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By: Jermel W. Shim

Last week an event happened in Nevada that should have made every law-abiding American stop and wonder about the slippery slope that America is going down. In case you have not been paying attention or blinded by political jingoism, the country has been heading down this slippery slope since the occurrence of a number of unprecedented and undemocratic like political actions in Washington designed to obstruct the policies of President Obama. Anyhow, the event that occurred last week was the Cliven Bundy showdown with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Cliven Bundy is the Nevada cattle rancher who since 1991 has been illegally grazing his cattle on federal protected lands. Despite fines totaling some one million dollars, and not paying these fines, Mr. Bundy has defied federal orders since 1993. When the BLM arrived at the location where his cattle were grazing, armed militiamen who supported Mr. Bundy confronted them. Some of these armed men took up sniper positions along the adjacent highway with their rifles aimed at BLM agents. Their armed presence and the risk of creating a volatile situation forced the BLM and the local sheriff to stand down.

Following Mr. Bundy's defiant stand against the federal government, Fox News covered the story not as an objective or impartial news media but as a supporter of Mr. Bundy's illegal action. This is unfortunate because in so doing, Fox News crossed the boundaries of ethical journalism and of upholding law and order.

If there is anything that the Cliven Bundy's showdown with the BLM and Fox News coverage of the story revealed, it is that hypocrisy, double standard, and white privilege are still part of our society. This is so because had Mr. Bundy being a nonwhite person the BLM would have enforced the law long ago without any interference from Fox News and from armed militiamen.  Ed Schultz on his MSNBC Talk Show said, "The garbage that Hannity and Huckabee are throwing out there is anti-American. It circumvents a representative government. Armed insurrection against the government. This is what they are advocating."

Fox News defense Mr. Bundy cannot be justified on any grounds and to defend or support an illegal behavior is setting a dangerous precedent. Based on Fox News biased coverage on politics, there is the suspicion that their support of Mr. Bundy is because of their anti-Obama position. Fox News blame and criticize the president for any incident that is remotely linked to a federal agency under the president's administration - e.g., the so-called Fast and Furious, the IRS scandal, and the Benghazi incident. The anti-Obama tone was set from early in the president's first term where many disrespectful behavior, propaganda, and conspiracy theories targeted the president.

In a democratic society, the news media is expected to play an important role in providing information that is objective and fair. That apparently is not the case with Fox News as they have exceeded the principles of good and ethical journalism. This is not the first time Fox News has supported a person who was charged with committing a crime. They did this in 2012 when Sean Hannity defended George Zimmerman following his arrest for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida.

Fox News of course is a conservative news organization that has repeatedly attacked all of President Obama's policies and agenda. Instead of reporting objectively and fairly on the president's policies and agenda, they have encouraged and promoted conspiracy theories (Birther, dictator, socialist, etc.), propaganda (cannot be trusted, death panel associated with Obamacare, etc.), and distortions based on their biased political opinions.

Most of the Fox News accusations directed at President Obama have no substance, are devoid of facts, and instead base and speculations. For example, they have condemned Obamacare without giving it a chance to work. They said it would collapse under its weight. When that did not happen and its enrollment exceeded 7 million enrollees, they suggested that the government cooked the books. Without providing any validation of this, Fox News proved itself irresponsible in promoting this kind of unsubstantiated idea.

It is easy to see that Fox News has a jingoistic conservative approach in covering or addressing political issues. They are clearly an echo chamber for the GOP strategy to destroy the legacy of President Obama. Some people – especially conservatives – will say that MSNBC is no different from Fox News in that they support the Democrats or liberal point of view. While that is true, MSNBC does not use a jingoistic approach and they do not promote or support divisiveness, propaganda, or report or discuss things that are unsubstantiated.

The biased and one-sided manner in which Fox News present their political coverage is not good for America. Fox News has clearly gone beyond what mainstream TV stations like ABC, CBS, and NBC do. There is a reason for this though, and it is that large donations from corporate sponsors and political organizations that have specific agendas influence their talk show hosts to promote their agenda. Last week, Al Sharpton on his MSNBC, Politics Nation, talked about how Fox News, Sean Hannity had received over $1.3 million from the Heritage Foundation in 2008. Soon after receiving that large sum, Hannity began doing fund raising for Tea Party Patriots and promoting the Tea Party website on his Fox News show. Should a news media like Fox News allowed to do this? I don't think this is a good practice for any news media as it undermines the democratic process.

