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The "fourth estate" refers to freedom of the press. The term may have first been used by the philosopher-statesman Edmund Burke, who in 1787 highlighted the press as free and apart from the other three British "estates" -- clergy, royalty and commoners.
The modern meaning, however, refers to the press as a fourth and free power -- as even a "watchdog" -- over the executive, legislative and judicial branches of our government. Today, however, it is the watchdog that needs watching.
The foundation on which the United States is built, freedom of speech and freedom of the press, is enshrined in the First Amendment to the US 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."
Before our eyes, however, this freedom is being distorted, strangled and withheld.
Young people today seem to have no idea of what the media used to be when America was more united. All the newspapers and media outlets recognized and covered the same big stories. The ideal to which journalistic professionalism aspired was objective reporting -- at least an attempt toward it -- and the media at least tried to keep "news" balanced, and separate from opinions and op-eds.
Today, journalism has changed so that the "news" is often conflated with unsupported and biased opinion. Consider Newsweek's story on Senator Ron Johnson's (R-Wis.) poll-supported claim that "Donald Trump would have won the election if the media had given more coverage to unsubstantiated allegations concerning President-elect Joe Biden's son, Hunter." The word "unsubstantiated" is the reporter's opinion -- not a certified fact. As we are seeing now, and as Senator Johnson was doubtless well aware, the allegations were smothered in substantiation. All a reporter had to do was look.
Similarly, some journalists cannot seem to hold themselves back from reporting on Trump's supposedly "baseless" claims of election fraud -- despite eyewitness affidavits, vote count anomalies, abrogations of both the Constitution and states' election laws, and the use of Dominion voting machines and Smartmatic software that are reported to have the capacity to flip votes secretly from one candidate to another.
Widely censored by both Big Tech and the mainstream media was a New York Post article which asserted that an abandoned laptop, the undisputed property of former Vice-President Joe Biden's son, Hunter, implicates him as the family "concierge" for the Biden family's influence-peddling in China -- a country cited by Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe as America's "National Security Threat No. 1."
Two corroborated reports in the New York Post highlighted Hunter Biden's financial interests in various foreign countries -- include his partnering with two Chinese military companies, one under investigation for espionage and the other for human rights violations. Both New York Post articles were censored -- actually totally blocked -- for two weeks by Twitter and Facebook, as was, for a time, the Twitter account of White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany for having posted the contraband information.
"Early in the day, users who attempted to link to the New York Post story either publicly or privately received a cryptic message rejecting the attempt as an 'error.' Later in the afternoon, Twitter changed the message, advising users that they could not post that link because the company judged its contents to be 'potentially harmful.'"
Recently, YouTube, announced that it was removing all videos accurately "claiming (that) mass fraud changed election results." Left unperturbed, however, are masses of inaccurate material, such as that President Trump allegedly colluded with Russia, or Chinese and Iranian propaganda claiming "the US army may have brought the coronavirus disease to Wuhan."
It was also, it seems, perfectly fine for the New York Times, as its editor-in-chief, Dean Baquet, admitted, to have "built our newsroom" around the fake Russia Hoax for two years, but the confirmed facts concerning the Biden family's influence peddling was apparently "not fit to print" -- especially before an election the newspaper was manipulating.
Divisions in the media have also created for the public widely divergent images of the president. To one group, President Trump is supposedly a far-right, authoritarian tyrant, allegedly seeking permanent rule; a buffoon, a fascist, racist, white supremacist, narcissist, lunatic, and incompetent, lacking in both empathy and presidential dignity.
To another group, he is the patriotic upholder of the American Constitution, a man of legendary accomplishments in office -- four more partners for peace in the Middle East (the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco); producing and delivering a new vaccine in less than a year; expanding school choice to improve "equality"; preventing Iran from a nuclear breakout; protecting the US border from trafficking and drug smuggling, and unmasking and confronting China as a lawless, omnivorous threat. To this group, he is a Hercules, delivering for the people in spite of unrelenting attempts to undermine him, and by far the last best hope of saving the United States from an energized, appeasement-prone, increasingly socialist takeover.
Many believe that what the US has been experiencing – such as the bogus charges of collusion with Russia, a kangaroo impeachment, and now an election that appears overwhelmingly stolen -- is nothing less than a succession of attempted coups d'états, more in keeping with Russia, China, Venezuela and Cuba than with a sustainable republic.
This month, it was claimed that Republican Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia "awarded a $107 million contract to Dominion voting machines two weeks after meeting with People's Republic of China's Consul General."
Senator Chuck Schumer has already announced that he would like to "change America." He has not quite specified into what.
Transitions to tyranny -- in the name of "helping the people" -- usually take place along with the "cancel culture's" desecration of statues, re-writing of history, outbreaks of rioting, looting, murders and ongoing denigration to whip up hate.
For much of the country, the attempted coups have now been sanctified and made to seem legitimate by the election -- that many feel was "stolen" -- of former Vice-President Biden. One can surely understand how Republicans feel now that the top-ranking conspirators involved the attempted coups have captured the government through their figurehead, former Vice-President Biden.
