Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.
Robert Reich dated Hillary Clinton. Eventually the diminutive leftist became Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Labor and parlayed that into teaching a class at UC Berkeley on Wealth and Poverty for six figures.
Reich, who claims to be an expert on “inequality”, pulled down $304,802 in gross pay in 2018.
The University of California’s president, Janet Napolitano, is a fellow former Clinton cabinet member. And Reich is employed at a Berkeley school named after a Clinton Global Initiative donor.
Obviously, Reich also spends a lot of time inveighing against “oligarchy”. Just not enough to quit.
Reich claims that in America, “It’s socialism for the rich. Everyone else is treated to harsh capitalism.”
He ought to know. UC Berkeley is funded by taxpayers.
These days, Reich is one of the many tentacles of the Clinton oligarchy warning about the truth threat. His former date recently declared that she was “appalled by the war on truth”. Hillary didn’t mean her own war on truth which ranged from falsely claiming to have landed at a Bosnia airport under fire, to applying to NASA and the Marine Corps, to being named after Sir Edmund Hillary, to, bringing peace to Northern Ireland, where she claimed, in her own lying words, “the role I played was instrumental.”
Did she play the Celtic harp? No, but Hillary and her cronies have been harping on about social media censorship.
The current target of the born-again truthetarians, who after decades of lying with hysterical compulsiveness claim to have found the truth, is Facebook, specifically, and social media, in general.
Facebook managed to infuriate the Clintonites and the media by refusing to censor political ads. Senator Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez then tested this proposition to absurdity by running false political ads, or ads that are more false than the ones they usually run, to prove their point.
Their point is that free speech exists for candidates running for public office and that it shouldn’t.
That’s where Robert Reich comes in, and Hillary’s old cheap date doesn’t just lay out the same talking points, but a grand unified field theory about why the media should have the whip hand over the public.
Because oligarchy is awesome.
“A major characteristic of the internet goes by the fancy term ‘disintermediation’. Put simply, it means sellers are linked directly to customers with no need for middlemen. Amazon eliminates the need for retailers. Online investing eliminates the need for stock brokers… At a keystroke, consumers get all the information they need,” Reich writes. “But democracy can’t be disintermediated.”
Voters can’t be allowed to “get all the information they need” at a keystroke. That would be anarchy.
The Virginian who accused King George III of having “erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance” would disagree. But Reich typifies the “Offices” and “Officers” and is currently eating out the substance of Californians at the rate of $304,802 a year.
It’s understandable that Reich wouldn’t want inconvenient facts like these to be accessible on Facebook, but his thesis is fascinating in a nakedness far more shocking than any anything in the Katie Hill case.
It’s one thing to be able to cut out the middleman when booking a vacation or buying a stock, but not when electing public officials. Reich isn’t arguing for the Electoral College, but the Fourth Estate.
Or the Fourth Reich.
“Democracy can’t be disintermediated. We’re not just buyers and sellers. We’re citizens who need to know what’s happening around us in order to exercise our right to self-government, and responsibility for it,” Reich thunders. “Intermediating between the powerful and the people was once mainly the job of publishers and journalists – hence the term ‘media’.”
It’s hard to tell if Reich is lying or being stupid. Or both.
The owners, publishers and writers at newspapers aren’t a medium “between the powerful and the people” because they are the powerful. What Reich really means is that the powerful media should be set the political agenda to control how a powerless people vote and what they are allowed to hear.
That’s not a medium. It’s a clogged drain.
In an open political system, there doesn’t need to be a filter “intermediating between the powerful and the people” because the people have the power. The people lose power when there’s a media filter.
Media refers to medium of communication. Not a political medium. As William Safire noted, its first use was by Lord Francis Bacon in 1605, when he used it to describe the “Medium of Wordes.” The term “media” to describe the monstrous octopus entangling our political system originated from an ad magazine writing about “class appeal in mass media.”
That’s the sort of classism that Reich would deplore when he isn’t shopping for $399 extra small turtlenecks from the J. Peterman catalog while explaining why the media should be running America.
Despite Reich’s lies, the media was never meant to be an intermediary between the people and the government. The term he’s using meant that the agglomeration of newspapers, radio stations, and the other tentacles of the media octopus made it easier to sell overpriced turtlenecks to the nouveau riche.
But Reich believes that the medium is the message and that people can’t be trusted to think for themselves. “Who is responsible for protecting democracy from big, dangerous lies?” he demands.
The Bill of Rights already answered that question. And the answer is everyone and no one. The First Amendment ‘disintermediated’ politics by giving everyone the right to speak for themselves. Reich and his Clintonite cronies would like to ‘mediate’ our republic by turning it into an Athenian village.
To paraphrase his old date, It Takes a Media Village on Fifth Avenue to Rig Our Political System.
That’s what this nonsense about a “War on Truth” and an urgent need to stop the “Assault of Lies” is really about. It’s an Orwellian gambit to “protect the people” by eliminating the First Amendment.
Reich and his lefty allies claim to be worried about “democracy”. To lefties, democracy is an entity that exists apart from the public will. And often, populism is said to “threaten democracy”. Democracy, which is a set of principles, not the people who vote, is often threatened by the people who do vote.
And the only way to protect democracy is by suppressing democracy, destroying the Athenian village to save the principle of open migration into the village that the Athenian ‘Demos’ stands for.
What Reich and the media are arguing is that while the medium between the people and their votes, the actual elections, can’t be filtered, just yet anyway, the medium between the candidates and the people can and should be filtered. And the media’s role is to be that filter. What makes social media dangerous is that it provides unfiltered communication between politicians and the public.
Political candidates being able to freely communicate with the public is a threat to democracy.
The First Amendment exists precisely because the Framers understood the threat of this filter. That’s why it provides for freedom of speech, before a free press. And it was a press, not a medium. The men who built this country had experienced what happened when governors monopolized control over the press to suppress the political opposition. They did not want a single paper controlling public discourse.
And that’s exactly what the media and the Clintonites want. Unlike Reich, they don’t say it out loud.
Social media is a threat to the media infrastructure because it allows people to bypass media control.
Reich complains about “Facebook sending Trump’s unfiltered lies to the 45% of Americans for whom it is the main source of news” and whines that “Twitter sends them to 66 million users every day.”
Facebook and Twitter, despite their algorithmic secret sauces, are platforms for people sharing content. They’re not sending Trump’s posts, they’re platforms on which people share Trump’s posts. As they share Reich’s posts. And Reich has learned the hard way that his lies aren’t winning Twitter.
It’s not Facebook or Twitter, but people who threaten Reich’s media Fourth Estate or Fourth Reich.
The struggle between media and social media is a power struggle between people and institutions. A free society indeed ‘disintermediates’, tearing down the barriers between public participation and discourse. Reich sees the media as a necessary Berlin Wall between politicians who believe inappropriate things, their supporters, and the people who might actually listen to them.
There is no clearer evocation of the choice between a free society and a tyranny than this.
“Inside every progressive is a totalitarian screaming to get out,” is the motto of the David Horowitz Freedom Center. Robert Reich and his media Fourth Reich aren’t screaming to get out. They’re out.
The Democrat assault on the First Amendment, under the guise of fact-checking, of foreign interference, of hate speech and of wars on truth, is a crusade by tyrants against public discourse and free elections.
Reich argues that America needs a media filter on the communications end to control our political system. How long until the argument is made that we also need a filter on the election end to prevent unacceptable candidates from running for public office? Americans don’t need a deeper swamp of institutional mediums standing between them and political power. Political power is our birthright.
That’s what Robert Reich and the media want to take away from the people of this nation.