclaim, but in order to effect change to society in general, one has to be able to influence those who would not be caught dead watching that kind of movie. To win your case, you need to play on the other person’s field.

Oh, God is an interesting example of this. It is the last movie you would think of as part of a culture war fight and if you did, you would consider it a conservative movie.

Jerry Landers (John Denver) is an assistant Manager at a supermarket who gets a typewritten note announcing he has an interview with God. He laughs it off until the note he threw away keeps turning up. When he finds it during a visit by his district manager (David Ogden Stiers) under a leaf of romaine lettuce, he visits the interview location on the note. There he finds an empty room on the 27th floor of a building with only 17 floors and a voice on an intercom saying it is God. He tries to dismiss it, but finds the message repeated on his broken radio. After his wife (Teri Garr) notes he has not actually seen God, God (George Burns) visits in person while he is in the shower telling him he’s been chosen to deliver the message that he exists and everything in the world can work out, it’s all up to us.

When rejected by the LA Times religious reporter, (George Furth) God reappears and at Jerry’s request performs a small miracle by making it rain inside his car. Still wet, he returns at once to the Times, and they run a small story on the subject. He wife tries to deflect attention, but eventually it’s picked up by a local paper, then an ABC affiliate. When warned by a company executive, Mr. Summers, (William Daniels) to keep his mouth shut. he continues on, finally appearing on the Dinah Shore show. That draws all kind of cranks and fanatics to his house and creates a lot of trouble for him.

A telegram from the local university asking him to appear before a board of religious experts to hear about his claim seems like a chance to save his job. The panel, which represents Jewish, Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Protestant clergy, including a loud televangelist, Reverend Williams, (Paul Sorvino) finds insufficient evidence but as a control measure give him 50 questions (written in Aramaic) that they ask God to answer.

Landers agrees and is locked in his hotel room with no outside communication. God shows up as a busboy bringing Ketchup and remarking that $11 is a lot for a steak. He answers the questions and when finished tells Jerry to give them to Reverend Williams saying: “You take these answers and give them to Reverend big mouth and you say that tell him God says he’s a phony and also tell him if he wants to get rich, fine, tell him to sell earth shoes, but personally tell him I’d like him to shut up.”

The Reverend is delighted at the prospect that God sent Jerry to him, until he repeats what God said on a microphone. The scene immediately shifts to a courtroom where Williams’ attorney (Ralph Bellamy) demands damages. Jerry refuses both the Judge’s (Barnard Hughes) suggestion for council and his wife’s entreaties to apologize.

When he presents his case, Jerry calls God to the stand. When he doesn’t immediately appear, Jerry argues that there was a hesitation in the room. A possibility that God would appear exists, and he claims it is the benefit of the doubt he deserves. As the judge considers contempt charges, God appears, taking the stand.

He rebukes the Reverend’s Lawyer, noting that nobody had a problem believing in the devil after “that movie” (The Exorcist). He confirms all Jerry has said and offers a miracle to prove who he is by making a deck of cards appear and disappear, and finally making himself vanish during an exchange with the judge and those in the courtroom.

The tape recording, however, didn’t record God’s voice nor does the stenotype machine show any of his words. The judge rules given their common experience it’s understandable that he would consider his actions divinely commanded and drops the slander charge, but rules due to the lack of evidence that God did not appear in the courtroom.

Jerry loses his job, and on the drive home God tells him he did a good job saying “There are other cities and other supermarkets”. When Jerry asks if sometimes they can just talk God replies: “You talk I’ll listen,” and walks away into the sunset, disappearing.

It’s a feel good movie all around. The performances are excellent, John Denver is totally believable as Jerry Landers, helped by a good performance by Teri Garr as his wife and a cast chock full of some of the best character actors out there from William Daniels, to Jeff Corey and Ralph Bellamy. Add two actors who were yet to have their greatest impact–Paul Sorvino and David Ogden Stiers, punctuated of course by George Burns, who carries off the role with perfect timing and style. What’s there not to like about this movie? You have a nice conservative message about an unbeliever who hears the word of God and follows it, an affirmation of the importance of following God’s word no matter what, and the message that following God is not without cost.

If you look deeper, however, you will find some interesting messages hidden delivered with such skill that you might miss it, if you didn’t look.

First let’s contrast the “believers” and the “unbelievers”. At the very start, we have Landers established as a good man who gently corrects his staff and is too honest to “oil his cukes,” as the district rep. suggests to make the cucumber display more appealing to the eye. He opposition is a myriad of believers, from his wife “I believe in God, I just don’t think he exists” skeptical religious editors, a CEO who resents him speaking to God, a set of religious nuts, and finally a classic stereotype televangelist with sheep-like followers who doesn’t even believe in God when he sees him. Jerry has “the strength that comes from knowing” but none of them that have not seen are willing to believe. The message: “believers” are either nuts or phonies and so are you unless you’ve seen it for yourself.

The other believers are the religious panel and they are passed over. Other than Rev. Williams, we don’t see the rest of the panel’s reaction to the questions answered in Aramaic. It’s as if they don’t exist, because of course their reaction would not produce the cynicism required for the movie’s climax and would more likely be: “My Lord and my God.”

Let’s look at “God” in this film. In the very first encounter we establish a God “makes mistakes”, in his first physical appearance he proclaims that “shame” is wrong. He is not all knowing “I haven’t a clue” and his reaction to prayer is “I can’t help hearing.” It could as easily be: “Why are you bothering me?”

Now that we’ve abolished the concept of God as understood for centuries, what does he think about right and wrong? He objects to “killing”, pollution and making money in his name, but that’s about it. Take a look at the answer to the big question of the movie:

“Is Jesus Christ the son of God? Jesus was my son, Buddha was my son, Mohammad, Moses You the man who said there was no room at the inn was my son and so is the one who charges $11 dollars for a steak in this one.”

Now, I wouldn’t expect Carl Reiner to give an endorsement to Christianity, but note what he does. All religions are equal, all are valid, there is no “truth”, none of that “Thou shalt have no other Gods but me” stuff. The generic answers given by the “God” in this movie could be, and is given by new age gurus of today who makes the same kind of money that the Reverend Williams does.

No truth, no worship, you don’t need prayer, just know I’m here but I really don’t matter and have nothing to do about it, so unless you are the ’69 Mets, the last miracle God in the movie says he did, don’t bother asking. It’s so simple, the message of Oh, God becomes: “People don’t really don’t need a God”, but that message is delivered in a way so subtle and so discreet that unless someone points it out you can’t see yourself absorbing it.