Clearly, voter fraud must be investigated, as scheduled in upcoming hearings under Senator Ron Johnson December 16. If elections continue the same way -- by legitimizing practices that sidestep Constitutional and states' laws -- as they threaten to do in two run-off elections in Georgia on January 5, we will no longer have a viable republic. The two upcoming elections in Georgia to determine control of the Senate may end up being the last firewall of a workable, multi-party nation.
Also clear is that the election of former Vice-President Biden was made possible not only because he was supported by almost universally biased mainstream newspapers and television stations that distorted or snuffed stories at will, as well as by Wall Street corporations and Big Tech companies aching to do business with a lucrative, if hegemonic, China.
Currently, power in America is concentrated in six companies:
"News Corp, Disney, Viacom, Time Warner, CBS and Comcast own 90% of the TV stations, radio stations, movies, magazines and newspapers that 277 million Americans rely on for news and entertainment."
Those companies have been "consolidated from 50 companies back in 1983." Supporting them are supposed "fact checkers" -- often suspect, and funded in large part by liberal billionaires such as George Soros and Bill Gates who most of the time support the Democrats.
Meanwhile, countless Americans have had advertising accounts or websites abridged or closed simply because Big Tech does not agree with their views. The investigative organization "Project Veritas" exposed Twitter's "shadow banning" mainly right-of-center views, meaning that "users were blocked from the platform without even being notified."
On November 17, the Senate Judiciary Committee questioned Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter's CEO Jack Dorsey about their political bias and practices, perhaps in an effort to curb their manipulation of a tremendous market dominance of information. Republican Josh Hawley questioned Zuckerberg about one program in particular, "Tasks," which is ostensibly used to share and coordinate "security-related" information between Twitter, Facebook and Google.
Zuckerberg claimed that the coordination was confined to "terrorism and foreign government influence but not content."
Really? Then why did the media "breathlessly" cover Adam Schiff's fake "content" that the laptop scandal was "Russian disinformation," a claim emphatically denied by Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe.
Despite Big Tech's millions in donations to members of Congress, some members are considering revoking Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act , which provides immunity to Big Tech from content they post, or breaking up the Big Tech companies as violators of anti-trust laws, the better to enable competition.
Zuckerberg also mentioned the intention of the three media giants to support the two Democrats in the senate run-off races in Georgia on January 5. A George Soros-Bloomberg group has already contributed $300,000 to the two Democrats in their attempt to defeat incumbent Republican Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue.
Of the Democratic challengers in Georgia, Jon Ossoff has had business ties with a Chinese company, PCCW Media, a telecom company, whose chairman, Richard Li, has for years opposed pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong. The Rev. Raphael Warnock, backed by the billionaire George Soros, is anti-military, anti-Israel, and has praised a fellow-preacher, Frederick Haynes III, "a Louis Farrakhan-supporting preacher after he compared President Donald Trump's election to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and applauded efforts to defund police departments."
The latest efforts by the media giants have been the attempt to discredit President Trump's claims of massive fraud in the election; claims backed up by Trump lawyers such as Rudy Giuliani, Jenna Ellis, Lin Wood and Sidney Powell, as well as various experts in technology.
How did all this come about in star-spangled America? The radicalization seems to have actually begun in our institutions of higher learning, perhaps by teachers and others in power. Many who were radical protestors in the 1960s and '70s, may well have since been indoctrinating public school children with a version of history calculated to make them despise their country and accept communism.
As presidential historian Craig Shirley has written in "They're Coming for you, Mark Zuckerberg":
"As instructed in Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky, the left either destroys or takes over institutions in order to gain control; power. Public education ... is now under the thumb of the left and their labor unions, and our children are not learning, except to mouth leftist bromides."
At present, radicalized schools are, not surprisingly, turning out radicalized reporters. According to a study by the National Association of Scholars, Democrat professors outnumber Republican ones by nine to one. In the Northeast, the ratio was 15.4 to one. If you want to know what happened to the Republicans, just ask Daniel Ravicher, a law professor at Miami University, censured for tweets that supported Trump.
What we are witnessing in the universities appears to be massive, Marxist-inspired group-think. It has also infested the media and other areas of society, thereby crushing another essential linchpin of democracy: the free marketplace of ideas.
If you think that a slow-motion coup seems unlikely, tune in to William Binney's interview with Chris Hedges. A former technical director of the National Security Agency (NSA), Binney maintains he retired in disgust when he realized that the NSA used the technology that he had created to spy on Americans.
One hopeful sign is that in the US, we do not have complete censorship -- at least yet. In freedom of the press lies its reverent responsibility for the freedom and welfare of the people.
As more and more news of the election fraud has comes to the attention of Americans, rallies have sprung up in support of honest elections. So far, still to be answered, is the question: If election officials can ignore legalities with impunity, how, going forward, can there be trustworthy elections?
Whatever the final outcome of the current presidential election, let us hope that the frogs are starting to jump out.
Leni Friedman Valenta is a graduate of Brandeis and Yale (playwriting) and has written articles for the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, the Gatestone Institute, Circanada, The National Interest, Aspen Review and other publications. She is married to international expert Dr. Jiri Valenta, a non-resident, senior research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies. Their website is valenta-center.com