An essential element of a functioning, forward-looking, and free country is that of a robust Fourth Estate; the purpose and importance of this cannot be overstated. It is through dedicated journalists and impartial editors that the people can hold to account their elected representatives. But what if it all goes wrong? What happens when the thin veneer of a trusted press forsakes its supposedly noble roots and becomes that most dangerous of creatures: a change agent?
These change agents, these biased masters of mayhem, are no longer satisfied with the façade of reporting honestly and plainly the events that shape the world – now they want to drive them. They seek to rebuild the world in a manner that reflects their own beliefs without going to the trouble of asking the population, who are increasingly isolated in their sources of genuine news. But to rebuild, you must first destroy.
Chasing a Monopoly on Truth
With the advent of internet-based news media, the legacy press was confronted with something they had not before encountered. The web is a literary Wild West, where rules are no sooner made than broken, and every gunslinger is out to make a name as grand as that of Billy the Kid. It is a virtual world where the inherited superpowers of a legacy media no longer matter. With this waning influence, there grows a desire, a motivation to seek out and destroy all that would challenge its supremacy.
It is not merely the readership that is being lost to this new frontier, but the ability to shape the real world without opposition. Media outlets must now compete for that most precious of commodities: attention. Like Tolkien’s Gollum, the ring of power – now lost – has left them a trembling creature willing to engage in chaos to reclaim the mantle. And therefore, we see major media producers spending countless hours chasing rabbits down darker and more avant-garde holes.
The major media is out to destroy the upstarts who have dared to stake a claim in their formerly exclusive territory. It is not mere bitterness of glories and applause once lost that drives them though, it is, for these fading cavaliers, a matter of pride and virility. The future they thought to shape is being torn down lie by lie, exposing the rotten edifice upon which it was built. They have been emasculated and seek revenge using the only weapon they can wield: propaganda.
Through the pages of their newspapers and in the vacuous hours of screen time they control, they intend to silence all opposition. They will use lies, half-truths, twisted tales, and innuendo to dismantle any narrative that threatens the sandy castles they have concocted in the pursuit of relevance. Whether it is a news website, a Twitter feed, a YouTuber, or even a public that refuses to swallow the increasingly bitter Kool-Aid, no target is too small.
It would be a task of Herculean proportions to besmirch the reputations and influence of all the opposing voices, so they will not try to do so. Instead, they will rely upon making public examples of those who defy the narrative, in the hopes that others who may commit (in their view) heretical acts shall be discouraged through fear. One only need see the public examples made of these closet revolutionaries whose lives are torn asunder by a mendacious media class. This is venom disguised as prose designed to strike terror into free hearts.
Agents of Change
When President Lyndon B. Johnson first said that “the ultimate victory will depend on the hearts and minds of the people who actually live out there,” referring to the Vietnamese, he could not have suspected that this clarion call would become the beating mantra of the elitist few. Yet it is not purely our hearts and minds that these Agents of Change wish to capture, it is our obedience with the proper obeisance to the values they propose, our subservience to the narrative they sculpt, and ultimately, our freedom to express an ideal of liberty that has long since been distorted by their twisted talons.