From Peter Bella of the Washington Times, a reputable newspaper;
Freedom of press, speech, and expression are under assault all over the world, including the United States. In the United States the establishment and corporate media is to blame for this sad state of affairs. The media, in their quest for pure information and content versus factual journalism or truth gathering, has become complacent.
Complacency leads to comfort. Comfort leads to somnolence. Major media are happy fat somnolent sloths and slugs. Celebrity teleprompter readers are considered hardcore journalists. Hardcore journalists who dig and ask questions are considered troublemakers.
The rise and popularity of blogs like Breitbart and Politico, though highly partisan in nature, demonstrate large segments of the public’s mistrust of traditional media. The rise of Fox News over other networks and the slow demise of CNN demonstrate a public tired of cut and paste reporting. News is considered entertainment on par with professional wrestling.
The media claim to be fearless watchdogs is false. They are cute well-trained pink-tongued lapdogs. Media self-censorship and their regurgitating government propaganda versus factual news do more harm than good. It erodes and damages freedom of the press, freedom of expression, and freedom of speech.
Lazy copy and paste access journalism is not freedom. It is mere repitition with no fact checking, digging, verification, and no hard questions asked. Pass the cocktails and canapés please.
Need proof? Look at the recent health care debate heating up after the Supreme Court decision. The media are all reporting the same words, terms, and whatever the administration decides the message and conversation are going to be. The media were given the script. They will adhere to it or they will lose their cozy and chummy access. Cut and paste or else.
There are more ominous and insidious forms of control, suppression, and punishment. Bloggers, who report on public affairs, face court orders stopping them from reporting and forcing them to delete past posts. They are threatened with arrest if they do not comply. It should be noted these legal actions are not based on proven defamation, libel, or slander. In most cases there is no hearing. Just a request for a court order that is rubber-stamped.
These restraining orders are based on political decisions by political judges beholden to political powers that be.
The problem is the media itself. They do not fight back on behalf of anyone. They are fat, complacent, and happy. The media is in the information gathering business not the truth business. They are content driven. Stories are no longer filtered for news worthiness or factual content. If some political hack says it, it must be true- whether it is the president, a congressman, high-level bureaucrat, or a government spokesperson.
Instead of digging, investigating, double checking facts, and generating the best version of the truth, they cut, paste, and disseminate whatever they are given.
When journalists or bloggers run afoul of people who practice legal terrorism called lawfare the media is dead silent. They have no interest in the repression of free press or speech.
So-called political activist Brett Kimberlin, the Speedway Bomber, is a master practitioner of lawfare. He successfully gets restraining orders against anyone who reports on his tactics. Journalists and bloggers are silenced under penalty of imprisonment unless and until they spend inordinate amounts of time and money to overturn them.
These restraining orders are issued willy-nilly for no legal rhyme or reason. Independent and freelance journalists are at the mercy of non-profit groups to defend them.
Major media rarely report on these legal and judicial abuses or stand up to defend press or expressive freedom. No one sent them something to cut and paste so there is no story.
If a judge can stop one person from reporting on an issue, force them to delete past posts or reports, and threaten imprisonment if they do not comply, for no reason other than they can, they can stop any major media entity too.
A judge can stop a major media entity dead on its tracks by just going after one reporter. No person or entity is immune.
Wednesday is the 4th of July, Independence Day. Independence is a larger concept than mere freedom or liberty. Freedom and liberty are the foundations of independence. Freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and freedom of assembly are the cornerstones of independence.
Use it or lose it. If freelance journalists, bloggers, major media entities, and anyone who disseminates news information and opinion, do not brutally fight for our rights and viciously fight for each other we will lose our right to report.
Each time one person is silenced, through repression, oppression, and suppression, whether through court order, arrest or threat of arrest, imprisonment, violence or death, freedom loses. Independence is eroded.
America used to be the last best hope of mankind to live in freedom. We are no longer that “city upon a hill whose beacon light guides freedom-loving people everywhere.” That beacon is a dim bulb. Unless we protect each other the light will go out.
Exactly so Mr. Bella. We in the new media are doing what the main stream media refuses to do and that is to dig for the truth. What’s that old adage?…Don’t believe everything you hear and only half of what you see.