Category Archive 'Freedom of the Press'
19 Aug 2018
Kevin D. Williamson puts the hundreds of newspaper editorials recently deploring Donald Trump’s criticisms of the establishment media into proper perspective.
If we want a culture of open and robust discourse, then we do not want a culture in which Brendan Eich is driven from his job for having an unpopular view on gay marriage. If we want a culture of open and robust discourse, then we do not want a culture in which there is an organized-campaign-style effort to have journalists dismissed from their positions for holding unpopular views, or a boycott every time the New York Times or the Washington Post (or, I suppose, The Atlantic) adds a columnist who is not likely to please the Bernie Sanders Campaign Historical Re-enactors Society at Reed College. It is true that none of these things is a formal violation of the First Amendment, because the First Amendment is a restriction on what kind of laws the federal government may enact. But calling CNNâ€™s daily output â€œfake newsâ€ isnâ€™t a violation of the First Amendment, either.
Whatâ€™s actually at work here is a variation on â€œHeads I Win/Tails You Lose.â€ When the Left wants to stop an unpopular speaker from delivering remarks at Berkeley, then thatâ€™s just meeting speech with more speech and some firebombs. And, itâ€™s true: There isnâ€™t any First Amendment reason why you canâ€™t have a riot at Berkeley every time Ann Coulter gets invited to speak there. But there are all sorts of other reasons.
If there is going to be more to freedom of speech than â€œCongress shall make no lawâ€ â€” which is what we should want â€” then that has to be true for everyone.
Freedom of the press is not some special license granted to organizations that incorporate as media companies. There is no intellectually defensible model of free expression that protects the editorial page of the New York Times but not Hillary: The Movie. Of course, itâ€™s easy to think of a pretext for suppressing communication you donâ€™t like: If you donâ€™t like what Citizens United is saying, then you shut it down with â€œcampaign finance reform,â€ which, we should remember, worked â€” until the Supreme Court stopped it. If you donâ€™t like that oil companies fund organizations that criticize global-warming policies, then you claim that this amounts to â€œsecurities fraud.â€ If you donâ€™t like that the NRA is an effective advocate for its positions, you use banking regulations to hamstring it financially. Donâ€™t like somebodyâ€™s social or religious views? â€œHate speech.â€ Easy as that.
We donâ€™t need conjecture: Weâ€™ve seen how this goes. The Obama administration used the Espionage Act to punish whistleblowers, spy on journalists, and interfere with reporting it didnâ€™t want done. Under Obama, the IRS targeted conservative nonprofits for harassment and more under the guise of enforcing the tax code â€” and it illegally disclosed private information about an advocacy group that irritated Democrats. The same people demand the power to set the terms for political debate, saying they want to â€œkeep money out of politics,â€ a claim that it is impossible for any mentally functional adult to take very seriously.
Freedom of the press does not mean extending special privileges, legal or customary, to the New York Times and CNN. And freedom of speech means a lot more than the absence of formal censorship by the federal government. Formal protections for free speech are important and necessary, but they do not amount to very much without a free-speech culture to back them up.
A must read.
20 Jul 2015
Deutsche Welle reports that the French Terror Alert Meter has reached the Surrender level.
Charlie Hebdo” editor Laurent Sourisseau has told “Stern” magazine he will no longer draw cartoons of the Muslim prophet Muhammad. Souriseau’s statement comes six months after a deadly attack on the magazine’s offices.
During an interview with the Hamburg-based news magazine “Stern,” editor of the French weekly “Charlie Hebdo” said he would no longer draw comics of the Muslim prophet Muhammad.
“We have drawn Muhammad to defend the principle that one can draw whatever they want. It is a bit strange though: we are expected to exercise a freedom of expression that no one dares to,” Sourisseau told “Stern.”
The editor said that the magazine had done what it set out to do.
“We’ve done our job. We have defended the right to caricature,” Sourisseau said. …
Sourisseau, who owns 40 percent of the company’s shares, survived the deadly terrorist attack on the offices of “Charlie Hebdo” on January 7 by playing dead.
Read the whole thing.
Terrorism works. Je ne suis pas plus Charlie.
05 Jul 2013
I live far from urban American decadence, way out in the boondocks. The main drawback of which is crappy Internet delivered via satellite. For some time now, I had been noticing that one of the major advertising blocks in my sidebar was missing, but I just figured that particular item had taken to loading slowly, and I was too busy to sit around waiting for it.
Technical savant that I am, it has taken me a mere six months to take the time to delve deeper into what was going on. I finally yesterday identified what was not coming up, and then logged into Google Adsense to investigate.
What do you know! I had no ads.
And why was that? Maybe there was a message somewhere… I looked and found this message from “The Google AdSense Team:”
This message is to alert you that one of your websites is not currently in compliance with our AdSense program policies and as a result, ad serving has been disabled to your website.
