OT: Freedom of the press not wanted?

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It is sadly ironinc that on the day we celebrate the birth of the United States, many are now apparently willing to throw away what others worked so hard to obtain.

Yesterday, FOX News reported that a recent survey found that only 65% of the population believe news stories should be able to be published without government approval. It was a very quick snippet and I've been searching for the source of this information ever since without any luck. Nothing about it on their web site.

Even the mere possibility that one out of every three people in our country think news should be controlled by the government is frightening beyond any potential problem posed by Y2K.

Our mass news media is already controlled, to a significant extent by professional PR firms, who spin the facts and 'mindshare' to their clients own interests. In a world where corporate press releases pass for news and 'towing the party line' is paramount, the death of investigative journalism has gone almost unnoticed.

Did anyone else see this quick 'factoid' and did you happen to catch the source? I'd like to see how the question was really posed and a crosstab on just who this amazing one third of our population was. I'm hoping that there was a significant disconnect between the actual survey and the 'facts' as reported.

If not, this is an extremely grave situation. The institutions that have served our country well, by and large, exist only in our hearts and in our minds. When they pass from our hearts and minds so also will they pass from our physical lives. To paraphrase the well-known quote, there are none so imprisioned as those who will not be freed.

Your comments are appreciated. Assuming that the report was essentially correct, what are some ways to address the situation? I would be particularly interested in Not Again!'s take on this issue if you are still tuned in.

Got pablum?

-- Arnie Rimmer (Arnie_Rimmer@usa.net), July 04, 1999


Stand up guy Arnie writes:

"I'd like to see how the question was really posed and a crosstab on just who this amazing one third of our population was."

Thanks Arnie,

The percentage of people on the "dole" is the reason "Wet Willie" is eatin' quarter pounders in the White House. The "First shit-for- brains" Hillary, may well win office for the same reason.

DieTEr come forth....I command you! Many, many, many trolls to be educated. I bow to your twisted..errrr...saintly intellect.

-- notashaniasongyettoday..damnit (midwestmike_@hotmail.com), July 04, 1999.

Arnie, let's hope that this was one of those surveys rigged to produce the desired outcome. Unfortunately it may not be.

My experience in traveling about the USA and talking to people tend to make me think there is a little fire here underneath the smoke.

I normally try to refrain from perjoratives. However, there IS a portion of our population which can best be described by the newly formed word SHEEPLE.

Forces have been at work for decades to affect the attitudes in our society. They have been, in my experience, to some degree sucessfull. This survey, if true, would tend to show they have been more successful than my worst nightmares.

If the bell curve has indeed shifted *that* much then we as a Free Nation are TRULY lost. God help us.


-- Got Hope?

-- Greybear (greybear@home.com), July 04, 1999.

USA Weekends' July 4th poll: 70% support new gun ownership restrictions. 19% believe most gun ownership should be banned.

Related note: Anybody know how much ammo you can have before being legally required to report it?

-- Gus (y2kk@usa.net), July 04, 1999.

Arnie, the Boston Globe had the following to say today, p.A-14, under "National Briefs". No idea if there is a link:

"Tennessee/Survey's Respondents Say the Press is Too Free/Nashville - A majority of those questioned in a survey sponsored by the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University believe the press has too much freedom. The figure, 53 percent, represents a 15 percent increase since 1997. The survey, released Friday to coincide with the July 4th weekend, explores American commitment to the First Amendment. (AP)"

-- Brooks (brooksbie@hotmail.com), July 04, 1999.

We have become FASCISTS!

It's true, we dont want freedom anymore, we're not sufficiently delinquent to give the gummint "the bird".

I'm no longer a democrat or republican, I'm a registered American Nazi, I support gun control, state media, prayer in schools, an expensive drug war, carpet bombing of small countries, wiretapping, no flag burning, inspect my bank account down to the $2.99 I spent at Burger King yesterday.

You might as well burn the flag, they've burned the constitution already. One 'taint any use without the other.

-- Adolph (Derfuerer@deuschland.com), July 04, 1999.


Here's an article about that poll:


[Fair Use: For Educational/Research Purposes Only]

Public support of news media tumbling in America


Associated Press Writer

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- (AP) -- There is further evidence that the American public is getting fed up with the news media.

