Free Thinking Through the Fourth Turning with Sasha Stone
Free Thinking Through the Fourth Turning with Sasha Stone
The Day Journalism Died

The Day Journalism Died

And a New World was Born.

“The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.”
Thomas Jefferson

November 8th, 2016. That was the day journalism, as we once knew it died. Gone was objectivity. Gone was a search for the truth, no matter where it led. Gone was holding the powerful to account. Gone was the desire to serve the public’s best interest.

It’s been seven years now, and most of us are still in mourning. We can’t forget what journalism used to be. We sit glumly in front of yet another viewing of All the President’s Men, Broadcast News, or The Insider where reporters still cared about the truth, and all we can do is take another drink and cry.

Where did it all go, and why was it so easy? Because fear does strange things to people, and algorithms do strange things to those whose survival depends on clicks, engagement, and views.

I often spend my time in the era prior to 2016 to relive the good old days of objectivity in journalism. I particularly love the New York Times archive because I know they can’t go back and change it now.

Whatever they thought once upon a time, whether praising Hitler and Eugenics or complaining about politics at the Oscars, their history tells us who they really were, not who they wanted to be. They think they are all on the right side of history now, but they aren’t. Whatever horrors they’re avoiding talking about from “gender-affirming care” to their endless praise of Joe Biden, will all come out in the wash.

The unprecedented alignment of power that stretches across all media outlets, most major institutions, Hollywood, science, hospitals, and the security state, are united in their commitment to controlling the message, regardless of that neutral objectivity we once relied on, and they once claimed to value above all.

A great example of how they spin the narrative is the case of Ray Epps. Anyone following the Stop the Steal movement knows that they were planning on protesting peacefully outside of the Capitol, not going in, not breaching, and certainly nothing violent. Even Alex Jones was out there saying no violence.

They also know what happened in the aftermath, and how everyone was treated just for exercising their First Amendment right to peacefully assemble. Because of the riot, which proved all too convenient, the Democrats working with the Never Trumpers and the Security State were now given absolute power to go to war on Trump and ordinary American citizens.

Epps was repeatedly caught on video urging Trump supporters to “go into the Capitol.” He painted himself as a Trump supporter yet appeared to immediately flee DC, then pop up like an eager beaver at the FBI to either give them information in exchange for a lighter sentence, or perhaps was working with a fringe agency that wasn’t the FBI in the first place.

What never made sense to Trump supporters is that no Trump supporter is passionate enough to repeatedly urge so many people to “go into the Capitol,” then brag about it in a text message that he “orchestrated it” to then run to the FBI that quickly. It seemed odd. Anyone invested enough to show up that day was true blue and would have never flipped like that.

The New York Times ran two puff pieces about Epps where he threatened to sue. He didn’t actually take the steps toward that lawsuit until he was represented by Michael Teter, who spent his time hunting down any lawyers who supported Trump’s cases regarding the 2020 election.

The threat existed before Fox fired Carlson and now is charging forward. Why? Because they know Fox will settle, and that is a win for them and their desire to control how all Americans view January 6th. Ultimately, they want to ruin Fox News and cut off that resource for MAGA supporters. And if Epps walks away with a sizable chunk of cash at Fox’s expense all the better for the #resistance.

This is much bigger than Ray Epps and Fox News and Tucker Carlson. This is even bigger than winning the war on information and their version of what happened that day. This is about shutting down a grassroots movement on the Right that they still can’t control heading into 2024.

They can’t fix Biden, that’s for sure. But they can continue to weaken Trump and MAGA. This case is one step closer to that ultimate goal.

The defamation case might as well have been written by any journalist at MSNBC and is full of its own “fanciful imaginings,” context they provide which may or may not be the truth. They are charging that the anchors willfully lied about Epps to distract from the Dominion lawsuit:

And with that, Fox, and particularly Mr. Carlson, commenced a years-long campaign spreading falsehoods about Epps. Those lies have destroyed Ray’s and Robyn’s lives. As Fox recently learned in its litigation against Dominion Voting Systems, its lies have consequences.

But here’s the problem - they can’t prove Tucker Carlson lied with ill intent to defame Epps. They can’t prove that he didn’t believe what he was saying, which is what a defamation case must do.

If Epps were an informant, he would not be obligated to disclose that fact, especially if he wasn’t working specifically with the FBI or if he wasn’t hired to agitate a crowd into violence and was, for example, embedded and paid as an informant.

The defamation case denies all of this and claims Epps just had a change of heart after all of the publicity in the wake of January 6th.

If Epps repeatedly told them to “go into the Capitol,” why would he not have wanted them to go in when they finally did? He said on 60 Minutes that he abruptly changed his mind when they did as he told them to do and saw that it became violence; why then did he text that he “orchestrated it?” Was he happy they breached the Capitol or not? He changed his story, and they bought it, no questions asked.


Moreover, given the treatment of every protester except Epps, why wouldn’t Carlson and others assume he had to work for some government agency? That seems reasonable. That alone is not defamation, as this case concluded back in 2010:

If their case is that the bad guys are the “seditious conspirators,” then being called an informant is actually not the definition of defamation, in fact, it’s the opposite. If someone is saying Epps is not a criminal but is working with the government, that paints him in a better light.

