Even though the executive branch of the federal government
is currently occupied by the most hostile, anti-Second Amendment administration
in my lifetime, the last few years have seen Second Amendment advocates reclaim
ground from those who would deprive them of their freedoms. With a few
exceptions, gun owners have been winning in legislatures and courts.
Meanwhile, even though the press placed the man of their
dreams in the White House, they have watched their First Amendment freedoms erode.
According to Reporters without Borders, an international
organization dedicated to preserving and extending freedom of the press, the
United State dropped another 13 places last year and now ranks only 47th
in press freedom worldwide.
The news media have themselves to blame. While Second
Amendment advocates have fought relentlessly for their cause, the news media
have not. When James Rosen of Fox News was named a co-conspirator by Attorney
General Eric Holder for purposes of tapping his phones, there was little
outcry. It was after all, Fox News. And Fox News occupies the wrong region of
the ideological spectrum. Rosen got what was coming to him.
The mainstream news media have also appeared quite
comfortable with attempts to place restrictions on alternative media. Two
decades ago, when Democrats tried to re-impose the ironically misnamed
“Fairness Doctrine” on conservative talk radio, the leftist media raised no
As governments attempted to restrict the freedoms of
alternative media, such as bloggers, the mainstream media were onboard. US
Senator Dianne Feinstein recently authored a law that would limit First
Amendment freedoms to those whom the government deems legitimate journalists.
This would leave bloggers and other non-traditional news sources vulnerable to lawsuits
and government persecution.
If there was any outcry from the mainstream news media
against these restrictions upon freedom of the press, it was too faint for my
ears to detect.
Obama’s Federal Communications Commission recently granted
itself oversight authority over newsroom editorial decisions. The FCC planned what
it euphemistically called a “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs”
or CIN. It was, in fact, government intimidation.
Aside from the Wall Street Journal, the mainstream news
media protests about Big Brother looking over their shoulders were drowned out
by chirping crickets. According to the Journal, the CIN planned “to send
researchers to grill reporters, editors and station owners about how they
decide which stories to run.”
“The purpose of the CIN, according to the FCC, is to ferret
out information from television and radio broadcasters about ‘the process by
which stories are selected’ and how often stations cover ‘critical information
needs,’ along with ‘perceived station bias’ and ‘perceived responsiveness to
So far as I can determine, NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, the New York
Times, The Washington Post, Reuters, the Associated Press and the rest of the
mainstream news media were, at the very least, indifferent to the idea of
having a left-leaning federal government bullying press organizations. They were
confident that the jackboot would press down on the throats of others.
When Congressional Republicans stood up to Obama’s FCC and
forced it to back down, the news media showered little or no praise on those
who defended their independence from government thuggery.
Was this defense of press freedom coming from the wrong side
of the aisle? Or, was the press hoping that Obama’s FCC would intimidate the
With a very few exceptions, the mainstream news media have
shown little interest in pursuing the story about the targeted harassment of
conservative political action committees by Obama’s IRS. The Justice Department
has let it be known that it has found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing. That’s
hardly surprising since not a single target of the harassment has been
If there were no crimes, then why did Lois Lerner, the IRS
supervisor who oversaw the harassment, take shelter behind the Fifth Amendment?
These were attacks on the same First Amendment that protects
journalists, but the news media seem satisfied with Obama’s declaration that
there was “not a smidgeon of corruption” at the IRS.
And so it’s hardly surprising that press freedoms have eroded
in the age of Obama. The mainstream news media have been silently complicit in
many of the attacks. What they fail to grasp is that such invasions against cannot
be reliably aimed at ideological foes. An FCC, IRS or Justice Department
capable of serving as a weapon against your competition can just as easily be turned
Here's the latest version of the FCC survey. The only appropriate use is as toilet paper.
The Washington Post finally weighed in Thursday night. By the way, the original title of this piece was, "Proposed FCC Newsroom Study Sparks Conservative Outcry."