Many who know me well and have gotten one of my numerous e-mails are very aware that most of the time I sign my notes with a quote from Thomas Jefferson.
If a Nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization,
it expects what never was and never will be...
if we are to guard against ignorance and remain free,
it is the responsibility of every American to be informed.
I became aware of the delicate balance that keeps our machinery of government working in the sixties during my college years. I learned that what government tells you is not always the truth. I came to understand the need for listening to various points of view and trying to make my own decisions based on the information that I could glean from a number of sources.
I along with many others believe that critical thinking is the backbone of our republic. It depends on a free and vigorous press. I think many would agree with me that the press is under attack. The administration has blamed the rioting in Afghanistan on reporting in Newsweek. I have to agree with John Young in the Waco Tribune article, "That Downing Street aside" The article appeared in today's print edition of the Roanoke Times under another title. When Young talks about the White House and their outrage over Newsweek's retracted story, I think he is on target.
It is armed by taxpayers to be a perpetual spin machine. But maybe, just this time, the White House should holster its umbrage.
While Newsweek made a mistake, they certainly didn't invade a country on the basis of weapons of Weapons of Mass Destruction that didn't exist. They didn't initiate the invasion that provided the proof to thousands of radicals that America is out to attack the Muslim world. Newsweek certainly had nothing to do with America's Gulag, Guantanamo Bay.
I was looking for a specific article that I read this morning when I used Google to search for the term, "America's Gulag." The search returned 250,000 hits which is in itself an indictment of our government policy. The Roanoke Times editorial, "Assault on the Media," calls the attack on Newsweek exactly what it is.
This is another instance in what appears to be a systematic attack on the checks and balances inherent in this nation's republican form of government.
It is a wide ranging assault. I read a post about Bill Moyers this morning. He is the former host of the PBS Program "NOW," and according to the post the "winner of thirty Emmy Awards." He's now without a job, but what is being said about Moyers and his commitment to journalism rings true.
At a time when too many prominent journalists have accepted the diminished standards that their critics would impose upon them, Moyers raged against the dying of the light -- not so much for himself as for the Republic that will not stand without a free, skeptical and courageous press.
I think Moyers is on target when he says this.
"We're seeing unfold a contemporary example of the age-old ambition of power and ideology to squelch and punish journalists who tell the stories that make princes and priests uncomfortable,"
I don't often do politics in this blog, but freedom of the press and the government's attack on it are such an important issue that I feel that I have to speak out and agree with John Nichols who wrote the post, "Limbaugh vs. Moyers."
The former White House aide, newspaper publisher, author and documentary filmmaker committed the cardinal sin of the contemporary moment: he practiced the craft of journalism as the authors of the "freedom of the press" protection in the Bill of Rights intended -- without fear or favor, unbought and unbossed, and in the service of the public interest rather than the private demands of the economically and politically powerful. Such transgressions are punished as severely in George W. Bush's America as they were in the America that was ruled by another, equally regal George 230 years ago.
I might go on to say that the George of today is a lot more powerful than the George of 230 years ago. Just ask the Iraqis if you don't believe me.