America does not need a news media that is to jingoistic on politics. What America needs is a news media that will provide objective and factual coverage of politics on both sides. To continue reporting news otherwise will take America farther down the slippery slope where corrupt political practices prevail over democratic principles.

Jermel W. Shim is the author of Whom God Has Blessed, Let No Man Curse (Infinity Publishing). http://www.jermeshim.com

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Comment Preferences

  •  This is going to be interesting. (10+ / 0-)

    The government can't back down on this. That would open the floodgates to anarchy. Some Shoshones, with a much longer history in the area, tried this in 1992. They lost. And I'd like to bring up George Washington leading a battalion against Americans refusing to pay the Whiskey Tax.

    We're fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.

    by PowWowPollock on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 06:41:12 AM PDT

    •  I'm glad someone else sees that connection (4+ / 0-)

      Those farmers were used to making whiskey to deal with the problem of shipping corn. The government needed money and Washington went after them. Of course this established the government right to enforce the governments laws which were arrived at through the democratic process. An armed rebellion is not the answer. We have courts to settle that kind of dispute, and this deadbeat rancher has lost in the courts at every turn so far. He is operating like only his selfish interests have any legitimacy and his supporters are aiding and abetting a criminal. The only tyranny is his attempt to overcome laws and reality. I agree, he has to be put down.

      Never promote men who seek after a state-established religion; it is spiritual tyranny--the worst of despotism. It is turnpiking the way to heaven by human law, in order to establish ministerial gates to collect toll. John Leland

      by J Edward on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 07:34:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  old saying: better to sell corn by the gallon (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        a2nite

        than by the bushel.

        I would note that Bundy is a Sovereign Citizen type and several of his ideological brethren have already been involved in various gun battles with LE or other standoffs.

  •  Thanks nt (3+ / 0-)

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 06:43:25 AM PDT

  •  'the media' is quickly going the route of Rwanda (4+ / 0-)

    radio when they call for killing Americans.

  •  It's time for a seizure of Bundy's assets (8+ / 0-)

    including frozen bank accounts and a lien on his property. It shouldn't take long for his credit to be ruined and his utilities cut off.

    I wouldn't expect the feds to take it easy on me if I owed them a million bucks. I'm not sure what makes him so special - he's a deadbeat.

    Election Day is Nov 4th, 2014 It's time for the Undo button on the 2010 Election.

    by bear83 on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 06:52:32 AM PDT

    •  Since he is the ultimate "moocher" (5+ / 0-)

      you would think the wingnuts would disown him completely, but they don't. If I owed the IRS money I can assure you they would hound me to death to get paid and they would use garnishment and liens wherever possible to get the money. He should have been kicked off this land years ago and all of his assets seized.

      So I suppose he gets a free pass because he's an old white man? Or is the government just afraid of another Waco? (I'm a very old white man so I can say that.)

      And just to throw in a random thought, there were pictures all over the media of sniper(s) pointing rifles at what appeared to be civilians and/or law enforcement. I know I was informed rather forcefully here on DKos that this was illegal but apparently nothing happened. I had asked the question as to when open carry became illegal, if ever. Could a permit holder pull out his or her gun and wave it around and still be legal? Apparently they were wrong. Based on these pictures it seems open carry includes being able to point your weapon at people.

    •  look for a judgement against him (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bear83

      which would come into play when his estate is probated.  Also, if the BLM does write off the debt, he is still responsible for the taxes on that write off, as farmers in the 80s discovered when PCAs wrote down the amount of farm loans in an effort to keep some farmers in business.  Any sort of forgiveness of a loan or debt is considered ordinary income to the beneficiary of that write off.

  •  I spotted someone (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eru

    who wore a red, white and blue ribbon with an upside down US flag attached. Is that the symbol of these supporters?

    This is fascism wrapped in an American flag, folks.

    I'm living in America, and in America you're on your own. America's not a country. It's just a business.

    by CFAmick on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 07:48:34 AM PDT

  •  Bundy is relying on "Natural Law" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite

    which is quite different from the "Natural Law" recognized by the country's founders and from Common Law.  Currently, Natural Law is an attempt to cobble together some sort of biblical foundation for the Constitution, which is one of the more remarkable documents of the Enlightenment.  Natural Law as understood by Bundy is a 20th Century invention
    http://www.law.columbia.edu/...