A majority, 53 percent, of those questioned in a survey sponsored by the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University believe the press has too much freedom. That's a 15 percent increase since 1997.

``It's a humbling reminder that fundamental rights of expression can disappear if the press and public are not vigilant,'' said Ken Paulson, the center's executive director.

The survey, released Friday to coincide with the July 4th weekend, explores American commitment to the 45-word First Amendment that guarantees freedoms of religion, speech, the press, petition and assembly.

The poll shows most Americans celebrate the 208-year-old freedoms but are not entirely comfortable with them, particularly when practiced on emotionally charged issues such as burning the American flag, school prayer, sexually explicit material on the Internet, public display of offensive art and protests by groups such as white supremacists.

The poll identified freedom of speech as one of the most cherished of constitutional rights, followed by freedom of religion and the Second Amendment's right to bear arms.

Even so, when asked to name any of the specific rights guaranteed by the First Amendment, 49 percent could not. Sixty-three percent said their own knowledge of the amendment was poor or ``only fair.''

That worries some constitutional scholars.

``Those who follow such things know that the First Amendment is under incredible assault on a daily basis, whether from adverse court decisions, proposed laws, scholarly studies or citizen initiatives,'' Paul McMasters, the center's ombudsman for the First Amendment, wrote in an analysis of the poll.

``... The evidence is substantial that the state of the First Amendment is not good. Further, we must be mindful that where attitudes go, action is seldom far behind.''

Freedom of the press took the hardest hit in the survey, which McMasters said indicates ``the news media is in deep trouble with the American public.''

Only 65 percent said newspapers should be able to publish freely without government approval of a story -- down from 80 percent in the 1997 survey.

By notable majorities, Americans also said the news media should not be allowed to endorse or criticize political candidates, use hidden cameras for newsgathering or publish government secrets.

Even student journalists suffer from the fallout. Support for high school newspapers being able to print controversial material went from 45 percent in 1997 to 37 percent in the current poll.

``The survey doesn't address why,'' Paulson said, ``but common sense tells you the airwaves and newspaper columns have been filled with Monica Lewinsky, Marv Albert and the aftermath of the O.J. Simpson case.

``They've all contributed to a sense that the American press has lost its perspective.''

The survey, conducted in February and March, was based on telephone interviews with 1,001 adults by the Center for Survey Research and Analysis at the University of Connecticut. Margin of error is plus or minus 3 percent. ----------------------------------------------------------------------

-- Linkmeister (link@librarian.edu), July 04, 1999.

Include this prayer at the dinnertable in front of your kids:

Dear Lord, preserve our nation against the wiles of the fascists on television and in washington... and all those who would take our freedoms and trample the bill of rights. Restore in their hearts the love of liberty and the respect for self determination which are the true foundations of our country, and not paper money and economic slavery of the masses by the few.

When they insist on saying the pledge of allegiance I always end by shouting "THROW THE BUMS OUT!" It's rude and delinquent but maybe a little reminder of WHO owns the country is in order.

-- Adolph (derfeurer@deuschland.com), July 04, 1999.

Adolph, you radical, perceptive, rabble-rouser, I have this funny feeling I've run across your lifes thread before. Bulls-eye on the topic at hand. But please find a new handle, "Adolph" is a bad choice, even for those of us who are decidedly incorrect.

-- myjewishfreindsareatreasure (midwestmike_@hotmail.com), July 04, 1999.

The Washington Spectator recently had an article entitled "The Selling of Small Town America," which was all about how the small town dailies are almost a thing of the past. Big companies are buying up the dailes, but they don't always put their names on the mastheads.

I think all of this is very frightening. If all we get is sanitized, government inspected news, it will be just as rotten as many government inspected products. It's bad enough already. I really fear for the freedom of the Internet. If the the censors have their way we will be reading pablum. This is, or course, playing right in to the government's hands. Next will be government inspected, censored, sanitized, scrutinized Internet. Yuck!

-- gilda (jess@listbot.com), July 04, 1999.

Thanks folks, once again with your help, I was able to find the source of the information. You can read the original here:
http:// www.freedomforum.org/first/sofa/1999/welcome.asp
I'm back off to this site to read some more....

-- Arnie Rimmer (Arnie_Rimmer@usa.net), July 04, 1999.

