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February 27, 2009

Are We in Danger of Losing a Free Press?

Newspaper Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”

Lord Acton said, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Our founding fathers understood the ramifications of both statements, and created a separation of powers with the creation of Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches of government. They also knew that without a free press our democratic ways would not survive. So they included in the First Amendment “Congress shall make no law, . . . bridging the freedom of speech or of the press.”

Over the last 200+ years this free press has exposed many excesses of government that would have otherwise remained unchecked. We can all remember Watergate, Irangate, and Clintongate, which the free press was instrumental in bringing to the attention of the American people.

Thomas Jefferson believed strongly in the “necessity” of the free press:

"The only security of all is in a free press. The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to. It is necessary, to keep the waters pure."

There are three reasons why I believe we are in danger of losing the free press:

1. News organizations with financial problems

The NY Times, Washington Post, LA Times, St Paul Star Tribune, NBC, and many others are experiencing difficult financial times. Many are close to shutting down. They’ve cut back the number of reporters on staff in order to survive. This is dangerous, for without reporters the government is freer to do whatever it wants. As the finances of these organizations decline and some go out of business, who will walk the halls of power and expose the darkness there? Some might be tempted to say that bloggers will replace them. After all, wasn’t it the bloggers that exposed the false document CBS tried to use against President Bush? While this is true, the document had to be publicized before it was discovered. And bloggers would never have discovered the Watergate conspiracy. No doubt about it . . . if we’re going to remain free, then we need the press to safeguard that freedom.

2. The news media's infatuation with liberal politicians

The press must not only be free to report and expose wrong doing, they must also be free from any allegiance to a political party or politician. Otherwise, we most likely would not be apprised of any unfavorable items related to that party or person. I am greatly concerned about the mainstream media’s infatuation with Mr. Obama, clearly evidenced during the campaign by lack of negative reporting. When Biden said that Obama “would be tested within six months after taking office,” NBC News balked at putting that quote on their newscasts. Even the president’s first news conference consisted of softball questions, many of which were asked by left-leaning organization. If the press isn’t independent their reporting becomes suspect and the American people become more vulnerable. We must insist that the press bend over backwards to remain impartial with those in power regardless of personal preference.

3. The possible revival of the Fairness Doctrine

If established through legislation or regulation, the Fairness Doctrine could require broadcasters to offer equal amounts of liberal and conservative commentary. This requirement, if enacted into law, would result in less airtime for stations to raise controversial issues and put a damper on the free press. Since this hasn't been enacted and some officials are taking measures to prevent it, it is hard to say the true impact and consequences to American freedom this law would have. But it is of dire concern to think that Congress would even consider passing anything to stifle our free press. We, as Americans, should remain diligent in strongly resisting any efforts that take away any of our Constitutional rights.

Our Founding Fathers knew that deceitful hearts that were given power and left unchecked would quickly move us from a free democratic country to an unfree totalitarian state. We must remain alert.

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Comments

labrialumn

Absolutely, just as we are in real danger of losing a free church. With FOCA, ENDA, and the "fairness doctrine" or "localization" the first amendment is thrown in the rubbish along with the rest of the Bill of Rights.

The Dems have made it very clear that they are going after the internet as well. Obama's feting of pseudo-conservatives this past week to 'anoint' them as 'conservatives' for use in 'fairness' is another sign, as was discussed at CPAC.

We are very close to the seizure of hospitals that are pro-life, such as those belonging to the Roman Catholic Church. Obama is moving forward to repeal the 'conscience exemption' from murdering babies for doctors and nurses.

I suspect that Wallis, Campolo and company will be the tame, fake (Vichy) 'evangelicals' used to demonstrate the claim that it is only 'hate', not Christianity, which is being silenced and prosecuted.

Marianna

Why do you say that the above preachers, Campolo and Wallis will be used to demonstrate that Hate not Chrisianity is being silenced. Have they strayed from truth and are they preaching false doctrine?

labrialumn

Marianna,
Why, yes. They favor the black mass of 'homosexual marriage', do they not? They are willing for abortions to increase in order to gain a socialist government, are they not? Was not Campolo rebuked for Christological heresy some years ago by leaders in the evangelical movement? Yet did I not hear his son teaching that same heresy a few years later? Where they not those who chose to support the murderer and liar to establish abortion and the destruction of marriage in this country?

Do they not continue to call themselves evangelicals in spite of not accepting the inerrancy and authority of the Bible?

Jason Taylor

Lord Acton said, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Lord Acton was a lord, don't you know.

In anycase, if I recall, the quote was meant primarily as a criticism of the praise of success because it is successful, irrespective to how the success was achieved. For instance the old saw about "Emperor such-and-such unified China."

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