Throughout the history of this country playing the role of a global power, the United States has faced down threats of fascism and communism. The country is now in the throes of a war against terrorism.
However, on ABC's Nov. 22 "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," a panel consisting of Washington Post columnist George Will, Liz Cheney of Keep America Safe, University of California, Berkeley professor Robert Reich and Walter Isaacson is the President and CEO of The Aspen Institute, warned the next ideological battle facing the country is that which China practices - an authoritarian market society or authoritarian capitalism.
"For 37 years, every administration has bet, since Nixon went to China, on a theory, and the theory was that capitalism, market economy, which requires a judicial system to enforce promises, which are called contracts, needs a vast dissemination of information and decision-making that capitalism by its mores and working would subvert the regime, that you could not have an authoritarian market society," Will said. "It's the Starbucks fallacy. It turns out to be a fallacy, that if the Chinese have a choice of coffees, they'll want a -- they'll demand a choice of political candidates. We may be wrong. It could be you can have an authoritarian system."
Want to know how the left really feels about free speech? Look no further than Huffington Post editor and co-founder Arianna Huffington.
Huffington appeared on MSNBC's Nov. 19 "Countdown" to discuss a report by the Anti-Defamation League that alleges Fox News host Glenn Beck is "the most important mainstream media figure who has repeatedly helped to stoke fires of anti-government anger" and therefore endangering society.
"It would be nice to think of Glenn Beck just as a joke, as fodder for this show and the "Daily Show" and others that point out how stupid some of this stuff is," "Countdown" host Keith Olbermann said. "But this report, you know, suggests something else, this is - fear-monger-in-chief term is frightening."
The Wall Street Journal's intrepid and very good Amy Schatz has a piece today updating us on the progress of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)'s National Broadband Plan.
With all that we have thus far seen, things look quite grim from a free speech, free market perspective. The groundwork for government information totalitarianism - favored by people like Hugo Chavez-loving FCC "Diversity Czar" Mark Lloyd and Marxist "media reform"-outfit Free Press founder Robert McChesney - is being laid in the Plan being crafted by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.
As we first reported, the Center for American Progress (at which Lloyd was then a Senior Fellow) and McChesney's Free Press co-authored the deeply flawed, anti-conservative and Christian talk radio "report" entitled The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio.
But their shared disdain for free speech and the free market extend way beyond just this. These "media reformers" seek to eradicate most or all private ownership of all information delivery - be it by radio, television or the internet - thereby leaving the federal government as sole purveyor.
At the top of Monday’s CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric teased a story on the President’s trip to China by casting him as Reaganesque: “Mr. Hu, tear down that firewall. President Obama challenges China’s government to allow unfettered access to the internet.”
Couric introduced the segment that followed by continuing to play up the idea that Obama took a hard line on Chinese censorship: “In China today, he challenged leaders of the communist government to give people greater access to the internet.” Correspondent Chip Reid reported that the President’s actual statement on the matter was hardly so dramatic: “It’s one of the touchiest topics in China and the President’s long answer took on the tone of a polite lecture.”
A clip was played of Obama declaring: “I have always been a strong supporter of open internet use. I’m a big supporter of non-censorship....I have a lot of critics in the United States who can say all kinds of things about me. I actually think that that makes our democracy stronger...” Reid described those comments as a “rebuke” that “was aimed at China’s leaders.” However, He went on to admit: “...if they were watching it on TV, most Chinese were not, because the government allowed it to run on only one local channel in Shanghai. In the rest of China, they aired a soap opera.”
Former CNN host Lou Dobbs stuck to his guns when questions were raised if he was forced out at CNN in an interview with Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly.
However, Dobbs did make one distinction - how his detractors decided to pile on when he was critical of President Barack Obama instead of former President George W. Bush. He elaborated on this on Fox News Channel's Nov. 16 "The O'Reilly Factor."
