From Town Criers to Bloggers: How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age?
The Federal Government has no business in attempting to control the press by making laws or regulations that abridge the free expression thereof, these proposals will stifle free and open debate. Nor should they be involved in using tax dollars to train a new crop of propagandists. The Government and its agencies should not be in the role of supporting failing business models. The free market should be the sole arbiter of determining which information dissemination organizations succeed or fail. History is replete with governments whom have advocated for a one-sided press, these societies are abject failures. The FTC should be a strong advocate for the provisions of the United States Bill of Rights and should be farther away from the press than they are from religion. The misguided concept of licensing journalists is certainly no guarantee of quality, honesty or integrity. I believe that Helen Thomas would surely have been eligible for this license. If we consider the case of CBS reporter Dan Rather we see how market place polices its own. Briefly consider former President Nixon, if he and his ilk had the control of the press that the current administration is seeking, the truth about the Watergate affair may have never come to light. These types of regulations have enormous potential for abuse. As administrations change from conservative to liberal the loyalties of the press will change as well, truth will suffer. If an organization of the press is in imminent risk of failure it may be inclined to alter a story in hopes of gaining an advantage in its application of federal funding. Hence, a federal bureaucrat could wield enormous power over an allegedly unbiased media. The face and structure of journalism and news gathering are in their greatest flux in the history of the world. It would be a huge mistake and have chilling effects on rights of journalists to prohibit anonymous postings on the internet or anywhere else. Think of the great novels that have been written under pen-names. When will the next proposal be to deny a journalist the right to have unnamed sources. The mere fact that these current draconian proposals have been floated, these proposals that would eviscerate the First Amendment, these anti-American proposals that recklessly trample on the rights guaranteed by our founding fathers should give pause to all freedom loving people of the world. The Reinvention of Journalism is not good for this nation or the world. The FTC should take a few minutes to read the provisions of the Bill of Rights and should also remember that the pendulum will swing and the Democrats will not always be in power. Abuse of power and tyranny are never far off when government is in full control of information.