by Rep. Julio Gonzalez, M.D., J.D.
Few institutions are more instrumental to the protections of our liberties than a free and unencumbered press.
To this end, John Adams said liberty of the press is “essential to the security of the state.” And Thomas Jefferson, at times a bitter enemy of Adams, nevertheless agreed on this point: “Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press. . .”
So important is the press to the continued wellbeing and independence of the nation that the guarantee of its freedom was etched in the First Amendment of the Constitution. Clearly, the Framers demanded that government not own the nation’s deliverers of news and political opinion.
But what if the press chooses to become subservient to the ideologies of its members instead of being forced to be subservient to the shackles of kings, is it any freer then?
On September 11, 2012, a group of terrorists attacked the American mission in Benghazi, Libya. Four Americans were killed. The Obama Administration immediately blamed the attack on a mob riled up by a ridiculous video created in the United States by one Makoula Basseley Nakoula. Nakoula was promptly arrested and would not be released until August 2013. The consensus quickly became that Nakoula’s video had no connection to the terrorist attack in Benghazi, but he had been placed behind bars nevertheless and stayed there.
Where was the uproar at CNN?
When viewed objectively, the storyline was ripe with possible corruption, governmental intimidation, negligence, coercion, and deceit. Yet there was no outrage, no scrupulous journalistic investigation to find the truth. As a matter of fact, the media instead mocked Congress for conducting its own investigation into the matter, calling it political theater.
On October 16, 2012, when Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, in a live televised presidential debate, attempted to take then President Barrack Obama to task for not having immediately called the attack on Bengahazi the work of terrorists, CNN’s Candy Crowley amazingly and wrongly corrected him. . . during the debate! Crowley was never fired for this unprofessional and unethical injection into a moderated debate between two presidential candidates. In fact, in a piece published on October 20, CNN was still defending her actions.
Press parochialism on violence
In June 2017, New York’s Public Theater in the Park presented its latest rendition of Julius Caesar, this time employing a Trumpesque actor as Caesar. As the play comes to an end, the audience is treated to a mock, hemorrhagic assassination of Caesar (Trump), making the parallels to the murder of the sitting president unmistakable. Trump supporters and many who honor the integrity of the Office of the Presidency immediately cried foul, repulsed by the audacity of the production.
On June 12, 2017, CNN’s Kate Maltby dismissed the objections to the play, claiming the hysteria from conservatives was largely driven by “Fox News . . . in order to pressure corporate donors.” She then said the concerns that this gross, simulated attack on the President of the United States would incite violence was, “a lie circulated by the President’s allies,” and warned that these falsities would have the effect of “chilling artistic expression.” She called the whole affair “a dark moment for American freedom of expression.”
Fast forward to July 2, 2017. President Trump tweets a segment of video depicting Trump beating up on a person whose head had been substituted with the CNN logo suggesting that President Trump was beating up on CNN.
There was no blood.
There was no death.
There was no dismemberment.
There were no weapons.
Yet CNN’s response was immediate and stratospheric. It decried the video as an assault on the press. It claimed that the meme would encourage violence upon reporters (whereas, somehow, the visual depiction of President Trump being stabbed to death would not!).
So rabid was CNN’s reaction that it assigned its IT crew to find the identity of the private citizen who had created the meme, even though the creator had no association or ties to President Trump and the meme was available to anyone wishing to post it on social media, not just President Trump.
Unbelievably, CNN then went on to release a statement exalting its benevolence at not disclosing the identity of the meme’s creator because he had demonstrated remorse to the Omnipotent News Network. (To add insult to injury, there are now suggestions that CNN may have bullied the wrong person!)
CNN’s partisanship is obvious
The pattern here is as recognizable as it is simple. CNN will take the position that most favors those on the left while ridiculing, mocking, and even persecuting those daring to aim their daggers at the network or even at its logo.
So, although CNN and media outlets like it who share the left’s hateful and repressive liberal slant are not beholden to the government (as far as we know) their reporting pattern and the disparate zeal with which they pursue certain stories leads us to the inescapable conclusion that it has fallen prey to another master; its own partisan ideology.
Referring to journalists, John Quincy Adams once wrote, “They are a sort of assassins who sit with loaded blunderbusses at the corner of streets and fire them off for hire or for sport at any passenger they select.”
You’d think he was watching CNN! And CNN is merely a synonymous stand-in for all of the mainstream media.
Our nation, rightfully, provided certain legal protections to the press with the aim of frustrating any control by an oppressive police state. Its abilities to check government were based on the continued presence of a robust diversity of thought and interests among its various members.
Today, however, that diversity is largely theoretical, leaving We The People basking in a sea of misinformation, preferential treatment, and worse yet, outright lies.
So, before CNN and all its co-conspirators celebrate Caesar’s death by running to the common pulpits and declaring, “Tyranny is dead!” let us remind ourselves of the new masters to which these miserable servants bow and ascertain that it is not We The People who are being served.
For us, the absence of truth in a sea of darkness is just as miserable as shackles in the light of day.
Dr. Julio Gonzalez is an orthopaedic surgeon and lawyer living in Venice, Florida. He is the author of The Federalist Pages and serves in the Florida House of Representatives. He can be reached through www.thefederalistpages.com to arrange a lecture or book signing.