Freedom is under attack. The Obama administration and the current Congress seem determined to strip Americans of as many of their individual rights and responsibilities as possible. The recent passage of the new health care overhaul may be the most glaring instance, but this administration is focused on growing government’s influence and limiting individual control.
While the White House is busy doing nothing to help respond to the BP oil spill and Congress is preoccupied passing legislation expanding government control over carbon emissions, another more insidious policy is brewing.
The FTC recently released a new report, which considers “the challenges faced by journalism in the Internet age.” According to an article today in The Daily Caller, the report calls for regulations and taxes that will ultimately lead to greater control of the media by the government. Particularly concerning is the influence, the self-identified neo-Marxist Robert McChesney has had on the proposals. As TDC reports, McChesney has made comments like: “The news is not a commercial product. It is a public good, necessary for a self-governing society. Once we accept this, we can talk about the kind of media policies and subsidies we want.”
Here are a few examples of what the FTC proposes:
• The establishment of a “‘journalism’ division of AmeriCorps” to “ensure that young people who love journalism will stay in the field”
• Providing “a tax credit to news organizations for every journalist they employ”
• “Establishing citizenship news vouchers”
• “Increasing postal subsidies for newspapers and periodicals”
• A tax on news aggregators, or even a policy to make news aggregation sites, like the Drudge Report, illegal
• The allocation of roughly $35 billion in public news subsidies
• A five percent tax on consumer electronics
• A ISP cell phone tax
• A revision of the tax code to allow for more nonprofit media
We encountered the beginning of this effort to control the media back in 2008, when Congress was looking to revive the 1949 Fairness Doctrine. As Michelle has written, “On the Left, there is no more hated foe than talk radio, which is considered dominated by conservatives.” That’s why Democratic lawmakers sought a way to “balance” broadcast media. Outrage erupted, however, because it was clear this was an abusive expansion of federal power that could be used to silence critics, rather than spur balanced discussions.
President Obama and the Democrats may try to control what kind of car you drive, what kind of food you eat, what kind of health care you receive, where and how you save your money, and where you send your children to school. But free speech – and a free media – is a fundamental necessity to a democracy.
Now’s the time to speak up about free speech.