"I discerned more of a difference between then, which was under the Bush administration, whom I was criticizing and now when it is the Obama administration and an entirely different tone was taken, not so much in the case of CNN management certainly, because there is no - my contract is very explicit. I have absolute editorial control. What I reported is what I chose to report."
"I think that the more freely information flows, the stronger the society becomes, because then citizens of countries around the world can hold their own governments accountable."
That was President Barack Obama speaking to college students as part of his current trip to Asia. The quote surfaced during a town hall discussion in Shanghai, and was widely regarded as a shot toward human rights violations at the hands of the Chinese government.
It's great to see that our President believes in free speech. But apparently, it should only be applied in countries where there is no Rush Limbaugh.
Associated Press reporter Charles Hutzler was quick to offer glowing coverage of the speech in an article titled "Obama to China: Uncensored Society is Healthy." The piece emphatically praised Obama's "animated defense" of free speech while completely ignoring the President's own record of attacking news outlets in the States and urging fellow politicians not to listen to talk radio.
Before continuing, readers are encouraged to set down all beverages and reach for the duct tape, for the blatant hypocrisy to come is unbelievably rich:
Forget Ford Hood and investigating the so-called "terror" connections of Nidal Hasan.
Yours truly has come across something the current crowd running our government might see as even more sinister. The Obama administration, the FBI, the Justice Department, and, most importantly, the White House's speech police simply have to get on this right away.
You see, General David Petraeus visited the Air Force Academy last week and may have uttered a word once thought to have been stricken from all speeches and discussions relating to military matters.
We wrote Monday of Leftist, George Soros-funded "media reform" outfit Free Press, and their extensive relationships with people currently in power at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and in the White House - up to and including President Barack Obama.
With current FCC Chief Diversity Officer ("Diversity Czar") Mark Lloyd and the Leftist, George Soros-funded Center for American Progress, Free Press co-authored the 2007 report The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio. Which calls for the FCC to enforce exceedingly broad (we would say warped) new definitions of the media diversity and localism FCC broadcast license requirements. These new definitions and their enactment are intended to force conservative and Christian talk show hosts off the air, to be replaced by those of a Leftist bent.
Free Press developed then-presidential candidate Obama's communications policies portfolio. Now-President Obama's FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski hired Free Press Press Secretary Jen Howard to serve in the same capacity for the FCC. And Marxist 9-11 "Truther"Van Jones - who was President Obama's "Green Jobs Czar" until his multi-layered, anti-American and paranoid past came to light, forcing him to resign - was a Free Press Board member until 2008.
We also mentioned Free Press's co-founder, college professor and avowed Marxist Robert McChesney. (Some fairly interesting video quotes from him at right; inordinately interesting print quotes from him below the fold.) If you have not yet already had enough Marxism and Marxists, please - read on (warning - there's a Reverend Jeremiah Wright on-video sighting beneath as well).
The broader public is finally being introduced to Leftist "media reform" outfit Free Press and its co-founder, avowed Marxist Robert McChesney. (I appeared on the October 7, 2009 edition of the Glenn Beck television show to discuss one and all.)
Founded in 2002, McChesney's Free Press seeks to transform the media landscape - on radio, television and the internet - via (amongst other ways) sweeping rules changes at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Changes that would dramatically decrease private ownership of the means of news and information delivery, with the federal government assuming an ever greater replacement role.
One intended effect of this shift away from free market media to government-owned media is to diminish what Free Press sees as the inherently right-wing slant of the news that results from corporate ownership. (Have they watched NBC, ABC or CBS - ever?). And in their warped view of the media landscape, conservative and Christian talk radio (which is not news but self-identified opinion) is the most egregious example of this alleged corporatist taint.
Free Press has spent the last seven years developing policy prescriptions and working with like-minded policy and public officials that would make this hoped-for transformational change a reality. And their allies are now in place and in power - at the FCC and in the White House.
