Of all the terms used to describe the legacy media, perhaps none more accurately summarizes the function and methods of modern journalism than the term coined by the late Rush Limbaugh: “drive-by media.”
“They kill the reputations of people, or try to,” explained Limbaugh, who knew their tactics from personal experience. “And then they get in the convertible, they head on down the highway, and they find the next group of people to do the same thing to — while there are those of us who have to go in and clean up the mess.”
Due to underlying media bias, their targets tend to be those beloved by the Silenced Majority. Here are just a few examples of how the legacy media are devoted to destroying the people, places, institutions, and fictional characters you love:
Americans rightly regard family as the most important relationship in their lives, yet families are being established at an ever-diminishing rate. In 2020, 40% of all children were born out-of-wedlock, a 28% increase since 1990. Yet the media essentially cheer on the dissolution of the family. A BuzzFeed article in February deemed it “time to really, truly reckon with the harm wrought by organizing our society around the married couple and the private household.” A month later, The New York Times’ parenting columnist declared, “The Nuclear Family Is No Longer the Norm. Good.”
Perhaps the most fetid critique came from a 2015 article from Australia’s ABC, which asked, “Is having a loving family an unfair advantage?” The article claims that “families exacerbate social inequality,” because some children (and not others) have parents who love them, invest in them, and read them bedtime stories. Rather than argue that fatherless children deserve more help, the article implied that children in traditional families should receive less. “I don’t think parents reading their children bedtime stories should constantly have in their minds the way that they are unfairly disadvantaging other people’s children, but I think they should have that thought occasionally,” said a philosopher named Adam Smith.
But most people find their primary source of help and strength — both emotional and financial — in family. Manhattan Institute scholar Kay Hymnowitz noted that rival structures to the natural family, such as communes and Israeli kibbutzim, failed precisely because the indelible bond of familial affection reasserted its priority over social experimentation. “The disaster confronting less prosperous Americans is not the nuclear family, but the erosion of socio-economic conditions that help them sustain lasting pair bonds,” she wrote.
The legacy media often reserves its greatest ire for the most innocent segment of society: children. BuzzFeed writer Victoria Vouloumanos encapsulated the media narrative in the voluminous headline, “Mothers Are Revealing How They Realized They Regret Having Children And How They’re Coping Now, And They’re Such Nuanced And Valid Feelings.” One mother said of her cognitively delayed children, “I regretted having them the second I found out that they wouldn’t be able to care for themselves.” Another complained of children’s cost and general inconvenience, saying: “I can’t have quiet time to myself unless they’re sleeping. I’m always being touched. I’m always being asked to do things that they can’t do on their own. I have to do daily care tasks for them like bathing and making meals.”
Yet another mother confessed perpetual “anxiety” that her child “will probably never be able to afford a house and struggle with debt, climate change, scarce resources, and inequality. I am truly terrified, and I feel so guilty.” It’s clear why parents harbor such doubts: because of the legacy media narrative to that effect. “Climate change is making people think twice about having children,” wrote CNBC last August. The Week fretted about “the ethics of having children in the age of climate change.” NPR asked in 2016 (at your expense) “Should We Be Having Kids In The Age Of Climate Change?” Similarly, the UK’s Guardian proclaimed in 2017, “Want to fight climate change? Have fewer children.”
Coincidentally, these media narratives dovetail with political plotlines advanced by left-wing Democrats as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) — who famously asked, “Is it OK to still have children?” — and Senator Bernie Sanders, who promised in 2019 to make curbing “population growth” a key part of his presidential campaign. (He wisely chose not to do so.)
In reality, the U.S. birthrate is already below replacement level, which poses a long-term threat to economic growth and social welfare programs such as Social Security and Medicare favored by Sanders, et. al. “Half of all states and nearly three quarters of all counties experienced more deaths than births in their populations between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021,” the U.S. Census Bureau announced in March. Once again, Elon Musk seemed prescient when he warned in 2019, “The biggest issue in 20 years will be population collapse. Not explosion. Collapse.”
No profession has suffered such negative media portrayals as police officers. As the number of police officers shot in the line of duty reach record high levels — especially from ambush attacks — the legacy media have blamed the victim. For instance, former Obama administration appointee Brittany Packnett Cunningham told MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle that America’s “rise in crime is not the fault of the [Defund the Police] movement. It’s actually the fault of the police, and this has been our point all along.”
The New York Times has long contributed to the anti-police narrative, with a writer named Pagan Kennedy asking in 2017, “Why Are Police Officers More Dangerous Than Airplanes?” The Washington Post asked in 2020, “Why do we need the police?” In fact, “Traffic enforcement would be safer without police,” Jordan Blair Woods alleged in the Post last April.
