I saw this yesterday, and could not resist. It is a perfect analysis of the government current plans for the MSM. The full article is available from the Examiner, and I strongly recommend that you read it in full. Mark Tapscott completely destroys the arguments of Lee Bollinger, President of Columbia University (That alone should give you some indication of the positions presented). Bollinger wrote what is essentially and ode to tyranny for the Wall Street Journal.
I will be reviewing selections of Tapscott’s article.
So my stomach turned when I read Lee Bollinger’s paean in The Wall Street Journal to government-funded journalism. Behind the Columbia University president’s patchwork of logical distortions and historical half-truths are the grinning visages of Hugo Chavez and Professor Robert McChesney, his chief American apologist.
Bollinger wrote as a booster of Obama administration’s FTC initiative to “save” journalism from its allegedly imminent demise. The demise is being caused by the Internet’s destruction of the advertising model undergirding the now-thinning ranks of print and broadcast news organizations that so prospered during the last half of the previous century.
As always with progressives, Bollinger’s solution – and likely Obama’s, too – is massive government funding of selected media organizations. Those selected will be judged, like “too big to fail” banks and car companies, too important to fail; otherwise, Americans won’t be able to obtain “the essential information they need as citizens.”
“…the essential information they need as citizens.”
In other words, you only need to see and hear what the government wants you to see and hear.
Bollinger thus makes common cause with the intentionally misnamed Free Press coalition led by the neo-Marxist McChesney, an Illinois university professor of communications who, presumably with a straight face, claims “aggressive, unqualified political dissent is alive and well” in the thug state formerly known as Venezuela.
Well, it is…in the prisons. Or behind closed doors, while hiding from goons and informants.
Several of the Free Press coalition’s flawed assumptions are prominent in Bollinger’s argument, including the notion that America never had a pure free market in news. We can’t do that because “trusting the market alone to provide all the news coverage we need would mean venturing into the unknown – a risky proposition with a vital public institution hanging in the balance.”
In other words, if they let people read, view, or listen to whatever they want, the “progressive” message gets turned off, or lines the bottom of a bird cage. Surprisingly, people don’t like being insulted and told a long litany of lies.
Never mind that the Internet with no federal subsidies to preferred media outlets today provides more independent news gatherers and analyzers – they’re called “bloggers” – than ever worked in all the newsrooms combined in the old media’s glory days.
That’s why they want to control Internet content. We are far too inconvenient. Just ask Van Jones, Kevin Jennings, Cass Sunstein, Anita Dunn, the ClimateGate Scientists, Al Gore, and a host of others. We have been a very painful thorn in their side. It would be much more easier for them to push their agenda (and the lies that support them) if we were muzzled.
Or that the Internet is driving news delivery technology in new directions at warp speed, thus promising more independent checks on politicians and bureaucrats than Publius could ever have dreamed.
And that is the “progressive’s” biggest problem.
Not to worry, though, because we have the comforting example of heavily subsidized colleges and universities where, according to Bollinger, “those of us in public and private research universities care every bit as much about academic freedom as journalists care about a free press.”
Somehow I doubt Bollinger would understand that those of us fighting to preserve freedom of the press are anything but comforted by his example, publicly assisted schools being among the least free-thinking institutions in America, owing to their pervasive speech codes and other forms of censorship.
Not to mention the threats of failing grades, harassment, death threats, and so on.
But then maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that Columbia University’s president sees no difference between a government-subsidized university system that perpetuates a suffocating academic orthodoxy and government-subsidized news media like that praised by an apologist for Hugo Chavez’s suppression of the Venezuelan media.
After all, his final argument is a warning that other countries are doing it, countries like still-communist China, with its state-run Xinhua News and Central China Television. Clearly, independent journalism is doomed if it must depend for its defense upon “friends” like Bollinger.
Again, kindly read the entire article. It is a great read, and Tapscott completely dissects Bollinger’s points.
This is where we are in terms of freedom of speech. We know that Chavez has shut down unsympathetic news outlets, and has jailed some of their owners. We know that China has a state controlled media, and is still an oppressive state. We know that the political correctness and speech codes on university campuses make them the closest thing to a Marxist state that can exist in the US. Yet Bollinger thinks that these are favorable comparisons?
In so many respects, the masks have come off. More and more people on the left are openly exposing their ideas, and that these people are in positions of power or influence should concern us.
From their perspective, they have to try and control the flow of information. As I pointed out earlier, we have been a massive pain their collective posteriors. We have dug up videos, excerpted books and academic articles, posted quotes, and otherwise expose their ideas and their policies/legislation. And since, in a state of freedom, the American people reject “progressive” ideas, they have to silence dissent. As I have posited many times, Marxism (or fascism and “progressivism”) eventually collapses when information is free. When people can compare individual freedom to any statist system, they embrace freedom. The free flow of information exposes the failures and tyranny of any statist system. Since Marxism, Fascism, and “progressivism” are all based on lies to install them, and more lies to maintain them, control of information is absolutely essential to perpetuate them.
Our “progressive” friends won’t refer to it as that. They’ll make references to “fairness” and “democracy.” Those words are meaningless to them, as they are only selling points, similar to the words that a used car salesman would spew to sell a lemon. The real goal is to control information, and in the end, you-body, mind, and spirit, from cradle to grave.