So, What’s So Pressing?
Johannes Gutenberg (1400 – 1468), a blacksmith and goldsmith by trade who was also an inventor, developed perhaps one of the greatest inventions of the second millennia – the Gutenberg Press. He was the first to combine the printing methods of the day into one; oil based inks, adjustable molds, mechanical movable type and the use of the wooden printing press (similar to the agricultural screw press of the era) to create a practical printing system that allowed for the economical production of books and pamphlets. Thanks to his press, the Bible would be mass produced during the reformation age, helping to spread the Word of God around the globe.
By the mid 1700’s, William Bradford (1719 – 1791) of Philadelphia, who came from a family of printers (grandfather, William Bradford and uncle, Andrew Bradford) and was a leader in the American Revolution, started his own printing firm and library and began publishing the The Pennsylvania Journal which famously featured a segmented serpent symbolic of the colonial Patriot temperament. In later years, every issue still had the recognizable image of the snake chopped into segments with the motto “Join or Die” later changed to “Unite or Die” from the political cartoon attributed to Benjamin Franklin – an image associated with American Revolutionary Patriots and lauded as a symbol of colonial unity against Great Britain and in opposition of king George III.
Soon after its publication, variations of the cartoon were printed in New York, Massachusetts, and eventually in South Carolina and Virginia. In some states, the publication continued every week for over a year. On July 7, 1774 Paul Revere altered the cartoon to fit the masthead of the Massachusetts Spy (est.1770), a newspaper in Boston and Worcester, Massachusetts published by Isaiah Thomas. A weekly political paper which was a target of the government for it’s anti-Royalist bent. From 1771 to 1773 the Massachusetts Spy featured essays by anonymous political commentators with pen names like “Leonidas” (of Spartan fame), “Centinel” (thought to have been Samuel Bryan)” and “Mucius Scaevola (possibly in reference to his bravery).” They continually ranted about revolutionary topics, kept Patriot opinions on the front page and defended each other against attacks in pro-Royalist writings and publications. These Patriots may have been the first undeniable and overt enemy combatants opposing the throne over unfair taxation and the war for free speech, in a hotly contested battle for the hearts and minds of those living in the American colonies – most of which were not eager to stand up to the crown or enter a conflict they saw as none of their business.
Even More Pressing…
It was the mass production of anti-Royalist pamphlets and newspapers that spread the message of revolution across the colonies and helped solidify the Patriot movement that eventually lead to the Revolutionary War. A relatively small group of men and women dedicated to freedom and sick of Britain’s imposition of unfair laws and heavy-handed taxation who finally rose up and challenged king George III. This small band of rebels accounting for only around three percent of the colonial population, like David against Goliath, took up arms in the defense of freedom and won, with the help of the French – kicking out the Red Coats and declaring themselves a free people under new democratically formed rule with individual freedoms based largely on the Judeo-Christian Bible and the Magna Carta. In 1776 the Declaration of Independence was ratified and signed into order as the supreme law of the land.
Freedom of the Press
One of the most important freedoms won in the war against the tyrannical British king was the right to vociferously expound upon anything and everything that came into the consciousness of the American mind. Unobstructed by uncouth underminers of unrestrained political will, unchained by the posturing of pretentious potentates, unhindered by hostilities from heavy-handed hustlers of hegemony, this newly recognized freedom – given by God and enumerated in the constitution – is still the cornerstone of our representative republic and a bulwark against the very prolific potential for evil that influences ideologies, promotes pay for play schemes and power grabbing propositions and that sadistically sways worldviews and gravely misguides governments even to this day.
The profound and resonant American voice of liberty has lead to the abolition of global slavery, the crushing of 20th century communism, the eradication of World War II fascism and has inspired the growth of economies, spurred the enforcement of fairness and human rights and pushed for the prosperity of countless people groups around the globe. While not perfect, the influence of this exceptionalism inspired by a people afflicted with the love of Christ and only found in the American consciousness, is responsible for every last one of the advances of humanity in our modern world. This, the power of a free voice and the liberty to verbalize or publicize such in print form, has been the key to moving the world from the dark ages to the era of enlightenment and is the the greatest threat against nefarious ne’er-do-wells bent on malevolence with their eyes on the prize of despotism through absolute rule.
Since the start of the last century, the ghoul of globalism has begun invading the west and working tirelessly to influence our American government, institutions and our way of life. It is an insidious enemy infection that’s rapidly on the rise, backed by billionaire faux-philanthropists spreading Marxist ideology and promulgating their pro-socialism propaganda. Like a cancer, it has spread its tentacles into our industries, metastasized into our corporate world and our classrooms and is trying to choke out the very breath of life that is our exceptional American system of rights, responsibilities and values. The foundation of which are those hard-won freedoms that our forefathers fought to secure at the cost of life and personal treasure. These same liberties which have propped up this nation in the most dire times of war and attacks from without in the past are presently under siege by a ghastly beast from within.
