Thursday, July 5, 2018
Freedom Of The Press Fireworks!
As the fireworks exploded throughout the skies of our great nation this past Independence Day, every citizen has something to celebrate. But our country is far from perfect, and one way it can be made stronger is with a truly free press. Unfortunately, the media is under attack – financially, politically, and legally.
Fresh off the murderous rampage upon The Capital Gazette, a community paper in Maryland that left five dead simply because some nut didn’t like its media coverage about him, all newspapers are under other attacks.
The bombardment comes from powerful interests who try to sue, pressure, or buy coverage as a means of dictating what the press covers.
There’s now evidence that Donald Trump controlled editorial coverage at the National Enquirer, killing some stories while greenlighting others. On a daily basis he attacks the media, unjustly, as Fake News, while spreading his self-serving propaganda.
The president has a history of being hostile towards the press, accusing the media of “trying to take away our history and our heritage,” without providing any evidence or sane explanation for such wild claims.
Free speech is under attack in so many ways. College campuses try to mute any speech it disagrees with while businesses punish employees who dare utter anything on social media that doesn’t fit into how businesses perceive their images.
America has enjoyed a long battle for freedom of the press, but the Revolution was built on the brave writings of citizens. According to the Pulitzer-prize-winning book, The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution, there were at least 400 pamphlets in circulation around 1776. By 1783, the number approached over 1,500.
Don’t be fooled by today's explosion of communication devices and numerous opportunities to speak out. Sure we can send emails all over the place, tweet incessantly, or create a website, but all of this comes with catches. Places like China filter and censor the flow of information. Huge American companies like Facebook, Google, and Twitter can dictate terms of service – who gets to post what. The government, by virtue of technology, easily can track, profile, and monitor everything we buy, say or do. Meanwhile, newspapers struggle to overcome declining circulations, decreased ad revenues, and a shrinking news room left to fill content for fewer pages at fewer papers.
Democracy needs a strong Fourth Estate.
Now add in King Trump’s crazy trade war – with allies and enemies alike. He imposed a 30% tariff on Canadian uncoated paper. For struggling newspapers, this extra cost can’t easily be passed onto the very readers that they struggle to keep. Paper costs also influence magazines, pamphleteers, and book publishers. He can tax journalism and free speech away.
Publisher Steve Forbes recently told The Wall Street Journal: “All businesses must adapt to survive in a free market, and newspapers are no different. While the government has no responsibility to safeguard newspapers from market forces, it shouldn’t hasten their demise.”
I live and die with the media. Professionally, as a book marketer, I need the news media. As a curious-minded writer, I rely on the media to inform and enlighten me. As a citizen, I need a strong media to keep powerful interests – government, business, and foreign entities – in check. We all should support the news media and champion a press unencumbered by law, unthreatened by the courts, untaxed by the President – and freed up to act in our best interests.
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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent. This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.”