No Constitution Classes October 3-6, 2022; Doug will be out of town.

No Constitution Classes October 3-6, 2022; Doug will be out of town.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Silencing the New Media

By Douglas V. Gibbs

The liberal left progressive commie democrats believe the First Amendment is a wonderful thing, as long as you dare not to oppose their interpretation of the five rights listed in that article of the Constitution.  The freedom of speech is among the most precious of our rights, yet it is exactly that God-given right the left is most intolerant of.  In other words, you have a right to your opinion, and you can voice it all you want, as long as you don't dare oppose them as you do it.

Or as Karl Marx said, "The meaning of peace is the absence of opposition to socialism."

Freedom of speech was specifically meant to protect "political speech."  During the years approaching the American Revolution, and during the war, the British government did all it could to silence dissent, calling those that dared to stand against The Crown "treasonous," and "radicals."

The revolutionaries met in pubs and churches to plan their fight for independence, passing out pamphlets, and publishing articles, calling for revolution, and defiance against British rule.  Today, those very same cries of liberty are abound, but now the meeting halls and publications are on the Internet, carried out in forums and blogs.  The beating heart of freedom is alive and well Online, and the government hates it.

The "Free Flow of Information Act of 2013," also called the "media shield bill," is the brain-child of ultra-leftist Senator Dianne Feinstein, United States Senator from California.  The bill seeks to be one of many planned nails in the coffin of free speech, creating a federal government sanctioned journalist licensing system that threatens the First Amendment's right to free speech, and freedom of the press.  It is the kind of legislation that would make George Orwell's world of 1984 proud, protecting the journalists that play ball, but exposing unlicensed "journalists" to potential prosecution if anyone wishes to insist that their confidential sources be revealed.

Senators Jeff Sessions, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and John Cornyn argued strongly against the law in a Minority View report writing: “The freedom of the press does not discriminate amongst groups or individuals—it applies to all Americans. As the Supreme Court has long recognized, it was not intended to be limited to an organized industry or professional journalistic elite. See Branzburg v. Hayes, 408 U.S. 665, 704 (1972) (the ‘‘liberty of the press is the right of the lonely pamphleteer who uses carbon paper or a mimeograph just as much as of the large metropolitan publisher who utilizes the latest photocomposition methods. Freedom of the press is a fundamental personal right[.]’’); Lovell v. Griffin, 303 U.S. 444, 452 (1938) (‘‘The liberty of the press is not confined to newspapers and periodicals. It necessarily embraces pamphlets and leaflets. . . . The press in its historic connotation comprehends every sort of publication which affords a vehicle of information and opinion.’’).

The democrats disagree, believing that they have a right to insert government influence by selectively extending the freedom of the press to journalists they believe to be worthy of protection.  Using a form of licensing journalists is no freedom of the press at all.  Licensing in the manner that Feinstein is proposing enables the federal government to define who qualifies for the privilege of being licensed, and the First Amendment was specifically written to prevent the federal government from having that kind of control over political speech.

The Free Flow of Information Act would create a licensing system designed to benefit favored forms of media by granting them a special privilege, and threatening the viability of any other form of press.  Ultimately, once the ball is rolling, the part of the media that receives special privileges from the government would gain easier access to news that would be off-limits to those unable to gain favor, and licensing.  Opposition to the government would be further quelled, for speaking out against the government would place those favored members of the press in a position where they may risk losing their privileged status achieved through licensing.  The media, or more specifically the "approved" media through the licensing program, would ultimately become beholden to the government for that competitive advantage.

Laws masked as being designed to protect the press makes the press dependent upon the federal government for protection, making them beholden to the government, and less likely to report freely for fear of losing favor with the government, or losing the special privilege afforded by the licensing program.

On the surface, the bill being proposed by Senator Feinstein seems harmless.  But the devil is in what it creates.  Recognize, as well, that this proposed legislation is being offered on the heals of the federal government targeting of conservative groups through the IRS, the Federal Communications Commission’s recent attempts to monitor news rooms, the spying on Associated Press reporters by Obama’s Department of Justice to gain access to their sources and most recently, the announced giveaway of First Amendment protections for those who use the Internet by the U.S. Commerce Department.

The ruling class of liberal left democrats views dissent as being sedition, and are willing to take whatever measures they feel is necessary to quell opposing viewpoints.  Feinstein’s bill is an attempt to silence those that dare to speak out against the ruling elite, and an attempt to filter the free flow of information in the modern world so that only those that favorably report the news regarding the federal government receives special privileges from the federal government.

The proposal by Feinstein, coupled with the Obama Administration’s decision to give control of the Internet to unspecified international sources, places the free voice of citizen journalists at risk.  In a world where speech has become a hate crime if one does not adhere to the political correctness enforced by a culture descending into debauchery and immorality, free speech considered "dangerous", "hateful" or "offensive" becomes a target.  Through licensing, and through the governance of the web by organizations or persons that believe themselves to be the arbiter of worldwide political correctness, those that support leftist ideas will be able to make sure those examples of free speech vanishes.

The free information of the Internet, without government influence and control, and without the allowance of any one person or agency to crack down on what they consider to be political dissent, has been a critical part of what the worldwide web's success has been all about.  Freedom of information frightens the ruling elite, and threatens those seeking to cling to their power.

Bloggers that have sources in local government should have the same right to protect the identity of that source as a major news source should be able to protect the identity of a whistle blower in a major story.  The freedom of speech, and the freedom of the press is not a selective freedom, or one that can be controlled by government, but a God-given right, subject to the uniform application across the grid, whether the media member is a blogger tapping away on his computer in his kitchen, or a paid reporter for a major news agency.  Freedom of Speech and of the Press was included in the Bill of Rights specifically because these rights are at the heart of what this nation is about, and what Natural Rights are all about.

A small step toward tyranny should not be tolerated in the same manner that a large step toward tyranny should not be.  Just because leftism applies tyranny in small, incremental steps, in the guise of protecting us, is no reason to accept that tyranny - no matter how appealing the package it is wrapped in.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

1 comment:

Bruce O'Hara said...

This is an excellent commentary on the proposed law, Mr. Gibbs. I'll be posting it in the 3-29-14 edition of The E-Blast, with full attribution and link, of course...

Bruce O'Hara