What has been and is being lost can be won back, but it will be very difficult. We owe it to our ancestors to pledge our sacred honor, as they did, to preserve the freedoms for which they died. It has to begin with a recovery of the idea of citizenship and the sense of duty and responsibility that comes with that idea, beginning in our local communities.

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), July 04, 1999.

So here it is, question number 27 from the FAC survey....

  27. Newspapers should be allowed to publish freely 
      without government approval of a story.

1997 1999 56% 38% Strongly agree 24% 27% Mildly agree 11% 14% Mildly disagree 6% 18% Strongly disagree 3% 3% DK/Ref

Well, I think the question was straight-forward enough. The results show a nearly unbelieveable lack of understanding of the US Constitution and the history of our nation.

The rest of the survey is equally worth reading.

Got remedial education?

-- Arnie Rimmer (Arnie_Rimmer@usa.net), July 04, 1999.

Believe it.

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), July 04, 1999.

Y2K coming Just In Time to derail blind trust in Government Today!
Ask this question in one year -- the percentages will be different.
If Y2K doesn't rescramble values, then it will take many years of eroding freedom before weeples wake up.

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (allaha@earthlink.net), July 04, 1999.

As the sixteenth amendment has worked out, it allows newspapers (and other media) to sell their product (advertising) for 40 percent off, and still collect full price. It is this provision (enormous profitability) which has driven most newspapers out of business and the surviving newspaper (one in any city) has become mostly an advertising journal. It has also resulted in great consolidation of different media groups into giant corporations. The only reportable news then becomes the desires of the media and allied corporate giants.

There is no real news printed or aired, and you can blame it on the Income Tax, and it was probably planned that way.

-- dave (wootendave@hotmail.com), July 04, 1999.

I posted the analysis of this report a couple days ago. I was surpised that it generated no feedback from anyone here. Here is the link to it...

http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch- msg.tcl?msg_id=0012Bc


-- Jim Morris (prism@bevcomm.net), July 04, 1999.

"Yesterday, FOX News reported that a recent survey found that only 65% of the population believe news stories should be able to be published without government approval."

There is a supporting poll on Drudge right now.

First you would need to read the L.A. Times article:Favoritism Linked to George W. Bush's National Guard Tenure. Then take the survey and look at the results: DRUDGE GUT POLL WAS THE LA TIMES RIGHT TO PUBLISH STORY QUESTIONING BUSH'S SERVICE BACKGROUND? [and this is of people who read Drudge.. which seems somewhat surprising].

-- Linda (lwmb@psln.com), July 04, 1999.

This country is dead, Y2K or not. Because the vast majority of people are crap. This would not be a problem, except that in a democracy (which this country now is, rather than a republic as the signers of the Declaration of Independence envisioned) their crap views prevail.

Today, in an article in the "USA Weekend" magazine supplement to Sunday newspapers, it states that "Our exclusive July Fourth poll finds Americans ready to trade some cherished freedoms for greater safety for themselves -- and their children." The figures they cite bear this out, from questions about the second ammendment and gun control to search and seizure.

My comments:

Oh the children (sob, sniff, boohoo -- barf, gag)
Ever hear of the Sally Struthers car alarm? Sally Struthers portreyed a ditz on a sitcom many years ago. The reason she could do the part so well is that she is a ditz in real life. After that one shot at fame and fortune, she was never heard from again, except in public service announcements guilt-tripping TV viewers to send money to feed the starving children in wog-land. (Yeah, right, feed the starving children so they can grow up to breed 5 or 10 more starving children each.) Anyway, the Sally Struthers car alarm -- touch the car and it blares, instead of the horn/siren, one of her tearful, catch-in-the-throat, sob, entreaties to "save the children."

"Democracy is the theory that the common folk deserve to get what they want -- good and hard!" (paraphrase of H.L. Mencken quote)

"Those that give up essential liberty for temporary safety will end up with neither." (paraphrase of Thomas Jefferson quote)

-- A (A@AisA.com), July 04, 1999.

I agree completely, "A".

