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Saturday, February 15, 2014

The US ranks below Romania in the World Press Freedom Index

During the Carter and Reagan as years civil war raged in El Salvador many of us feared for their freedoms. Silly us! To the embarrassment of our own nation El Salvador ranks above the United States in the Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index. Of course the UK and most of Western Europe also do better than the US which is ranked 46th just behind Romania and a rung above Haiti. During the glory of the Reagan years would anyone have dreamed that one day the United States would lose so much freedom that it would be sandwiched between the countries of Nicolae Ceaușescu and Papa Doc Duvalier? This is a disgrace, a scandal, and a moral failing. It dishonors our parents and betrays our children!
What is most alarming is the liberal media is content to swim in this slime. It refuses to fault Obama for his unconstitutional war in Libya and his mendacity following the Benghazi raid. It has demurred as American citizens were killed in drone strikes on the sole authority of the president. It has allowed the Justice Department to tap a reporter's phones without consequence. It has refused to independently investigate the unconstitutional targeting of conservative groups and retaliatory IRS audits of individuals. It has, on occasion, denounced Edward Snowden as a traitor and accepted the NSA's collection of phone metadata as a legitimate role of government. It has sat through daily press briefings as the administration has refused to answer innocent and almost prosaic questions relative to Obamacare enrollment numbers; numbers that are treated by the Obama administration as secret solely to avoid political embarrassment. It would sell its collective soul for a ride on Air Force One.
As if the US ranking was not low enough the Federal Communications Commission seems hell bent on driving it lower. In Wall Street Journal editorial Ajit Pai, a Republican FCC commissioner, blew the whistle on the so called independent agency for what he called an attempt at "newsroom policing". Unfortunately that editorial is behind a pay wall. Pai expressed alarm that the FCC could soon start questioning why Fox spends so much time covering the attacks in Benghazi, or why NBC has focused on the controversy over lane closures in New Jersey. Pai described the FCC's proposal as sending "researchers to grill reporters, editors, and station owners about how they decide which stories to run." This blatant attack on the freedom of the press was justified by the FCC as an attempt to serve the needs of "the undeserved community"
Following that editorial Republican members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce fired off an angry letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler asking, in effect, what the hell did he think he was doing.
The Commission is not a research institution but rather a government entity with
authority to regulate some targets of the CIN Study. The Commission has no business
probing the news media's editorial judgment and expertise, nor doe it have any business
in prescribing a set diet of "critical information." These goals are plainly inappropriate and are at bottom an incursion by the government into the constitutionally protected operations of the professional news media.
Beyond the fact that many of the goals of the study are inappropriate, we are equally
concerned by the Commission's failure to state an adequate statutory basis for action. The Commission has not offered any legitimate justification for how a study of "the critical information needs" of communities directly contributes to its statutory duties, i.e. to review the impact of law on market entry barriers for entrepreneurs and other small businesses.
Don't expect to hear any gratitude on behalf of the Obama personality obsessed media toward the Republicans for saving the freedom they pretend to value. The Democrats are putting themselves in a precarious position if the public decides they have had enough of the abuses of liberty. At that time the Democrats are going to be left holding the bag and are risking being the ones who will be blamed for the losses of liberty and freedom. That could end up being a long term pall that might take many elections for them to overcome.

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