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AP Wants Clamp Down On Free Speech

What surely must be a new low point for American journalism, even for the Associated Press:

Analysis: Vitriol, invective at the speed of light

By Steven R. Hurst, Associated Press Writer Mon Oct 12

WASHINGTON – Vitriol and invective stain American political history, but falsehoods, half-truths and innuendo now spread with the speed of light across partisan airwaves and the Internet — the din drowning out the country’s moderate political center.

Countless Internet blogs have taken on the administration of the first African-American president, claiming — falsely — that Barack Obama isn’t an American citizen, is a secret Muslim, is a socialist, wants to establish death panels to decide when elderly Americans would no longer receive medical care and be allowed to die. The list is long.

Most recently, a partisan furor blew up when Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. Republican national chairman Michael Steele set the tone, declaring that giving the prize to the U.S. commander in chief showed "how meaningless a once honorable and respected award has become."

Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, was not immune, nor was former President Bill Clinton. But today the volume of screeching partisanship is cleaving the American electorate, perhaps as deeply as at any time since the Civil War a century and a half ago.

"The environment is much more extreme today because of the level of public involvement, the level of incivility among both the political elite and the public," said Chris Dolan, a political scientist at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Pa.

At Meredith College in Raleigh, N.C., Clyde Frazier said, "It is nasty and getting nastier." While he believes American history is littered with dirtier political periods and nastier claims among politicians, Frazier, also a political scientist, sees today’s climate partly the result of the "media culture. Vitriol seems to sell. If you are telling people the end of the world is at hand, they watch."

From the lectern at the White House briefing room, press secretary Robert Gibbs routinely bemoans what he sees as the negative slant on coverage of Obama by the conservative Fox News cable television outlet.

While Americans once sought news from media outlets that aimed for objectivity, many are now turning to sources that reinforce their political viewpoints, including the conservative Fox News and the liberal MSNBC on cable television and the exploding blogosphere that ranges across the political spectrum.

The heated partisan atmosphere produced a staggering break with decorum last month when a member of the House of Representatives shouted out "You lie!" as Obama spoke to a joint session of Congress, extolling his efforts to overhaul the American health care system.

Rep. Joe Wilson’s outburst drew the South Carolina Republican a rebuke from the House, but, tellingly, supporters quickly began donating heavily to his political war chest.

Not long afterward Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., took the House floor to attack minority Republicans on health care, declaring, "The Republicans want you to die quickly if you get sick." A Republican congressman quickly drafted a call for Grayson’s reprimand, but the matter was later dropped.

Partisan political pundits took both events and ran with them, conservative Republicans praising Wilson’s courage as liberals voiced shock over his lack of respect. Grayson took praise and heat from opposite ends of the political spectrum.

"Political animosity has become professionalized," said Frazier, specifically mentioning talk radio’s ultraconservative Rush Limbaugh, who openly calls for the failure of the Obama presidency. Fox News’ Glenn Beck says Obama is a racist.

The revival of bitter partisanship has built quickly and steadily since the nation united behind Bush in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States. It was quickly discovered that his rationale for going to war in Iraq — claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction — was untrue and the temporary unity dissolved.

"It’s a hard thing to stop and it is escalating" each time Republicans or Democrats cede power in the capital, said Jack Holmes, political science professor at Hope College in Holland, Mich.

Is there away out?

"At a certain point the public well demand an end, say ‘we want this to stop,’" said Holmes. "The public has to demand it and will start judging political leaders accordingly."

A signal moment arose when Obama came under attack from opponents when he planned an Internet address at the start of the school year to encourage students to work hard and stay in school. He was accused, before the very moderate and apolitical address, of wanting to indoctrinate pupils and students with his alleged "socialist" ideals. He left the doomsayers with red faces…

Isn’t it typical of the Associated Press to include an undeniable truth in their list of purported lies?

Countless Internet blogs have taken on the administration of the first African-American president, claiming — falsely — that Barack Obama isn’t an American citizen, is a secret Muslim, is a socialist, wants to establish death panels to decide when elderly Americans would no longer receive medical care and be allowed to die. The list is long.

How can anyone deny that Mr. Obama is a socialist, unless words no longer have meaning?

From the Oxford English Dictionary:

socialist

1. a. One who advocates or believes in the theory of socialism; an adherent or supporter of socialism.

socialism

1. A theory or policy of social organization which aims at or advocates the ownership and control of the means of production, capital, land, property, etc., by the community as a whole, and their administration or distribution in the interests of all.

Unless we are going to start redefining words, as we have done for ‘recession,’ for instance, Mr. Obama is a socialist qua socialist.

