One of the good things about spending time away from home has been the change in my routines and a break from the litany of “Breaking News” alerts and emotional manipulation peddled as the day’s news. Most of my time spent on Grammie’s ranch, the television has been on the Home and Garden or DIY channel rather than any of the news channels, and it is a welcome break.

Periodic check-ins on social media led me to believe I wasn’t missing much, generally, except for a bunch of talking heads gleefully cheering on a supposedly looming recession, the latest effort in the campaign to end the reign of President Trump.

Much like the Russian collusion delusion effort, wish casting a recession into reality because they hate the president - and everyone who doesn’t share in their hate - is just the next entry in a long list of media malfeasance and bias.

And once you see it, you can’t un-see it.

The economy, immigration, abortion, racial division… pick a topic and there is a news segment queued up and ready to air, packaged to maximize the emotional response of the viewers. The manipulation has gotten more blatant and in your face over the last few years, and more noticeable after the absolute cheer leading that passed as reporting during the previous administration. This latest go-round though, wishing for the financial ruin of Americans… especially the American middle class, is beyond maddening and is further leading all of us down a path that apparently reaches new lows weekly. What makes the situation mirror one of the classic tragic comedies though, is the media calling out the President for transgressions while standing on a supposed moral high ground actually built of quicksand and propaganda.

We are less informed about the actual facts of the day by this intentional manipulation, but most definitely more outraged about the situation. Bigger news budgets or ratings don’t happen without your continued and sustained outrage. And the playbook works on every topic, no matter the political direction involved. We are inundated with information that flies by us so quickly, it is hard to retain anything of value. It is harder to move the needle of response and ratings by dispassionately relaying the actual news than it is to deliver produced segments that entertain or tug on your heartstrings.

The manipulation pervades everything and is reflected in both our discourse and division.

The smart set, with all their smug pretense, let their disdain for regular Americans and our decidedly un-cosmopolitan lifestyles show through the perfectly coiffed masks. We don’t appreciate their finer things in life, or the globalist culture that has pervaded every urban minded corner of the nation and is slowly seeping into flyover country.

That the media is actually cheering for the country to fail, because of petty politics and personal arrogance, is beyond disturbing. That it also comes from the professional class of truth tellers, the self-styled group who “speak truth to power” is fitting in our current age of Orwellian double talk. The media realized it has the power to bring down the powerful, and has held it over American’s heads ever since. It became less about the actual truth, one that could possibly hurt their perceived allies, and more about abusing the power to punish their enemies. Those enemies… anyone who can destroy the absolute racket of advertising share and big dollar marketing deals plied by all involved. Trump is enemy No. One because he knows the television game, and became one of the bigger fish in the cesspool.

In their effort to destroy Donald Trump, the only damage done is that which the media has inflicted on themselves. There is a reason Trump has isolated the national media for his special branding both as a candidate and after taking office. The reputation of the media hovers somewhere around that of Congress… deservedly so. Independent journalists have broken almost every major story, while the national media plays telephone with their favorite anonymous sources and public relations shops pushing a preferred narrative. What passes for national news at major publications usually amounts to backroom gossip from political players currently out of favor and out of power.

God forbid we find out what has actually been happening, and what our tax dollars fund, behind the scenes. 

Immigration caravans… yep, our tax dollars, filtering down through a myriad of faith-based groups and non-government advocacy organizations advertising for more migration into America. Promises of a better life, travel paid for with our tax dollars, into a system that is horribly dysfunctional and absolutely broken - chancing our national security on a bureaucracy that takes almost 10 years to determine if someone should be living in our country. No one keeps track of those overstaying a visa, or if the person has been previously deported for crime or illegal entry.

Wouldn’t an expose into Big Immigration be worth looking into? Housing illegal migrants and criminal deportees - not to mention asylum seekers - is a big business with even bigger payouts to those providing the services. What groups encourage this type of migration? Who is benefiting from the caravans of mass migration?

For that matter, when was it decided that unfettered migration is good for America? And why aren’t more clamoring for other nations to open their doors to every corner of the globe seeking the poor, huddled masses yearning to be free?

Urban centers have evolved away from American ideas, instead seeking a more worldly experience as a global citizen with lofty, Utopian ideals. And the national media, with epicenters in Washington, D.C., and New York City, have fallen to the madness. For a society built upon individualism, many have found ways to elevate themselves into an untouchable class where rules and norms don’t apply. Where the concerns of regular Americans never reach. A place where the consequences of their ideas never seem to have an effect on their own lives.

The media honchos have decided leftist policy positions and Democrat party politics, mixed with a healthy dose of status and social order, are paramount. The right people, the right parties and the right conversations are of higher order than finding commonality with fellow citizens and telling the stories of different segments of American life. The vanities and vagaries of city dwellers must be shoved down everyone’s throats until all parrot acceptable opinions and eat at the right kind of restaurants… one where food is locally sourced, globally minded and a tie is necessary… but only if the tie was made from sustainable fabrics woven by a peasant farmer’s wife in Timbuktu.

This, of course, is the American way.

Clicking the off button seems like the best option.

Staff columnist Toni Butero can be reached at or by calling (209) 862-2222.