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Mainstream Media vs. Mainstream America

"An unregistered lobbying firm for far left politicians"
By Garth Kant
September 26, 2023
On The Record

The editor of the largest newspaper in Ohio has called for the arrest and imprisonment of the President of the Ohio State Senate. 


His alleged crime? Doing his job. As defined by the state Constitution. Our media finds that intolerable.

While this would strike any reasonable person as absurd, it is the inevitable result of the delusions that have increasingly infected much of the so-called mainstream media for decades. It was only a matter of time until they called for the criminalization of conservatism. They are taking their war nuclear. It's time to fight back.

Yes, the media is the enemy. For the most part, with some exceptions. But we didn't declare war on them – they've been coming after conservatives for years. It’s worse than ever in the age of woke. We’ve been playing defense for decades. Those days are over. Too much is at stake. And the most woke in the media don’t fight fair. Their weapons are obfuscation, errors of omission, misleading headlines, and outright falsehoods. 

Fake news is real. As real as Hunter Biden’s laptop. As real as the Russian dossier was fake. 

It’s clear to any objective observer that the mainstream news always slants to the left. There’s an obvious reason for that. Newsrooms are staffed almost entirely by leftists. And now the bias of many has been supersized by a postmodern indoctrination that denies the existence of facts, truth, and objectivity. They aren’t going to let such antiquated concepts get in the way of pursuing their hard-left agenda. 

Almost every journalist since 1975 has wanted to be the next Bob Woodward, with dreams of winning Pulitzers by sticking it to The Man. But somewhere along the way they became The Man. When the big media endorse big tech censorship to protect the party in power they are no longer a government watchdog – more like a lapdog. They have become The Establishment. 

Ironically, it was Woodward who warned the mainstream media about the perils of publishing fake news when he blasted their shoddy and transparently biased attempts to assert President Trump colluded with Russia. The Washington Post would be forced to print lengthy corrections to several stories on the Russian dossier years later. 

The New York Times didn’t just print fake news. The paper of record openly endorsed fake news when it responded to the election of Trump by abandoning the basic principles of journalism. An editorial on the front page of the Times titled, “Trump is Testing the Norms of Objectivity in Journalism,” declared those norms were dead to them. The paper admitted it could not be objective about Trump. 

That was a declaration of war. The gloves were off. The rules no longer applied. Reporting the facts and the truth didn’t matter. All that mattered was winning the war. Ideology trumped everything. Their mission was no longer to report the news. It was to push the left’s agenda and candidates. Facts, truth, and objectivity were the necessary casualties of war.

Much of the rest of the media didn’t need much of a nudge to pick up the hint.

Stanford journalism professor Ted Glasser announced journalism needed to “free itself from this notion of objectivity to develop a sense of social justice.” He helpfully added, “Journalists need to be overt and candid advocates for social justice, and it’s hard to do that under the constraints of objectivity.” His implicit admission that social justice is incompatible with objectivity may be telling.

Fake news is too often the new norm because the left's agenda trumps facts. As even liberal journalist Glenn Greenwald observed regarding the suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story, "The authoritarian mentality that led CIA, corporate media and Big Tech to lie about the Biden archive before the election is the same driving this new censorship craze. It's the hallmark of all tyranny: 'our enemies are so evil and dangerous, anything is justified to stop them.'"

The media actually have a long history of fake news, going back at least to the 1932 Pulitzer Prize awarded to the New York Times for its series glorifying the mass-murdering tyrant Joseph Stalin. But the fake news machine has now kicked into hyper-overdrive. Look at just some of the stories the national media entirely botched in just the last few years:

  • Trump colluded with Russia 
  • Russian dossier was credible
  • Hunter Biden laptop was Russian disinformation
  • Jussie Smollett was a victim
  • Duke Lacrosse team “rape”
  • NASCAR “noose” 
  • Border agents whipped migrants
  • ISIS leader was an austere religious scholar
  • Vaccines prevented Covid
  • Don’t Say Gay was in a Florida bill
  • 2020 riots were mostly peaceful protests 
  • No big tech censorship of conservatives

Too much of the mainstream media no longer does basic fact checking because lies are too appealing and the truth is too inconvenient. As Elon Musk tweeted, "That is because The New York Times has become, for all intents and purposes, an unregistered lobbying firm for far left politicians."

It’s not just national news outlets that have gone to war against conservatives. It’s happened at the state level, often including right here in Ohio.  A sampling of some fairly recent examples on the biggest issues is instructive.

The Columbus Dispatch Editorial Board pontificated, “Ultra-conservatives in the Ohio General Assembly are driving the state so far right beyond the will of the people that the state is becoming unrecognizable.” Yet, the editors cite positions supported by average people in the mainstream. 

Few parents will agree that keeping sexual orientation and gender identity lessons out of elementary schools will “only deepen homophobia, racism, sexism, and transphobia.” Parents want their children to learn actual history, not lessons infused with critical race theory that teaches kids they are unwitting racists. And the overwhelming majority of parents don’t want girls sharing locker rooms with boys.

