Monday, June 8, 2009

Fourth Estate? Fifth Column.

The term Fourth Estate, of course, refers to the press; “press” being a now-archaic description hearkening back to a simpler time when delivering news was strictly a function of metal, paper, ink, and the time it took to get it to the reader – no electricity involved. We need not go into how different things are today.

To the best of our knowledge, Edmund Burke coined the term in the House of Commons a short time after the French revolution. The first three estates, as defined by Louis XVI some years earlier, were the clergy, the nobles and the commoners. Burke is said to have gazed up at the Press Gallery and said, “Yonder lies the Fourth Estate, and they are more important than them all.”

Likewise, most of us are aware of the phrase "Fifth Column;" it refers to a dangerous enemy unit that operates clandestinely within the borders of one's own country. The concept originated during the Spanish Civil War with a radio address by insurgent General Emilio Mola, who broadcast the news that his four military columns laying siege to Madrid would be supported by a "Fifth Column" of supporters operating surreptitiously within the city.

Of course, paranoia can lead a nation to fear a Fifth Column that doesn’t exist; the most obvious example in our recent history being the belief that Japanese-Americans represented an internal threat as both spies and saboteurs during World War II, an erroneous conclusion that led to the unfortunate internment of hundreds of thousands of otherwise loyal Americans.

Generally, all Fifth Columns, whether real or imagined, share one commonality: they operate in the shadows. Their members listen behind doors, peep through keyholes, secretly sabotage power plants and transportation hubs and above all, keep their nefarious actions hidden and secret. They wait silently, patiently, until the day finally comes when they can rise up, shed their sheep’s clothing, and proudly affirm their support for the cause that has brought about the destruction of the society in which they so traitorously intermingled.

Not anymore. America’s Fifth Column, fully-operational and horribly dangerous, operates in full view of the public. In fact, they fight amongst themselves for the privilege of being the most visible, as they do their damndest to bring about the destruction of our country as we know it. America’s Fifth Column is its Fourth Estate.

Formerly known as the “Watchdogs of Democracy,” today’s media has become the propaganda arm of the American Left. As vigilant, and destructive, as a starving pit bull during the Bush years, this once snarling beast has now become a pussycat, rubbing at his ankles and purring as President Obama scratches behind its ears.

When the former Republican administration occupied the halls of power, this Fifth Column was capable of almost any calumny, no matter how destructive. Indeed there were cases which, in other generations or situations – would have been considered treasonous. No single matter relating to the conduct of the Iraq War was beneath scrutiny, nor was any misdeed – real or imagined – on the part of the military allowed to go unreported, national security be damned. It seemed that the only standard used to determine what was “fit to print” was the degree to which a story could be used to damage the Bush White House.

Hence endless days, weeks, months and finally years of wailing and gnashing of teeth over Abu Ghraib and Gitmo, rendition and “domestic spying,” endless apologies to the world and boundless recriminations at home.

Former Vice President Cheney saw fit a few weeks ago to single out one particular organization by name:
“The [Terrorist Surveillance]program was top secret, and for good reason, until the editors of the New York Times got it and put it on the front page. After 9/11, the Times had spent months publishing the pictures and the stories of everyone killed by al-Qaeda on 9/11. Now here was that same newspaper publishing secrets in a way that could only help al-Qaeda. It impressed the Pulitzer committee, but it damn sure didn’t serve the interests of our country, or the safety of our people.”
The shockingly biased coverage of George Bush and his administration gave critics of the media plenty of ammunition with which to attack, but all attempts to call the media to task sputtered ineffectually under the onslaught. Undeterred, the American Fifth Column had much more, and much worse, in store.

With the advent of the Obama candidacy and the subsequent descent into the nether-regions of crazed adulation and tingly legs by the “I’m Just Mad About Barry” media, they suddenly and inexplicably lost the ability to investigate. Like a new and potent Andromeda Strain, America’s Fifth Column mutated into a different and even more dangerous pathogen, lethal in its ability to mask and cover all symptoms of the Obama Administration’s rush to insert its tentacles into every aspect of our lives.

The media became not only incapable of any sort of criticism of the party in power, but of any sort of critical thought.

End of Part 1