Shire Network News #173 has been released. The feature interview is with Tehmina Kazi, Director of British Muslims for Secular Democracy. Click here for the show notes, links, and ways to listen to the show; directly from the web site, by downloading the mp3 file, or by subscribing with your podcatcher of choice.
Below is the text of my commentary.
Hi, this is Doug Payton for Shire Network News asking you to "Consider this!"
Do you remember when George W. Bush, that shredder of the Constitution he, got so upset with unflattering coverage of his policies by MSNBC that he barred them from press pool interviews, and sent his minions to declare it an invalid news organization? Yeah, me neither. But let me ask you; if he had, don’t you think this would have caused a constitutional crisis, at least in the minds on the Left? Right, me too.
But let’s back up a bit and hit some recent history. During the Sunday talk shows on October 18th, Obama mouthpieces David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel went on the offensive against Fox News, saying they were not a news organization because they have "a perspective". The implication being that every other news organization plays it precisely, straight down the middle. (I’ll wait for you to finish laughing before I continue.)
Later in the week, Jake Tapper of ABC News, was apparently the only reporter remotely concerned that this was, y’know, rather chilling. He asked the President’s spokesman why it’s appropriate for the White House to decide what is or isn’t a news organization. The answer came back from the spokesman, "You and I should watch sometime around 9 o’clock tonight. Or 5 o’clock this afternoon." So, what news programs are on Fox News Channel during those times? Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck.
OK, someone needs to explain to Barack Obama, President of the United States, the difference between "news" and "opinion". So we here at Shire Network News … er, well perhaps we should call it "Shire Network Opinion" just to make things perfectly clear. The distinction is apparently something of a difficult concept to the folks who are running my country. Anyway, we’d like to help with understanding that distinction.
Glenn Beck is an opinion show. Sean Hannity spouts opinion. Shepard Smith is a news anchor. Additionally, the TeleTubbies are not real, Dick Cheney is not Darth Vader, and Burger King is not an actual monarch.
The problem is that, while the presence of Hannity and Beck on Fox News is apparently enough to disqualify it as a true news organization, the presence of Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, also opinion pundits but from the liberal side of the aisle, doesn’t disqualify MSNBC from being one. I mean, heck, both of them were invited to an off-the-record briefing by the President.
See, liberal opinion is "news", while conservative opinion is "sedition".
Later that week, the most recent Nobel "Peace" Prize winner stepped up the war. When the White House made a cabinet member available to the press pool, they specifically said that pool member Fox News was not allowed. All of a sudden, all the other news organizations were roused from their slumber, got together and said that if Fox couldn’t get an interview, none of them would do an interview. This brave, if belated, action made the White House blink, and Fox was allowed in.
It should never have gone this far. Yeah, Presidents, Prime Ministers and Grand Poobahs from all over the world have had their issues with the press, and some organizations in particular. But freezing them out is more for a Castro or Chavez then a leader who purportedly is preserving, protecting and defending a Constitution that includes freedom of the press.
You want to complain, Mr. President? You’ve got the bully pulpit. But when you start being a bully, don’t be surprised if the kids on the block gang up, take their microphones and go home. A truce was recently called, so the bully has learned his lesson and gone back into his house. For now.
Odd, and slightly disconcerting, that the press had to educate our government on the Constitutional restrictions placed on that government. But then, isn’t it always that way? Government only responds to push-back; just ask General George Washington. And anyone looking to give it more and more power over us should really consider this.