The media present law enforcement officers as threats apart from officer-involved shootings. For instance, the fact that some police departments refused to impose a vaccine mandate meant that “officers may be vectors of spread to vulnerable people with whom they interact during traffic stops,” The Washington Post claimed last May. The same day, the Post’s editorial board — which would look askance at questioning whether uncontrolled illegal immigration spreads COVID-19 — indicted law enforcement agents in an article titled “ICE is the superspreader agency.”
Americans have always cherished the freedom of speech as one of our defining liberties. But since Elon Musk purchased Twitter and has raised the specter of ending left-wing censorship policies, the media have virtually turned “free speech” into a swear word. “I am frightened by the impact on society and politics if Elon Musk acquires Twitter. He seems to believe that on social media anything goes. For democracy to survive, we need more content moderation, not less,” tweeted Max Boot, a NeverTrump columnist for The Washington Post. Musk may be “interested in making the platform more of a wild west of unrestricted speech,” warned a columnist in the Los Angeles Times.
Yet the legacy media’s overt hostility to freedom of expression predates Musk. The New York Times pondered “The Problem of Free Speech in an Age of Disinformation” shortly before the 2020 election. NPR amplified the Times’ story (again, at your expense) in a story titled, “Unfettered Free Speech Is A Threat To Democracy, Journalist Says.” Days later, The Washington Post soon entered the fray with a story titled, “Some free-speech norms are in danger. Maybe that’s a good thing.” Vox, too, has warned, “The First Amendment has a Facebook problem.”
Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.” Does that explain the legacy media’s hostility to the First Amendment, which makes its own existence possible?
Somehow, Politico wrote its initial obituary about Rush Limbaugh without mentioning he was the most popular talk show host in radio history. Instead, Politico’s David Cohen said Limbaugh “sold a conservative viewpoint with braggadocio, complete with name-calling and insults,” and in the process “he earned the enmity of millions of Americans who found him incendiary, ridiculous or just plain mean.” A second obituary at the end of the year by Charlie Sykes, editor-at-large of the The Bulwark, claimed that Rush “helped to normalize cruelty, racism and misogyny among a new generation” and that he “pioneered a style of disinformation that now seems almost routine.”
Yet its contemporaneous obituary of former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) beamed, “I do not think that the Democratic Party has had a more effective leader — morally or strategically — than Harry Reid.” Reid, of course, lied unrepentantly about Mitt Romney’s taxes during the 2012 presidential election. Somehow, that did not trigger warnings of “disinformation.”
Rush would have dissected that double standard, laughed at its perpetrators, and privately continued to dole out six-figure checks to charity made possible by a devoted audience greater than that enjoyed by every branch of the legacy media.
Andy Griffith’s Mayberry
When Andy Griffith died in 2012, the media reminded readers (accurately) that Griffith had been a lifelong Democrat who considered running for U.S. Senate in 1990 against the late conservative Republican Jesse Helms. However, Griffith made his career in a beloved show that extols family, children, small-town life, Southern charm, and church-going — everything the coastal elite find “problematic.”
Since the Left concedes a fight, Ted Koppel visited Mount Airy, North Carolina — the town Griffith in part patterned Mayberry after — to sully the show’s legacy as much as possible. He proclaimed fans’ continuing appreciation of the show “bizarre” and attacked the straw-man premise that the show intended to be a documentary presenting the unvarnished realities of daily life in the Sixties. The show, he noted triumphantly, was filmed in Culver City, California, not in the South — and it presented “a reality that never was.” He seemingly condescended equally to white tourists from Ohio (that letting a child watch the show would turn his brain to “mush”) and an elderly black woman who said she is “very satisfied” at retiring in the area. The Washington Post dubbed Koppel’s attempt to tarnish a show that has been off the air for more than five decades “one of 2021’s most striking moments of TV.”
But North Carolinians were not fooled. “Koppel sought to depict Andy Griffith fans as bigoted fools wallowing in nostalgia about a racially segregated past,” wrote John Hood of the North Carolina-based John Locke Foundation. “If you think ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ continues to brighten the days of its many fans because of some misbegotten yearning for white supremacy, you are deeply confused — and entirely untrustworthy as an observer of the human condition. People long for Mayberry because of the timeless and universal truths found there.”
Truths, timeless or otherwise, are all-too-hard to find, especially in a media where dissenting voices cannot be heard over the sound of partisan gunfire.
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.