The first amendment says that Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.
People in power really don't like that whole freedom of speech and press thing, as it can be used to expose them and to sway public opinion in ways they can't control. Lucky for them the freedom of the press was very costly; few if any people could afford a printing press, or as technology advanced a Radio Station, or TV station. Because exercising your right to free press and free speech, was relatively expensive, the rich and powerful maintained control of the message to which the masses of people were exposed. About the most any individual citizen could do to print a very limited number of hand bills and try to hand them out. This is effective and can work for small local elections, but for state and federal elections the cost of the press pretty much makes upper levels of politics a domain for the rich ruling elite. They like it that way.
The past 20 years have seen a revolution in information. The press, printing and disseminating information to large numbers of people has gone from being a hugely expensive undertaking to costing almost nothing. Now instead of a relative few people who can report news and opinion, anybody who wants to can. Virtually all of America walks around with cell phone that has instant access to free news, and includes a still or video camera in their pocket. This means that when the police or some other government agent days or does something, it can and is routinely reported by ordinary people, no longer does an “Editor” or somebody in charge decide to spike a story, or lie about it uncontested. With virtually everybody having the ability to almost instantly and for virtually no cost, verify the veracity of a news story, or politician’s claims, there is no question that the quality and truthfulness of news is better.
Dan Rather, arguably the most influential reporter in history, had his career ended because he was playing by the old rules, where what CBS said was fact, was treated as fact, and nobody had enough voice to challenge those facts. When he used what he knew to be forged National Guard documents, to try and end the Rino president G.W. Bush’s second term election bid. It was the internet, and dogged research by people outside of the “mainstream” news that ended up killing his career. The 24 year CBS Veteran, is now relegated to reporting for HDNet News LINK. As of this writing his web page at HDNet does have 261 people who like it. Even the Libertarian Party (of which I’m an active member), the small party that the mainstream press tries to make irrelevant, has around 55,000 people who like it. Obviously either mainstream press is very much in error on the LP or Dan Rather is virtually nonexistent as a news reporter (could be both).
The point is that the power elite people with money, be they Democrat or Republican can no longer dole out favors, bribes, and access, to control the press. The press is no longer just who can afford to Print a Paper, or Own a TV station. The Press is now anybody and everybody who wants to say “Look at what’s Happening!” Whether it’s a human interest story about a dog nursing a kitten, or the police violating civil rights or an established member of the “Mainstream” press spouting off anti-Semitic remarks, youtube, google, FaceBook, Yahoo, and the entire Blogosphere have given you and me a voice. The whole point of freedom of the press and free choice is that people are free to choose what news if any they want, where they get it, and what it’s worth both financially and credibly.
The powers in government and big business really really really don’t like this. June 15th at the National Press Club the FTC is having a work shop titled "How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age?" The FTC and the ruling elite seem to think that Journalism cannot survive without the help of Government. Because of this stupid internet the public, has been able to see their 47-page of draft recommendations titled, POTENTIAL POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS TO SUPPORT THE REINVENTION OF JOURNALISM . Since people read about it and started saying, “Woa, what about freedom of the press?” the FTC has had to release a press release saying that these are only “Ideas” and not really “recommendations” (LINK).
Some of the proposed Recommendations include “Drudge Tax” and “Licensing the News” the major goal is to keep the old print press in business and power, and make news “Publicly funded”. Once the government funds the news, don’t you think that the guy with the purse strings might just influence news. Look at NPR, they do quality work, but there can be no argument that NPR is unbiased. NPR has a clear agenda against conservative ideas, and even more ardent agenda against Libertarian ideas. This is what publicly funded news will look like. If the FTC and the big business big government pro-dual party ruling elite get there way, this very blog, where I posted this editorial, will no longer be legal. If you look at history, and other countries, you see that freedom of the press is directly proportional to individual freedom. China and other repressive countries insist on controlling the news and access to news. Control of what information people have access, makes controlling the people easier. Ask yourself why our government is trying to limit and better control who can and can’t publish news?
It really looks like politicians and rich communication business conglomerates wish the whole first amendment didn’t exist. The ruling elite do not want citizen journalism. They want to put news and opinion back in to the control of those with big money. All of the proposed “Policies” to “reinvent journalism” violate the 1st amendment. I don’t care if your Republican or Democrat (but I hope your neither), this is an issue that cannot go ignored, and I urge you to contact all your representatives and remind them that they shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.