The news you're not supposed to know...

Austrian Economics: Understand Economics, Understand the World
The Century of the Self: The Untold History of Controlling the Masses Through the Manipulation of Unconscious Desires
The Disappearing Male: From Virility to Sterility

The Obama Deception: The Mask Comes Off
Operation Gladio: The Hidden History of U.S. Sponsored False Flag Terrorism in EuropeThe New American Century: The Untold History of The Project for the New American Century
Article posted Sep 23 2013, 10:43 PM Category: Commentary Source: Kevin Carson Print

Who Needs an Official State Media When We've Got CNN?

by Kevin Carson

In a recent Esquire column (“Dianne Feinstein Defines ‘Journalist,’” September 19), Charles Pierce recalled presidential historian George Reedy’s prediction years ago that so-called “shield laws,” which protect reporters against criminal prosecution for not revealing their sources, would involve de facto government licensing of the press. After all, the law would have to define who qualified as a “journalist” for purposes of such legal protection.

And guess what? US Senator Dianne Feinstein just bore him out. She “insisted on limiting the legal protection to ‘real reporters’ and not, she said, a 17-year-old with his own website. ‘I can’t support it if everyone who has a blog has a special privilege … or if Edward Snowden were to sit down and write this stuff, he would have a privilege. I’m not going to go there,’ she said. Feinstein introduced an amendment that defines a ‘covered journalist’ as someone who gathers and reports news for ‘an entity or service that disseminates news and information.’”

Well, all righty then. So if you’re not a “professional journalist” — someone who punches a time clock and gets a paycheck from an “entity” of some sort — you can go to prison for publishing leaks.

If you are a “professional journalist,” on the other hand, you’ll censor yourself — driven by the imperative of maintaining “access” to those in power. Of course it’s not really clear what this “access” is supposed to accomplish. Because the one sure-fire guaranteed way to lose access to those in power is to report on them in a less than flattering way.

I recall some of those “serious,” “professional” interviews the late Tim Russert used to do with the likes of Dick Cheney. Cheney would sit there and lie non-stop, and the most Russert would ever do was ask a mild-mannered clarifying question in followup to give Cheney a chance either to retract or affirm the statement. Never did he confront Cheney with anything from the factual record proving him to be a deliberate liar — let alone a quote of Cheney actually saying something he’d just denied ever having said.

So apparently the real point of access is access for its own sake — the prestige of sitting in a swivel chair on the same dais as Dick Cheney, Hillary Clinton or John Kerry and actually getting to talk to them in the flesh. Or sitting in the same room with the other reporters in the White House press pool, busily taking dictation from the Press Secretary. Or being seen laughing at their jokes at the National Press Club dinner on C-SPAN.

A perfect example of how government uses the denial of “access” as a stick is the Department of Justice’s response to Brad Heath’s questions about whether the DOJ’s Office of Personal Responsibility had investigated newly declassified documents revealing the NSA’s systematic lies to the FISA court. We have answers, the Department said, but we won’t give them to you, because we don’t like your attitude. So we’ll wait till after you publish your story, and then give the answers to someone we like instead.

If the threat to withdraw access isn’t enough to rein in a young reporter who’s still got some fool idealistic notions in her head, the “entity” that employs her can be useful in another way. See, the publishers and owners, too, have “access” of a different kind.  They belong to the same social class as the government and corporate barons their lowly employees in the newsroom report on. The owner of the newspaper that employs a muckraking reporter probably plays nine holes of golf every Sunday with the scumbag politician the reporter exposes the dirt on.

The late Katherine Graham, publisher of the Washington Post — a serious journalistic “entity” if ever there was one — positively relished in such “access.” She once regaled a room full of CIA officials with the assurance that “there are some things the American people don’t need to know.”

The journalistic community’s attitude toward leakers like Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden, tellingly, is strongly polarized between those who are responsible only to their readers and their peers — the new Internet journalists, especially — and those employed by the kinds of “entities” Dianne Feinstein is so understandably fond of.

Some years back Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky formulated a “Propaganda Model” of the corporate media that said, at least in regard to “national security” affairs, the “free” U.S. media performed in the same manner you’d expect from the official state media in a totalitarian country. They were probably understating their case.

Latest Commentary
- Paul Craig Roberts Rages At The "Arrogance, Hubris, & Stupidity" Of The US Government
- Let's Talk About...The Plague
- With Mass Shootings, The State Makes Us Less Safe
- Good News: 27% Of Americans Say Government Is Their 'Enemy,' Not Their 'Friend'
- Fear Is The Name of The Game
- This Thanksgiving, Let's Say 'No Thanks' to The Tyranny of The American Police State
- Donald Trump's Presidential "Heel Turn"
- Katniss Vs. Power: The Lessons of Hunger Games

No Comments Posted Add Comment

Add Comment


Verification *
Please Enter the Verification Code Seen Below

Please see our About Page, our Disclaimer, and our Comments Policy.

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which in some cases has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available for the purposes of news reporting, education, research, comment, and criticism, which constitutes a 'fair use' of such copyrighted material in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. It is our policy to respond to notices of alleged infringement that comply with the DMCA and other applicable intellectual property laws. It is our policy to remove material from public view that we believe in good faith to be copyrighted material that has been illegally copied and distributed by any of our members or users.

About Us - Disclaimer - Privacy Policy

Advanced Search


Remember Me
Forgot Password?

VIDEO: Off-Duty Cop Rams His SUV Into Man's Car For Trying To Hold Him Accountable For Reckless Driving - 11/30Paul Craig Roberts Rages At The "Arrogance, Hubris, & Stupidity" Of The US Government - 11/30The Mathematical Paradox That Destroys The Argument For NSA Surveillance - 11/30Police Brutality Victim Mysteriously Killed a Day Before Receiving $450k Settlement - 11/30New Photos Show Chicago Cops On Burger King CPU Where Laquan McDonald Shooting Footage 'Disappeared' - 12/01Two Brave Cops Under Attack For Exposing Militarization and Corruption in Their Department - 11/30Donald Sutherland Reveals The Real Meaning Of The Hunger Games - 11/27LA to Scan All Cars, Publicly Shame Anyone Who Drives Through a 'Prostitution Area' - 11/30

Man Follows Speeding Cop, Finds Out He Was Speeding To Buy PeanutsMission Creeps: Homeland Security Agents Confiscate Women's Panties For 'Copyright Infringement'Cop Shoots Couple's Dog, Threatens Jail For Trying To Save Dog's LifeSWAT Team Shoots Teen Girl & Her Dog During Pot Raid On Wrong HomeDurham, NC Cop Testifies Faking 911 Calls To Enter Homes Is "Official Policy"Indiana Sheriff Says US A "War Zone" To Justify New MRAP Military VehicleTampa Cops Surveil Pot Dealer, Catch Him Selling Pot, Raid His Home & Kill Him"You Just Shot An Unarmed Man!": Witness Says Police Shot His Friend With His Hands Up