Obama Supports Free Internet, In China
ABC News filed a story on its website on 16 November, 2009, with the title, "President Obama Tells Chinese Students Unrestricted Internet Access Makes the U.S. Stronger, Free Speech Makes Him a Better Leader." The article describes a town meeting in China, where the President answered questions from some of 400 Chinese students, "hand-selected" by officials of their universities. But one of the questions which was challenging, came through the US Embassy in China. It was whether in a nation of 60 million bloggers, does he know about firewalls, and does he support open use of Twitter?
He said he doesn’t use Twitter, but then about freedom of use of the Internet, he said, "I think that the more freely information flows, the stronger the society becomes, because then citizens of countries around the world can hold their own governments accountable. They can begin to think for themselves. That generates new ideas. It encourages creativity." ABC News did not notice or comment on the difference between the President’s remarks in China and his actions through the FCC and other federal agencies, here in the US. At home, Obama’s appointees are seeking to establish controls over Internet content, which is what China already has.
Story on the Internet:
Is Free Speech Being Muzzled in America?
The title of this article is also the precise title of an article run on Fox News on 30 October, 2009. Now, it is true that Fox News is the first news outlet to be attacked as "not a [legitimate] news organization" for a long, long time. The last time such attacks were made was in the 18th century.
Those who know their press history, know that the Federalists under President John Adams passed the Alien and Sedition Laws. Under those, newspapers which engaged in attacking the Administration were guilty of crimes. Here is the language from the Act, that no "person shall write, print, utter or publish... any false, scandalous and malicious writing or writings against the government of the United States, or either house of the Congress of the United States, or the President of the United States, with intent to defame... or to bring them, or either of them, into contempt or disrepute."
Some editors went to jail under those laws. They were "Republican" editors, who supported the ideas and presidential candidacy of Thomas Jefferson, who took office in 1801. The Sedition Law expired that year. Jefferson well understood the First Amendment. Not only did he refuse to renew this law, he pardoned and freed the editors who had been convicted under the law.
This comment, unlike all prior ones, does not quote the Fox article at all. Go to it. Read it for yourselves. Reach your own conclusions as media people, or as viewers and listeners to media, whether there is a growing effort at enforced censorship. Consider whether the current Administration is heading down the same path as Adams Administration, to its discredit, did in 1798.
Story on the Internet:
Obama Administration Muscles the Press
On 25 October, the Philadelphia Bulletin ran an article on various ways and times that the Obama Administration has sought to put pressure on different news outlets, both print and broadcast, to promote favorable coverage or shut down critical coverage. It describes ten different incidents in which the Administration attempted to get such results.
None of these instances are new reporting. All are well known to people who closely follow the question of possible censorship of the media. Some have been discussed at some length in the media, even on some shows and stations that are ordinarily quite favorable to the Administration. Some are relatively obscure, like the group phone call from a taxpayer-funded employee of the National Endowment for the Arts, asking artists to produce works that "promoted the views" of the Administration.
That last one was such a clear violation of standards for federal employees that no one should have been dumb enough to make such a call. It happened, however, because the employee in question did not think that any of the artists on the call would object, record the call, and report the effort.
The value of this summary article, written by a former Professor at the Wharton School, is not any new information, but instead that it gathers in one place a series of events. The series suggests that these are not isolated or accidental events, but rather they are part of a pattern intended to intimidate the American press into supporting, or lessening their opposition to, the Obama Administration policies.
Story on the Internet:
Obama Science Czar, Enemy of First Amendment
CNS News reported in an article on 16 October that "John P. Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, advocated having the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) force radio and television stations to surrender free time for advertisements calling attention to what he called ‘the population-resource-environment crisis.’ "
The article proves the charge with extensive quotes from Holdren’s 1977 book, Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment, which he co-wrote with population-control advocates Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich. The book was quite specific, that the government should force radio and TV stations to carry, for free, environmental ads like those produced by "Planned Parenthood, ZPG [Zero Population Growth], and the Sierra Club."
In the same chapter of the book, Holdren asserts that, television in the United States "is employed to promote the ideas and interests of a controlling minority" and that this should be avoided in developing countries. Here, Holdren demonstrates his aggressive and dangerous ignorance of the role of a free press in a free society.
Thomas Jefferson wrote, "If I had to choose between government without newspapers, and newspapers without government, I wouldn't hesitate to choose the latter." Jefferson understood what Holdren rejects. With a free press, a corrupt government can be reformed. Without a free press, a free government will become corrupt, and remain so.
Story on the Internet:
RedState: On Julius Genachowski and Net Neutrality
On September 25, Neil Stevens wrote about FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's speech to the Brookings Institution on Net Neutrality.
Further, Genachowski attacks the fundamental right of property owners to control their property when he says this. He openly acknowledges that he wants the FCC to have an active role in resolving “network management disagreements,” in which outsiders can complain to the FCC about a private computer network’s configuration. Presumably the FCC would then grant itself the power to compel holders of networks to change such configurations on demand. Why else demand transparency if not to start making changes?
Read the entire post.