Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging (depriving) the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
I love this country and I love our Constitution. I believe fervently in the Bill of Rights and that they should be honored in a balanced and impartial manner. All speech is free speech. Unfortunately, the United States government has an uncanny ability to step on the rights of anyone they don't agree with while granting leniency for those it favors. I am going to dedicate multiple posts about the first amendment but today I want to focus specifically on freedom of the press.
I would contend that the United States mass media has moved into a state of propaganda geared towards targeted messaging and ratings rather than factual and legitimate news. They have decided that we can no longer absorb information and determine whether it's "good" or "bad" and that we need them to tell us how to feel and what to think about information. This is once again not a left or right issue. Everyone is being force-fed their opinion from their respective news outlets. The media and its personalities, however, believe they are the bastions of truth and do NOT appreciate being challenged or rivaled. They are all trying to be the first to break any tiny bit of news and they need their reporting to be as important to you as it is to them. The problem is that by doing this, they have had to retract a large number of stories due to inaccuracies. Here is an article breaking down the top 10 most embarrassing stories regarding Trump-Russia that turned out to be false. This has led to a Gallup study (Sept 2019) that shows only 13% of people trust the media "a great deal," and only 28% a "fair amount." The further breakdown of those numbers include 69% of Democrats, 15% of Republicans and 36% of Independents trust the media.
Thankfully, these inaccuracies and mistakes can be retracted and there is no punishment. No death to journalists, no prosecutions, no fear; other than losing advertisers because your ratings have plummeted due to the lack of trust....The press is free to write whatever they want and it is protected by the first amendment; unless your name is Julian Assange.
For those of you who do not know Julian Assange, he founded Wikileaks in 2006. Wikileaks is a media organization that has published more than 10 million documents and has a 100% perfect record in authenticity. That is to say that NOTHING they have published has been proven to be false. Julian is currently in Belmarsh prison in London, England serving a 50 week sentence for skipping bail on a false and dropped sex crime allegation out of Sweden. Let me say that again, he is serving time (two weeks shy of a year) in England for skipping bail on a false charge out of Sweden. In 4 days (February 24th) he begins part one of a two-part extradition hearing. I am sure you are thinking Sweden is trying to extradite him, right? You would be wrong. The United States is attempting to extradite Assange with one charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion and 17 charges of espionage....Because he published information that was true. He didn't steal the information. He received, verified and published the information. If that is a crime, please explain to me how Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman with the New York Times are not being considered for prosecution for the same crime? Or why Chelsea Manning went to jail and Edward Snowden is in asylum in Russia for being whistleblowers, but the mere mention of Eric Ciaramella is banned on most social media platforms and cable news networks.
Oddly, not many mainstream media representatives are speaking out on Julian Assange's behalf. Partly, I believe, because he is a prime example of their shortcomings. Wikileaks is unbiased and everyone is fair game in its exposure of corruption while most mass media outlets, today, are enablers and complicit, in my opinion. Regardless of my belief about the United States media, they are protected by the first amendment and I believe they should be. Prosecuting Julian Assange is a slippery slope and I feel like more citizens need to be concerned about the selective protection of one publisher over another; especially when this publisher has been 100% accurate. Government overreach is real and we need to stand up to the bureaucracy that believes they can selectively bypass the first amendment when it suits them. If you feel the way I do, I encourage you to call your Senators and your representatives. They swore to support and defend the Constitution. If you do not, I would love to hear why you believe some press is protected by the first amendment but Wikileaks and its founder are not.