A new report on the state of the newspaper industry in Argentina has found that federal appropriations for newspapers have resulted in less coverage of government corruption. This study goes to the heart of the 'newspaper bailout' debate in this country, and demonstrates the danger of supporting the news media with government funds (h/t Mark Tapscott).
Many liberal media commentators have called for direct federal subsidies for ailing newspapers, arguing that federally-supported news media are essential to democracy. The most prominent group in this camp is Free Press, founded by liberal media guru--and avowed socialist--Robert McChesney (incidentally, McChesney has avidly defended Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's crackdown on opposition media outlets in the country).
Let's say, hypothetically, someone was to make a disparaging statement about Fox News and conclude as a news outlet it is way outside of mainstream political thought. Well, then the follow-up appropriate question could be where does that put Fox News' competitors who get just a fraction of the cable news juggernaut's ratings?
Michael Wolff, a contributing editor and columnist Vanity Fair and CNBC regular, told MSNBC's "Hardball" host Chris Matthews on his Oct. 26 program the White House strategy was to marginalize Fox News the same way conservatives once did to liberals, making "liberal" a word with negative connotations. However, he also made the bizarre conclusion that Fox News, which dominates cable news on a regular basis, is "not very popular."
There's little doubt that at hand is an ongoing effort by the Obama White House to marginalize the Fox News Channel - especially after the administration attempted to leave Fox out of the White House pool last week. That is something conservative columnist Cal Thomas said is eerily comparable to Cold War tactics of the old Soviet Union.
On the Fox News Channel's Oct. 24 "Fox News Watch," Thomas alluded to an Oct. 21 column he wrote, which he compared what the Soviets did with radio signals that penetrated the Iron Curtain to deliver a message of freedom from Western Europe - they jammed them.
"I wrote a column on this, this week - if I can promote myself and my own column," Thomas said. "I likened it to what happened during the Cold War, when the Soviet Union especially tried to jam the signals of the Voice of America and Radio Europe, other entities that were trying to pump truth into the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc countries, the so-called captive nations."
Big shock here - MSNBC's Rachel Maddow agrees with the White House, which is the Fox News Channel is not really a news organization.
Sarcasm aside, on her Oct. 23 MSNBC program, Maddow attempted to justify the Obama administration's tack over recent months with Fox News. She laid out a series of events over the past few days that indicated an escalation of the feud between Fox News and the White House, specifically an effort to exclude Fox News from the White House pool.
"Well yesterday the White House said that Fox would not be among the networks invited to interview Ken Feinberg in one of these round-robin pool interviews and the other networks came to Fox's defense," Maddow reported. "They said they would bow out of interviewing Mr. Feinberg's themselves unless Fox was included, so Fox was included."
The cat is out of the bag at the New York Times. The Times has exposed, albeit passively, the true motivation behind the White House's Fox News attacks. Contrary to the administration's claims, it is deriding Fox not because it doesn't report the news, but rather because it does.
It is news, after all, when an organization potentially receiving billions in federal funds aids and abets what it thinks is a criminal organization. It is news when a high-level White House adviser, responsible for the distribution of $80 billion in federal funds, is outed as a communist and a 'truther' conspiracy theorist. It is news when the president's chief communications officer admits her admiration for a murderous dictator.
Throughout the previous administration, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann would nightly attack President George W. Bush and members of his administration and regularly bash some conservative personalities for being too cozy with Bush.
However, when he and his MSNBC colleague Rachel Maddow engage in the same brand of coziness, meeting with President Barack Obama earlier this week, it's no longer an indiscretion. Instead, it becomes justified - since Bush did it. Olbermann appeared on the Oct. 23 "The Rachel Maddow Show" and he and Maddow responded to critics. Maddow asked him to respond to particular comments from former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, now a Fox News contributor, that there would be an outcry had the Bush administration committed something similar.
Earlier, Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., took on the issue and defended Fox and its audience. However, Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, also took on the White House and questioned why it would be something Obama and his administration should be concerned with in comments from the floor of the House of Representatives on Oct. 20.
