by Doug Coffey President, Army Public Affairs Association
Bias has existed in our media since the formation of our Nation. Sam Adams’s broadsides were certainly biased. I suppose that the King or the local governors of the colonies could have cried “fake news” or charged the media with being the “enemy of the people.” In an alternate reality we wouldn’t be arguing about freedom of the press and as Soldiers we wouldn’t swear “to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic…”
Our history is filled with examples you might call “fake news.” William Hearst stirred up patriotic fervor with his “yellow journalism” – “Remember the Maine” – that pushed us into a war with Spain and more recently, the attack on the USS Maddox that drove us further into a war in Vietnam. And even more recently, the presence of WMD in Iraq that sent us into an endless war.
My father-in-law was an editorial writer for the Manchester Union Leader. He took credit for writing the editorial that made Edmund Muskie cry. Conservative publisher, William Loeb, was infamous for his front-page editorials written in red ink. For a time, the paper held outsize influence, calling political leaders names we would cringe over today: Dwight D. Eisenhower: "Dopey Dwight" and "that stinking hypocrite." Gerald R. Ford: "Jerry the Jerk." Lyndon B. Johnson: "Snake Oil Lyndon." John F. Kennedy: "Number One Liar in the USA." Edmund S. Muskie: "Moscow Muskie," and even a religious slur to describe Henry Kissinger. We chose to ignore the media that were on the fringe if we disagreed. The only way we have to change the narrative and overcome bias is to vote. Vote your conscience, vote as if the future of our Nation depends upon it. Voting is your right and also your responsibility. It is easiest way for you to support and defend the Constitution. Vote November 6!