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Obama Threatens Free Speech (Again) and the Mainstream Media Let's it Happen (Again)


The surrendering of free speech always comes at a cost. Mainstream media is beginning to find out just how high that cost is.

In this Friday, Dec. 5, 2014 photo, President Barack Obama listens in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington as Ashton Carter speaks during the announcement of Carter for defense secretary. (Image source: AP/Jacquelyn Martin)

For years now, the mainstream media has been genuflecting to this president. Call it what you will, “reaping what you sow” perhaps, but the same media is now beginning to see what happens when you fail to uphold the tenets of free speech under the U.S. Constitution.

Recently, President Barack Obama “decreed” through his White House Press Secretary, Josh Earnest, that the words “radical Islam” shall be replaced with “violent extremism based on a warped view of Islam.”

“President Barack Obama has a moral responsibility to push back on the nation’s journalism community when it is planning to publish anti-jihadi articles that might cause a jihadi attack against the nation’s defense forces,” Earnest said in a White House daily briefing to reporters.

“The president…will not now be shy about expressing a view or taking the steps that are necessary to try to advocate for the safety and security of our men and women in uniform whenever journalists’ work may provoke jihadist attacks,” Earnest continued.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest answers questions about the government's Ebola response during his daily news briefing at the White House in Washington, Friday, Oct. 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin White House press secretary Josh Earnest. AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin 

In other words, 17 people that lost their lives in France when radical Islamic extremists stormed through the doors of a French newspaper, for supposedly insulting Islam, died in vain if their fellow American journalists, who live in a free society, decide to bend to the pressures of this president.

What will your response be, mainstream media?

Will you sit quietly as you have since before Obama was first elected president and continue to do as you are told? Remain in lockstep?

Perhaps you are willing to continue down that slippery slope of giving up your First Amendment rights because your “commander in chief" has ordered it under the guise that it places military personnel in danger.

I can understand the concerns of any president when journalists report from the battlefield of an actual war where protecting lives of our military outweighs the right of some free speech.

It’s understandable that in a war, the presence of reporters in a war zone could unintentionally have the effect of revealing coordinates that could place the lives of those in the military in danger, such as when reporters were embedded with the military under former President George W. Bush, during the Iraq War.

However, even when Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera drew a crude map in the sand during a live broadcast on Fox News which concerned the Pentagon that he may have inadvertently revealed vital troop movements on air, Bush did not come out and admonish him for his actions.

In my opinion, if the president had publicly chastised him for his actions, it would have been understandable given the fact that our country was in the heat of battle during a declared war in Iraq.

FILE - In this Sept. 11, 2001 file photo, President Bush's Chief of Staff Andy Card whispers into the ear of the President to give him word of the plane crashes into the World Trade Center, during a visit to the Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota,  Fla. (AP Photo/Doug Mills, File In this Sept. 11, 2001 file photo, President Bush's Chief of Staff Andy Card whispers into the ear of the President to give him word of the plane crashes into the World Trade Center, during a visit to the Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Fla. Bush was regularly lambasted in the press for his handling of issues. (AP Photo/Doug Mills) 

Additionally, while it was further alleged that some reporters were fired or disciplined due to what they said or did during the coverage of the war, none to my knowledge were fired or disciplined because of a directive that had been issued by the president. Rather, their own networks disciplined them when they believed the actions of their own reporters were inappropriate during wartime.

Bush also did not claim to have a “moral obligation” under the executive branch of the Constitution to order the prescribed words that reporters could utilize in their reports of the war. That is what a dictator does in a society that is not free!

Unlike the Iraq War, we have not declared war against another country. In fact, our president cannot even call our actions abroad as a “war” against radical Islamic extremism.

Unfortunately, when you start down the path of giving up God-given Constitutional rights, the result is always a win for the government and a loss for the people.

In this case, the media is included in that description but it is ultimately the American public who loses when the media does not exercise their freedom of speech.

This president has been given a pass by the mainstream media since he first declared his run for the presidency. I don’t recall any other president who was not vetted extensively by the media during a past election.

Who could forget the joining of forces that the liberal media purportedly engaged in to protect then Sen. Barack Obama’s bid for the White House in 2008?

According to The Daily Caller, a group of liberal journalists took extreme steps to protect their favored candidate from his association with Obama’s long-time relationship with the controversial Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

The news publication alleged that employees of news organizations including Time, Politico, the Huffington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the Guardian, Salon and the New Republic participated in outpourings of anger over how Obama was treated in the media, by being questioned about his relationship with Wright, and in some cases plotted to fix the damage.

They also claimed that Spencer Ackerman of the Washington Independent urged his fellow journalists to deflect attention from Obama’s relationship with Wright by changing the subject and calling Obama critics, “racists.”

In this way, those who attempted to vet the president would potentially have had their free speech silenced by political correctness.

Also, when Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) vice-presidential candidate, who was then acting governor of Alaska, was announced in McCain’s run as the Republican candidate against Obama, she was given an FBI background check and her personal life was ripped apart by the media doubled standard.


Obama, on the other hand, who was running as a presidential candidate, had his past largely overlooked by the same media.

We have also seen that time and time again, the media has chosen not to report on crucial information pertaining to this administration’s actions or to provide limited coverage on potentially damaging headlines.

For example, Obama’s speech regarding his most recent executive order on sweeping immigration reform was skipped while scandals under his administration involving the IRS, NSA, and Benghazi have seemingly been minimalized by an obedient media.

Finally, statements made by Obamacare architect, Jonathan Gruber calling American voters “stupid,” were not reported on initially, presumably in an attempt to ensure Obama’s 2012 re-election.

The media is beginning to “reap the benefits” of having surrendered some of their First Amendment rights and are now receiving the fruits of the latest White House directive announced by the president. The media, I believe, can expect to see even more pressure by this president to conform in the future.

Fellow French journalists gave up their lives for free speech and their right to choose to print a message, using their own words, even while others, including their president may not have condoned it.

Will the American mainstream media once again bow to pressure from this administration or will they choose to publish the news in their own words?

Feature Image: AP/Jacquelyn Martin

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