Oh boy…my inner Roy Neary is at it again.
I thought I had successfully exorcised Roy right out of my system, but I guess I was wrong. Roy is painting Devil’s Tower across my mind with neon-colored markers, and that five-note melody is starting to boom from behind it.
It gets louder with the ascendancy of each new czar. It rang with urgent insistence with every rumor of compulsory health insurance, it played with manic intensity with every replay of the “Mao is my favorite philosopher” video, but it was the Obama administration declaring war on FOX News that boomed out the melody like Roy Neary’s mothership upon arrival.
But it wasn’t the spat…that’s just Chicago politics.
It’s the stuff AROUND the spat that has my inner Roy Neary spinning out of control.
Certainly spats between the White House and the media are not unique, but this one is enraging even the venerable Helen Thomas.
Here’s what’s bothering me.
Rahm Emmanuel defines the administration’s stance on FOX News:
The Obama administration dismissal of a major media outlet as “not a news organization” goes beyond an attempt at marginalizing dissenting voices within the media, it is the first step toward taking away a news organization’s right to access, and limit their ability to report the news.
White House Communications Director Anita Dunn, calls FOX News “the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party”, continuing the push toward establishing Executive branch exclusionary rights over the press.
David Axelrod continues the administration’s attacks on FOX:
Note that both Emmanuel and Dunn hold up CNN News as being a true news organization, and that both Axelrod and Emmanuel go so far as to suggest that CNN and other news outlets should not allow themselves to be led by FOX News, questioning their legitimacy as a news organization in the process.
Translation: CNN and others should not pick up and report on news stories broken by FOX News.
That message is so blatant that even MSNBC is catching on:
So, what is the Administration’s end game here?
This is where Roy finally sees the spaceship come over the mountain.
This little blurb from The Hill caught my eye:
The president said he is “happy to look at” bills before Congress that would give struggling news organizations tax breaks if they were to restructure as nonprofit businesses.
“I haven’t seen detailed proposals yet, but I’ll be happy to look at them,” Obama told the editors of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Toledo Blade in an interview.
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) has introduced S. 673, the so-called “Newspaper Revitalization Act,” that would give outlets tax deals if they were to restructure as 501(c)(3) corporations. That bill has so far attracted one cosponsor, Cardin’s Maryland colleague Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D).
Newspapers restructuring themselves as 501(c)(3) corporations and receiving money from the Federal government?
Wouldn’t that place those “restructured” newspapers in the same position as those banks that received Federal bailout, and now are supervised by the Fed?
Imagine a newspaper owned “by the people”, beholden to the Federal government, and operating under the strict limitations imposed on them by the newly acquired 501(c)(3) status: limited to spend a minimal percentage of their income on political speech, and strictly regulated when expressing opinions on political issues.
Actually, you don’t need to imagine it, the FCC is scheduled to discuss such newspapers in December.
Is it truly a free press that is limited to publishing what the government allows it to publish?
If you ask Castro, Chavez, and Zelaya, they will tell you that eliminating media opposition after you have seized power is in the best interest of the people, and (as Chavez puts it) journalists expressing opposition to government control of the media can be compared to “drug traffickers opposing anti-drug laws or criminals complaining about crime-fighting”.
Perhaps Barack Obama is not comparing media opposition to drug traffickers and criminals yet, but he is directing his administration to attack the legitimacy of the opposition by trivializing its news credentials.
So what do we have here? What does the future hold for us?
It was an encouraging sign to see the media stand in solidarity against The White House, and in defense of the First Amendment, but is that enough?
We know that Castro took measures to control the media after taking power, that Chavez did the same, and any reasonable person will assume that Zelaya was planning on following the Socialist blueprint to the “t”.
We know that NBC is owned by GE, that GE received a $140 billion bailout, and that it was NBC that was granted unprecedented access during their filming of “Inside the Obama White House” infomercial.
We know that he is discussing the possibility of bailing out newspapers, effectively putting newspapers under government control.
We know that he has the populist movement (Organizing for America) set in place.
We know he’s got the shock troops (ACORN) set in place.
We know that he has been extremely busy demonizing any group who opposes his policies (tea partiers, FOX News, the US Chamber of Commerce, etc), while simultaneously fostering class warfare.
And now we see that he may very well be building himself a State-run media arm.
Who is going to be surprised when the movement to overturn the XXII Amendment to the Constitution begins in earnest?
After all, when speaking of the removal of Manuel Zelaya from office in Honduras, Obama pledged that the US would “stand on the side of democracy”, and called the unanimous actions of the Honduran Congress, the Honduran Supreme Court, and the Honduran military “not legal”.
Obama raises Democracy above Constitutionality…and THAT is what brought Roy Neary to life in my mind.
Now I am puzzled.
Why don’t we all know what Roy Neary knew beyond a shadow of a doubt?
Why can’t we all see the huge spaceship hovering over our heads?
Being Roy Neary can sure be a lonely thing.
Some last quotes…food for thought if you may:
“What we’re facing now is a drive for a real one party press, not through free expression but through open intimidation by the top officials of our government… I cannot help but wonder what the substantive difference is between the administration’s position and that in practice in the Soviet Union.”
Who said that?
Not Rush Limbaugh, not Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity or Bill O’Reilly. As a matter of fact, it was no one from FOX News. It wasn’t even Helen Thomas.
You should have figured out that speaking about the Soviet Union in the present tense effectively dated that statement.
That’s a quote from Norman Isaacs who was the president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors during the Nixon administration, commenting on President Nixon’s and Vice President Agnew’s attempts to chill free speech and the press.
Here’s another one:
“Certainly government officials have a right to defend their actions and to challenge those who criticize them… But when the highest officials of the government launch a deliberate and premeditated attack upon the right to comment…this is a serious matter and a cause for alarm.”
That was Senator Hubert Humphrey also discussing the Nixon White Hose.
One last one:
“What the hell do they think we are, puppets?”
Not nearly as eloquent, that is veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas’ reaction to the Obama administrations’ attempts to control the media.
They say that politics make for strange bedfellows, and the combination of FOX News and Helen Thomas could be the strangest one in the Universe.
Just ask Roy Neary about strange bedfellows…if you can figure out where in the Hell he went after he got in that spaceship.