Freedom of the press no longer involves companies with large printing presses who buy ink by the ton. Today’s press includes television, radio, newspapers, and the internet. Some of these sources are slanted toward one opinion and admit it; some of these sources are slanted toward one opinion and don’t admit it. Some of our news sources are not news sources–they are opinion sources. There really is nothing wrong with that as long as the people consuming the news are aware of what they are consuming. The problem occurs when opinions are stated as facts or facts are left out of the story. That is part of the cause of the deep political divide in this country right now. Conservatives and liberals are not always working from the same fact base, and not everyone has all the information they need to form opinions.
Having said that, there were two articles up on the internet last week that may be an indication of danger to our current freedom to access information. The first article is at the Wall Street Journal‘s Best of the Web column yesterday. The second article is at Breitbart.com.
The Wall Street Journal article reminds us of Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals,” published in 1971. I have cited this book before as a guide to how the Obama Administration deals with opposition. Four of the rules from “Rules for Radicals” that we are seeing play out here as we watch the war on Fox News are as follows:
1. Pick the target.
2. Freeze the target (freeze the perception of the target by the public).
3. Personalize the target (separate it from the other media).
4. Polarize it (recommend that other media disregard Fox News).
The idea here is to take out Fox with the consent of the other media. This also serves as a warning to other media to be careful what stories they cover.
The second internet article that got my attention was the announcement at Breitbart that the FCC is going to begin crafting “net neutrality” rules. According to this article:
“FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said regulations are needed to ensure that broadband subscribers can access all legal Web sites and services, including Internet calling applications and video sites that compete with the broadband companies’ core businesses.”
No they’re not. Anytime the government regulates something, they make it worse. Politics comes into play, and life gets very complicated. The dangers of having a ‘government regulated’ internet outweigh anything that may be happening now that is unfair. The danger here is that new laws would be passed to favor companies that are in political favor with whatever administration is in power. We have seen this type of favoritism in the way the stimulus money was distributed, the way the auto industry was taken over, and the way Fox News has been dealt with. Why in the world would we want to pass laws that encourage more of this type of behavior?