24 March 2006

Free Press?

Update: What?! An update already? Yes ... because I don't think any of you saw this link to this article yesterday. Read this article. As you read, know this ... Jim Douglas is the current governor of Vermont, he is a very right wing Republican. Patrick Leahy is a long term first Representative and now US Senator and is a Democrat. Marselis Parsons has been the anchorman on the only local news worth watching in the state since I can remember and is very conservative. ... Now read on for today's post.

Update 2: Here's a link to the **frighteningly** "unbalanced" piece written by US Senator Patrick Leahy. It was pulled because no one had written an opposing point of view. Hmmm ... would that be something like "Down With the Freedom of Information" ... who is going to write that?

In a comment on my earlier post my BrickFriend made the following point:

I hardly believe that one cannot be critical of the Administration. There is not a day, it seems, upon which at least two very critical editorials are NOT printed in the WAPost or NYT. I hope and believe that things are not quite as bad as you fear. We will see.

I'll grant him that. Editorials are printed. My point was that a fine and long standing (in point of fact, the longest standing) bureau chief for the Associated Press wire service was let go in a dispute over a column written by a U.S. Senator from his own state that was critical of the administration. Newspapers receiving that column were free to use or not use that column in any manner they saw fit.

Another tiny factoid, Chris Graff's (the bureau chief) son was the first blogger ever to be invited to participate in a White House press briefing. That happened last March (2005) ... but that's an aside.

Now I'm going to use my BrickFriend's favorite technique and take us straight to the Nazi's. Let's take a look at the Nazi rise to power. It didn't happen overnight. In fact, Hitler spent a year in jail before he really came into his own. That's when he wrote Mein Kampf. Visit this website for a nicely put together timeline of how things went down in Germany between the two world wars. It's a quick read and will give you an idea of what I'm talking about.

I don't think that our present administration is anything like Nazi Germany (at least I hope not). My problem is that they have no problems abrogating powers to themselves that are not contained in the Constitution. And having Congress enshrine it in law (see the Patriot Act). It's not that I'm some rabid left-winger who can't stand to live under a right-wing administration. I lived happily under 12 years of Reagan and GHWBush and never felt the level of distrust that I feel now. No matter what crazy whacked policies they tried to take this country on, I always knew that they and their administrations knew and would uphold the Constitution. This administration uses the Constitution as toilet paper.

No my problem is that evil does not start out looking evil. It begins looking rational. And when people like me say something is wrong, most people say "calm down, it's really not so bad." By the time most of the rest of you realize it really is evil, it's too late. I'll just end with a (now) well known quote by Hermann Goering from his jail cell in 1946:

"Why, of course, the people don't want war," Goering shrugged. "Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship."

"There is one difference," I pointed out. "In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars."

"Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."


Blogger Schuyler said...

Two things: You continue to miss the point of comparing something to the Nazis. It is not something I like to do, or even something I do very often because I firmly believe that there are very, very few valid comparisons. Stalin's Russia is one. The Khmer Rouge is another. There might be one or two more, but I can't think of any now, but to imply that I am fond of comparing things to the Nazis is disingenuous at best.

Second, nowhere in the article is the Bush Administration mentioned as the instigators. This is just another example of the left-wing press (not all press is left-wing, I don't think that, but I'd bet $1 million that the Vermont alternative webweekly is) reading something into a story that isn't there in order to blame the administration. A very typical reaction, if you want my opinion. Until someone can provide some evidence that the government is actively suppressing the press, I can only believe that it is the press monitoring itself for business purposes.

3/24/2006 09:15:00 AM  
Blogger aBhantiarna Solas said...

Admittedly, the Nazi comment was tongue in cheek and I should have been more obvious about that. My point was that evil sneaks in around the edges and appears rational at first. It does not appear to be irrational and evil in the beginning. Neither did Stalin ... if you recall he rode in on Lenin's coattails and then he had Lenin assasinated (and that is part of what Orwell was writing about in Animal Farm). Ashamedly, I'm not cognizant enough with the facts about the Khmer Rouge to speak to that. But my guess is that they were the same. Evil always appears rational at first. Always.

Yes, you're right. Seven Days is left wing. There's nothing wrong with that. In point of fact, these days that's even more necessary than ever. You can't find any reporting anymore that's even middle of the road ... it's all right wing. There are a few left wing papers out there but nothing in the middle anymore. And most of it is peddling fear.

And Yes, I have a huge problem with the press "monitoring itself for business purposes" that very phrase would have the likes of Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and Samual Adams rolling in their graves. The whole reason we have a First Admendment is because the press should not monitor itself for "business purposes." The only the thing the press should be monitoring itself for is truth. It's the only method we have of educating ourselves on the issues of the day.

Here's a tiny history lesson ... the French Revolution was fought so that the Fourth Estate (the Press) could have a voice. So that the people could speak. So that the populace could be educated on the issues that they would be voting upon. If there is no press there is no education and thus no democracy.

This is not a piddly little issue ... this eats the heart out of our democracy. It's the whole reason that the First Amendment was written and that it's .... ohhhhh .... I don't know ... FIRST!!! for God's sake.

When the press forgets it's main purpose (as it appears to have) and the goverment runs amuck as it has, we are in serious trouble and we need to be aware of it and begin to try to turn it around. This is not just business running it's course. You may say I'm just "Henny Penny the sky is falling." But there are plenty of other people out there who are smarter than I as well who feel the same way. And only time will tell.

3/24/2006 09:53:00 AM  

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