It’s such a bizarre question, one I never thought to ask … until now. Does the Press really want freedom? By freedom, I mean more than Freedom of the Press, but the larger scope of Freedom of Speech. After all, the hierarchical lines between them have been blurred thanks to the Digital Age’s empowerment of the common man to report and comment at will. The truth is, the powers of the Press no longer have a monopoly on news.
But within the world of “official” Press entities there’s harassment against their competitor’s wares, and legislation is not impartial in the fight. For example, consider the impact of the euphemistic “[[Fairness Doctrine]]”, which shifts the freedom of the public to explore opposing viewpoints on their own to the FCC’s judgment. Not so hypothetically, what if the [[Rush Limbaugh|biggest voice in political talk show history]] had their airtime cut back by stations across the country to make room for other shows deemed having a “balancing” bent? Listeners and ratings are dollars to such stations, and the impact would be immediate. And why would a majority of consumers be deprived of their choice, as if there wasn’t an existing — and naturally proportional — media market for minority views in a given medium? There is a lot of market share to lose — and therefore certain others will gain — from media supporting such regulation.
So who wants this? At this moment, the press itself is actually attacking talk radio.
With no foreknowledge that the [[2011 Tucson shooting|recent shooting in Arizona of Congressman Giffords]] had any political influence or motivation, the press put the cross-hairs of blame on Conservative politicians and media, reloading word-for-word defamations used previously against the Tea Party’s verbal tenor the year before. Yes, we could make tally sheets of supposedly violence-inducing rhetoric against Bush and Obama and kill more than a tree for each, but how is this any different — apart from its propaganda value — than when Rock Music was once the cause of sexual promiscuity?
At a time news sources couldn’t even get the life/death status of Giffords right, they judged and convicted public figures by name, and I don’t mean the shooter. When [[Sarah Palin]] called the press out on such unfounded partisan mongering in a time of grieving, she was accused of being an opportunistic voice — ABC’s The Note stated “Sarah Palin once again has found a way to become part of the story.” The fact that the press ran accusatory statements against her personally to require a response makes such a statement tantamount to an inexcusable lie.
Was it metaphorically appropriate for her to call such accusations against an amorphous collection of people “blood libel”, a term historically referring to lies told about Jews killing children and using their blood to make matzoh? Maybe, maybe not. But it was not “politically correct” and in typical fashion, opponents are conveniently assuming how offensive it must be to Jews without even asking.
More subjectively skirting the truth, a Washington Post staff editorialist wrote “As Obama urged unity, Palin brought division”. I find it hard to believe he listened to her speech or read the transcript— Palin laid shame where it belonged, and it belonged to the likes of editorialists like himself. She called for maturity in accepting and not blaming free speech and dialogue, while Obama dug in his heels on the ambiguous line of linguistic restraint. And standing more than a bit Left of center, that tends to mean by the force of Law, regulation.
Out of dire necessity, Palin made perhaps the most important, timely, and definitive statement of these times about dealing with such things as a governed society:
“We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions. Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own. They begin and end with the criminals who commit them, not collectively with all the citizens of a state, not with those who listen to talk radio, not with maps of swing districts used by both sides of the aisle, not with law-abiding citizens who respectfully exercise their First Amendment rights at campaign rallies, not with those who proudly voted in the last election.”
In other words, contrary to Obama in a venue of free t-shirts and buttons (literally), she did not set the stage for a political excuse for regulation, but took the more human route, where people can refuse a panicked run to the Senate floor, and resolve differences without their being a legal ramification for every noun, verb, or adjective. It’s a call to common sense in the towns and villages, not more busybodyness on Capitol Hill.
But this isn’t about Palin and whose side the press is on, though they seem to malign her at every chance with the same verve they campaigned for the recession to become a self-fulfilling reality. The real amazement is that the media sharks are not just frenzied in making bad news ‘badder’, but feeding on themselves more than ever. It doesn’t make sense … or does it? After all, the Press is Big Business.
So let’s look at it from a business regulation standpoint rather than Constitutional liberties.
With respect to an established marketplace, it can be argued that regulation actually hurts competition. Large corporate entities can handle it easily. They seem to thrive on paperwork as if it were the [[endoplasmic reticulum]] at the cellular level of their culture. For example, consider the demographic relationship between company size and ISO 9000 certification.
It is the mom-and-pop store, the home business, the start-up entrepreneur who is weeded out of growth and the ability to compete at a higher level by such things. Even if government legislation wasn’t so commonly target-specific in which companies and industries benefit or are hurt, the general regulatory milieu is too thick to traverse for most new businesses without a lot of venture capital from existing entities.
And some of that venture capital must be used to lubricate the DNC and RNC to receive the blessings of loopholes in a system created bill-by-bill, earmark-by-earmark, indirectly by those who backed legislators in elections past. Even the most-praised “reforms” of an industry by government are not what they seem. It is no secret the recent health bill was basically written by a consortium of HMOs a month before the Senate passed it without reading. The result was a guarantee to increase their customer base by the mandates and taxation powers of their hired gun, Uncle Sam.
In other words, the powers of the Market don’t want to be free. And the Media, with it’s own corporate behemoth club, is no exception.
We like to think of the Press as a bastion of freedom, a safeguard from tyranny, not unlike the disputable position that government is a safeguard against the darker side of Capitalism. But as the Free Market is dominated by Big Business, the Press is dominated by the big media corps. Though they appear autonomous in purpose, in the fiscal game one is a subset of the other. There is no division between government and business, no ethical arms-length relationship. And recent events have made it more telling than usual that an equal, unspoken conflict of interest in the [[Fourth Estate]] exists.