Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Does the news have the right not to tell us something?

The recent debate as to whether Donald Trump actually saw American Muslims cheering on 9- 11 on CNN has stirred up a huge controversy. On one side people are saying it never happened while others insist they themselves saw it on that terrible day. But this is not what I am writing about today. There is a much bigger issue that needs to be addressed than this one alleged missing video. It is whether news agencies have the right to not show the facts regardless of that particular institution’s political views.

Let’s say just for a moment that this video did exist and was “buried” by the powers that be. I’m not saying that this is true but let’s assume that it is only for the sake of this blog. Do you realize what the implications of any news agency actually concealing the truth from the public could be? The difference between a free society and one that lives in political bondage is nothing more than a free and honest press. This is a lesson that was learned long before this latest issue made the headlines.

Do you know the first civilian targets of the North Vietnamese government when they invaded South Vietnam during the very beginning of the Vietnam War? It was teachers, local leaders, local law enforcement and reporters. Do you know why? It was because an educated and well informed public would have resisted the invasion immediately but an ignorant and uninformed populous would do nothing. The plan worked.

A free press is any nation’s first defense against tyranny and subjugation, not its military. After all, whom do you fight if you don’t even know what is going on? You might also notice that freedom of the press is guaranteed in our 1st Amendment, the first, not the 3rd or 10th. Even our founding fathers knew the importance of a free press. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The bottom line is that withholding information from the public can be just as effective as misinforming the public. An impartial and fair press is necessary to ensure that our freedoms are safeguarded and if any news agency does not report what they reasonably believe to be the facts than we are no better than countries such as China where the press is government owned and operated.

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