Traitors in the ranks
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is just one sentence long, yet it marshals diverse and impressive forces to protect the people from the overreach of their government.
Religious bodies can unite people around transcendent values that judge the government’s actions, and the government cannot eliminate them or consolidate them into a subservient state church.
The entire population can discuss and opine about the government and those who make it up, and, the government cannot compel praise or silence mockery.
The press can investigate, report upon and opine about the government, and, like religion, the government cannot eliminate the press or consolidate it into a government propaganda outlet.
The entire population can form peaceful ranks and demonstrate in public places, and the government cannot disperse them.
All law abiding citizens are free to take part in the political process, and the government cannot disenfranchise them.
It doesn’t take long to think up examples - lots of them - of the government gaining ground against these forces of freedom. Government does this incrementally, and its best weapons are traitors within the forces themselves.
In my opinion there is no more egregious group of First Amendment traitors today than the press. Too many have abandoned their Constitutionally protected role as protectors of a free people and have allowed a de facto government propaganda ministry to emerge.
Sean Davis, acting as a true journalist (although efforts to remove bloggers and others from the ranks of journalism are underway) tracks the Twitter activity of several high profile government favored news people. In his recent piece “All the King’s Bootlickers,” Davis catches the flow of talking points being circulated by those who’ve betrayed the First Amendment to advocate for desired pals in high places rather than protect the people from them.
Go to the link to see a telling exchange of Tweets, as Davis busts NY Times Magazine and GQ contributor Robert Draper circulating a talking point from former Obama administration staffer and now NBC contributor David Axelrod.
There are exceptions. I’ve shared before my admiration for California journalist Steven Greenhut, who blends investigative reporting with effective commentary on the role of government. He winds up in some refreshingly non-partisan territory, as likely to take on law enforcement agencies as public employee unions.
But the ranks are sagging with traitors, so much so that misinformation, sensational distractions and outright propaganda make up the bulk of American “press” right now. It is a great loss to all of us, and one wonders how so many journalists just can’t see the lofty place from which they’ve fallen.
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