Just when you thought the White House couldn't possibly do anything to make their bizarre feud with the Fox News Channel an even larger spectacle - the administration manages to take it to another level.
On the Oct. 22 broadcast of Fox News Channel's "Special Report," host Bret Baier revealed a White House pool announcement was offering Kenneth Feinberg, the "Special Master for Compensation," better known as the White House "pay czar" for interviews - all except for one network - Fox News.
"You know, the American people cherish our freedom of speech and a free and independent press," Pence said. "That's why I found this morning's headlines so troubling. Goaded on by a White House increasingly intolerant of criticism, lately the national media has taken aim at conservative commentators in radio and television - suggesting that they only speak for a small group of activists and even suggesting in one report today that Republicans in Washington are quote, ‘worried about their electoral effect.' Well, that's hogwash."
CNN’s Carol Costello again omitted the liberal source of a statistic she touted during a report on Wednesday’s American Morning, that 91% of talk radio is apparently conservative. Costello also pushed the left-wing aim of localism in radio programming, playing three soundbites in favor of the proposal, versus two against it.
Near the end of her report, which aired at the bottom of the 7 am Eastern hour, the CNN correspondent cited ultra-left talker Randi Rhodes (all three clip in favor of localism came from Rhodes), who “says millions of Americans get their political talk from AM radio -- 91 percent of which is conservative.” Costello didn’t cite the source of the figure, which comes from a 2007 report by two liberal organizations -- the Center for American Progress and Free Press -- and co-authored by Mark Lloyd, who is now the FCC’s “chief diversity officer.” The correspondent touted the figure as well during a report on Monday’s American Morning, where she claimed that it came from “Talkers” magazine. The figure itself is misleading because, as MRC’s Culture and Media Institute pointed out, the CAP report ignored “non-commercial radio,” such as NPR and other public radio networks.
Is Barack Obama turning into Spiro Agnew? The White House's attacks on the Fox News smack of the distaste for media opposition espoused by Nixon's vice president almost 40 years ago but are being met with a decidedly different reaction today by the elite media.
Pundits have wondered aloud since last week why the White House would pursue a strategy that seems to be boosting the ratings of a purported 'opposition' news network. MSNBC's Joe Scarborough posited today that the White House's attacks on Fox News are designed to prevent the mainstream media from picking up on stories damaging to the administration (video embedded below the fold, h/t to NB reader Kirk W.).
Every time Fox breaks a story on the radical connections of a White House advisor or appointee, the news is potentially damaging to the administration. But damage is only really done if the rest of the media picks up on the story, reports it, and turns it into a national news sensation, a la Van Jones.
After another round of attacks from the White House, this time from higher levels of the Obama administration, Brit Hume, a senior political analyst for Fox News, went to bat for his network.
On the Oct. 19 broadcast of Fox News Channel's "Special Report with Bret Baier," Hume gave his best effort to rationalize why White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Obama Senior Advisor David Axelrod used two Sunday morning news show appearances to beat up on the highly rated news channel. According to Hume, it was because they disapproved of the stories his channel broke over the last few months.
"It is a little hard to discern a strategy behind the White House campaign of criticism of Fox News unless it's simply this - an attempt to quarantine Fox and thereby discourage other media outlets from following up stories did originate here," Hume said. "The White House is clearly stung by the revelations about former aid Van Jones. He turned out to have harbored views that were out there where the buses don't run and he was forced to resign. And the White House could not much have cared for the hidden camera expose of ACORN - an organization with which the president had a past association and one whose voter registration drives have benefited the Democratic Party."
The White House is stepping up its attacks against the Fox News Channel, labeling it a bastion of stilted and opinionated journalism. A top administration communications official has called the Fox "opinion journalism masquerading as news," and vowed to wage a war of ideas against the network.
