Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Those 45 words are at the very root of what some call American “exceptionalism”, the right to speak one’s mind and to hear the truth reported in the press without intimidation or interference from the Government, its agencies, or its officials. While First Amendment rights have never been absolute, government infringement upon those rights has almost never been countenanced as Constitutional by the US Supreme Court, and not too much more frequently by lower courts at any level. Those words are the verbal expression of the beacon held aloft by the Statue of Liberty, and have drawn the oppressed and the freedom-loving the world over to our great land.
Which is what makes this Administration so dangerous to our liberties. Barack Obama, whose philosophy of government embraces the monolithic statism of Iron Curtain Europe mixed with Hugo Chavez-esque populist progressive communism, finds such liberties distinctly inconvenient and dangerous to his ambitions. So, the Obama Administration, while mouthing the platitudes of reverence for our freedoms, has actively gone about shredding those liberties, demonizing political opposition as national enemies. The use of tax collection (the IRS) powers to persecute political opponents. The subpoena of media phone records by the Justice Department without cause. The senior Military Officer on the active list calling to demand a private citizen desist from lawful free expression. All are disturbing but well-stifled examples of the such malfeasance.
In each instance, the President of the United States, when he deigned to address such egregious violations of Constitutional liberties and dangerous government overreach, did what he always does. He lied. He didn’t “spin” or “omit”. He lied. Said publicly things he knew not to be true. As did his minions involved in the incident; Lois Lerner of the IRS (now seeking immunity since she perjured herself), Eric Holder, and General Martin Dempsey, all political sycophants who willingly lied publicly, not once but several times, in relation to the misconduct in which they were involved.
One of the reasons such misdeeds and lack of honesty has received such little attention has been the decidedly muted response by an overwhelmingly liberal news media. They have given the Obama Administration little scrutiny, for its deeds or its words, and have played an active hand in attacking those who dared question the veracity of Obama’s words and actions. But, apparently, that is not good enough for Barack Obama. Now, it seems, he is interjecting government monitors into what is left of America’s “free” press. The American Center for Justice and Law tells the story. Which is interesting in and of itself. For had a Republican Administration official at ANY level even whispered that such a thing was being discussed, the Washington Post and the New York Times would have it as front page news for weeks. Complete with the outrage against the assault on the sanctity of that same free press.
Last May the FCC proposed an initiative to thrust the federal government into newsrooms across the country. With its “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs,” or CIN, the agency plans to send researchers to grill reporters, editors and station owners about how they decide which stories to run. A field test in Columbia, S.C., is scheduled to begin this spring.
The purpose of the CIN, according to the FCC, is to ferret out information from television and radio broadcasters about “the process by which stories are selected” and how often stations cover “critical information needs,” along with “perceived station bias” and “perceived responsiveness to underserved populations.”
The results, predictably, will be a quasi-state-controlled media akin to TASS or state media in China and the DPRK. Of course, there will be those whom, as they do with every dangerous precedent this Administration has set, will say that this is much ado about nothing. They will assert that government “monitors” don’t actually threaten freedom of the press, and that “there is no evidence” that such is intended to intimidate news organizations into crafting only the news this Leftist Administration wants reported, and reporting it in an “authorized” manner. They are increasingly assuming the role of the “useful idiots” of Lenin’s Bolshevik Revolution. And, not surprisingly, they include major media personalities and executive ownership, men and women seemingly bent on self-immolation in their unswerving support for someone who has little use for a free press and is actively seeking to dispense with it.
The reality is grim. Precedent is a very dangerous thing in government exercise of authority. What we are seeing is the destruction of the free press that Jefferson believed so fervently was necessary for the flourishing of liberty. Other infringement on our free speech will follow, and in fact has already been bandied about. Expect “hate speech” to be targeted for criminalization, which will include certain criticism of politically-favored demographics and government policies. There will already be precedent for dispensing with our liberties under the First Amendment.
When 2016 arrives, just remember that Hillary Clinton’s political philosophy is indistinguishable from that of Barack Obama.
Oh, and both wish to do away with our right to keep and bear arms as our last redress against the tyranny of government. For our own good, of course.
That, when any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the People to alter or abolish it…