Conversely, if they are alleging that calling him someone other than an informant, but a protester and Trump supporter on January 6th, urging people to go into the Capitol, then what Epps was actually doing there was valid and legit. If they then prosecute him for being an “insurrectionist,” that might prove he was never an informant, but it hardly proves defamation of character.

Moreover, what Epps has suffered pales in comparison to what the January 6th prisoners and protesters suffered at the hands of the government and the media. They just don’t have a fancy lawyer like Michael Teter to sue for defamation. The President of the United States called Kyle Rittenhouse a “white supremacist.”

The entire January 6th show trial and images of the riot on repeat, painting Trump supporters as vicious, violent terrorists, ruined not just their lives but everyone who wears a MAGA hat today. The Left went along with all of it, and they still do.

You don’t think Tucker Carlson gets death threats? People confront him in real life. They follow him around and threaten him personally.

They beat up Trump supporters because the media called them all racists. How is that not defamation?

Just look at these headlines:

They were convicted in the court of public opinion long before they ever showed up in DC with MAGA flags, whether they breached the Capitol or not. There was no due process for them. No one ever bothered to ask if they were motivated by race. Why, because they were using “spectral evidence” that which you cannot see. But that is not good enough when their entire lives and futures are on the line.

Call them whatever you want, but smearing them as “white supremacists” fits the definition of defamation far more than calling someone a paid informant ever could.

Did they or did they not paint Jacob Chansley and others who breached the Capitol as “white supremacists”? That allows everyone on the Left, in government and in any major institution, like banks, to dehumanize Trump supporters and feel justified in doing so. THAT is defamation of character.

Why won’t they sue Lawrence O’Donnell and MSNBC?

Here is the President of the United States drawing a clean line between what Trump supposedly said in Charlottesville and January 6th. He says it’s rooted in “white supremacy.”

They took Trump’s comments out of context, as they routinely did, and then carried it all the way to January 6th to paint a picture of who they are and what they wanted when they protested the 2020 election, which was their right as American citizens.

Is no one going to sue all of them for these blatant lies which really do meet the definition of defamation?

PBS paints them as frothing angry brown shirts in this supposed “story” on the supposed “insurrection.”

This is the news source I used to believe in. I used to put my full and complete trust in PBS and Frontline. Now that I see what they really are, what they have become, what else can I do but mourn the loss of journalism as we once knew it?

I would never have known the truth about Trump or his supporters had I not taken the time to escape my own ideological bubble and get to know them for myself. I can tell you with certainty that race is not a factor in MAGA. They have been for several years now building a “working class coalition along with Black and Hispanic voters.” Now that Carlson has been taken off the air, they only have Trump to represent them.

Moreover, they bury everything that’s inconvenient to their narrative that happened in the Summer of 2020. Do you think Biden even knows about Sue and her 100 year-old mattress store and the old man who went to the hospital trying to protect it?

This isn’t something you’re likely to find explored in the New York Times. They have one directive: protect the administrative state at all costs. Do not speak truth to power. Do not question the official narrative. If you do, 2016 will happen all over again.

The New York Times accidentally made a boo boo by doing real journalism in reporting on Hunter Biden’s neglected young daughter. It’s disgraceful by any measure, even forcing Maureen Dowd to unplug from the nipple of her Trump hate to notice Joe Biden did something wrong.

Here is Ben Shapiro on the media’s commitment to protecting and boosting Biden’s image, even at the cost of his own grandchild:

Every day there is a big news story that the press ignores. They defend the FBI and attack FBI whistleblowers. They defend censorship and attack journalists like Matt Taibbi, Michael Shellenberger and Bari Weiss for the Twitter Files.

Do you think any of them covered Jacob Siegel’s Hoax of the Century? No chance. They all simply pretend none of it ever happened. That is who they are now. That is what they have become, and it is a tragedy some of us still can’t get over.

Matt Taibbi and Walter Kirn on the collapse of journalism:

The Christopher Ray testimony was yet another example among many of the too-cozy relationship between the security state and the Democrats. It is then left to podcasters and outsider media to do the job the mainstream media cannot and will not.

Glenn Greenwald points out just how in bed with the FBI the Democrats have become.

Twitter Stands Alone

The chokehold on information is evident in the two top sites for news and views. The New York Times and Google, both are essentially working for the Democrats.

Google and Youtube are the same company. Facebook, Instagram and Threads are the same company. The censorship done by the FBI at the behest of the Democrats funneled through all of these monopolies.

Twitter is now like the Wild Wild West. It’s what the internet used to be when I first got online in 1994 — fertile new soil to experiment with freedom of ideas.

Elon Musk stands alone as the one person willing to take it on the chin for free speech. There is no more exciting place to be online than Twitter. You just have to be willing to trust yourself and your own mind.

The heroes in history will not be those who complied with the requests to censor ordinary Americans, or the journalists who repeatedly ignored and did not chase the story again and again and again.

Instead, the heroes will be those who went up against the machine and forged a new direction on the other side of paradise.

Free Thinking Through the Fourth Turning with Sasha Stone
Free Thinking Through the Fourth Turning with Sasha Stone
Essays on politics and culture from Sasha Stone's Substack. A former Democrat and Leftist who escaped the bubble to get to know the other side of the country and to take a more critical look at the left.