Speaking with Time Magazine, White House Communications Director Anita Dunn said that the administration intends to be "more aggressive rather than just sit back and defend ourselves, because they will say anything. They will take any small thing and distort it."
The White House blog has begun singling out and taking on the cable news network. Recent blog posts carry pejorative headlines such as "Fox Lies," and "even more Fox lies." Time calls Dunn the "general" of this anti-Fox campaign.
The news wing of the Media Research Center, CNSNews.com, yesterday reported that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) refused their request for an interview with Chief Diversity Officer Mark Lloyd about his tremendously disturbing First Amendment and communications policy views.
These are views which certainly deserve additional explanation from the man himself. We have analyzed his record at great length, but all of it from the outside looking in. Some direct questions to - and answers from - Mr. Lloyd would be most helpful.
The FCC told CNSNews that it's their policy not to make staffers available to the media. And that is in fact fine; the FCC said its Commissioners are the front line officials and they themselves speak to the media, not those who work for them.
But Congress - and Congressional oversight - is a different story. And Congressman Greg Walden of Oregon agrees. So too does FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. During a September 17 convening of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet, Congressman Walden - who is on said Subcommittee - asked Genachowski if Lloyd would be made available for questions (video at right).
During the Bush administration, journalists and liberal politicians were up in arms against a Defense Department policy that forbade the photographing of caskets coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan. Now that we have a Democrat as a commander in chief, however, the caskets are old news, and are getting little to no coverage.
Critics of the Bush Administration's policy of refusing to allow the photographing of caskets returning from the battlefield claimed that the Pentagon was attempting to hide the true cost of war from the American public to maintain support for the war efforts.
A lawsuit in April 2005 forced the release of hundreds of such photos. University of Delaware professor Ralph Begleiter, who brought the suit against the administration, citing the Freedom of Information Act, said of his victory that it was "an important victory for the American people, for the families of troops killed in the line of duty during wartime and for the honor of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country."
He added that the decision would "make it difficult, if not impossible, for any U.S. government in the future to hide the human cost of war from the American people."
As Byron York notes in today's Washington Examiner,
In April of this year, the Obama administration lifted the press ban, which had been in place since the Persian Gulf War in 1991. Media outlets rushed to cover the first arrival of a fallen U.S. serviceman, and many photographers came back for the second arrival, and then the third.
But after that, the impassioned advocates of showing the true human cost of war grew tired of the story. Fewer and fewer photographers showed up. "It's really fallen off," says Lt. Joe Winter, spokesman for the Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations Center at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, where all war dead are received. "The flurry of interest has subsided."
On Sept. 2, when the casket bearing the body of Marine Lance Cpl. David Hall, of Elyria, Ohio, arrived at Dover, there was just one news outlet -- the Associated Press -- there to record it. The situation was pretty much the same when caskets arrived on Sept. 5, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 16, 22, 23 and 26. There has been no television coverage at all in September.
The journalists that rushed to show the country what two wars really can cost, and the pols that ceaselessly defended them, are silent now the country has an agreeable (liberal) president. That Obama allows the photographing of caskets seems to have taken all of the spice out of it. Coverage at Dover Air Force Base was seemingly more about Bush's policy of forbidding coverage of the return of fallen warriors than it was about the warriors themselves, as so many claimed.
So far this month, 38 American troops have been killed in Afghanistan. For all of 2009, the number is 220 -- more than any other single year and more than died in 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004 combined.
With casualties mounting, the debate over U.S. policy in Afghanistan is sharp and heated. The number of arrivals at Dover is increasing. But the journalists who once clamored to show the true human cost of war are nowhere to be found.
CNN’s Kitty Pilgrim followed the lead of ABC News in reporting the Obama administration’s attempt to use regulatory power to suppress criticism of its health care proposal on Wednesday’s Lou Dobbs Tonight. Pilgrim noted how “[health] insurers are angry because...the government Medicaid office instructed them to cease sending what it called misleading...information about the bill to clients.”
