Most people are familiar with the famous line from a newspaper editorial written more than 100 years ago. “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” is found in the published response to a letter sent by eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon. She was having doubts about the existence of Santa Claus and penned a letter to the editor of The Sun, a prominent newspaper of the day. She wanted some assurance that Santa was real, and wrote, “Papa said if you see it in the Sun, it’s so.”
This timeless story is mainly about the spirit of Christmas and the resourcefulness of an inquisitive young girl. But the advice of Virginia’s father, the words that prompted her to write her letter, also offer some insight into how the public perceived the news media in those days. When he told her, “If you see it in the Sun, it’s so,” it revealed just how much trust he had in the press.
There were no national polls 100 years ago, but there’s no reason to believe that Americans distrusted the press back then. Like that father, most Americans likely believed everything reported in the papers. Newspapers, the only source of current events, were certainly more trusted than they are today.
According to an October Gallup poll, trust in mass media is now at a record low. The poll shows that between 1972 and 2022, those who had a great deal or fair amount of trust in mass media dropped from 68 to 34 percent.
And there’s a political slant to the poll. It tells us that Democrats who had a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media dropped from 74 to 70 percent during that period, while Republican trust dropped from 68 to 14 percent during the same time frame.
That comes as no surprise. Liberal bias in the media today overwhelmingly favors Democrats. Most of what is written in mainstream media supports the Democrat position.
Those in the media may dispute that, but the numbers don’t lie. Over recent years, those journalists who identify as Democrat vastly outnumber the ones who call themselves Republican.
And there’s tangible evidence suggesting that mainstream media regularly puts liberal causes before objective reporting.
Just before the 2020 presidential election, the New York Post broke the deeply troubling story suggesting that then-presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, were involved in some unethical, perhaps illegal dealings with America’s adversaries. The Post had acquired a copy of the hard drive from Hunter’s laptop computer and used its contents to support the story. It was a credible scandal that would have caused irreparable damage to the Biden campaign. In fact, it was later revealed that one in six Biden voters would have changed their vote if only they had known about the scandal.
But they simply didn’t know about it because the mainstream and social media suppressed the story for months, labeling it “Russian disinformation.”
Here's another example.
Those attuned to the immigration crisis on our southern border have been mystified by the lack of widespread outrage. How could a U.S. President, the man most responsible for the security of our country, simply ignore our immigration laws, and submit to a veritable invasion by millions of unidentified foreign citizens?
A recent poll by the Harvard Center for American Political Studies/Harris indicates that 64 percent of Americans agree that the number of illegal border crossings has increased during the Biden Administration, but more than half of the respondents believe the number of illegal crossings to be less than 500 thousand per year. The actual number is estimated at more than two million each year.
There can only be one reason why so many see the border crisis as nothing more than a “challenge” left by the previous administration, rather than the humanitarian catastrophe and national security threat that it is. They are oblivious to the truth because the Democrats and the mainstream media don’t want them to see the truth.
Our news media once had a noble purpose. It’s the reason freedom of the press is guaranteed in the First Amendment to our Constitution. They were intended to act as sentinels – guardians of our liberty. They’re supposed to expose government corruption – not to act as tools of propaganda for either political party.
Virginia O’Hanlon, her father, and the Sun are long gone. Today’s news media are no longer the guardians of liberty they were intended to be. Instead, they’ve become tools of the Democrat Party and purveyors of ignorance.© Peter Lemiska
The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.