This was very unnerving to me, because this means that our enemies around the world may well see this as an opportune time to take advantage of the divisions they see splattered all over the news. In essence, these ridiculous rants about the Klan or Camps are putting us all in very real danger. Isn’t that what a Fifth Column is all about? Stirring the pot behind the lines? Causing confusion and disorienting the populace? Such reporting isn’t just irresponsible, it is actually quite dangerous to all of us as a nation. When the Fourth Estate reports news, then it is doing the job of a journalist. It should be critical and incisive. What we have now is something quite different. When the press makes up things, lifts things out of context, or simply allows irresponsible reporting to fill up the 24/7 news cycle, then it is approaching what I would call the work of a Fifth Column. Deep breath people, there will be no Camps, and the Klan isn’t in the White House. Moreover, most of the divisive rhetoric and accusations are quite simply without any real foundation, evidence, or support. Are they lifted as out of context statements? Probably, but they fit someone’s agenda, as opposed to being truth.
I calmed my friend down by reminding him of the press coverage we’ve suffered throughout our military careers. I simply said the words “remember how Vietnam was covered?” He immediately laughed because, as a Vet, he knew exactly what I meant. This phenomena isn’t just limited to my military background. As an attorney, I can honestly say that I have NEVER been properly quoted in the press. Which is why my comments to the press now are limited to this.... “Anything I have to say, I’ll say in the Courtroom.” I could go on about the history of the profession of journalism. I could talk about Edward R. Murrow who, during WWII, actually met with FDR on the night of December 7, 1941. He was told about how bad it was, and nobody had to tell him that it was off the record. He knew that he was an American first and then a journalist. What makes that unique in our world today? Today, even if you said it was off the record, it would still be in huge headlines. Moreover, now things will be printed even though there is no credible source associated with it. Why? Because now it is Agenda oriented, and not News oriented.
Back to my original question. Has the Fourth Estate become a Fifth Column? I’d say that a brief review of most of our major news outlets, both print and multi-media, will reveal that the answer is an unequivocal YES!