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Friday, February 06, 2009

Even the Gestapo Had to Start Somewhere

This should deeply worry anybody who has an affection for the First Amendment:

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.

3 comments:

Alan Gantt said...

I'm not worried. The print press gets to print whatever it wants and no government body intercedes. The broadcast press is a different story since the airwaves are public domain. An individual broadcast media company leases the over-the-air frequencies and in so doing agrees to the terms and if a fairness doctrine or standard is in place for the public airwaves then accommodation has to be made for an opposing view. Prior to the Reagan presidency, the fairness doctrine was in place and there was no gestapo mentality observed at that time. It seems quite the opposite took place once the Fairness Doctrine was repealed. Especially in remote rural locations, right wing dogma as espoused by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Hannity, Oliver North, and others, is all that appears on the local AM airwaves and they can say anything they want whether true or not. There is no voice from opposing viewpoints. Thus, the isolated folks in those locales start to accept what is being said as gospel. The fairness doctrine at least allows them to hear another viewpoint. Look at how the red-blue political map has developed. Cable, satellite and print allows for unopposed viewpoints as the mode of transmission or distribution is not owned by the federal government. Also, the buying up of so many more of the newspapers, television, and radio stations by one entity in a small geographical area has contributed to this unfairness that actually suppresses freedom of speech while not allowing the citizenry the debate necessary so that they may come to terms as to what is actually in their best interest.

Joel said...

Alan,

Yes, but we're talking about changing the terms in mid stream so to speak now. And it's very hard really to compare the pre-internet pre-talk-radio media and political culture of today with 1975 for many reasons. Ah, but even then amidst fairness, "some were more fair than others." If people liked or wanted to listen to left wing talk radio the money changers would offer it up. They don't because it's non-entertaining and generally sucks. I don't listen to talk radio any more myself, so this isn't about my personal habits.

I do not trust the government to be able to define much less enforce fairness in this way, since it involves enforcement against those criticizing the government. It's way to KGB-esque for my comfort. In fact, the similarity of terminology is scary. Sounds like Putin talking.

It's a little petty I think to talk about bandwidth issues since The Cable and Network TV companies are free to do what they wish, and they are for the most part by controlled by liberal interests.

You write as if the American people are idiots, as if the only reason they think a certain way is because of talk radio, despite the fact that TV and print are dominated by left leaning interests, and despite the fact that even those poor rural folk who I guess can't read the paper or who don't have TV's do have internet access. But I guess they can't set all that up, I mean the instructions are pretty complicated. Dumb pathetic crackers.

If we want to break of media monopolies I'm all for it - across the board, all media.

I know we'll never agree on this but that's OK.

Dr. Mary Johnson said...

I have the First Amendment on a bumper sticker.

Alan, I am sorry. But I think you should go read it again. Then give the American people (especially those living in rural areas) a little credit.

I'm not worried about the spewing of dogma - on either side. I am worried about a society (and we're already more than half-way there) where the news is only the agenda (not necessarily always political) of whoever owns the newspaper or TV station. It's about power.

Blogs are the last frontier of free speech in this country.