Issue ID#: 18671552
Ad serving has been disabled to: neveryetmelted.com
Example page where violation occurred: https://www.neveryetmelted.com/2012/09/19/france-closes-20-embassies-after-french-satire-magazine-again-publishes-mohammed-cartoons/
Action required: Check all other remaining sites in your account for compliance.
Current account status: Active
To protect the integrity of our advertising program and due to a lack of appropriate ad inventory, we do not allow monetization of websites that are dedicated to overly sensitive, tragic or hurtful content.
Action required: Check account for compliance
While ad serving has been disabled to the above site, your AdSense account remains active. Please be aware that the URL above is just an example and that the same violations may exist on other pages of this website or other sites you own. Therefore, we suggest that you take the time to review the rest of your sites to ensure that theyâ€™re in compliance with our policies, and to monitor your sites accordingly to reduce the likelihood of future policy emails from us. Additionally, please note that our team reserves the right to disable accounts at any time if we continue to see violations occurring.
If you wish to appeal this disabling then you can do so by using the Issue ID listed above to contact us via our Help Center: https://support.google.com/adsense/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=113061.
Thank you for your cooperation.
The Google AdSense Team
So I was banned by Google Adsense, back in last November, which I did not realize since the notice was (narcissistically) sent to my Google email address (which I never actually use).
The reason was my publication of “sensitive, tragic or hurtful content,” identified as a posting from 19 September 2012 reporting that France closed 20 of its embassies after the (vulgar and sophomoric) French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo, for the second time, had published crude cartoons mocking Mohammed.
My posting made a point of publishing images of the actual cartoons, which at the time many news organizations refrained from making available to their readers for fear of Muslim retaliation. I thought the cartoons were trivial in content and in poor taste, but I did also think that Islamic threats, violence, and intimidation challenging free speech in Western countries, and the cowardice of the establishment media, were quite serious issues and well worthy of attention.
So, Google Adsense, I find, is, in essence, enforcing Islamic prohibitions against even publishing, in the context of news reporting, cartoons insulting the Prophet Mohammed.
I was invited “to appeal.” Google absolutely refuses to enter into any other kind of communication with as insignificant a former business partner as myself.
When I clicked my way through the “appeal” on-line forms, I found that an appeal really consisted of a form begging Google to re-instate one’s advertising account and swearing that one had removed whatever it was that Google didn’t like.
Well, I have edited my sidebar code. Good-bye, Google Adsense. That space block is now dedicated to Amazon Associates advertising.
As for the Google Adsense team: “Ich heisse GÃ¶tz von Berlichingen”
Personally, I think it is disgraceful that an American company is taking it upon itself to define and punish so-called “hurtful content,” even when the quotation objectionable to the camel-fornicating community was made specifically for news reporting purposes. But Google is, we must recall, located in California, land of left-wing bedwetters, where the eucalyptus trees exude so much self-entitlement, sanctimoniousness, and political correctness that the entire atmosphere is full of the stuff. What can one expect from a bunch of metrosexual millennials who go to work in Bermuda shorts and hoodies?
02 Jul 2010
The Times Picayune reports that officialdom has arbitrarily created a new freedom-of-the-press-does-not-apply zone systematically excluding the public and the media from most of the Gulf waterfront impacted by the oil spill.
The Coast Guard has put new restrictions in place across the Gulf Coast that prevent the public – including news photographers and reporters covering the BP oil spill – from coming within 65 feet of any response vessels or booms on the water or on beaches.
According to a news release from the Unified Command, violation of the “safety zone” rules can result in a civil penalty of up to $40,000, and could be classified as a Class D felony. Because booms are often placed more than 40 feet on the outside of islands or marsh grasses, the 65-foot rule could make it difficult to photograph and document the impacts of oil on land and wildlife, media representatives said.
But federal officials said the buffer zone is essential to the clean-up effort.
“The safety zone has been put in place to protect members of the response effort, the installation and maintenance of oil containment boom, the operation of response equipment and protection of the environment by limiting access to and through deployed protective boom,” the news release said.
The Coast Guard on Tuesday had initially established an even stricter “safety zone” of more than 300 feet, but reduced the distance to 20 meters – 65 feet – on Wednesday. In order to get within the 65-foot limit, media must call the Coast Guard captain of the Port of New Orleans, Edwin Stanton, to get permission.
Photographer James Michael Duncan marvels at the way that it has suddenly become potentially a crime to photograph the oil spill.
Volunteers canâ€™t work on the beach, [ostensibly] for liability reasons. Only contracted employees can go work. Of course, those contracts expressly forbid talking with media. Every boat captain that signs on with the clean up is also expressly forbidden from talking to media or taking photographers out, even when those photographers can stay out of the way of people working. Chilling effects, all.
The Coast Guard says that you must call the Coast Guard captain of the port of New Orleans to get permission. If you buy the safety argument, that sounds sort of reasonable. Except for the fact that thereâ€™s no stated rules for who can get permission. The Times-Picayune article reports that AP photographer Gerald Herbertâ€”one of the few mainstream press photographers that has been putting out incredible shotsâ€”has asked to discuss the new policy with officials. Guess what? He hasnâ€™t received a response. …
I successfully [took several] photos without endangering any response workers, interfering with booms, or endangering wildlife. In fact, there wasnâ€™t a response worker within miles of my location. Should I be a felon for making these images?
