On an interview with Joshua Cook on Conservative Voice on Friday, Ben Swann discussed America’s faulty left-right paradigm, and the role, future and threats to the “new media.” His overwhelming message was that the US, in order to overcome its current problems, must break out of the patterns and rhetoric which have dominated it for the past century. The forces of the world, he said, are “tyranny versus liberty.”
In May 2013, Swann left Fox19 in Cincinnati to found the Truth in Media and Full Disclosure Projects. These new media projects challenge readers’ belief systems and thinking. “Journalism,” Swann said “is supposed to be the check and the balance for political power. We hold those in power accountable. That is our role, and we haven’t been doing it.” Part of this challenge to power comes from challenging the left-right paradigm which allows those in power to keep it.
He used food stamps as a prime example, highlighting two traditional media approaches. The left holds up people who are “hurting,” who need help, while the right points to cases of waste, fraud and abuse. “In reality, both sides have some truth to what they’re saying…But the reality is neither side is telling you what’s really happening.” The broken monetary system has reduced the value of the American dollar by 97% in the last century, and that has hurt American families more than greedy corporations, or people taking advantage of the system.
Essentially, by breaking out of traditional paradigms, the core of these problems can be addressed, rather than simply the symptoms. The problem, though, is that many people don’t use the media to find more information. They use it to validate their preexisting beliefs and paradigms, though these ways of thinking are actively detrimental to the country, preventing people from confronting the forms of tyranny which do harm people.
Swann also said that the media, like the political sphere, is in the midst of a revolution. New media is a bottom up approach to journalism built on two platforms. The alternative, or new, media is the content creator, while social media is its distributor. It’s hard to control, with free flowing – and free – information moving at a rapid pace. It’s also unpredictable and not easily controlled or monetized by corporations, which have dominated the media for decades.
This new media has been the platform which has spread increasing amounts of information, and its influence is consistently growing. It is also the ideal platform to break through the left-right construct, and it has been crucial in spreading information which the traditional media has refused to. Much of the future of the new media, though, depends on the success of the government in stifling it.
Lindsey Graham, for instance, along with Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Schumer, has advocated the idea that new media journalists should not be protected by the Media Shield Law. The Media Shield Law prevents members of the media from having to reveal confidential sources, such as whistleblowers like Edward Snowden or Bradley Manning. Journalists who are not covered by this can be prosecuted for refusing to reveal sources, meaning that whistleblowers would only be able to safely spread information to government approved sources.
The problems, both practical and ideological, with this notion are obvious. In addition, the new media is threatened by the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA. In theory, CISPA would protect intellectual property, but in reality it would limit the number of voices in the media. Instead of new media journalists, independent websites and blogs, media would once again be relegated to a small number of media companies.
In his interview, Swann urged people to break out of current molds. From new versus traditional media to liberty versus tyranny, only by adopting more appropriate societal constructs can Americans – and people in general – oppose the elite which holds political and monetary power. This requires not only personal questioning of beliefs, but also opposition to external threats facing liberty-minded individuals everywhere. The media is the core of this, the Fourth Estate, which holds all holders of political power accountable.