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Read This Or Lose Your Internet!

NOTE: I wrote this article last week before the horrible attacks on innocent people in France. The fact that the initial attack was on a news magazine who had published material offensive to a group of people, in my opinion, is no excuse for these acts of barbarism. As the old saying goes, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” It wasn’t the words from Charlie Hebdo that killed all those people; it was hateful and intolerant men with no concept of freedom of the press or freedom of speech. Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims of these petty little men and we stand today and proclaim:

Je Suis Charlie!

Today, in light of events in France, we must be even more vigilant in our protection of free speech and a free press. In the coming days and months be alert for officials, editors, and others who will say we should not allow expression such as that which caused the deaths of so many in France. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance so stand ready to refuse to bend to those who would put security over freedom. Now to what I wrote last week.

There’s a battle being waged for our hearts and minds. Whether you know it or not; whether you want to acknowledge it or not, it’s there. The battle is directed at keeping you and I in line by “filtering” what information we receive. Some of the same arguments our founding fathers heard from the British Parliament and crown are being given today when it comes to the Internet.

The first amendment to the United States Constitution called for freedom of the press. After fighting a revolution to free themselves from the tyranny of an oppressive government, those who’d fought in the revolution insisted that government could not in any way stifle free expression in the mass media of the day, the press.

Sadly, that press, the fourth estate, has become just as guilty of trying to stifle free expression today.

How many times have you heard in recent times a newscaster or reporter talk about their duty is, “to make news” rather than report the news? Since the advent of 24 hour news, what used to be called “reporting the news” is now “making the news.”

To that end, it appears to be in the best interest of major media such as Fox News, MSNBC, Headline News, now RT and Al Jazeera to limit access to what the public sees and hears.

Senator Dianne Feinstein has gone on record trying to limit free speech on the internet and a free press by having the United States government define who is and who isn’t a journalist. Their argument is that bloggers, such as I, and others on the internet are not qualified to be afforded the rights guaranteed under the First Amendment since I’m not a “paid” journalist.

I personally believe had such laws been established in 1775 many of the pamphlets, books, and other printed materials that inspired a nation to freedom would have been suppressed. When Thomas Paine and Benjamin Rush wrote and edited Common Sense, the pamphlet that helped launch the revolution they did so anonymously. Would they have been considered “journalists” under laws proposed by our current political representatives? I think not and due to its anti-government nature our congressional leaders would be doing everything they could to stifle such tomes.

And remember, “paid” can also mean “paid off”. After all, who pays the bills at The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and Wall Street Journal? Is being paid make one a better journalist?

Why is it those “paid” journalists involved in the fourth estate do not have, for the most part, the backbone to question our political authorities. They’re more interested in keeping people in line with current political objectives because that, in the long run, is who pays the bills…and that goes for ALL of mass media.

He who controls the media (and the news), controls the masses.

Look at the surface of what we see in the US. The mainstream channels march pretty much in line with each other. One channel leaning hard left and another leaning hard right. Throw in RT and you get Putin’s perspective and Al Jazeera and you get the sheiks’ perspective.

Oh, and I haven’t even touched on talk radio or newspapers.

Luckily for the rest of us who don’t subscribe to cable or listen to talk radio, about the same time as 24-hour news was making its debut on the world stage so was a little thing called the Internet.

The Internet gives unrestricted access to information, including news. That means information that is, for the most part, unfiltered, raw, and CAN be unbiased.

Is the information unbiased? I don’t know, BUT what I CAN on the Internet is do is my own research. I can check the facts and at the end of the day, I and many others can determine if information provided on a particular sight is worthy of continued viewing.

And that scares politicians.

If politicians can’t control the Internet they can’t control what the masses see and hear. And if they can’t control what the masses see and hear it makes them afraid.

This is the reason American founders INSISTED upon a specific amendment to their new constitution provided for an UNRESTRICTED press.

And what was the “press” in 1789? Men, mostly, who wrote books, pamphlets, and newspapers. These weren’t college graduated “journalists”, in fact many of them were not formally educated. The founders saw the press as anyone who published political information.

Fast forward to NOW. There are those in government who would say bloggers and media on the Internet are not “legitimate”. What’s the difference between the 18th century and now when it comes to freedom of the press…NOTHING!

He who controls the media, controls the masses.

That’s the rub. Our government and others around the world want to hamper those who would question the status quo. Those who would presume to disagree with their governments.

We can’t let it happen. Unhampered access to information and opinions is vitally important to a free society.

Please stand against any attempt by any party or group to stifle speech on the Internet. Our freedom and the freedom of our children’s children depend on it.

What do you think? Should bloggers on the Internet be “regulated”? Please comment below>

Keith is the resident writer and troublemaker at Empowered Pros.
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