Friday, 21 June 2013

As Trust in U.S. Press Plummets, Journalist Seeks “Truth in Media”

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As alternative media continue to gain market share from the increasingly discredited establishment press, journalist Ben Swann (shown), who rose to national prominence with his “Reality Check” segment on Cincinnati Fox affiliate WXIX, is working on a new journalism project known as the “Liberty Is Rising Truth in Media" project. The plan, he told The New American, is to restore the Fourth Estate’s historical role in America as a watchdog of, rather than a lapdog for, those in power.

Recent polls show the establishment media’s credibility is at historic lows. Last year, for example, a Gallup survey found that a record 60 percent of Americans had either no trust or very little trust in the mass media — newspapers, TV, and radio — to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly. A more recent Gallup poll, released this month, showed that less than a fourth of Americans trust newspapers or television news. The numbers are still plunging, too.

That is all good news for the alternative media, which has done a fair amount of gloating as confidence in the establishment press continues its spectacular implosion. Americans of all political persuasions are increasingly relying on new sources of information — much of it online. As long as the dubious mega-corporations that run the “Big Media” establishment continue parroting government propaganda as fact, those trends are likely to accelerate.

The primary beneficiaries of the historic shift in the media landscape, aside from the American people, will almost certainly be alternative sources of information. News and analysis services such as The New American magazine, as just one example, or the countless others that look beyond the establishment narrative to uncover the truth, are growing quickly in terms of global reach.

The potential extinction of the old industry model, however, hardly happened in vacuum. Patriotic Americans, such as members of The John Birch Society, have been working for decades to rein in anti-constitutional Big Government, and that work appears to be paying off.   

Ben Swann, whose TV news show in Cincinnati drew nationwide praise for exploring topics the establishment press refused to touch, is among those hoping to help satisfy Americans’ hunger for truth. Of course, amid the well-funded cacophony of irrelevant distractions and slick propaganda that passes for “news” today, that will not be an easy task. However, for Swann and others, it is crucial for the future of journalism and even liberty in America.       

What has become known as the “liberty movement” — a diverse coalition of libertarians, conservatives, liberty-minded liberals, anti-war activists, constitutionalists, Tea Party groups, and others — is proving to be fertile ground for Swann’s efforts. Fed up with the so-called “mainstream media” and its overtly statist tendencies, sites and publications that cater to the movement are buzzing about Swann’s “Liberty Is Rising Truth in Media” vision.

In less than two weeks, the award-winning reporter raised over $150,000 for the project using an online crowd-funding service known as Kickstarter, drawing donations from thousands of concerned Americans. He hopes to raise $1.25 million by July 26 to produce 100 high-quality “Full Disclose” episodes, each one lasting about five to six minutes.

With the money, Swann plans to continue professionally producing his hard-hitting news segments — minus the subject matter restrictions imposed by corporate bosses. If all goes as planned, the content will be distributed using multiple platforms, such as YouTube and Netflix and Hulu. Bloggers and independent media would also be allowed to distribute the video segments. 

The primary agenda — an ambitious one, no doubt — is to bring accurate information to the people in a professional and credible format while bringing back real journalism as a trusted and important institution. Ultimately, the goal is to “shatter the current media model” and restore power to the American people. 

"Journalism in its purest form is a high calling,” Swann said in an e-mailed statement to The New American. “In its worst (current) form, it is nothing more than propaganda and distraction for the masses. The Fourth Estate, as journalism has historically been called, was derived for the purpose of holding elected leaders, legislators and public servants accountable to the people.”

According to Swann, the lack of serious journalism is a key factor in countless problems threatening America. “Nearly every major issue the United States faces today; loss of civil liberties, the drug war, foreign wars and intervention, the growing police state, the endless printing of currency, the rise and fall of the petro-dollar, drone strikes, American soil as a battlefield, total disregard for rule of law, and so on, can be directly traced to a lack of exposure by, or understanding from journalists,” he continued.

Swann, who has worked in journalism for almost a decade and a half but left Ohio’s Fox 19 in May, has already earned multiple prestigious awards for his reporting — the Edward R. Murrow Award in 2004 and a Lone Star Emmy Award in 2005, among others. Among his major recent scoops: being the first journalist to ask Obama directly about his lawless “kill list” program, which targets Americans and foreigners for execution without charges or trial.

The timing for the media project is excellent, Swann believes. “For two and half years I have heard day after day about media blackout, about corporations having too much control over media, about the need for honesty and truth,” he said. “I have heard about how the American public is asleep and there is no one in MSM [mainstream media] speaking about the issues of our disappearing liberties, no one to push back against the left/right paradigm.”

The problems today go beyond partisanship, Swann emphasized. “What I have done is stepped out in response to what millions of Americans from the Tea Party and Occupy movements, from independents to the fast growing Liberty movement have been crying out for,” he added. “The opportunity is here ... not MY opportunity, YOUR opportunity. This project is about restoring power to the people. It will be journalism by the people and for the people."

Despite the obvious hurdles to such an ambitious agenda, Swann and his associates are finding strong support for the project and for the notion that America needs a new type of media — journalism that tells the truth, asks hard questions, engages the people, and digs deeper than the disinformation contained in government press releases. Swann believes he can contribute to making that happen, and he is certainly not alone.

In a video about the Liberty Is Rising Truth in Media project, former Congressman and GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul, who attracted millions of ardent and devoted supporters, tells Swann: "When I first started in politics in the '70s, we basically had three major networks and they were very, very close together on philosophy…. But now the options are great.” Dr. Paul added, "I'm optimistic that things are going to do well and I'm optimistic because you're [Ben Swann] involved in this fight with us." Across the Internet, Paul fans have expressed delight about the new project.

Of course, the restoration of liberty and constitutional principles will require more than just the continued rise of the alternative media. On multiple fronts, however — education, politics, state government, and more — it is becoming clear that major efforts are underway. Despite increasingly fiendish and futile efforts by establishment politicians and media outlets to maintain any shred of credibility, analysts say real progress is being made every day toward spreading truth and liberty in America.

Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, politics, and more. He can be reached at

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