WATCHDOGS AND WATCHMEN
By Chuck Baldwin
April 3, 2014
The freedom of the press and the freedom of religion are two of the most important elements of a free society. These were so important to America’s Founding Fathers that they were protected in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. A free and independent press serves as watchdogs for liberty, while a free and independent church serves as watchmen for liberty. Sadly, both watchdog and watchman are, for the most part, missing in today’s America.
Just about everyone knows that the vast majority of the national press corps has a strong liberal bias. That’s a given. But, it’s actually worse than that. Instead of being watchdogs on the government, the mainstream media has become little more than lap dogs for the government. Instead of reporting the truth, most of the media is actually more concerned with covering up the truth. With precious few exceptions, investigative reporting is dead in the national news media.
Oh, sure. Republican administrations are depicted more negatively by the mainstream media than are Democrat administrations. No doubt about that. Can anyone recall the media hoopla over Vice President Dan Quayle’s misspelling of the word “potato”? The liberal media talked about that almost nonstop for months. But did you hear much of anything when President Barack Obama recently misspelled the word “respect”? I mean from media sources outside of FOX News? Nope. Nary a word.
But when it comes to investigating the truth behind what government spokesmen tell us, it doesn’t matter to a tinker’s dam whether it is a Republican or Democrat administration: about the only thing national newscasters know to do is to report whatever the official story of the government is. Once in a blue moon, a mainstream newspaper, such as the New York Times, will dare to print a report that questions an official government story, but not very often. And when such a report is printed, it digs only so deep. For the last several years, about the only major newspaper that has had the guts to actually do some real investigative reporting is the London Guardian. Even the Washington Times prints mostly milquetoast exposés.
CBS reporter, Sharly Attkisson, recently left the network due to its liberal bias and aversion to investigative reporting. Politico said this about Attkisson’s leaving: “Attkisson, who has been with CBS News for two decades, had grown frustrated with what she saw as the network’s liberal bias, an outsize influence by the network’s corporate partners and a lack of dedication to investigative reporting, several sources said. She increasingly felt that her work was no longer supported and that it was a struggle to get her reporting on air.”
In an interview with the CBS affiliate in Philadelphia, Chris Stigall reported, “Responding to comments regarding a Phoenix television reporter yesterday who initially claimed that the White House pre-screens questions from reporters, Attkisson said, ‘I wouldn’t [be] surprised if sometimes there is that level of cooperation with some questions. If I need something answered from the White House and they won’t tell me, I’ll call our White House Correspondent. They’re friendlier with the White House Correspondents in general. So the White House Correspondent may ask Jay Carney or one of his folks about an issue and they will be told “ask that at the briefing and we’ll answer it.” They want to answer it in front of everybody. They do know it’s coming and they’ll call on you. There’s that kind of coordination sometimes. I wouldn’t be shocked if there’s sometimes more coordination. I don’t think it’s everybody on every briefing, every day. I’m pretty sure it’s not. But I think people would be surprised at the level of cooperation reporters have in general with politicians.’”
Attkisson was putting it very mildly. There is more than just coordination going on between the federal government and the national news media; it’s more like coziness and calculated manipulation.
Since when has the major media dared to investigate and report the truth regarding any of the major events that have transpired in this country? The last time there was even a semblance of genuine investigative reporting seen in the national press corps was during the Watergate scandal when Richard Nixon was President--and that was politically-motivated from start to finish.
The mainstream media didn’t bother to seriously investigate Ruby Ridge or Waco or the Oklahoma City bombing or TWA Flight 800 or the Sandy Hook shootings or (and especially) the attacks which occurred on 9/11/01. These events took place with both Republicans and Democrats at the helm: it didn’t matter. Government spokesmen gave the media the official story, and the media repeatedly regurgitated the official story until anyone who dared to question the official story was turned into a conspiracy nut. That’s not reporting the news, folks. That is manipulating the news to disseminate propaganda. Joseph Goebbels had nothing on the major media in America today.
Again, the modern American media are not watchdogs over government; they are lapdogs for government. Reporters who try to truly dig and investigate are seldom rewarded--just the opposite. Their stories are buried--if published at all. They are disinvited from interviewing notable dignitaries. They are passed over for promotions--or even dismissed. It doesn’t take people in the news business long to get the message that if they want to go anywhere, they must toe the line and become good little puppets. The First Amendment freedom of the press has been negated by the press itself.
Likewise, the First Amendment freedom of religion has also been negated. A free and independent clergy is essential to the maintenance of liberty. But, for the most part, America has not had a free and independent clergy in decades.
The IRS 501c3 designation for churches, along with State incorporation, has turned America’s watchmen into little more than glorified CEOs. The average pulpit is just as politically correct as the national news media. Plus, the average church is as much about the bottom line as news shows.
Did you know that there used to be a time when the major television networks expected that their news shows would not operate in the black financially? It’s true. Back then, it was more important that news shows reported and investigated the news than turn a profit. Therefore, corporate donations and government chagrin had little impact upon newscasters and reporters. Those days are long gone.
By the same token, did you know that there used to be a time in this country when most of our pastors and ministers (regardless of denomination) were more concerned about being Biblically correct than being politically correct? For example, so prominent was the role that Presbyterian pastors played in the American Revolution that as news of the rebellion spread throughout England, Horace Walpole told his fellow members of the British Parliament, “There is no use crying about it. Cousin America has run off with a Presbyterian parson, and that is the end of it.” Of course, Presbyterians were not the only clergymen in Colonial America to champion the cause of liberty and independence from behind their pulpits.
In truth, if it wasn’t for clergymen such as John Leland (along with political statesmen such as Patrick Henry, of course), it is doubtful that there would even be a First Amendment--or the rest of the Bill of Rights, for that matter.
But, back then, pastors were not motivated by the desire to build big buildings or impress political potentates or climb ecclesiastical elevators. They were motivated by courage and commitment. And you could tell it every time you went to church. They didn’t mince words; and their sermons seldom concluded in less than an hour. They were watchmen.
Sadly, in the same manner in which the national news media have abandoned their responsibility as America’s watchdogs, so, too, the vast majority of pastors have abandoned their responsibility as America’s watchmen. The First Amendment protection of the freedom of the press and religion is not enough to protect the freedom of the press and religion from themselves.
To be sure, many of our pastors and ministers today are sincere, compassionate, and honorable men. But they have never been taught the Biblical principles of liberty; they have never been taught how to apply the liberty principles of Scripture to our everyday lives--including our political lives; they have never been taught the true meaning of Biblical submission in general and Romans 13 in particular. However, more and more of these men are coming awake to these things. Of course, others stubbornly refuse to even consider the truth of these matters.
But, listen up, folks! Truth will always find a way to reveal itself: the dear Lord will make sure of that. As the mainstream media became toadies of Big Government, along came independent radio talk shows, newspapers, and the Internet. And in all likelihood, more people are getting their news and information from online sources today than from network or cable news shows. As a result, more and more people are awakening to the truth every day.
And, by the same token, as many establishment churches and pastors have become toadies of the IRS and political correctness, new, independent, unorganized, non-501c3 churches and fellowships are sprouting up all over America. Some of these groups are led by ministers whom God has led out of the establishment church. Others are led by laymen who have likewise left the establishment church. I hear from these people every day. And, by the grace of God, I hope to be more personally involved in helping Christian people around the country form liberty-oriented churches. More on that soon.
The First Amendment was designed to protect America’s watchdogs and watchmen. And it is a truism that there can never be a revival of liberty in this land without a resurrection of our watchdogs and watchmen. The good news is that resurrection is already taking place.
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