“What is truth?”—Pontius Pilate
Although Americans believe that a diverse press is essential to a Republic such as the United States, media conglomerates and commercial interests have eroded even a whisper of a free and independent press.
Anyone who leans even slightly right of center knows that conservative media is slandered as “hate speech” or “fake news” and that many mainstream media anchors and journalists lean left, even overtly supporting terrorists groups such as Antifa.
Additionally, these same media outlets are also engaging in “hate speech” against whites. Anchors and guests on many of these prime time shows routinely disparage white people, calling them racists and pointing to them as the primary source to blame for a multitude of social and political problems.
Americans are routinely asked to suspend truth, such as when co-hosts such as Joy Behar of “The View” asks us to believe the Democrats’ caucus chaos was attributable to dealing with “white people” in “red-state” Iowa.
Not only do major news outlets want to control what is truth, they are actively working to eliminate any competition and promote censorship of conservative ideas, such as what NBC just did in partnering with the Center for Countering Digital Hate to blacklist conservative news sites.
As much as the progressive mainstream media pushes diversity, NBC openly advocated to smear conservative websites, calling for Google ads to digitally boycott and blacklist their competitors.
Donald Trump Jr., responding to the news, called for Republicans to investigate Google as an “out of control monopoly” using its power over the flow of information to advance left-wing politics.
The GOP Senate needs to wake up & IMMEDIATELY subpoena & haul in the CEO of @Google for questioning.
Google is an out of control monopoly, with a leftwing political agenda, engaging in a clear campaign to silence dissent. It's election interference, full stop.
TIME TO STEP UP!
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) June 16, 2020
It is no conspiracy that conservatives rights to free association (such as the Oklahoma State Coach and his OAN tee shirt) and free speech are in deep trouble.
Both Donald J. Trump Jr. and Ted Cruz know that we already held multiple big tech hearings on censorship and election interference so Republican platitudes by these two mouthpieces isn’t going to fix the issues. We don’t need a megaphone, we need legislation.
Question is, while we wait for Republicans to grow a pair, how did we wind up here and where do we go from here? In other words, what can we actually do to fight back?
Much of the media monopoly can be traced back to amending the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which lowered the limit on the number of radio stations (40) and television stations (12) a single company could own, opening the door for the media monopolies we have today.
It also paved the way for networks to purchase large numbers of cable stations, all of which only made the mainstream media less diverse, less free and less accountable. A good first step would be either revising the Act or breaking up the monopoly via anti-trust suits.
To add fuel to the monopoly fire, huge information machines like Google, that dwarf both the size and resources of most networks, are actively censoring the free speech of conservatives and controlling the flow of information.
Google has not only been allowed to lie to Congress and skirt regulations that apply to publishers, resulting in the removal of thousands of conservative YouTube channels, it is continuing to suppress conservative news sources in searches and interfere in domestic elections.
Most seriously, is Google has been been linked with foreign groups whose mission is to eradicate populism and have demonstrable ties to anarchist groups funded by George Soros, such as the Center for Countering Digital Hate.
And as early as 2016, Soros purchased shares in Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc. in addition to the millions he showered on Facebook and twitter—all purportedly to break them up.
As usual big tech wants to have it both ways where they can censor one side and not face any consequences on the other. https://t.co/zwiKWQoOzU
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) June 16, 2020
Stop Funding Fake News, a project by the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), a United Kingdom group, has put 10 U.S. based websites, including ZeroHedge, on a blacklist for posting “racist articles about the protests.”
As reported on by National File, “Sites on the list include included American Greatness, Moonbattery, American Thinker, Big League Politics, WND, The Washington Standard, Gateway Pundit, and Breitbart. The Federalist is also on the list, and were targeted by Google, but were allowed to remain on AdSense after removing their comments section.”
As can be expected, this is what happens when a handful of large media corporations stop monitoring government and monitor instead the actions, thoughts and opinions of citizens and small media outlets with opposing viewpoints.
