COMMENTARY: Freedom of journalistic integrity is now a third wheel in American politics. The president is the bull in the china shop working hard to entrance us to not worry about a shrinking First Amendment through repetition of the term “fake news.”
Forty-six percent of Republicans and 28 percent overall polled think it is OK for the government to censor or otherwise stop anti-Trump criticism when you don’t agree. Forty-six percent are undecided.
While many school systems lack solid civics courses, almost half of U.S. college students don’t understand what is “free speech.”
It’s becoming OK to attack and/or jail reporters who raise tough questions if the listener doesn’t like what’s heard.
I don’t support anarchists, but jailing and bringing to trial reporters doing their jobs? Six journalists were arrested among the rioters on Jan. 20. Several were released before trial.
Those still held were exonerated by a jury on Dec. 21. There is still local resistance.
And now 45 apparently is acquiescing to Putin’s new law that can require, e.g. CNN, VOA, to resister as foreign agents, essentially identifying them as “hostile.”
The president attacks the media; it is “wrong” to criticize him. The right to speak out freely without facing violence, censorship or jail is under assault in the U.S. Students want to ban “hate speech.”
The administration is pushing free speech and real journalism into another rabbit hole.
We hear about the squeezing of journalism on various levels almost daily. There are many suppressed stories in the U.S., e.g. Pentagon waste and widespread lead contamination.
On the other hand, most Americans are not aware of changes in our local media, especially consolidation of ownership. Without discussing Joe Ricketts, who shut down a chain of local news outlets because he objected to unionization in one or two, there is more coming to light.
Sinclair Broadcast Group is buying its way into 72 percent of local media TV outlets in some 81 major U.S. markets. Apparently KCBC and KFOX in El Paso now owned by Sinclair. There is a supposed investigation of Sinclair’s $3.9 billion takeover of the Tribune media group by the FCC. But there will not be any issue arising from Sinclair’s expansion far above the legal limits. Loopholes exist or can be manufactured.
Thanks to an FCC rule change we now have a national company owning and operating 173 local TV stations — even thought the New York Times says 241, as if the deal with the Tribune was absolutely final. And 241 will be the final number. Wikipedia notes apparently only 147 independent local TV stations remaining in the U.S. (I add at least KTAL in Las Cruces).
Do y’all know that Sinclair requires its new local stations to become pro-45’s microphone on command? Such stations are required, within 48 hours of notice, to publish or state pro-president statements on “x” or risk trouble.
Are we seeing the beginning of Trump TV in America? Its time to be aware, learn, organize and fight.
“Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us.” – Justice William A Douglas
Jerry Nachison is a Las Cruces resident who is active in local politics and nonprofits. He’s a retired social/housing gerontologist. Agree with his opinion? Disagree? We welcome your views. Learn about submitting your own commentary here.