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Civilization Watch
First appeared in print in The Rhinoceros Times, Greensboro, NC
By Orson Scott Card November 8, 2012

Democracy Did Not Fail

To you newspeople at CBS, CNN, ABC, NBC. To you journalists at the New York Times, the Washington Post, at newspapers all over America.

You did it. You won. You were able to get Barack Obama his second term.

You knew that if you told the American people the truth, they would not have reelected this man.

Americans don't vote to reelect a commander-in-chief who abandons our soldiers and agents and ambassadors when they're under enemy fire.

But you, confident that you are much wiser than the American people, you decided we had no reason to think about this during the election.

When Romney questioned Barack Obama's statements about Benghazi, you shouted him down. He learned his lesson -- if he made an issue of it, you would merely attack him and distract the public from Obama's wrongdoing.

You knew that Obama lied to cover up this culpable negligence, and then lied about lying. You had the video, CBS, which you could have aired immediately after the second debate, exposing him for the liar that he is.

Instead you held it back until two days before the election, when other stories predominated.

And all the rest of you -- you gave it minimal mention, you played it down, you treated it as nothing, though you know that if you had caught Romney in such a lie two days before the election, you would have played that footage continuously and condemned his lies in tones of shocked outrage.

Barack Obama is still a liar -- you didn't change that, you merely hid it.

Barack Obama is still the selfish, cowardly commander-in-chief who abandons American public servants -- you didn't change him, nor did you give him any reason to change.

When Hurricane Sandy devastated a part of America, you showed Barack Obama only in a favorable light.

Even though his administration, his FEMA, did at least as badly as the Bush administration did after Katrina, and with far less excuse, you did not run endless coverage of the people's suffering, the way you did with Bush.

We have an exact comparison now. We know that you air negative video and print negative stories only when you don't like the president involved; when you support the president, when he's on your team, you downplay the negatives, you find other people to blame. You become "impartial."

Only Bush was held accountable for storm damage, as if he had godlike powers and failed to use them. Barack Obama has no accountability, not if we depend on you to call him to account.

Obama can withhold documents requested by a Republican House, and you tell the story, or refuse to mention it, as if the Republicans were mere partisans playing political games.

(But we remember: When a Republican president withholds documents from Congress under a claim of executive privilege, you treat that as a constitutional crisis and never miss an opportunity to remind your audience of how the Republican president is trying to hide things from the public and deny the public their right to know.)

There are still a few real news outlets -- a few reporters, a few stations, a few newspapers, and one cable news network that remember what journalism used to mean.

You have to attack Fox News and sneer at them and accuse them of bias, don't you -- because they're actually doing the job you merely pretend to do. They shame you by their genuinely balanced coverage, so you have to lie and accuse them of being what you are: ideological hacks, providing propaganda in order to advance a cause, while hiding the unhelpful truth.

So let me ask you a question, here in front of everybody. I know you won't answer it, but I also know you will have to think about it, once I lay it out. And, thinking about it, you may actually change your behavior -- or get out of a profession that you have disgraced.

Here's the question, you journalists, you newspeople:

If Barack Obama had a propaganda minister with the power to shut you down if you ran stories that embarrassed him or his administration, would your station, your network, your newspaper, your magazine still be in business?

If America had a Joseph Goebbels who would arrest any journalist who reported anything that would make the administration look bad, did you write or say or report anything during this election campaign that would have put you inside a jail cell?

Everybody at Fox News would have been jailed, and Fox News would have been shut down. But you already do everything you can to get people not to listen to Fox, so the actions of such a propaganda minister would merely make official what you already try to accomplish by other means.

Don't you dare say I'm lying or exaggerating, because the Democrats did try to shut down conservative talk radio, and you supported them in that effort, allowing them to get away with calling the proposed action "fairness."

You go along with the big lie every day. You did it obviously and openly in these last weeks before the election, allowing Barack Obama to conceal, cover up, lie -- all because, like good obedient party flacks, you knew that nothing was more important than keeping the Beloved Leader in power.

If Barack Obama were a dictator with the power to control the media, you would not have to change your news coverage in any way.

But hey. You won. Your Beloved Leader was reelected, and the only price you had to pay was supporting him in his lies and coverups, in his repeated unconstitutional refusal to provide Congress with documents they have a legal right -- nay, duty -- to examine.

It's all in a good cause, right? Truth means nothing to you; only keeping the Beloved Leader in power matters, right?

Now America has only two choices.

One choice is for the Republican House to investigate Benghazi, struggling to expose the truth about Barack Obama's high crimes and misdemeanors, both in his culpable negligence during the attack on our consulate, and in his repeated lies afterward to try to conceal his malfeasance.

You will, of course, support the Beloved Leader in his stonewalling, his refusal to supply documents. You will treat all his lies as if they were not lies; you will ignore the story as much as possible, calling it "old news."