The latest salvos against American exceptionalism in the battle for the direction of our nation have, as one might expect, been against individual citizens and on two fronts – though these fronts are intertwined … the freedoms of the press and of speech. Those in the profession of journalism would like to claim they alone hold the mantle to press freedom and are the arbiters of the definition of this liberty – ascribing it as a special gift pertaining to them alone, specifically because they are called ‘the press’ or ‘the media’, as though the average Joe has no claim to the printing of his thoughts because he lacks a dubious degree in journalism.
Empirical evidence of the ignorance of such a stance is in the first printing of newspaper media in the U.S. colonies in the 1600’s – purportedly in 1690, as the first colonist news sheet titled Boston’s Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestic published by Richard Pierce and edited by Benjamin Harris – and, as was already the growing sentiment of the day, it was harshly disparaging of the British. No special degree or license necessary; just a desire and the means.
As an even more clear refutation of that pompous presumption by the press, I submit that the first instance of journalism being recognized in academia as an area of study was only in the recent past, in 1879 at the University of Missouri where it was offered as a four-year course, with Columbia University in New York soon following in 1912, offering journalism as a graduate program – an endowment by the famed Joseph Pulitzer. The professional legacy media fail to recognize (purposely or out of ignorance) that journalism was only instituted as a degreed profession a full hundred years after the revolutionary war, an era wherein men with enough capital and brave determination took up the printing press as a weapon against oppression and a tool against tyranny. Certification and license are antithetical to liberty and would require acquiescence and allegiance to a specific form of thought rather than the freedom to express ones own, without reservation.
Regardless of the personal views of the punditry or the claims of an earned privilege to hold a fictitious office, the printing of this media was only limited to funding and will, and it continued unabated throughout the colonial revolt against the crown as the produce of a patriotic people who refused to have their speech stifled. The same will and determination is alive and well today on the desktop of any American who can scrounge up a piece of paper and a writing implement or afford a device, a computer, a printer or other means of posting his opinions into the vast digital domain that is the world wide web, and in contradiction to the wailing assertions of the legacy news media, the common man has as much … nay, more of a right to present what he considers newsworthy and of legitimate concern to the nation (and now the world at large) since those in the profession of journalism have both turned a blind eye to truth and have given up their self appointed position as watchers on the wall for the American people and have now begun undermining our rights and outright aiding the assault of the Marxist, secular-humanist beast who’ll stop at nothing to delete the American exceptionalist consciousness from the world stage.
One thing is certain in our little uncertain world, even though throughout history there have been despots bent on chilling speech and dissuading dissent – the exceptional and vociferous American Patriot has boldly stood in the gap as the lone superpower willing to speak up and challenge oppression and conquer communistic ideology – choosing rather to die standing and fighting than to live on our knees like cowards.
End Note: While overt actions by the left to enforce any attempted compliance with liberty limiting proposals have seemingly dissipated, do not be fooled. As is the case with all of the liberal agenda, they are willing to take baby steps to push their policies even if it takes decades. This is incrementalism at it ugliest and is how the cancer of communism has been propagated since the late 1800’s.
Original article from 2009 on the attempt by the left in the Senate to criminalize citizen journalism was previously archived below (at The Washington Examiner) – though the link is no longer to an active article:
Democrats trying to criminalize citizen journalism
Mark Hemingway, Washington Examiner.com
An amendment to a bill currently being considered by the Senate would deny ordinary citizens doing vital investigations in the public interest the same legal protections as professional journalists. If it were to become law, the change could significantly stifle important citizen journalism efforts similar to the recent ACORN expose.
The Senate is currently considering a new press shield law sponsored by Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa. The bill would “maintain the free flow of information to the public by providing conditions for the federally compelled disclosure of information by certain persons connected with the news media.” Except that Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Cal., and Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., want to ensure that any new journalistic protections would only apply to professional journalists and not regular citizens. An amendment filed by Durbin and Feinstein would modify the legislation to define journalists thusly:
AMENDMENTS intended to be proposed by Mrs. FEINSTEIN (for herself and Mr. DURBIN)
In section 10(2)(A), strike clause (iii) and insert the following:
(iii) obtains the information sought while working as a salaried employee of, or independent contractor for, an entity—
(I) that disseminates information by print, broadcast, cable, satellite, mechanical, photographic, electronic, 1or other means; and
(aa) publishes a newspaper, book, magazine, or other periodical;
(bb) operates a radio or television broadcast station, network, cable system, or satellite carrier, or a channel or programming service for any such station, network, system, or carrier;
(cc) operates a programming service; or
(dd) operates a news agency or wire service;
In section 10(2)(B), strike ‘‘and’’ at the end.
In section 10(2)(C), strike the period at the end and insert ‘‘; and’’.
In section 10(2), add at the end the following:
(D) does not include an individual who gathers or disseminates the protected information sought to be compelled anonymously or under a pseudonym.
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