The First Amendment to our Constitution states succinctly: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion … or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press …”
Pretty easily understood. Yet recently, it was announced that the United States is now ranked No. 47 in the world with regard to freedom of the press. To me, that was a shocking revelation. Within days of reading this, the FCC announced that they were proposing sending government monitors and researchers into newsrooms with the alleged purpose of studying the news selection process. After an uproar (small at best), FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said his agency will shelve the study indefinitely. Notice, he did not say the idea would be scrapped, just shelved. This leads one to postulate that once the furor dies down, it will resurface as another of President Obama’s executive actions.
And, as we’ve come to notice, the media’s resistance will be pitiful.
A good friend and professor of journalism recently wrote the following: “The Obama administration has been the most restrictive administration in the history of the country when it comes to the news media. Anyone on the executive payroll who speaks to a reporter or a member of the news media is automatically fired with no appeal. Reporters can’t talk to anyone without it being monitored. They will only get the information that the Obama administration wants them to get. Nothing more. And if they try to do original reporting, they are shut out of official information channels and whomever they talk to is fired without comment.”
So much for having the most open administration in history. Commenting on this subject, President Obama stated earlier in his presidency: “My administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in government.”
He gets four Pinocchios in my mind.
Barbara Samardich lives in Nevada City.