As I vacation in Europe this month I have had the wonderful opportunity to visit and see from the sea the sites of the historical classics — in the Peloponnese in Greece, the ancient trading ports of Italy, and many other places during our sailing excursions around the Mediterranean. I have also had a chance to meet wonderful people, many of whom have extended the noble kindness that only those born of ancient civilizations could offer.
But through it all, I realize there is no place like home. Despite the political drama that has currently captivated the country, and despite all of the tension and strife, America remains the greatest country in the world. As I travel, people are still so fascinated with America, asking about the hustle and bustle of New York and marveling about how the great movies in the cinemas are made in Hollywood. These are things that we Americans take for granted, but the rest of the world holds in awe.
In spite of our great travails, the United States remains the beacon of the world, a place that others look to for inspiration; a place where, if you dream it and work for it, you can become it. This is far different from Europe. Even modern Europe retains a strong hue of its feudal origins. There is a gentility and nobility, but that also translates into rank and class. While Italy and Greece were in ancient times the progenitors of democracy, they are in modern times relegated to the hinterlands of the European Union. Despite their wonderful welcoming culture, the average citizen of these places could not hope for the chance at social mobility offered to any American who dares.
Yet, despite all of the good America continues to represent to the rest of the world, you would be hard pressed to know it by watching cable news, because their focus has only been to divide and conquer. The media has truly lost its way as an entity that reports unbiased facts and allows viewers to develop their own opinions. When you read a story today or watch cable news, we’re bombarded with more opinions than facts, and the facts we are presented with are merged with so much hyperbolic rhetoric, it makes it hard to discern facts from opinion.
Like puppet masters, the mainstream media wants nothing more than for us, the American people to listen, believe, and follow their every lead. However, that is not the role of the media; they aren't the judge and the juror, they don't get to usurp the will of the people by persuasion and half-truths. Their obligation is to be fair and balanced, but in today's climate that would seem like a task all too daunting.
According to the Gallup polling organization, “Americans' trust and confidence in the mass media ‘to report the news fully, accurately and fairly’ has dropped to its lowest level in Gallup polling history, with 32 percent saying they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media. This is down eight percentage points from last year.” Whenever more than two-thirds of the viewers distrust their news sources, we have entered into Soviet Union territory — where no one believes the establishment, but most felt powerless to defy its lies.
Furthermore, Gallup reports, “Older Americans are more likely than younger Americans to say they trust the media, but trust has declined among both age groups this year. Currently, 26 percent of those aged 18 to 49 (down from 36 percent last year) and 38 percent of those aged 50 and older (down from 45 percent) say they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media.” Americans are rightfully distrustful of the media, but despite how distrustful we are of them, we continue to allow them to go largely unchecked. Like pawns, they are using us for ratings, convincing us that the world views us much worse than ever before, and that America is worst off because of it. I can tell you as I travel from the many corners of Europe, that their skewed perspective couldn’t be the furthest thing from the truth.
The everyday people of Europe overwhelmingly respect President Trump and see him as strong and spot on about immigration, refugees, and other issues that impact them. Without hesitation, they consistently wish for the same decisiveness in their own leaders. At what point will we wake up and say enough is enough? It’s time for us all to work together, because the world is watching and they need an America that is strong and continues to lead from the front. But as long as we allow the media's interests to supersede the interest of the nation, we will fail to coalesce around a shared vision, and expose ourselves to the forces that would try to weaken and destroy us.
If we allow it, the media will continue its efforts to divide and conquer; but at some point, we all need to wake up and realize that we're Americans and to be an American around the world still means something, regardless of what the media would have you believe. It's something we should all be proud of and embrace. The world is watching and waiting to see if the beacon of democracy will stand up to its ideals, or allow itself to be torn to shreds and burned on the sacrificial pyre of media sensationalism. We Americans have earned our place on the world stage with blood and sacrifice in the service of countless others. Let’s not forget that the world is counting on us.
Armstrong Williams is the author of "Reawakening Virtues." He is a political commentator who writes a conservative newspaper column, hosts a nationally syndicated TV program called "The Right Side," and hosts a daily radio show on Sirius/XM Power 128 (6-7 p.m. and 5-6 a.m.) Monday through Friday. He also is owner of Howard Stirk Holdings Broadcast TV stations. Read more reports from Armstrong Williams — Click Here Now.
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