"The press and 2024."
The capitulation is complete.
21 AUGUST—We now tip into the 2024 election season in some kind of official way, with the Republicans scheduled to hold their first primary debate Wednesday evening. Here is my question at this early moment: How are American readers and viewers going to follow events such that they can grasp what is at issue and—for those who insist on indulging in this practice—vote come 3 November 2024?
Here is my answer: I don’t know. With diligent effort and greater resort to independent media is the best I can propose as of now.
The coming presidential election already proves corrosive in all manner of ways, among them institutional corruption and a daring White House coverup of Watergate magnitude. These matters I considered in a recent column. But I left one thing out. The 2024 contest for the White House has tipped over our already listing corporate newspapers and broadcasters. Their abandonment of American readers and viewers in the service of the incumbent regime and the party apparatus propping it up is now complete and, in my view, beyond repair.
When Jefferson was serving as the new republic’s minister to Paris, he wrote home to Edward Carrington, who was then a delegate at the 1786–88 Continental Congress. “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government,” Jefferson told his friend, “I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”
For the sake of crystal clarity, the great Virginian added, “But I should mean that every man should receive those papers & be capable of reading them.”
How upside down is our world from Jefferson’s. With this political season we are required to acknowledge that we effectively live in that condition our third president thought most abhorrent. We do not have newspapers anymore, honorable exceptions at the local level notwithstanding. Our newspapers are simulacra now, imitations of newspapers, appendages of government. And the last thing one wishes is for people to receive and read them.
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