“House Republicans led by Ohio’s Jim Jordan pass anti-abortion measures,” ranted the Cleveland Plain Dealer. What would the bill do? According to the paper itself, “…provide medical care to infants who survive abortions (and) condemn attacks on anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers.” What exactly is anti-abortion about that? Nothing. Saving babies and condemning violence is “anti-abortion” in the Plain Dealer’s Orwellian perspective.

The paper’s Brent Larkin went on a get-off-my-lawn tirade, declaring, “Ohio’s legislature is one of the nation’s most extremist and arguably unprincipled.” Extremist on what? On “issues related to abortion, guns, school curriculum and whatever other madness legislative leaders concoct to harm Ohio’s reputation.” 

Democrats want to legalize abortion up to the moment of birth but we’re the extremists? Ohioans wanting to preserve their Second Amendment right to defend themselves is madness? Keeping woke porn out of public schools is unprincipled? Ask parents, who are the real extremists?

(If you think calling it woke porn is hyperbole, just do an online search for the book Gender Queer. It features a cartoon of a boy giving oral sex to another boy. Gender Queer won an award in 2020 from the American Library Association for "books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults ages 12 through 18". After pushback from parents and some educators, Hudson High School is apparently the only Ohio school to have kept Gender Queer in its library. The book was banned from Columbus City Schools after teachers complained. "This book should be in an adult section, not at public high schools," said one. "It's pornography.")

The recent Ohio law defining natural gas as green energy was another issue that made many media heads explode. The Plain Dealer did a copy-and-paste job of a Washington Post article with the ostensibly bombshell revelation that industry proponents shared talking points and model legislation with two of our senators. And that a pro-gas group spent more than $1 million supporting Ohio Republicans in the 2022 election. 

Just one problem. None of that money benefitted the two Ohio GOP senators mentioned in the Post article, according to the link in that very same article. The Plain Dealer also names those same two senators. But neither the Post nor the Plain Dealer saw fit to mention the inconvenient truth that neither senator was a beneficiary of that $1 million.

None of that stopped Plain Dealer Editor Chris Quinn from using the Post’s faulty assertion to leap to the worst conclusion possible during his podcast “Today in Ohio” on January 19. Quinn’s topic was “Republicans’ reaction after records show a dark money nonprofit pushed state lawmakers to legally redefine the methane-based gas on Today in Ohio.” 

Referring to Governor Mike DeWine and State Senate President Matt Huffman, Quinn said, “They've both been proven out to be puppets of the dark money funded by the natural gas industry.” That’s a serious accusation. Especially as it is not based on a shred of evidence.  

That makes it something else. It is slander. Pure and simple. A lie meant to discredit our state’s top leaders based on a monumental leap to a conclusion entirely unsupported by any actual facts. This is a stellar sample of your fake news at work, today in Ohio. 

It gets worse. Quinn used his podcast to repeatedly express his desire to see the GOP members of the previous Ohio Redistricting Commission, including Senators Huffman and Rob McColley, in “orange jumpsuits.” (Here here here here here and here.) That is, he wants to see the president and floor leader of the senate arrested, tried and convicted, and jailed. 

Their crime? Gerrymandering. Just one problem. None of the evidence supports the accusation. Just the opposite. You would think a newspaperman could figure that out. Not these days. The rage is too blinding to recognize the obvious.

What actually happened is Republicans revised maps three times to favor more and more Democrats. It didn’t matter. No constitutional map could help Democrats get more actual votes. It was a geographical impossibility under the terms of the constitution. The state ended up using one of the committee’s perfectly valid maps after a federal court overruled the Ohio Supreme Court’s terribly flawed and misguided attempts to declare the maps unconstitutional. 

Here’s how you know the redistricting committee did not gerrymander the maps used in the 2022. In the end, GOP senate candidates won in three districts that actually favored Democrats. Democrats did not win in any Republican-leaning districts. Republicans won 12 of the 16 toss-up districts in the House race. You can’t blame any of that on gerrymandering. If anything, it shows Republicans were significantly under-represented by the 2022 maps. 

But wait, there’s more. Ohio’s current legislative map has 15 senate districts that favor Democrats. Republicans hold 8 of those districts. Gerrymandering can’t explain the Democrats inability to win on their own turf. It proves gerrymandering is not what is keeping Democrats from winning more seats. The Democrats’ problem is obviously their candidates and their policies, not a lack of Democratic-leaning districts. 

On top of that, Republicans swept all the statewide elections for office. The governor was reelected by more than 25 points. That’s a mega-landslide. The reason for all of this is obvious. Ohio is now a red state. It was impossible to create a map that could give Democrats any more wins without severely violating the state constitution. That’s what Huffman and his fellow Republicans said all along, and the election results proved it.

Gerrymandering played no role. The evidence is clear and indisputable. Gerrymandering in Ohio doesn’t exist – except as a delusion in the minds of Democrats and pushed as propaganda by the state media. 

That doesn’t stop the most hardcore of the reality-deniers in the Ohio media from continuing to howl the maps were gerrymandered. Facts don’t matter to them. Like the state’s oddly wayward former chief justice, they think the law says whatever they want it to say. Not what it actually says in plain English. 