"Democracy is a form of religion. It is the worship of jackals by jackasses." -H.L. Mencken

"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." -H. L. Mencken

"The government consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office. Their principal device to that end is to search out groups who pant and pine for something they can't get and to promise to give it to them. Nine times out of ten that promise is worth nothing. The tenth time is made good by looting A to satisfy B. In other words, government is a broker in pillage, and every election is sort of an advance auction sale of stolen goods." -H. L. Mencken

-- Jim Morris (prism@bevcomm.net), July 04, 1999.

I don't get it. A recent PBS documentary on corporate hegemony indicates that 80% of media outlets are controlled by the top 2% of corporations. I think I remember that correctly. Of course that's the same corporate class which owns controls our government.

So, while searching for verification of this deplorable statistic, I came across this http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/press/ which speaks directly to the topic of this thread.


"Get some spine, people. If you're going to insist on being an invertebrate, do it quietly."---gi

-- (Hallyx@aol.com), July 04, 1999.

Actually, the spineless will be the first to suffer the wrath of Y2K. While they're busy entertaining each other....the patriots will move in and assume control. The clean up at the Whitehouse will be the hardest. I'm sure it looks just like that house in "Texas Chainsaw Massacre".....feathers knee deep and bones everywhere. Shall we simply burn it and all parasites found? Personally, I've always found the supreme 'log home' to be most attractive! If not, perhaps a little Clorox... a couple hundred bug-bombs, oh, and let's not forget those plastic mattress liners!

-- Will continue (farming@home.com), July 05, 1999.

What do you expect from a population taught entirely by government-operated schools?

-- GA Russell (ga.russell@usa.net), July 05, 1999.

GA Russell. Thank you. If you hadn't said, I would have been forced to say it myself. Garbage in, garbage out. What we have here is the result of The Prussian (German) Educational System foisted upon the masses. If they taught patriotism, the value of integrity, honesty and other social standards of yesteryear, do you honestly think we would be having the problems we do?


-- OR (orwelliator@biosys.net), July 05, 1999.

Excellent point both of you. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? It takes adults who possess those qualities, to teach those qualities. We don't even have enough parents AT HOME to provide those values to our youth. My daughter (18) openly admits her generation has grown up without heroes or examples to look up to. No more John Waynes, astronauts, Charelton Heston's, Martin Luther King Jrs. Who has been the Winston Churchill of HER generation or the Ghandi? They've had Billy Clinton and OJ Simpsons since they where 10 years old. Enough is enough! I'm just not willing to take this any longer. People like Janet Reno should consider the message that is being shoved down the throats of America's youth....you know....those who will be called upon in need of warm bodies to carry firearms! How are we supposed to teach and convince our children, when they are surrounded by conflicting opinion each time they turn on the television or pick up a newspaper or show up at school each morning? When the majority of their aquaintences have no understanding of these values themselves? Most of the drugs offered to MY children, have come from the parents of OTHER children. Hell-OOOOOooooooo? Our own government and society has blatantly abandoned these things. It will take an enormous wake up call, and Y2K may just be that!

-- Will continue (farming@home.com), July 05, 1999.

Hallyx, thanks for the link to the Frontline piece.

I don't know. We seem to be caught up in this thread with finding who and what is to blame for this unfortunate state of affairs. That's not unlike what will happen if Y2K turns out to be anything more than its current bump in the road status. We've apparently identified several villians already in this short amount of space.

But like the 3 blind men and the elephant, each of us seems to have our own perspective on the underlying root causes. We each appear to have our finger on a small portion of the problem. But also like Y2K, this issue is not reducible to a 5-minute sound bite. Painting this issue in simple colors with a very broad brush does not really do it justice.

How do we achieve a truly independent press? How do we continually reinforce the lessons our own history teaches? How can we make our system work better? How can tolerance for opposing views be balanced with our need for social stability? How can change be managed to minimize chaos? How do we become more responsible participants? I'd like to believe that there are approaches to these questions that can work without throwing the baby out with the bath water.

I wouldn't try to claim that I have all of the answers. But I would claim that this is a significant problem and one that we must address if we are to avoid the inevitable consequences of such this situation.

It should not surprise us that PR firms and certain government organizations would like to control the news media. Profits and power are major driving forces in our nation. But that 1 in 3 US citizens would currently allow government censorship of our news media is more than a little disturbing.

-- Arnie Rimmer (Arnie_Rimmer@usa.net), July 05, 1999.

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