If there is one thing the powers-that-be do not like it’s citizen journalism and the alternative media and currently proposed Senate legislation aims to ultimately destroy it. Thursday’s remarks by Sen. Dianne Feinstein reiterate just how desperate they are at accomplishing that goal.
Since the founding of the United States, citizens passionate about keeping the public informed about important information have been hailed as integral to the safety and security of the US and its people.
As a result, individuals distributing information they’d written and related images (journalists), to anyone wanting to read that information, became one of the most protected classes in society. Regardless of who that individual may be or who they were distributing their information to.
The founders realized it was so important in fact it was spelled out in the very first Amendment to the Constitution and legal arguments throughout the years have solidified the necessity of maintaining those protections. To not only insure the safety and privacy of journalists and their sources, but also their freedom to purvey that information. As long as what was published doesn’t jeopardize national security or the secret identity of an agent of the government who is also working to protect those freedoms.
The founders knew that “news” was typically something someone else didn’t want printed and thus the very reason for the need for those protections. Especially if that information pertains to the government, or any potential wrongdoings or crimes being committed by government officials, so the people may stay informed and educated about their government and what it’s doing, for their own protection as well.
Over the past few decades however consolidation of almost every commercial media outlet in the country has ultimately led to the monopolization of media down to over 90% of everything the average American hears on commercial US airwaves.
This has not only allowed for extreme elite control over the information that flows through those channels, it has opened a window of opportunity for individuals not related to that major media-establishment to have a platform of their own. The “alternative” media. The vast majority of which operates on the internet. Mirroring what the media generally used to be, prior to the establishment media’s total consolidation.
Many people have naturally and rightfully been attracted to this alternative resource through what was an inevitable transition, as people began to realize they actually had a choice.
As time has gone by, people have slowly begun realizing many citizen journalists and alternative media outlets to be far more credible than just about any of the options available through the old, monopolized system of so-called “elite,” establishment/corporate-owned news. This includes both those holding journalism or mass media degrees and related educations, to individuals who have simply realized their passion for information sharing and have been recognized as reliable sources, regardless of whether or not they hold so-called “formal” media-related degrees.
But as much as people have been understandably reluctant to come to terms with the information they’re being allowed to see in the alternative media as a whole, largely because of just how shocking and unnerving the truth happens to be, the process of transformation from establishment news being the most watched, to the alternative media threatening the old media’s very existence, has been happening nonetheless. Prompting the old establishment to seek ways to combat what seems to be an eventual and inevitable changing of the guard.
SOPA, PIPA and CISPA were some of the first attempts by the establishment to regain control over the flow of US news and information, billed as attempts to stop “online piracy” (a non-issue) and to ensure so-called “cybersecurity,” an issue itself that should be left up to each individual company or corporation to pay for and worry about on their own.
But thanks to a growingly-informed public, largely and ironically thanks to the very internet, citizen-journalism and the alternative media the establishment clamors to silence, those attempts were shot down by the people holding their elected officials accountable during historic displays of the power of an informed and activated citizenry.
But that hasn’t stopped those most vulnerable, should the public become completely aware of who these people actually are and what they’ve truly been up to, from continuing to attempt using the power of the federal government to silence real journalism and free speech.
In the same way the so-called “Patriot” Act was an unnecessary piece of legislation, allegedly aimed at doing what the federal government was already capable of doing, yet ended up being something totally different than what the people were originally told to believe, so too is the newest gem to come out of the ranks of “politicians” hell-bent on destroying the freedoms so many have paid incredible prices to protect in the USA for over a quarter millennia.
Keeping with the tradition of naming pieces of proposed legislation the exact opposite of what it was supposedly intended, or naming it in such a way so as to fool the populous in to believing the bill is something that it isn’t, a so-called “bipartisan” group of Senators recently revived (2009) the proposed “Media Shield” bill, or literally the “Free Flow of Information Act” (S. 987) that, just as in almost every other piece of legislation dealing with the internet over the past few years, is intended to do just the opposite of “shielding” the media (any person relaying information to the public, under law, especially on the internet) from those who would ironically wish to silence, intimidate or imprison journalists or their sources.
Or, as in this case, quelling the “free-flow of information” on the internet.
But as if it wasn’t already odd that these same freedom-hating politicians would be aiming to introduce legislation to “protect” a class of individuals that are already clearly protected via a thoroughly defined 1st Amendment, in addition to hundreds of years of supporting legal arguments, it was Thursday’s statements, made by one of the most infamous, freedom-hating politicians Americans have seen in quite some time, that revealed the true nature of the proposed legislation.
In an attempt to literally re-define what it means to be a journalist and strip away allegedly “inalienable” protections granted to the people via the Constitution, while the other Senators in the committee pretend to be introducing the bill to protect journalists, Sen. Dianne Feinstein revealed her abhorrent disdain for the free-flow of information on the internet and specifically internet journalists by arguing that they should no longer be allowed the same protections under law that pro-establishment, aka “real” journalists, according to Feinstein, receive.
While introducing an amendment to the bill, Feinstein argued a “covered journalist” is someone who gathers and reports news for "an entity or service that disseminates news and information." Including “freelancers, part-timers and student journalists.” Whereas a “17-year-old with his own website” should not continue to be granted the same constitutional guarantees.
"I can't support it [the bill] if everyone who has a blog has a special privilege," she said. Then arguing that “if Edward Snowden were to sit down and write this stuff, he would have a privilege…I'm not going to go there."
When, ironically enough, Edward Snowden leaked his “classified” information, which revealed such realities as the Constitution-destroying NSA spying program that recently made world headlines, to a The Guardian journalist (Glenn Greenwald) who holds a degree from a so-called reputable educational institution. Rendering her argument revealing and ridiculous and prompting the most successful internet journalist thus far, Matt Drudge (responsible for exposing the scandal that eventually led to Bill Clinton’s impeachment), to offer his opinion on the matter…Calling Feinstein a “fascist” Friday from his Twitter account.
A sentiment agreed to by much more than just the average individual giving their side of the story on the internet.
Make no mistake about it. Just as all the other internet-freedom-hating bills that have been introduced over the past few years, this bill too was introduced to eventually silence the alternative media and to protect the establishment and it’s totally controlled ‘mainstream’ media from falling into total irrelevance, as the current trends indicate will eventually be the case. As the alternative media looks to become America’s #1 trusted source for accurate and timely news and information. Something the establishment is doing everything it can to avoid, to not much avail, unless they can successfully implement legislation like SOPA, PIPA or the Media Protection bill.
If one were able to travel back in time to the days of the American Revolution, it would be interesting to find out what early citizen-journalists like Benjamin Franklin and Paul Revere (who held no journalism degrees of their own) would have thought about these current attempts to strip their successors, over 250 years later, of the very Constitutional protections they helped pioneer.
If left up to American-freedom-hating people like Feinstein, Schumer and other very closely related individuals, that is exactly what would eventually happen. Looks like its time to contact your rep.
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