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The Media Think They Run The Country. Maybe TheyDo by Alex Gutentag and Michael Shellenberger

The Media Think They Run The Country. Maybe TheyDo by Alex Gutentag and Michael Shellenberger

Over the last few days, we, like many others, have observed that Joe Biden appears to lack the mental capacity for the job of president. And, we noted, this is a problem because Americans don’t want unelected, deep state bureaucrats running the White House. That’s tyranny, not democracy.

But Biden has repeatedly made clear that he intends to stay in the race. “I’m running,” he told supporters. “I’m the Democratic Party’s nominee. No one is pushing me out.”

Of course, Biden could still drop out before Election Day, which is four months away. The New York Times and others have published rumors that he might do that, including in a July 3 story, “Biden Tells Allies He Knows He Has Only Days to Salvage Candidacy.”

But over the last few days, Biden and his aides have strenuously denied those reports.

And yet, the media won’t let it go. They’re acting outraged that Biden is moving forward, as though the decision about whether he will compete for reelection were theirs rather than his. “Why Biden must withdraw,” exclaimed The Economist in the story for its cover, which consisted of a picture of the presidential seal on a walker.

Day after day, all of the mainstream news organizations, from the New York Times to the Washington Post to CNN are not simply urging Biden to step down, they are plotting how it should be done. “Democratic allies, strategists and elected officials are in growing agreement about the conditions required for Biden to step aside,” wrote the Post yesterday.

The media are also blurring the line between themselves and President Biden as the head of state. The most dramatic example of this is yesterday’s editorial in the Washington Post with the headline, “What if Biden spoke these words?” It is a fantasy speech by Biden announcing he won’t run for re-election.

“My season of service is nearing its close,” writes the Post’s fictional Biden. “This was a hard truth to face. But it is the natural course of things — as evident as the progression from spring to summer, from fall to winter. This is why I have decided to withdraw from the campaign for president of the United States.”

While some are promoting tonight’s interview by ABC’s George Stephanopolous and Biden as a “make-or-break” interview, the truth is that the media’s mind is already made up.

The media are so confident that they will force Biden to step down that they are now discussing his replacement. “Why Kamala Harris is a stronger candidate than you think,” explains MSNBC today.

Reporters have dropped all pretense of being concerned about democratic process. “Here,” wrote New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait on the Fourth of July, “is what I think should happen. A small group of party leaders — say, Biden, Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Hakeem Jeffries, and Jen O’Malley Dillon — should decide on a new candidate over the next week. The group would present its choice and instruct delegates to ratify the nomination at the convention.”

Editorial boards and journalists are, of course, entitled to write what they want to write. But there is something unseemly about a newspaper play acting as president of the United States. Like so many others in the media, the editorial board writers seem deeply confused about their role.

And this is hardly the first time. The media was so outraged by the election of Donald Trump in 2016 that it waged multiple misinformation campaigns alleging wild conspiracy theories, chief among them that Trump was a Manchurian candidate controlled by Russia, and that Russia was responsible for his election. That conspiracy theory resulted in Senate hearings and a special prosecutor investigation by Robert Mueller.

After Mueller decided that there was insufficient evidence to charge Trump or his campaign with collusion, the media wouldn’t let it go, and continued to suggest that there was a conspiracy and that Trump simply hid it.

Or consider the Hunter Biden laptop. The news media spread a conspiracy theory in October 2020 that it was the result of a Russian “hack and leak” operation. There was never any evidence for this. And yet the mainstream news media continued to suggest there was some secret or hidden information about the laptop that incriminated Trump, thereby distracting attention from the incriminating evidence that Biden had worked with his addict son to run a vast influence peddling operation.

Over the last 18 months, we have published dozens of articles about the U.S. Intelligence Community including the CIA, FBI, and DHS abusing its power to frame Trump as a Russian asset and to cover up Biden’s influence-peddling. Such acts are unethical, illegal, and a profound threat to democracy.

We have also documented the campaign of lawfare against Trump, waged by leading Democrats, aimed at incarcerating him and preventing him from becoming president. This campaign has involved close allies to Biden and major Democratic Party-allied organizations.

But the abuses of power by the Intelligence Community and the Democratic Party would have gone nowhere had the news media, en masse, not encouraged them. In the same way that the IC and Democratic Party violated the boundary between government and politics and politics and law, respectively, the news media has violated the boundary between itself and the government.

Political theorists have referred to the media for centuries as the “fourth estate.” In Europe, the fourth estate stood in contrast to the three centers of power: the people, the clergy, and the nobility. In the United States, the fourth state stands in contrast to the three branches of government: the executive, the legislature, and the judiciary.

But today, the media has achieved new levels of power. It is arguably more powerful than the government itself. It certainly acts that way. Why is that? What has led the media to become so powerful that its representatives act as though they should decide who is allowed to be president and who isn’t? And what will it take to shrink its power back to size?

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