“Journalism is about covering important stories. With a pillow, until they stop moving.”
~ Iowahawk (David Burge)
Free speech – a First Amendment right and something getting a lot of attention these days.
Speech has always been subject to certain curbs. We’ve always had the ability to say anything we wanted but politeness and propriety enforced by societal mores prevented “coarse” speech. I’m old enough to remember the first time I heard a curse word on TV – OK, I don’t so much remember the actual word (it was damn) as I remember my parents being shocked and talking about it.
The 60’s changed all that and leading the way were comedians like Lenny Bruce and the free speech activism coming from the progressive left based out of the Berkeley campus. Over time, the social mores changed society became more permissive about the words used – the entertainment industry ushered this change along with a desire to be more “gritty” and “realistic” and to create shock.
The Berkeley crowd challenged the restriction of speech as the restrictions of ideas – and they were right.
Soon, not only was speech freer, behaviors followed in kind.
But politically, the left still controlled the major print outlets and the broadcast networks. With the left’s stranglehold on ABC, CBS and NBC, they owned the narrative and therefore, as the Control Voice from the old TV series “The Outer Limits” said:
“There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, sit quietly, and we will control all that you see and hear.”
And they did.
That all changes with the FCC repealed the “Fairness Doctrine” (that was anything but fair) in 1987 – but the tectonic shift came on August 1, 1988 when the Rush Limbaugh Show premiered nationally. Limbaugh capitalized on a massive audience hungry for a conservative message and a counterpoint to the unilateral political views being offered by the broadcast networks and the progressive dominated print media. Conservative talk radio exploded. Then the political landscape shifted again 8 years later, on October 7, 1996, when Fox News went on the air in a cable news market dominated by CNN.
With the growth of cable TV, viewpoints numerous as the number of broadcasts, shows and hosts, speech became truly free. It was a time when the presence of the Yin was balanced by this new Yang media – people could now see more than the perspective they were being fed by the left-leaning media and for the first time, could make up their own minds with a full palette of perspectives.
The internet also brimmed with promise to raise free speech to an entirely new level. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube opened new channels for independent voices to be heard.
But conservatives made the classic “Flounder Error” (gratuitous Animal House reference) with the largest internet platforms. In the immortal words of Eric “Otter” Stratton, “You fucked up… you trusted us!” Conservatives invested time, effort and treasure in establishing a base on Internet platforms that are private businesses owned by progressives…and with the power to shadow ban, de-platform and censor any speech they consider inappropriate – and “inappropriate” means “conservative”.
In an age of perpetual offense, speech can no longer be governed by politeness or propriety. Speech is now being curtailed, not due to what you say, but who you are and what you believe. Conservatives are now being attacked for being bad, evil people – not for their ideas.
If you believe a certain way, you have no First Amendment right to speak – at all. That is what the progressive left is saying, proud and out loud.
In a world government by the postmodern idea of relativism, once something is defined as evil, there is no limit to what can be done to stop it, even when free speech is constitutionally guaranteed. The power rests in the ability to define, not to debate.
We can debate whether Alex Jones should have been de-platformed for being a conspiracy nut (he should not) while there is are two “news” networks – CNN and MSNBC – remain alive. We can debate whether Candace Owens (a black female conservative) should have been banned from Twitter (she shouldn’t) for changing “white” to “black” and then tweeting the exact words tweeted by the New York Times new pet racist Asian editor (who faced no such scrutiny).
But this is how the progressive left shuts down voices from the right and regains the power to control the media and the subsequent conversation – the same control as they had in the age BL (Before Limbaugh) – they sucker the conservative Flounders into trusting that the platforms have a respect for free speech and then the progressive internet overlords decide who should not be heard.
The media is, in fact, the enemy of the people and it is because it is the enemy of free speech. They want to return to a time when they can unilaterally decide what you should hear because free speech might hurt progressivism and its chosen host, the Democrat Party.
One thought on “Reaching the Outer Limits”
Freedom of the press is enshrined in the First Amendment as a protection against the tyranny of government. Fair enough, but when members of the press and social media become the tyrant, IMHO, only the people can determine when enough is enough. Both the government and the press, with few exceptions, can be entirely trusted to represent the interests of the people. True statesmen have always been a rare commodity and the press, for all of their denial otherwise, have always had their own bias, (read up on some of the truly foul press attacks on George Washington). Fortunately we the people can control the marketplace with our $$ and our memberships, (or lack thereof) and we can loudly demand a convention of the states that, hopefully, will return power to the people and perhaps require the press to maintain some standards of decency and objectivity or get themselves sued out of existence when their false and misleading “journalism” attempts to destroy someone’s character.