I ask again: Why is the government helping control the message here? Whoâ€™s interest is being served? Itâ€™s certainly not the publicâ€™s interest.
12 Dec 2009
Phelim McAleer, director and producer of Not Evil Just Wrong (2008) attempted to ask Stanford University Professor Stephen H. Schneider some questions about the Climategate scandal during a press briefing at the climate change conference in Copenhagen.
As soon as McAleer’s question is recognized as critical, Professor Schneider’s assistant sends a pretty young female UN employee to try to take away the microphone from McAleer, while using her cell phone to summon security.
Schneider snarls in response: “I don’t make comments on redacted emails presented to me by people whose values I don’t trust. … What I can say is that private communications which people have between each other are certainly not public documents.”
McAleer is just trying to ask a followup question, when he is interrupted by Schneider’s assistant breaking in (inaudibly on the video). Schneider responds, “I agree. We’ll make it short.”
There is to be no followup. An armed UN Security Guard soon appears, menacing McAleer and his cameraman, and McAleer is ejected.
Hat tip to Big Government.
30 Aug 2009
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the mistake of trying to intimidate the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Instead of being frightened, Review-Journal Publisher Sherman Frederick reported what Reid did and openly defied him. I wish I lived near enough to Las Vegas to subscribe.
On Wednesday, before he addressed a Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce luncheon, Reid joined the chamber’s board members for a meet-‘n’-greet and a photo. One of the last in line was the Review-Journal’s director of advertising, Bob Brown, a hard-working Nevadan who toils every day on behalf of advertisers. He has nothing to do with news coverage or the opinion pages of the Review-Journal.
Yet, as Bob shook hands with our senior U.S. senator in what should have been nothing but a gracious business setting, Reid said: “I hope you go out of business.”
Later, in his public speech, Reid said he wanted to let everyone know that he wants the Review-Journal to continue selling advertising because the Las Vegas Sun is delivered inside the Review-Journal.
Such behavior cannot go unchallenged.
You could call Reid’s remark ugly and be right. It certainly was boorish. Asinine? That goes without saying.
But to fully capture the magnitude of Reid’s remark (and to stop him from doing the same thing to others) it must be called what it was — a full-on threat perpetrated by a bully who has forgotten that he was elected to office to protect Nevadans, not sound like he’s shaking them down.
No citizen should expect this kind of behavior from a U.S. senator. It is certainly not becoming of a man who is the majority leader in the U.S. Senate. And it absolutely is not what anyone would expect from a man who now asks Nevadans to send him back to the Senate for a fifth term.
If he thinks he can push the state’s largest newspaper around by exacting some kind of economic punishment in retaliation for not seeing eye to eye with him on matters of politics, I can only imagine how he pressures businesses and individuals who don’t have the wherewithal of the Review-Journal.
For the sake of all who live and work in Nevada, we can’t let this bully behavior pass without calling out Sen. Reid. If he’ll try it with the Review-Journal, you can bet that he’s tried it with others. So today, we serve notice on Sen. Reid that this creepy tactic will not be tolerated.
We won’t allow you to bully us. And if you try it with anyone else, count on going through us first.
Read the whole thing.
I look forward to 2010.
28 Aug 2008
In America, we didn’t previously arrest reporters for filming on the public sidewalk.
An ABC News producer was arrested outside a downtown hotel here Wednesday while he and a camera crew tried to shoot footage of corporate donors leaving a meeting with a group of Democratic senators.
Asa Eslocker, who works with the network’s investigative unit, was charged with trespass, interference and failure to follow a lawful order. He was released four hours later on a $500 bond.
“We expect to see this kind of behavior in Myanmar, not in Denver, Colorado, at a national political convention where a reporter is trying to videotape big-money donors trying to meet with elected officials,” said ABC spokesman Jeffrey Schneider.
Footage of the incident showed one police officer constantly pushing Eslocker as the producer walked backwards across the street, and another officer placing his hand around Eslocker’s neck. Eslocker kept saying that it was a public street and asking what law he was violating. Schneider said Esocker never entered the Brown Palace Hotel, where the meeting was taking place.
And, in America, we didn’t previously try to silence the opposition through legal manuevers and intimidation.
New York Times:
As Senator Obamaâ€™s campaign makes its argument for his candidacy before a national audience here this week, it is waging a separate, forceful campaign against a new conservative group running millions of dollars of ads linking him to the 1960s radical William Ayers Jr.
Lawyers for the campaign have asked the Justice Department to investigate the group â€” which is operating under rules governing non-profit corporations â€” calling on television stations to cease airing the spot, and, campaign officials said, planning to pressure advertisers on stations that refuse to do so. The ad is running in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan.
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