    About the best Bundy can hope for is some sort of squatter's rights but those largely don't exist in today's law.  Homesteading expired quite a few years ago and adverse possession generally does not work against a governmental entity.  Worse yet, his family did not pick up his patch until some years after NV became a state and ceded control of that land to the feds so they have been aware that the feds owned the land for quite some time.  Add to this his own spread is some 160 acres, I understand, and he is currently squatting on 3500 acres of federal land.

    Also in reading the LTE in local papers, I note his defenders allege 55 ranchers have gone under since 1990.  I have to wonder how many of those 55 went out because of federal policies and how many went under due to being elbowed out by Bundy?  (reminds me of a neighbor who kept on moving the line stakes between our property and then cut several acres of my timber based on the location of those stakes).  After all, some people do report his 900 head of mavericks are a public nuisance, for example, destroying a community garden a few years ago.  

    •  From everything I've read (0+ / 0-)

      The 51 (accurate number) ranchers went out of business because of fed "pressure". Nearly half because of the desert tortoise.  Don't look to them for support against Bundy.  They have blood in their eyes for the BLM.

      •  I assume that they filed some sort of bankruptcy (0+ / 0-)

        paperwork.  Has anyone examined it to see exactly what did happen?  How many ranchers were in operation in the area in 1990 and how many are in operation today and how many went out of business and how many were the result of other factors such as decline in the price of beef (Which is cyclical: http://cattlemarketanalysis.org/...)

        Judging from what is happening in farming, I would suggest that problems of succession or inadequate estate planning could be one factor in the failure of those ranchers or that the credit crunch of 2007 also contributed since farm credit has been tight since at least 2000 and many commercial banks no longer carry farm credit lines on their books.  Before we accept that 51 ranchers in the county went out of business specifically because of changes in BLM policies, some sort of proof should be presented.  I can point to seismic levels of changes in farm ownership and operation just in my local area since 1990.
        Farmers and ranchers who rely on a single commodity for their economic survival are much more vulnerable to upturns and downturns in the economy

        •  In Bundy's case, in particular (0+ / 0-)

          Bundy had agreed to pay these grazing fees, but only to Clark county.  The fees from BLM were only part of what he opposed. Apparently, because of the turtle, they had mandated that he reduce the size of his heard from 900 to 150. That effectively puts him out of business.  What I have read, these mandates of reduction had a hand in killing off these other ranchers.  I may be mistaken, but I think I read that Bundy is the last rancher in Clark county (is that possible)?

          •  his herd is currently 900 head (0+ / 0-)

            I am not sure of the size of the herd in 1990 but I do note that early reports said that he had 400 cattle on the disputed site.  The problem I have is that RW sites are completely blocking up any sort of search I do and I am unable to find information other than from their POV.

            I am unable to find out how many ranchers, if any, there are in Clark County nor can I find any estimate of the average size of a ranch in Nevada.  I can offer this which gives various agricultural stats
            https://answers.yahoo.com/...

            My understanding is that he has expanded his operation over the past 30 years or so, ever increasing its size.  I would also point out that the Sagebrush Revolt of the 80s did have the effect of refuting much of the damage claimed by various special interests over the damage done by various federal regulations to their bottom line.  To have a special interest claim that adhering to regulation by various agencies damages their ability to turn a profit is nothing new.

            As far as the tortoise putting the ranchers out of business, as claimed, I am skeptical that this is what did them in as opposed to shifts in the market, disease, weather and other problems livestock operators routinely face

  •  That Constitution Bundy Waves Around Is Denounced (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    i saw an old tree today

    by constitutional scholars & historians.  It was written by
    W Cleon Skousen who is a Mormon & associated w/ white
    supremacy & demonizes federal regulatory agencies.  

    Since Bundy refuses to recognize the authority of the US govt
    to regulate & collect grazing fees, perhaps he would be willing
    to recognize Nevada law.  The Feds charge him $1.35 per head of his cattle.  Nevada would charge him $l5.50 per head.

    Duh!

  •  Farmers tried Cliven Bundy's tactics in 1786... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, i saw an old tree today

    In western Massachusetts late in 1786, angry farmers, unable to pay their mortgages or taxes, rallied around Daniel Shays, who had served as a captain in the American Revolution. They were seeking to stop Massachusetts courts from foreclosing the mortgages on their farms. Armed with pitchforks, the farmers marched on the Springfield arsenal to get weapons. They were defeated by the militia. Fourteen ringleaders were sentenced to death, but all were pardoned or released after serving short prison terms. Shays escaped to Vermont.

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