Last month, South African native Lara Logan made headlines across the Internet, and at least on “rightwing” primetime like Fox, for what amounts to speaking truth to power when it comes to the media. In a #MikeDrop podcast interview with retired Navy SEAL Mike Ritland, Logan described the American mainstream media (MSM) as “absurdly left-leaning” and a “disaster for this country.” Her comments writ large were not “right” or left” but rather a very passive narrative of how modern mob journalism works or, perhaps more accurately, doesn’t.
The gist of it is that the Fourth Estate (if it ever existed) has turned into a self-serving cabal that has deliberately deep-sixed the shades of gray and nuances in their reporting. This sad existence —aided and abetted by social media and 24/7 headline chasing— is resulting in a mass distortion of political perception, especially at the grassroots level. Since liberal entities by and large control the press, theirs is the narrative being pushed which works hand-in-hand with the political apparatus and its divisive rhetoric that excludes any groupthink outliers. (You can watch the full excerpt of her “professional suicide” remarks.)
Her experience-driven comments have not been met with open arms. Or, ironically, with fair reporting. For instance, The Los Angeles Times didn’t miss a beat, noting: “CBS News had no comment on Logan’s interview, which was used by Breitbart and other right-wing outlets and commentators to bolster their narrative that the mainstream media have a liberal bias in their reporting [Emphasis added].”
The Times headline read: “Foreign correspondent Lara Logan has left CBS News.” Her contract with them wrapped in 2018, but the Times laced the title to leave the impression that she was somehow let go or her contract not renewed because of this interview.
Way to miss the entire point.
As Logan notes, it’s not just about having the “facts” but in the presentation and nuances as well. (Those pesky shades of gray that are part and parcel to human life and interaction. Never mind politics.) While a come-to-Jesus moment by the MSM would be much more productive (and appreciated), there are moments of hope in this interview. That hope is namely packaged in the alternative offered to this coerced narrative: The rise of independent digital media, such as podcasts like Ritland’s.
Left, right, independent or indifferent, digital independent media platforms offer free market freedom and competition with the manufactured media. We have more choices than ever about what to watch or who to listen to far beyond the network lineup. Even better, they are better able to do so without the interference of advertisers’ getting threatened, stockholders to please, or empires to protect.
Perhaps more promising still is that they speak like us because they are us. Don’t like what’s on TV? Create your own show. Or write a blog. Be that feedback loop. Don’t know what to believe or what’s the truth? Use open-source information in all its vast glory. It is the Internet age and that should mean more than cat videos, online shopping and troll-baiting on socials. For journalism, it should mean more than running amok with coverage of the Smollet case or the Covington kid or succumbing to the outrage mob like the one targeting Tucker Carlson. At its core, this interview highlighted the Achilles’ heel of the MSM monopoly on perception-making: #FakeNews. It also reveals what it will take to fight it—individuals like Lara daring to expose the broken system without contributing to it and offering an alternative in order to break the monopoly or even politics-driven plutocracy.