Above all, you will attack the Republican Congressmen as you attacked Kenneth Starr, making them pay such a high price for trying to do your job and uncover the truth that they may well give up. You know, the way you all fell in line to attack Romney for criticizing the administration's response to the attacks on our embassy and consulate.

On the other hand, inside the military, the CIA, and the State Department, there are a lot of angry public servants who now understand that the Beloved Leader does not care about them, that he will abandon them to our enemies, that he will not protect them from terrorists if it isn't politically useful to him.

These disillusioned, angry people will make sure that the evidence is given to the Republicans in the House, and the genuine reporters at Fox News, and the real journalists scattered here and there across the country, and the bloggers on the internet who are unafraid of the truth.

Oh, you'll sneer at or vilify them all, when they do your job and tell the truth about the Beloved Leader.

Still, it's possible that we will be able to impeach this lying incompetent president that is getting a second term only because of your cooperation with his lies. It's possible that we can undo the damage you have done.

But far more likely is the other alternative -- that, faced with your monolithic groupthink, your insistent flacking for the Beloved Leader, your dishonesty that is equal to his dishonesty, your emulation of Pravda, the Republicans in Congress will give up, Fox News will drop the story, it will all go away, and the Beloved Leader will continue in power.

Then, when his appeasement of our enemies results in a nuclear explosion in Tel Aviv ...

When more and more Al-Qaeda-style attacks kill more Jews and more Americans around the world ...

When Obama's incompetent and anti-scientific economic policies have the consequences that such policies always have, and the American economy collapses under the weight of debts and entitlements ...

When Obama's crushing policies result in American healthcare sinking to the low level of service, the endless waiting lists, the needless death and suffering in the name of "fairness" that already afflict Europeans and Canadians ...

When the burden of ever-steeper taxes moves capital and industry and innovation to other countries ...

Will you step forward and take responsibility, and say, "We should have known; in fact we did know, but we did not tell you"?

Will you accept accountability for your lies and omissions in support of the Beloved Leader, for your slanders of the opponents of the Beloved Leader, for your having put your ideology and group loyalty above any notion of truth and honor?

That list of bad things -- we might get lucky. Some of those bad things might not happen. After all, there are still plenty of good people trying to keep us safe and make things work well.

The Beloved Leader isn't one of them, but he thinks he is, and so he might actually learn something and change his policies. It's possible, though it hasn't happened even once during the first four years of his reign.

Or Israel might take care of the Iranian nuke for us. Jews aren't going to sit still for another holocaust, even if the intellectuals of the world -- including you -- have re-embraced fashionable anti-semitism, this time under the name "anti-zionism" or "anti-neo-conservatism."

Or the Muslim world, which is just as burdened as the rest of us by these fanatics, these murderers, these terrorists, might finally do the right thing and stop funding and protecting them.

Or we might hold on until the elections of 2014 wipe out the Democratic majority in the Senate and give us a Congress that will undo the damage done by the Beloved Leader's long-since-proven-wrong economic policies.

All kinds of good things might happen. But not because of anything you did.

Democracy only works when the people have enough true information to make their own choices. But when somebody decides that an informed public might not make the right choice, and so withholds from them the information that would lead them to make "mistakes" and elect the "wrong people" -- well, we don't actually have democracy, do we?

We have rule by an elite that makes our decisions for us, and keeps us from knowing information that "isn't good for us."

Because you know best, don't you? You and your friends who all think alike and hate and fear anyone who thinks differently from you -- while priding yourselves on "tolerance." You will dismiss what I'm saying here as "bitterness" because my candidate did not win the election.

What you don't get is that he was not my candidate. He was merely the only choice left to me, once I understood that the Beloved Leader is the most incompetent and untrustworthy commander-in-chief that America has ever had.

Once I understood that the Beloved Leader will lie about decisions of his that killed people, and that you would help him cover up his high crimes and misdemeanors -- then whom else could I turn to, but the candidate the Republicans offered to replace him?

By sheer luck, the Republicans transcended themselves and offered us a decent, intelligent, moderate, honest man of proven ability.

But you helped support the Beloved Leader in his lies and attacks on that decent man, and enough people believed those lies and attacks that the Beloved Leader held onto power.

Next time the Republicans will probably offer one of their usual clowns. But then we'll take him gratefully, because by then we'll be fed up with the consequences of the ideologically-driven, arrogant, dishonest Beloved Leader that you foisted on us.

So yes, CBS, CNN, ABC, NBC, MSNBC, New York Times, Washington Post, and all the rest of you in the Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda: You won.

But we know you now. We know just how low you'll go, how compliant you will be with the Beloved Leader.

Just because brown-shirted thugs aren't beating your opponents in the streets doesn't mean you aren't every bit as much the enemies of democracy as any Nazi or Bolshevik ever was.

Telling us the truth and letting us make informed decisions -- that was your job. That's why the press gets special protection in the Constitution. That's why you're called "the fourth estate."

Democracy did not fail us in the presidential election of 2012.

You did.

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