The Constitution granted Congress the responsibility for promoting the general welfare of the country and this ill-defined edict has been used successfully in the past to regulate media content it deemed inappropriate.
It must be used once again to stop the operation of nefarious non-governmental foreign agencies like CCDH that seek to destroy our government and the very fabric of our nation.
Although the media is often protected under the First Amendment on free speech, as it should be, it does not have the right to commit slander, speak false information with an intent to harm a person or entity, or libel, or print false information with an intent to harm a person or entity.
And this is exactly what NBC and others have done, committed libel and slander using a foreign organization by presenting false information against conservative media outlets as fact and harming them financially by attacking their sources of revenue.
Unfortunately for those of us who oppose a monopoly on information, this leaves the impetus on us to file expensive civil lawsuits. And this must be changed.
The amount and frequency of fake news being reported by major media outlets makes it imperative that the 1964 Supreme Court decision that established modern press protections be overruled.
As legal precedent stands now, media outlets like ZeroHedge and Breitbart would have to show “actual malice,” as in the 1964 case New York Times v. Sullivan, which requires public figures who sue the media to establish a very high bar of motive or gross negligence.
Unfortunately, the standards for libel does not apply to Google, which does not hold itself out as a publisher, making the case for initiating a massive anti-trust suit by the U.S. Justice Department more urgent than ever.
Additionally, courts have concluded that many non-Constitutional claims are barred by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, 47 U.S.C. § 230, which provides immunity to providers of interactive computer services, including social media providers, both for certain decisions to host content created by others and for actions taken “voluntarily” and “in good faith” to restrict access to “objectionable” material.
And as bad as all of this is, we have a greater problem with the media than slander, libel and censorship—if that is possible.
The handful of corporations that are controlling our mainstream media are behaving in a seditious manner against our own government and American citizens by condoning violent domestic terrorist groups and calling violent rioting and looting “protests” in order to walk the line of what is legally acceptable.
For example, CNN published today its own list of “racists statues,” they say must be removed. Is there seriously anyone who doesn’t think this is an open letter to Antifa to tear down these statues by mob rule?
In 2018, Don Lemon appeared to defend Antifa on his program following the dust up between Antifa and so-called neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia. “It says it right in the name: Antifa. Anti-fascism, which is what they were there fighting,” said Lemon.
CNN anchor Chris Cuomo raised eyebrows earlier this month when he suggested that the George Floyd protesters don’t have to be “polite and peaceful.”
Cuomo even went as far as to condone the violence. “And please, show me where it says protesters are supposed to be polite and peaceful. Because I can show you that outraged citizens are what made the country what she is and led to any major milestone. To be honest, this is not a tranquil time.”
What must be done to stop the media’s relentless assault in spreading the ubiquitous violence in cities across America? Let’s look at the options.
The Incitement to Lawless Action
At first blush, the Incitement to Lawless Action would seem to be the proper legal vehicle to use against a media outlet that is agitating or promoting violence following George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.
In 1969, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Brandenburg v. Ohio that “the constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a State to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of a law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.”
Sounds good so far, right? It certainly seems to address the media’s fomenting of violence, or inciting imminent lawless actions or attempting to produce such an action. However, there are several problems with this.
First, any language claimed to incite would have to be clearly and directly linked to a specific action of lawlessness. Second, the language used must be directed specifically to a person or group of people. Third, the Supreme Court has ruled that States cannot use words alone punitively just because they lead to violence. Finally, the Court said it must be an immediate lawless action.
In its 1973 ruling in Hess v. Indiana, the Supreme Court clarified what constitutes imminent lawless action, saying that the speech in Hess “was not directed to any person or group of persons,” and therefore, “it cannot be said that [the speaker] was advocating, in the normal sense, any action.”
