The main watch dog that protects citizens from the evil deeds and intent of its government is a free press. A free press can expose the blunders, malfeasance and criminality of a government that would rather keep that information from the public view. When the freedom of the press is being assaulted, the very foundation of a free society is being eroded.
When nations fall to a coup; the first move is the seizing of broadcast stations and other media, so that the new rulers can control the information given to the public.
China censors the information its citizens are allowed to hear, like North Korea and other totalitarian states, if you write or speak out against the government, you can disappear.
In Mexico, drug cartels, which have a large influence on the country, kill reporters and editors if they write on their illegal activity. The result of this intimidation has meant many news agencies and journalists refuse to report on the drug violence. See reporters deaths
Americas press is under an insidious assault by the government using the guise of protecting "national security."
Shocking revelations of seizing phone records and other privileged communications of the Associated Press by Eric holders Justice Department, sparked alarm last week by even stalwart Democrats like Congressman Jerrold Nadler of New York, who said:
"I am quite concerned by the appearance of overreach by the Justice Department in its pursuit of records from the Associated Press." In a key part of his statement he finished up with: We must also examine the use of the Espionage Act to criminalize whistle blowers and leaks. While the government has a legitimate need for secrecy -- especially to protect the lives of operatives abroad -- the aggressive use of this powerful law in recent years needs to be reviewed to ensure that its use is appropriate and not a hindrance to journalistic freedom or the free flow of ideas and information."
But Nadler's statement was made before revelations that Fox News had its communications under surveillance and its Washington correspondent, James Rosen, was the target of a criminal probe involving leaks of national security. It is reported that communications records of other Fox News employees were investigated as well.
Even CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson, who has been aggressively looking into the Benghazi scandal, stated her work and home computers seem to have been compromised. Attkisson suggested "there could be some relationship between these things and what's happened to James Rosen." Read more in World Net Daily
Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" said: The Justice Department's secret seizure of phone records from a top Fox News reporter is "disturbing" and suggests the agency is "out of control." He went on to say: "It would be one thing if you're monitoring MSNBC's number ... but you talk about the Fox News bureau, that's what makes it so damning for this White House."
Congressman Ted Poe (R) Texas, member of a group of bi partisan Congress members who are pushing for greater press protection, said:
"We all agree that free press is extremely important for a democracy, especially America's democracy," Poe said at a press conference. "This May should probably be renamed 'May Intimidation Month' because of what has happened in the month of May."
"First, earlier this month, we learned that the Department of Justice secretly launched an investigation to find out who leaked information to the press that was justified by saying it was taken in the interest of national security. But it was nothing short of, in my opinion, a massive intimidation fishing expedition where the government seized phone records of journalists." Read more about this at Politico.com
Both left and right agree, this intrusion by the government into our free press needs to be checked now, before they checkmate our free press and put us on the slippery slope of many totalitarian states.
- First published at Irish Central May 22, 2012 under the title: Assault on our free press could make America no better than a banana republic
Ed Farnan lives in the US and has been writing articles and opinion pieces as a conservative/liberterian for years.
Topics include: Energy independence, questioning the science behind global warming, secure borders, 2nd amendment rights, smaller government and the many great Irish influencers of yesterday and today.
Ed's columns have been linked to or appeared in various publications such as WSJ, NY Daily News, NY Post, Washington Times, Des Moines Register, USA Today, India Times, AMAC, and many other publications throughout the USA and world. Ed is often a guest on radio stations in Europe and the USA and is a guest on Fox News.