The Separation of Communiqué and State

Perhaps our disappointment in one another, frustration with Presidential elections, and stress over 1 role in the entire world, isn’t a reflection of us, but of the office having too much power and influence.

U.S. elections and the attention world leaders such as the President (any President), have in the last few decades, really drawn attention to the power and influence wielded by the world’s highest offices.

From our point of view of what’s going on with the *industry* of social media, it’s hard not to take pause at how on one hand, ordinary people are crying foul at the voice politics takes through online media, while on the other hand, those very governments are the only organizations empowered to keep themselves out of it.  And rather than keeping political influence and media separate, governments are crying foul at the media for being the problem, and responsible for the problem, rather than pointing the finger at themselves for using it for the very reasons they’re saying they want to prevent.

There is a bit of a misunderstanding about the role and responsibility of news media in society. The 1st Amendment in the United States implies that while government can make no law abridging (meaning, limiting) the freedom of the press, that amendment doesn’t prohibit the government from leveraging and influencing it.

As a result of that, and a history of the news media stressing that it’s fair, balanced, and factual, for the same of establishing trust in the brand, people tend to perceive and expect that the news media is responsible for only facts and that it’s protected from the government.

First Amendment to the United States Constitution

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

To wit:Without a free and independent media, is true democracy unattainable?

Hang on… such a question contains a false assumption.  We do not and never had an independent press.

A free press, maybe.  Arguable and ideally, yes.  But the media is not independent of the government.

Most people, throughout the world, are of a misplaced point of view, likely driven by governments, to convince people that they can trust the media.

The ongoing debate throughout politics, news media, fake news, and social media, really requires you go two or three layers deeper than what’s discussed on the surface.

Here are a few facts; unequivocal facts that are absolutely and with great certainty true – though you may believe or perceive otherwise and could certainly show me articles, papers, research, and politicians who claim otherwise:

  1. The media is not and never ever ever ever has been based on facts.
  2. All media is and always has been biased by money and influence (power)
  3. There is really no such thing as “Fake News” – there is incomplete news, biased / editorial news, and fiction. Fake News is a fabricated idea to help persuade opinions. If it’s false, it’s false. If it’s true, it’s either incomplete or opinionated. It is never, ever, complete and factual.
  4. The United States’ 1st Amendment obligates that the Federal Government stay out of the Press and Speech, completely. It has never actually done so.
  5. News is not independent. It never has been and likely never will be.
  6. There is ZERO privacy in media. You do not have privacy, aren’t due privacy, and it technically isn’t really possible. If you are consuming media, you are data being monetized. Always have been… that’s not an internet thing.
  7. Data about you isn’t “your data.” Data about you is data others have, it’s their data, about you. The internet doesn’t change this fact that has always been true… magazines collected and monetized information about you too, they always have.

With all that in mind….

Is true Democracy unattainable?

In fact, yes.

It doesn’t exist anywhere in the world.

What we have are democratic processes. We have Republics with elected representatives who are influenced democratically.

What is true is that anything approximating a Democracy is impossible without Free (and protected) speech because a Government empowered to control what people think, will.

Free speech (protecting a freedom of the press) enables the people to retain control over the Government. We enable the Government, it serves us; not the other way around.

Government doesn’t give us rights, we protect our rights from it.

Government doesn’t create opportunities, jobs, nor wealth or equality, we empower it to tax, regulate, and create laws that force social change.

And without a freedom of press/speech, we lose that power.

Without that, we are not democratic, we’re merely doing what that government says we should.

Notice, I limited my point so far to the question of Free Media.

We do not and never had an independent press.

And we don’t need an independent press in order to have democratic situations.

The government has always and will always influence the press.

“They say it takes ‘two to tango,’ and in this case it’s a combination of politics & media,” John Zozzaro. “Journalistic integrity has been outpaced by click bait false narratives, and technology that preys on your deepest fears and concerns. This has been a very slow boil over the last three decades. What we are witnessing play out in modern day politics, is the perpetuated polarization driven by platform algorithms built on ‘more = more’

It’s no fault but our own uneducated and uninformed selves… The unfortunate reality is we have put too much trust in what the news stations tell us, and have displayed such an incredible appetite for sharing disinformation, that our enemies abroad no longer need weapons to watch us crumble, all they need is a brilliant data scientist and a solid marketing budget.”

The government regulates businesses, advertising, and what can be on the media, politically. That, in turn, means that the media is interdependent with the government.

Media isn’t biased.  Rather, We The People (the public) frustrated over it being biased is only part of the story and the least of our challenges.  News media is divided.

Courtesy of Ad Fontes Media Inc.

We’re distracted to perceive that the challenges in the News Industry are the News Industry’s fault (unable to evolve to how the internet works, unwilling to change the business model) but when you look at a data set that Ad Fontes Media studies, it’s immediately apparent that the influence, the divisiveness, is political.

To avoid too much control over it, we must be diligent in always questioning the motivations and goals of a government engaging on those FACTS above. Empowering the government to rule/regulate/prosecute ANYTHING related to those facts, means we’re enabling the government to have more control and forcing the media to be more dependent on it.

That’s not a good thing.   No matter which side of that aisle you find yourself on, left or right, Democrat or Republican, hopefully you can agree that our neighbors, learning to appreciate that the media IS biased, while also reigning in how politics is the cause of the divide of media, we’re all better off.