The Court also said that “since there was no evidence, or rational inference from the import of the language, that [the speaker’s] words were intended to produce, and likely to produce, imminent disorder, those words could not be punished by the State on the grounds that they had a ‘tendency to lead to violence.’”
In a nutshell, the Court ruled that for speech to lose its First Amendment protection, it must be directed at a specific person or group and it must be a direct call to commit immediate lawless action. In other words, the time element is crucial in applying the Action.
The Court wrote that “advocacy of illegal action at some indefinite future time … is not sufficient to permit the State to punish Hess’ speech.” In addition, there must be an expectation that the speech will in fact lead to lawless action.
Solicitation to Commit a Crime of Violence
Clearly, when the media is all but encouraging violence against the State by others, it is reasonable to conclude that the U.S. Code, Solicitation to Commit a Crime of Violence, Section § 373 of Title 18, could be used against bad media players. But again, we would be wrong.
This code defines and punishes the offense of solicitation to commit a federal crime of violence. Congress enacted this part of the code in 1984 as part of the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984, which was intended to “allow law enforcement officials to intervene before a crime has occurred “where there has been a clear demonstration of an individual’s criminal intent and danger to society.”
To my knowledge, this statute has never been used to broadly include the press, nor could it be. First, an actual, specific crime of violence would have to be directly related to a direct solicitation and general looting and mayhem would not likely be classified as as a specific violent crime.
In Gitlow v. New York, 268 U.S. 652 (1925), the Supreme Court voted 7-2 to uphold the constitutionality of New York’s Criminal Anarchy Statute of 1902, which prohibited advocating the violent overthrow of the government.
In doing so, however, the Court identified free speech and the press as “among the fundamental personal rights and ‘liberties’ protected by the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment from impairment by the States.” And there you have it.
Benjamin Gitlow, a socialist leader, was convicted under New York’s criminal anarchy law for publishing 16,000 copies of the “Left-Wing Manifesto,” which advocated “the proletariat revolution and the Communist reconstruction of society” through strikes and “revolutionary mass action.”
In this case, Benjamin Gitlow was arrested for distributing copies of a manifesto that called on left-wing socialists to propagate socialism through strikes and class action. He was convicted under a state criminal anarchy law, which called for punishing anyone advocating the overthrow of the government.
“In his opinion for the Court, Justice Edward Terry Sanford ruled that states had the right to punish ‘utterances inimical to the public welfare, tending to corrupt public morals, incite to crime, or disturb the public peace.’ He further pointed out: ‘The state cannot reasonably be required to measure the danger from every such utterance in the nice balance of a jeweler’s scale. A single revolutionary spark may kindle a fire that, smouldering for a time, may burst into a sweeping and destructive conflagration.’”
Another code that would seemingly provide recourse and punishment to media outlets pushing for violence is U.S. Code 18 § 2384, Seditious Conspiracy:
If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.
When every single major media outlet is using the same language, saying the same things and calling for the same action, I would certainly call this a seditious conspiracy.
However, the First Amendment protects people who have differing ideas from the majority, and the Supreme Court has made it clear that free speech extends to protests, the exchange of ideas and points in debate. It does not include direct threats to a person’s safety, however, but unless Don Lemon or some other anchor makes a direct threat to a specific person, there’s no meat on this dog’s bone.
Not being an attorney or even pretending to understand how any of these laws could possibly be applied is certainly frustrating.
It does appear that the press has a virtual shield against prosecution under the First Amendment and that as long as social media and Google (YouTube), Facebook and twitter hide behind publishing laws even after admitting that they are virtual town squares, conservatives will continue to lose their voice.
It is clear, however, that doing nothing at such a critical time is neither going to save our Republic nor satisfy the left-leaning media and the mob it serves, which seeks only to destroy opposing opinions, reports false facts or fails to report on newsworthy events that do not fit their agenda.
A Republic that is forced to rely on the ethics of a majority of left-leaning media rather than law will not stand for long. #Reignwell