Thomas Jefferson called it “prostitution to falsehood” – today it’s called “fake news”

by | August 23, 2018 8:39 am

Language of Liberty – By KrisAnne Hall, JD

The Boston Globe recently printed an Opinion piece as a rebuttal to all the “fake news” accusations. Their new hashtag professes “#FreePress is not the enemy.”

It is true Freedom of Press is not the enemy. Freedom of Speech is not the enemy either. They are two of the foundational principles of Liberty that make America great.

But since we are on the topic, let us examine the nature of the true enemy. You see, Free Press is not a person, it is a principle.

  1. The enemy is a group of people who call themselves journalists joining together in a cabal to push their social and political agenda and then call it Free Press.
  2. The enemy is an organized clan of media pundits who drive their agenda by demonizing the true market place of ideas and targeting opposing opinions with their tar-and-feather tactics of division.
  3. The enemy is any politician that encourages, and/or supports, this politically and sociologically driven agenda to silence opinions they do not approve of, or which may threaten the power they possess.

Thomas Jefferson said it so eloquently to John Norvell, June 14, 1807:

“Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle. The real extent of this state of misinformation is known only to those who are in situations to confront facts within their knowledge with the lies of the day.”

Jefferson, being a staunch advocate of freedom of press, knew that the terms “journalist”, “newspaper”, and “freedom of press” were not synonymous. In the same letter, Jefferson makes this point:

“It is a melancholy truth, that a suppression of the press could not more compleatly (sic) deprive the nation of its benefits, than is done by its abandoned prostitution to falsehood.”

Facts may be obtained by the news today. However, the devil is in the details and that is where the enemy makes its living. Driven by political agenda and a false Utopian desire to mold and shape the psyche of America, these so-called journalists abandon truth for power, persuasion, and profits.

In his day, Jefferson lamented over the condition of such a state of journalism:

“I really look with commiseration over the great body of my fellow citizens, who, reading newspapers, live & die in the belief, that they have known something of what has been passing in the world in their time; whereas the accounts they have read in newspapers are just as true a history of any other period of the world as of the present, except that the real names of the day are affixed to their fables.”

Americans share the same distaste for the condition of most mainstream, corporate media today. It is no wonder that these people feigning journalism while engaging in political prostitution have lost the respect of the people.

It’s not freedom of press that the American people are angry at. It is the continual stream of lies and manipulated half-truths that are driving the public into outrage, as seen at a recent Trump rally, where the crowd yelled their sentiments of disgust at CNN’s John Acosta.

The people were not yelling “truth sucks”, “freedom of press sucks”. They were yelling “CNN sucks”. THERE IS A DIFFERENCE.

Many Americans have come to think as Jefferson did in 1807:

“I will add, that the man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them; inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. He who reads nothing will still learn the great facts, and the details are all false.”

Perhaps that is why the rebuttals by the mainstream media and their corporate sponsors have become louder and more frequent. People are tuning them out, turning them off, and, as a result, their bottom line and their market shares are in jeopardy.

Too bad the mainstream media are not as dedicated to the truth as mainstream America.

KrisAnne Hall is an attorney, former prosecutor, a disabled Army veteran, a Russian linguist, a mother, a pastor’s wife and a patriot. Hall hosts weekly radio and TV programs and teaches an average of 265 classes each year on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Learn more at krisannehall.com.

The Language of Liberty series is a collaborative effort of the Center for Self Governance (CSG) Administrative Team. CSG is a non-profit, non-partisan educational organization, dedicated to training citizens in applied civics. The authors include administrative staff, selected students, and guest columnists. The views expressed by the authors are their own and may not reflect the views of CSG. Contact them at CenterForSelfGovernance.

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