Media will remain free, as long as we keep fighting efforts by governments to limit what’s allowed. But it will never be independent and we must always push back on government to make sure it doesn’t become more dependent.

A free, but dependent press is a press that CAN say whatever it wants, but that doesn’t mean it will nor wants to.

Comments on The Separation of Communiqué and State

  • Billy Seitzler

    The presidential power grab that’s been on-going by men in that position from both political parties is atrocious. The influence of the PODUS should be enormous, the actual power should be much less. Starting wars with a phone call. Using “a pen and a phone” to circumvent congress. The list goes on and on.

  • John Paul Borrego

    Been saying this for years. We were warned about an imperial presidency, 1 person should not have this much influence/power.

  • Christian Erickson

    Agreed. I’ve been saying this for years that we’re putting the Executive Branch higher than it should be and more than that, we’re expecting our federal govt to have power in local issues. Was just having this conversation with a Finnish friend of mine.

  • Karla Marie Reina Murchison

    could not have expressed it better than this. spot on

  • Dustin Stewart

    “Science is more than a body of knowledge; it is a way of thinking. I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time — when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness.” -Carl Sagan

  • Shannon Serio

    I agree

  • Adam Cahnman
  • Mimi Matey

    Simple…they have forgotten that they work for us, the citizens of US.

  • Lori Appleman

    Mimi Matey no. We’ve forgotten that they work for those who pay for their campaigns and who promise lucrative board seats when they leave office. That’s why we need federal campaign funding for federal roles – they all get the same pot – no outside funds. Remove ALL donor funding.

  • Lori Appleman

    and when Citizens United got SCOTUS to allow for corporate donations it got worse

  • Jay Fraser

    The Founders purposely and decidedly understood the importance of separation of powers and separate but equal elements of the government.

    As for a free press…even back in the days of Paine and his crisis papers and Common Sense, opinion was voiced, not always unvarnished truths.

    Rights were granted by the Constitution, not the Government. We maintain those rights through the vote and through our access to our legislators…that is democracy.
    If the media is biased, it is largely, IMO because we have allowed it.

  • Michael LaVoice

    This was well said. It needed to be said. I have been espousing variations on this same theme for years, but friends and family didn’t listen. My historical examples of politicians influencing media in one way or another were dismissed as isolated incidents, as were examples of media members enhancing, omitting, or outright ignoring facts that didn’t fit the narrative they wanted to tell.

    Narratives like the idea that a lack of civility in politics is actually something new. Rubbish! Our politicians used to shoot at each other, for Pity’s sake! There was a law on the books in Kentucky (it may still be, I don’t know) that made it illegal to shoot off a politician’s tie. Rarely does one get such a specific law without the prohibited incident actually ocurring at least once.

    I beleive I will share this profusely.

    Well done.

  • Paul O’Brien

    Cheers Michael. Nothing motivates efforts to help make good changes, and educate people, than hearing that it’s making a difference and will be shared. Appreciate you.

  • Jon Davis


  • Daniel Churchman

    Thoroughly enjoyed this.

    My only mild disagreement would be on scope or degree. I won’t claim that the media has never been this corrupt before. I do say that I don’t remember it being this vicious and excessively Partisan, and blatantly dishonest. The totality of their attack upon Trump it’s been extraordinary.

    The censorship of social media has lately met the level that I experienced in China after living there for nine years. Essentially, if they don’t agree with you, it’s misinformation (in China, they call it “spreading rumors“).

    I suppose I would agree with you that the rot has always been here, but never have I seen it so nakedly aggressive and out in the open. They look you right in the eye and lie, then say the “other guy“ is the one committing the crimes just committed themselves; their hands covered in the muck of the crime they just committed.

    This is not the first crisis we’ve faced; it is, all the same, one hell of a crisis, and the fate of our nation is hanging in the balance. I firmly believe that the role the media has played over the last few years on an increasingly aggressive scale is the reason why such corruption in our government has been supported/defended by so many Americans; and why so many think Trump was so evil. Without the pure activist role that our media has has played, I think many more Americans would have seen through the lies of the DNC. The elements may have always been there, but the full blown “perfect storm“ of these negative traits is something that I have not seen in a very long time, if at all.

  • Paul O’Brien

    See, I wonder if it’s a “crisis” (as in your comment that it’s ‘not the first crisis’) or if that idea that it is a crisis or not, reflects our misunderstanding of it.

    Yellow Journalism, of the turn of the LAST century was the same thing. We’ve never not had it.

    I think what we’re miscommunicating and have failed to teach (kids) is that Media Is Biased. Period. It’s not that it is not. It’s not that it’s worse.

    When people are pissed off (Unions and child labor OR Biden/Trump), they notice it more and we talk about it. And what should terrify us in that happening is that when times are good and everyone is happy, we ignore the fact that the media is still doing it; it just doesn’t bother enough to care.

    Cake and Circuses.

    Welfare, free healthcare, free education…. the government gives cake.
    Celebrity scandals, fake news, online privacy, Zuckerberg in front of the Senate… the government fosters the circus.

    All intended to keep attention of its general ineptitude and corruption.

The Separation of Communiqué and State

by Paul O'Brien time to read: 5 min