Incapable of recognizing the obvious truth in front of their noses, the true die-hards in our media want to double-down by criminalizing the opposition. By calling for the arrest of Republicans. For the crime of winning. Can you believe it? That’s where we are today in Ohio.  

The good news? The public is catching on. The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s circulation has dropped by more than half since 2013. It has dropped by 80 percent since the 1980s. Circulation of the Columbus Dispatch has fallen by more than 30 percent since 2017. The Cincinnati Enquirer lost 67 percent of its Sunday readers in the last four years. Newspaper circulation nationwide has dropped by half since 2000. 

CNN’s ratings are the lowest in 10 years. Major media companies announcing massive layoffs include the Washington Post, NBC News and MSNBC, CNN (including the entire staff at Headline News), National Public Radio, Buzzfeed, Vox, and the nation’s largest newspaper chain, Gannett, which also closed numerous papers. Some of their remaining papers no longer even have reporters. 

Most damning of all, the media’s credibility is shot. Trust in news has hit a historic low.  A Gallup survey in July found only 16 percent of Americans trust newspapers. Only 11 percent trust television news. 

Journalists seem unable to comprehend their problem isn’t competition from big tech; the problem is the news itself. People simply don’t like their product. Or buy it. A 90 percent leftist newsroom in a red state is going to have to face reality and report unbiased news – or perish. 

The media became accustomed to driving the agenda, but when so many outlets moved so far out of the mainstream and lost touch with average Americans they lost their power, their credibility, and their influence. And now they are losing their jobs. 

The public sees the naked bias. Big media has become a public relations firm for the Democrats, as the richest man in the world observed. Too many in the media are at war with truth and objectivity. These are the real extremists, virulently attacking half the electorate and telling comforting lies to the rest. They are pro-censorship and anti-free speech. No wonder they are dying from attrition. 

There’s still a long way to go. A media driven by a woke agenda is still a dangerous creature. Like a wounded animal. And some of them want you defenseless. Literally. Quinn made that clear on his podcast on December 2, while blasting a senate bill protecting the right of Ohioans to defend themselves during an emergency, including riots. The law now prevents the government from seizing your guns or ammunition, closing gun stores, taking away gun permits, or refusing to process gun permits during a declared emergency.

Quinn ridiculed the idea that a gun store could be declared an essential business during an emergency. “This is a crazy idea,” he pontificated. “You think about essential business, right? You think about grocery stores and pharmacies and things. How in the world can you say a gun store, oh, oh, the power’s out. Let’s go to the gun store. It just makes no sense.”

"It's just the craziest thing. It'd be like saying a chainsaw store is an essential business."

What makes no sense is comparing guns to chainsaws. The right to own a chainsaw is not in the U.S. Constitution. The right to defend yourself is. With a firearm. Self-defense is the quintessential purpose of a gun, and that is the reason it is protected by the highest law in the land. It’s difficult not to conclude that we would have nothing with which to protect ourselves except chainsaws and baseball bats if Quinn and company got their way. 

The radical fringe in the leftist media clearly don’t think you should be able to defend yourselves when you need it the most. The threat of a riot is not hyperbole in the world the left has created. We all saw the mob storm the Ohio Statehouse in 2020. We saw the death and destruction mobs caused in cities all across America. What will happen the next time America elects a Republican president? Do you think Antifa and their cohorts will just take that lying down? 

Quinn’s attitude perfectly illustrates how out of touch many in the mainstream media have become with mainstream America. Normal, average people cherish their rights, including the right to protect themselves and their loved ones, and not just during a riot. Record gun sales are the natural response to the national crime wave the Democrats have unleashed with their insane policies. Defunding the police and emptying the jails of violent criminals has not put folks on Main Street in a mood to ban guns or restrict their rights any further. 

Those are the people we represent. We represent the mainstream. Conservatives, moderates, and independents. Traditional Americans of all parties who just want to make a better life for themselves and their families. And who just want to be left alone by the government and the woke mob. 

The far left and much of the media have other plans. They want to fundamentally transform America into a woke utopia. These are the people who will defend a man’s right to have a baby. They are a living Monty Python sketch. But they are serious. That makes them whacko. And dangerous.

As Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders says, it’s a choice between normal or crazy. Far too many in the leftist media now take the most looney positions imaginable and then call their critics the extremists. 

So much of the media has moved so far left they think the use of natural gas is anti-environment. That sexualizing kindergartners is healthy. That a wide open border and unlimited illegal immigration are feasible. That institutional racism in hiring and college admissions is equity. That a crime wave is justice. That censorship promotes free speech. That objective reality is an illusion.

Many in our media can’t stand the truth. So they make stuff up. They lie. Fake news is their new normal. 

And that’s why we will no longer rely solely on our rabidly partisan media to speak to you. 

The credibility of the worst offenders is tarnished beyond repair. 

We will go directly to the people.

Garth Kant is Senior Press Secretary of the Ohio Senate Majority Caucus and the editor of On The Record. He spent three decades in journalism, including writing and producing news at CNN, MSNBC, and FOX.