ABANDONING THE TRUTH
by Judi McLeod
January 28 - February 14 2000
In the press gallery at Toronto City Hall is a sign, "Liar's Gallery. Motto: "We lie to protect each other."
Given the mainline media's ongoing sour grape's attitude toward the little man under the toupee, elected chief magistrate by a still largely doting public, The Liar's Gallery is obviously someone's idea of a hip journalistic joke.
In view of disturbing signs showing how the major media has abandoned its pursuit of the truth, the city hall motto is hauntingly ironic.
Not all media types are asleep at the switch when it comes to irresponsible journalism. Writing on the media in the National Post, respected columnist John Fraser recently drew our attention to the "gripping investigative documentary on 'unanswered questions' relating to the tragic death in Paris the summer before, of Diana, Princess of Wales."
Aired by the independent British television network ITV, by sheer number of viewers, there is no denying its influence. Not only was the televised documentary picked up in the United Sates and many other countries, adding to the estimated 12.6 million viewers in Britain, there were tens of millions more around the world who saw it.
Says Fraser: "According to newspaper polls taken right after airing, Diana: Secrets Behind the Crash, many of the controversial principal claims of the television investigators were widely accepted. Among those claims was an 'eyewitness' account of a bright flash just before the fatal crash (suggesting the use of guns)."
The unfurnished Villa Windsor house shown in the ITV documentary was furnished for production, purportedly by Mohammed Fayed, father of the ill-fated Dodi Fayed. The eyewitness who saw the "flash before the crash" was exposed in a newly-released book by journalist Martyn Gregory as a former convict and mythomane (a pathological liar or fantasist). In short, compelling as it was, the documentary was fantasy masquerading as fact.
"What really poisons me here, though, is not the complex motivation of a dangerous buffoon, but the role of a major television company in endorsing all this fantasy in the first place," Fraser wrote. "That and doing so little to correct the record."
Fraser concludes that ... "until this mess is properly cleaned up by ITV itself, I'd say the company stands condemned of prostituting its credibility."
Canadian writers don't have to cross an ocean to find samples of perfidy in the media.
Over the border, Accuracy in Media (AIM) is still off in diligent pursuit of the truth.
When AIM was launched 30 years ago, a major complaint was that they (liberal media) spread lies and concealed the truth to undermine support for the Vietnam War. In 1999, they spread lies and concealed the truth to generate support for the Kosovo war.
On the organization's 30th anniversary, Cliff Kincaid, an AIM contributing editor who, together with Reed Irvine writes and broadcasts Media Monitor, AIM's daily radio commentaries, discussed how the major media have abandoned the search for truth. He said objective reporting is dead and has been replaced with interpretative reporting, under which reporters decide whether you have the right to know something and whether something is worth reporting in the first place."
In the same Report, Dr. Clark Bowers, who until recently served as the Fred Schwarz Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Harvard, said "we have to understand who and what ideas have driven the dominant philosophy in American education today."
Bowers, who believes the most important individual today is Michel Foucault, whose books are in widespread use in college courses, said most people would be shocked at what this man espouses.
"Foucault (who contracted AIDS and died in the early 1980s), was part of a tradition that rejected absolute truth. Although a leftist, he also rejected the idea that leftist ideologies such as communism represented the truth. He believed there is no truth and no right or wrong.
Another philosopher in this tradition, Friedrich Niezsche, taught that God did not exist, but Foucault went further, stating that man did not exist. He argued that man did not have the right to impose his views on others. He argued for the abolition of prisons and insane asylums on the ground that society did not have the right to imprison or treat others for mental illness just because some people think or act differently."
The only bright note about about a media abandoning the truth is the growth of the Internet news service of NewsMax.com. Chairman Dana Allen says the growth "demonstrates the hunger that exists for stories that get badly covered or ignored by the major media." One year after it was launched, NewsMax is getting over a million hits per day. It features the investigative reporting of Chris Ruddy, the first reporter to question the official version of Vince Foster's death, and the author of The Strange Death of Vincent Foster.
Meanwhile, Allan cites a $5,000 wager that he offered Bob Woodward, having called it in when Woodward was on C-Span. In his book, Veil, Woodward claimed he had interviewed William J. Casey, the former Director of Central Intelligence, in his hospital room after he had undergone surgery for a brain tumor. Allen offered to bet Woodward $5,000 that he couldn't pass a lie detector test on the Casey story. He said his call rattled Woodward. "He fumbled, he stuttered, he was not willing to take it," Allen said. He says other reporters know that Woodward's story is false, but they are not willing to say so publicly.
"They protect their own. They don't police themselves."
Sound familiar, Toronto City Hall press gallery?
Canada Free Press founding editor Most recent by Judi McLeod is an award-winning journalist with 30 years experience in the print media. Her work has appeared on Newsmax.com, Drudge Report, Foxnews.com, Glenn Beck. Judi can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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