Allow me to take you back to June, 2013. It was a time of great frustration in our nation’s capitol as the Washington Elite, led by Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. Chuck Schumer, grappled with an issue that Graham called one of the “great issues of our time.”
And what was this “great” issue? Was it Islamic Terrorism? Perhaps it was the economy. Or maybe it was abortion or same-sex marriage. Nope! It wasn’t any of these trivial matters. The issue that consumed their souls dealt with finding a way to limit and control the First Amendment rights of the press.
Known under it original name as the Free Flow of Information Act of 2007, Schumer and Graham presented a new version of the law designed to identify “real journalists” in order to, according to bill’s sponsors, preserve the right of journalists to protect the sources. But according to Andrew Ferguson of The Weekly Standard, the law would actually lay the foundation for government-controlled media:
The act will go a long way toward establishing a government-sanctioned journalistic class. There will be, on the one hand, approved reporters who are immune to certain kinds of governmental inquiry, and, on the other hand, everyone else, those less exalted citizens who, faced with the same governmental inquiry, would just have to suck it up. The act is a classic restraint of trade, protecting favored journalists from the pressure of competitors who lack the proper credential. (emphasis mine)
While this bill died in Congress in 2013, its spirit lives on within the new administration of president-elect Trump.
Over the weekend, Trump announced the appointment of Stephen Bannon–the self-avowed champion of the alt-right, and the Executive Chairman of Breitbart News–as his Chief Strategist. During the campaign, Bannon was the CEO of Trump’s team where he turned the once-respected Breitbart News into Trump’s Personal Pravda, and he plans to continue using it as a weapon to take down Trump’s political enemies. But that’s not the worst part. Bannon’s new gig essentially makes him Trump’s Propaganda Minister.
In 2013, there were those in news media who supported the Free Flow of Information Act in order to protect their own selfish interests–regardless of the constitutional implications. Now, just as then, there are those in news media who support similar unconstitutional efforts when it comes to the Trump administration. Sean Hannity tweeted over the weekend where he advocated banning news organizations such as CNN, New York Times, Washington Post, and others from having access to the White House.
In hindsight, it’s ironic that the events we are witnessing within the Trump administration took place in the Obama administration as well:
- Obama targets the media when they print unfavorable news – So does Trump.
- Obama uses propaganda to control information – Trump will be doing the same.
- Obama is no fan of the Constitution – Neither is Trump.
- Obama had Valarie Jarret to silence political enemies – Trump has Bannon.
Trump frequently mentioned his dislike of the media during the campaign, once stating how he would like to expand libel laws in order to make it easier for him to sue them when they write something negative about him. Is it possible that his personal bias, the Bannon appointment, and the support of media-types like Hannity will bring a new effort to kill freedom of the press?
The apparent answer to that question should frighten us all.
Originally posted at The Strident Conservative
David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative, your source for opinion that’s politically-incorrect and always “right.” His articles can also be found on RedState.com.
His daily radio commentary is nationally syndicated with Salem Radio Network and can be heard on stations across America.