To the Editor:
Five years ago, the huge and sprawling Hearst Media corporation established Hearst Connecticut Media Group (HCMG) to acquire CT media properties. HCMG now owns nine daily newspapers, 13 weekly papers and CT Magazine. Though some have state-wide reach, most are centered in, and focused on Fairfield County. The acquired news outlets range from the larger Connecticut Post, to small town papers such as the Trumbull Times. In Connecticut’s 4th Congressional District alone, Hearst has acquired the leading town paper in 13 of the 17 towns in the district. The Hearst corporation is a major player in the national network of what is derisively referred to as corporate media, or as it is the open enemy of anything not on the Progressive Left, the ‘Enemedia’ for short. With its editorials and story slant, Hearst has proven itself as no friend of the free-speech rights of Republicans, or any citizen on the right side of the political spectrum. Independent media outlets are practically drowned out of the community conversation and the reporting of news.
In addition, over the past two years it has been well documented in congressional hearings, that the leading social media companies, Twitter and Facebook, simply delete and censor conservative speech on their platforms. As Winston Churchill surveyed the European landscape following World War II, he coined the phrase ‘Iron Curtain’ to describe the grip over daily life that the Soviets exerted on the countries of Eastern Europe. Drawing inspiration from the great man’s analogy it certainly seems that Hearst and others furthering corporate media dominance, has thrown an ‘Iron Cloak’ over freedom of speech in Connecticut, and particularly the towns in the southwest sector of the state.
For the newspaper reader, Hearst outlets all advocate a progressive liberal editorial policy and their news reports all reflect that bias. Political candidates are literally boxed-out from having their positions known, or their voices heard. Republicans can expect to be ignored for most of the campaign, then slandered for the final month; further, they can expect that their views will be subject to misinformation and given the worst possible spin. Contrarily, Democrats can expect such glowing coverage that they need to do little more than submit their one-sided press releases to Hearst and then see those releases disseminated as written, within the papers’ articles, and then editorially lauded as effective policy.
Press releases submitted to Hearst papers from Republican candidates are routinely ‘round-filed’…unless there appears to be an angle on which to spin an article of smear or ridicule. Ask any Republican who has been a candidate in CT-4 and they’ll provide an endless stream of examples. The local town papers that up to a decade ago at least used to ‘cover’ both candidates, now seemingly have a book of excuses from which they pluck a handy response should a Republican call to inquire as to why they’re being ignored. So much for the frustrations of Republicans trying to get the word out to the public.
But what about the effect upon the residents…the readers…the citizenry? We know that traditionally, most papers were left-leaning – certainly in their editorials, and we knew the bias could slip into the reporting as well. But we used to count on the basic facts of events to be reported in articles, even if there were some ‘progressive’ adjectives or modifiers sprinkled in around the recounting of those events. Today, as we know from some infamous national stories, such as the Covington kids, the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, the Trevon Martin or Michael Brown deaths, the press will simply omit critical facts of the cases and mis-represent others. This heavy-handed and deceptive abuse of responsibility has been used repeatedly over the past decade for the deeper purpose of persuading the reader to adopt and internalize the leftist narrative of life in America. Yes, the one where half the country is composed of irredeemable racists, homophobes, transphobes, insurrectionists, and woman-hating violent Christians – in other words, as ‘Others’ who are to be ignored and cast out as ‘deplorables.’ As a result, a recent Gallop poll shows that Americans’ trust in the fourth estate has declined significantly.
After doing a broad and deep search for a local candidate, to uncover all the media outlets in Fairfield County, it was distressing to discover that today all the loudest local megaphones in print and electronic media are echoing the progressive world-view. Coverage of events is consistently delivered through a progressive lens i.e.; the baseline of every story is presumed to be progressivism. It is only natural, and healthy, that people see different aspects of a story as more or less important or determinative. But it is astounding how many people when asked, don’t even know the basic important facts by which to evaluate and assess events. That sad reality is then only topped by the hardened opinions they’re willing to espouse, often based on a fundamental misunderstanding of a news story. Average people are becoming traumatized…or virtually narcoticized into compliance with the establishment line.
I submit that this is not by chance, but instead by intent. Before Hearst’s acquisitions, readers could register on the paper’s site and comment on most any article, editorial, or op-ed. Now, in the Hearst town papers there’s little commenting on editorials or op-eds and only subscribers can comment on some articles the editor deems open for comment. Many won’t take letters to the-editor or op-eds from the general public either – you need to be someone credentialed. There also seems to be one editorial board and a couple writers who pen the editorials, which appear in all the town papers simultaneously. The editorials provide a steady diet of progressivism, with regular salvos of ridicule sprinkled in for anyone among the public who speaks out against the progressive corporate/establishment line. Because of this arrangement, free-speech here in Fairfield County, and indeed much of Connecticut, has now been suffocated.
Connecticut is often referenced by national commentators as ‘deep blue’. But I would suggest a different phrase – ‘Blue-Captured.’ The constant exposure within the progressive media echo chamber has driven the targeted demographic segments to the polls in fear of the Republican and Conservative proverbial boogiemen. Progressives have been driven to brow-beat or sever ties with their Republican friends and even family members. When reminded that the only real division in America is between the rulers and the ruled, they will not hear of it. At times it can seem hopeless.
And, like the proverbial frog being boiled one degree at a time, the citizenry has not yet recognized what is being done to us. After all, how many make the effort to look across from town paper to town paper to see the same template, same feature stories, and the same editorials and op-eds on a daily or weekly basis? A seeming Iron Cloak of news suffocation has been draped over the unsuspecting and gradually propagandized communities of Connecticut. The effect is not total, as there are a couple of smaller district-wide outlets still allowing for opinion and discussion postings, but for sure, comments are subject to the capricious hand of the ‘moderators.’ And just two towns now soldier on with their old independent town papers. It’s as though this state has to be liberated from the grip of a perfidious overlord. Whether this dilemma will be favorably resolved depends on the ingenuity of free-thinking patriots to eclipse the duplicity with truth. And I’m sure Fairfield is not the only county in the country where the ubiquitous corporate media has deployed this cunning gambit.
MacGuffie is co-author of the book “The Seventh Crisis – Why Millennials Must Re-establish Ordered Liberty”