Anchor Lou Dobbs introduced the correspondent’s report 19 minutes in the 7 pm Eastern hour: “Lawmakers and some of this country’s insurers today [are] incensed about what they see as a White House attempt to control information about possible Medicare cuts. The White House yesterday, in fact, warned insurers and health care companies they could face legal action if they spread what the White House calls misinformation about the health care bill.”
Mark Lloyd is the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)'s Chief Diversity Officer, a.k.a. the Diversity Czar. And he has in a recently discovered bit of archive audio goodness detailed his rather disturbing perspective on race, power and the American system.
"It should be clear by now that my focus here is not freedom of speech or the press. This freedom is all too often an exaggeration. At the very least, blind references to freedom of speech or the press serve as a distraction from the critical examination of other communications policies.
"[T]he purpose of free speech is warped to protect global corporations and block rules that would promote democratic governance."
And Lloyd's rather disturbing perspective on Venezuelan Communist dictator Hugo Chavez's "incredible...democratic revolution." To go with Lloyd's bizarre admiration for the thuggishly fascistic manner in which "Chavez began to take very seriously the media in his country."
We have said repeatedly that Lloyd is a man myopically focused on race. What is revealed here is more than just that. Listening to excerpts of his offerings at a May 2005 Conference on Media Reform: Racial Justice reveals a man that finds great fault with our nation's power structure - as he defines and sees it. And in his racially-warped, finite pie worldview, too many white people sit alone in the too few spots atop the heap. They're "good white people," mind you, but ...
Yesterday, Media Research Center Director of Communications Seton Motley again appeared in studio with Glenn Beck to discuss the Obama FCC's drive to regulate talk radio out of existence.
Motley focused on the views of FCC diversity officer Mark Lloyd. Motley argued that, armed with FCC "localism" and "diversity" regulations, Lloyd could prove instrumental in working a back-door regulatory alternative to the so-called Fairness Doctrine.
It's no secret the print newspaper industry is struggling. It's become all too common to hear that papers, like the Christian Science Monitor or the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, have ceased publishing a print edition and gone completely online.
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright addressed this challenge and its impact on a government at the Aspen Institute's Forum on Communications and Society earlier this month. According to Albright, the fourth estate was intended to keep government in check and that countries without a free press tend to be authoritarian societies.
"Let me just say, in terms of Democracy and the free press, I think it is absolutely an essential part and all we have to do is go back and look at our Constitution," Albright said. "But I have looked at this from a number of different angles. When I was an academic, wrote about the role of the press internationally in political change. And there is no question in my mind, in terms of authoritarian societies, if you do not have information, you can't operate and it is power."
Today Media Research Center (MRC) president and NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell denounced the Obama administration for its plans to delve into the private sector for the purposes of researching and regulating the national news media.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced plans for a two-day workshop in December to examine the state of the news industry - which could lead to recommendations for legislation to regulate print, television, and even online media on everything from changes in anti-trust land copyright law to media tax breaks. Some of the proposals being pushed by opinion leaders include direct government funding of media outlets, while other ideas like relaxing anti-trust regulations would still need government approval.
Mr. Bozell issued the following statement in response:
Appearing on his program yesterday, Media Research Center's Seton Motley talked with Glenn Beck about the various regulations the FCC's new diversity czar Mark Lloyd wants to bring upon the terrestrial radio industry, particularly conservative-dominated talk radio.
GLENN BECK: When you read the new diversity officer, what is the most disturbing thing that you have seen? What are the things that he says that stick out to you?
SETON MOTLEY: Well, he's fundamentally opposed to virtually any private ownership of media. [...]
BECK: Tell me exactly what his plan is.
MOTLEY: His plan is to use the nebulous FCC regulations of media diversity and localism to travel alternative routes to arrive at the same destination as the Fairness Doctrine, which is to shut you up by shutting you down. He wants to assault the radio industry to effect an ideological outcome...
You can view the entire segment embedded above on the right.