Following the Nazi seizure of power in 1933, Hitler established a Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda headed by Joseph Goebbels. The Ministry’s aim was to ensure that the Nazi message was successfully communicated through art, music, theater, films, books, radio, educational materials, and the press.
While nobody that I am aware of is making the case that the United States Government has a “Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda”, many people from both the political left and from the political right acknowledge that on average Hollywood leans decisively to the left. Progressives in music and entertainment routinely support a collectivist point of view. In fact, unless you are already a huge star, holding conservative points of view will get you fired. Furthermore, late last year Chucky Schumer and Lindsey Graham proposed their “Free Flow of Information Act” which recently passed the Senate Judiciary Committee. Looking at the title of the bill it looks great. Who couldn’t be for the “Free Flow of information” after all?
Of course, as with most things emanating from Washington D.C. one must be very careful about what is in the fine print. What elitist progressive political types like Chucky Shumer and Lindsey Graham, who co-authored the bill don’t want Americans to realize is that they are not really all that interested in the free flow in information. What they are keenly interested in is the ability to say who might be anointed to watch over them and report on their activity. It is, after all, really inconvenient to have real investigative reporting about the epic failures they call policy; or have their self-involved, corruption brought to light by heroes like Michelle Maulkin, or Dana Loesh.
Senators Schumer and Graham’s bill, if approved will exempt anyone who is considered a “covered journalist” from subpoenas and other legal efforts to require that they expose their confidential sources. For anyone supporting freedom of press, protecting whistle blowers is a good thing, but sadly it is far outweighed by the idea that government is the entity that decides who is an “approved” journalist. How convenient is that? If government officials don’t want to have their corruption exposed by an aggressive investigative reporter all they have to do is designate or license who can be a journalist in the first place.
After the February 1933 Reichstag Fire, Hitler eviscerated freedom of the press, requiring all news to be approved by Joseph Goebbels’ Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. Surprisingly, today’s mainstream press seem to have no issue with this bill, but my question for them or for any American for that matter who claims to support freedom is this. How is government having approval authority over who can be a journalist any different than actually having approval authority over a news story that journalist might write. Goebbels required that anyone involved in media sign loyalty oaths to the Nazi Party. If you didn’t care for these restrictions you could be imprisoned or executed.
While in today’s world the progressive movement is smart enough not to actually require loyalty oaths, do you notice how quickly the progressive thought police turn on anyone who dares to state an independent opinion. Juan Williams was a senior news analyst for NPR until he stepped outside of progressive orthodoxy in October of 2010 for his comments on Muslims. Regardless of consistently supporting progressive positions, the man was unceremoniously fired for not adhering to progressives fascist talking points. Similarly, just this week there is a controversy involving Juan Williams’ son, Raffi Williams. In this case, Raffi Williams, who is a conservative, was vilified because he dared to have a conservative point of view as a black man. Similarly, Dr. Ben Carson was also excommunicated by progressives in February of 2013 for daring to politely and respectfully disagreeing with President Obama’s policies.
My point here is that it isn’t necessary to have a mustache twirling Snidely Whiplash type of character like Joseph Goebbels approving stories. All progressive elitists require is to set up a process that achieves the same result. Republican Senator, John Cornyn told Breitbart News “They want to pick and choose which journalists are covered. In other words, if you’re a blogger they might not cover you, but if you work for the New York Times they might. Given the changes in the way we get information and the way we consume news, that really smacks to me in essence of government licensing who’s an official ‘journalist’ for the purposes of a shield law and who’s not. If there is one thing I can glean from the First Amendment, it is that government should not be in the business of licensing the news media.”
Bloggers are a existential threat to progressive control over the narrative that the general public is presented. Progressives are far from stupid. The new media is quickly supplanting the old centralized model of network television news. If progressives wish to retain control over the conversation they must eliminate dissenters.