|

Can Bloggers Save Democracy?

You cannot have freedom without freedom of the press. It's so important that journalism is the only occupation specifically mentioned in the Constitution. The press is another part of the checks and balances set forth by the founding fathers.

Why did two-thirds of the American people still believe Saddam Hussein was involved in 9-11 according to a survey done by PIPA, the Program for International Policy Attitudes? The fact is that Saddam had nothing to do with either 9-11 or al Qaida. How could so many American people be misinformed about so important a fact?

It's time to recognize that we no longer have a free press. We have been victims of deliberate government propaganda. Our media is censored. Everything we see and hear is controlled by a handful of Republican-controlled media conglomerates. If a lie is repeated over and over, especially by people you're supposed to trust, and no one refutes it, it becomes the truth in your mind.

Censorship aids and abets the propaganda by omission. When the government lies, or is engaged in corruption and illegal or immoral activities it should be exposed by the media whose function, as the founding fathers intended, was to keep an informed electorate.

Journalists learn their editors' positions pretty quickly and know where the line is drawn. They don't turn in stories in opposition to the position of the editor or owner or stray too far from the White House press releases if they want a byline. If it isn't omitted completely, it is minimized and placed in the back pages near the legal notices to prove they are fair and balanced. Those are the unwritten rules.

This administration has sent videos scripted to look like newscasts promoting its policies to television stations all across the country. They even send written lead-ins to be read by the local anchors. Our tax dollars were paid to several columnists and commentators hired to tout a variety of programs without revealing their opinion was bought and paid for. A gay prostitute was placed in the press briefing room to ask softball questions or bring up a particular subject. This is propaganda designed to manipulate the American people to sway public opinion through deception. Again, news shows are aware of their station's position and the rule to toe the line or anchors may find themselves giving the farm and grain report at 4 AM.

Fortunately, bloggers don't know the rules. Most don't have editors or owners to please so they are free to write the uncensored truth. Besides the alternative media, blogs are the only place to learn what's really going on in our government. It was a blogger who exposed Gannongate, about the gay journalist without any journalistic qualifications and his picture on gay escort websites who was able to side-step security measures and a secret service background check to gain access to the press room for two years on a day pass. It was a blogger who broke the story of Clifford Curtis, a man who was asked by a Florida Republican to write a software program to rig the 2000 election. The mainstream media ignored for the most part what should have been headline grabbers. If it's an embarrassment to the administration, the public probably won't hear about it.

Democracy depends on truth in government and the media, something we haven't had for the past four and a half years. If democracy survives it will be the bloggers who save it.

3-27-05