When the press is silenced then, tyranny reigns…

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On Monday, Tucker Carlson dropped a bombshell report. A whistleblower revealed that Tucker Carlson himself was being spied on by the US government. Click here to watch the video for yourself. 

As shocking and reprehensible as such activity is. that was not the first time a White House was hostile towards reporters. Take for example, the Trump administration which did battle with the media daily over their fake news reporting. Eventually, the media had to admit their narratives were false. That being said, the hostility towards the media was public for all to see. When Biden was Vice President during the Obama administration, hostility towards the press was largely downplayed by the media; even when intelligence agencies were used. Here are a few examples of what I mean.

Fox News reporter secretly monitored by Obama administration: court documents

(CBS News) Court documents released this week show the Obama administration secretly monitored a Washington journalist. In seeking a search warrant, the FBI called Fox News’ James Rosen a “criminal co-conspirator,” even though he isn’t charged with any crime.

These revelations have set off a firestorm of criticism from the left and right, CBS News’ Jan Crawford reports. For the first time ever, a presidential administration is treating news reporting like a crime, and a reporter like a criminal suspect.

Further down in the article it reads…

The level of government surveillance of a reporter was unprecedented. Agents monitored Rosen’s movements in and out of the State Department. They searched his personal emails and combed through his cell phone records.

Obama Political Spying Scandal: Trump Associates Were Not the First Targets

Sheryl Attkisson was one of the few journalists at mainstream outlets who aggressively reported on the Fast and Furious scandal and the Benghazi massacre. Perhaps as a result, the Obama administration spied on her.

Based on examinations by two forensic experts, Attkisson and CBS eventually reported that her personal and work computers were “accessed by an unauthorized, external, unknown party on multiple occasions.” Was this “unknown party” the government? The experts say it was a highly advanced intruder, which “used sophisticated methods to remove all possible indications of unauthorized activity.” Moreover, one computer was infiltrated remotely by the use of “new spy software proprietary to a federal agency.”

One of Attkisson’s sources — an unidentified “intelligence-connected” source who suggests that she has been under government surveillance — told her, as she puts it, that “the government has pushed the envelope like never before and that the public would be shocked to ‘learn the extent that the government is conducting surveillance of private citizens.’” According to Attkisson, the FBI opened an investigation of intrusions of her computer. Although the bureau contacted CBS, agents never contacted her, Attkisson reports. In addition, despite her numerous Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, the FBI is said to be withholding investigative information about her.

Plus, the Obama administration ejected reporters (sometimes forcibly) on several occasions and the mainstream media largely ignored it.

Example 1: A Black female reporter is picked up, dragged and carried away by Secret Service. (What would the headlines be if Trump did this? At the least, the secret service men would be in KKK uniforms in all the political cartoons lampooning the incident.)

Example 2: Obama kicked out a transgender reporter who disagreed with his deportation policies. (Can you imagine the headlines if Trump did this? It would be in every political ad soliciting support from the LGBTQ community. At the very least, the other left-leaning reporters in the room would not have been cheering Trump as they did Obama.) Click here for more details on this incident.

Example 3: This happened under the Obama administration too. A reporter kicked out because they did not want the possibility of being questioned by an opposition journalist.

But, I digress. Freedom of the press is a cornerstone of democracy. It is essential and without it, tyranny is assured. This is why reporters the world over, often risk their lives when they report the truth to the public. They fight for freedom and in some cases, their efforts cost them their lives. Consider the following articles and quotes. 

Journalists around the world face record persecution

  • Ethiopia: On Tuesday, a BBC reporter in the country’s conflict-hit region was released without charge after being detained by the military, per the BBC. Numerous journalists have been arrested while covering armed conflicts between the federal military and opposition groups.
  • India: Last week, a reporter was accused of “wantonly” reporting on the deaths of two teenage girls with the “intent to cause a riot.” A decision in India’s Supreme Court launched a contempt case against a satire cartoonist in January for “[shaking] the public trust and confidence in the judicial system.”
  • Russia: New legislation forced three journalists in the country to register as “foreign agents” due to their work. Dozens of journalists have been detained covering protests supporting freedom for Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
  • Sri Lanka: Reporter Murugupillai Kokulathasan was arrested on domestic terrorism charges last year for posting on Facebook about a rebellion movement that was defeated in 2009.

State persecution against women journalists on the rise globally

On October 9, 2020, Turkish authorities launched a raid at Kurdish news agencies Mesopotamia News and JinNews in their offices in the city of Van. The police immediately arrested and detained some of the journalists working there. Two of the staffers, Nazan Sala and Şehriban Abi, were among those who had previously reported on the torture of Kurdish villagers in a small town called Catak. I was later told by these journalists that the police had questioned and arrested them, particularly for their reportage on the torture cases in Catak. They were told with emphasis that they were in trouble for this coverage.

Once in custody, the journalists had no access to the outside world; their phones, equipment, and cameras were confiscated by the police. According to the lawyer, the journalists were kept in male prisons, which had to be a humiliating experience.

Even more concerning was the condition in which they were kept. Despite the cold weather and a raging pandemic, they were not allowed to wear their warm clothes or offered any alternative protection. On top of that, they did not get any food or water and had to stand for hours.  

If this fascinates you, as it did me, one resource you want to bookmark is Reporters Without Borders. They have a lot of fascinating data on their website. Among them, RSF’s 2020 Round-up: 50 journalists killed, two-thirds in countries “at peace.” Here is a disturbing quote from that article.

A total of 50 journalists were killed worldwide in 2020, according to the second part of the annual round-up of abusive treatment and violence against journalists, published today by Reporters Without Borders (RSF). While the number of journalists killed in countries at war continues to fall, more are being murdered in countries not at war.

In addition to an annual “roundup,” they publish stats on where reporting the news is the most riskiest and safest. Its called the World Press Freedom Index and according to their data, the safest place to report the news is Norway. Conversely, the riskiest local for reportage is Eritrea, which was ranked at 180. . (North Korea was my guess. It was ranked at 179.) So, what is Norway doing to be ranked the best place on earth for reporters? To quote Reporters Without Borders.

Norway has for years been at or near the top of all democracy and free speech rankings. In 2020, Norway’s parliamentarians asked the government to issue an annual assessment of the state of freedom of expression and press freedom. They also requested regular updates on media policy implementation. A new media responsibility law that has just taken effect is portrayed by the authorities as the most important piece of legislation in years for media editors because it defines their freedoms and responsibilities. 

I wondered where America was on the list and we were #44, a three point drop since Biden became President. To again quote Reporters Without Borders

Only 24 percent of the 180 countries and territories are classified as “good” (coloured white on the Press Freedom Map) or “fairly good” (yellow), as opposed to 26 percent last year. As a result of an increasingly hostile climate that goes beyond Donald Trump’s comments, the United States (48th) has fallen three places in this year’s Index and the media climate is now classified as “problematic” (orange). Never before have US journalists been subjected to so many death threats or turned so often to private security firms for protection. Hatred of the media is now such that a man walked into the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland, in June 2018 and opened fire, killing four journalists and one other member of the newspaper’s staff. The gunman had repeatedly expressed his hatred for the paper on social networks before ultimately acting on his words.

As the trend continues in the USA, I have to wonder how low our rankings will sink because American freedom is in direct correlation. God, help us all.

Thank you!

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