But this is just another in a series of articles in which our media masters complain about the ‘lack of decorum’ in political debate and suggest that we need someone to control political speech – starting with the internet and talk radio.

Never mind that these same Solons had no problem with the endless vitriol poured upon George Bush for the last eight years. All of that is magically washed away with these eight words:

Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, was not immune…

That is what is known as understatement.

But speaking of outrageous lies:

A signal moment arose when Obama came under attack from opponents when he planned an Internet address at the start of the school year to encourage students to work hard and stay in school. He was accused, before the very moderate and apolitical address, of wanting to indoctrinate pupils and students with his alleged "socialist" ideals. He left the doomsayers with red faces.

The AP is positively Orwellian in their eagerness to rewrite history for their Democrat masters.

They somehow fail to note that Mr. Obama changed his speech, and that the ‘pledges’ to help him accomplish his agenda were discreetly removed from the lesson plans.

Mind you, this is from an article that starts out decrying the “falsehoods, half-truths and innuendo [that] now spread with the speed of light across partisan airwaves and the Internet.”

But the demands from the media that the government control the internet and radio and television are even more disturbing than their Olympian hypocrisy.

And, as usual, they make their demands through their carefully chosen surrogates:

"At a certain point the public well demand an end, say ‘we want this to stop,’" said Holmes. "The public has to demand it and will start judging political leaders accordingly."

In other words, the public must demand an end to free political speech. Mr. Holmes has spoken. Or rather, the Associated Press has.

Alas, it looks like Aristotle and all the others who have argued throughout history that there is such a thing as ‘natural born slaves’ were right, after all.

And it turns out our press, our purported guardians of freedom, are at the fore-front of that line. They simply can’t wait to give away our freedom of speech, along with the rest of our hard won freedoms.

But of course the media has never been interested in any freedom, except for their freedom to tell us what to do.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, October 12th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

7 Responses to “AP Wants Clamp Down On Free Speech”

  1. proreason says:

    How would the AP possibly recognize a falsehood?

    That’s their product.

  2. wardmama4 says:

    So they can cite Joe Wilson’s lone ‘You Lie’ to a President (who btw was lying on that particular point) – in a simple address to Congress while ignoring that Democrats – plural – boo’d President Bush during his SOTU address in 2005.

    So I guess the only conclusion from this article that can be drawn is that Republicans and conservatives are the only people who are nasty, vile, lie and distort and should never, ever have free political speech.

    to the AP I say – YOU LIE

  3. Rusty Shackleford says:

    Every time something like this is published, people’s curiosity gets piqued and they tune in Rush, or Hannity, or Beck to see what the fuss is all about. Then, if they are reasonable people, they hear something that makes them say, “Yeah..that’s right” and then, maybe they do a little fact checking on their own, they find the conservatives have their act together.

    They find a much-less-emotional argument, more fact-oriented argument coming from the conservative side and realize that they may have been in error in their thinking.

    One thing I’ve come to learn as I’ve been more intensely interested in politics is that the tide does turn, but it often turns very slowly. People don’t want to hear the truth, often. Also, it requires thinking to be objective. It also requires turning off the emotion chip and looking at things objectively.

    For most, these things are unpleasant. They interfere with the happy thoughts about what they’re going to do when they get off from work, or that snappy shiny new thing they want to get.

    Interestingly, though, they love a good fight. And with the divisions in this nation becoming more obvious, they want to see what all the fuss is about and lo and behold, they find themselves on one side or the other.

    I may have faith yet that this nation will be able to identify crap when they year it and make the right choice.

  4. BillK says:

    Does anyone have access to old newspapers?

    The political mud being thrown about these days is absolutely NOTHING compared to the vitriol spewed in newspapers in the 1800s and early 1900s.

    For example, check out the Andrew Jackson political cartoons here:

    http://www.isidore-of-seville.com/jackson/6.html

  5. Laree says:

    Obama’s War Frontline PBS Oct 13th Video Marines.

    Does this mean PBS is now an arm of the Republican Party?

    http://youhavetobethistalltogoonthisride.blogspot.com/2009/10/obamas-war-frontline-pbs-oct-13th.html

  6. canary says:

    AP has to catch up with Rueters & CNN for the Communist News Network award.

  7. Right of the People says:

    “While Americans once sought news from media outlets that aimed for objectivity,”

    When was this? That hasn’t happened in my lifetime. The MSM is just mad because people just want the truth and will no longer blindly listen to and believe the crap they’re spewing. We’re lacking some Pravda here.


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