In the mid-1970s, conservatives called the Washington Post, “Pravda on the Potomac” because of its pervasive left-wing bias in both reporting and editorials. WAPO still deserves that moniker. Now the British Parliament is about to make all British tabloids and broadsheets into models of Pravda and Izvestia on the Thames. If new proposed restrictions on press freedoms in Great Britain comes to pass, and given that the UK has been on a binge of destroying 300 years of freedom for most of my lifetime (except a brief interlude under Margaret Thatcher), it likely will pass. The danger to the USA is twofold: First of all our own politicians would love to duplicate these proposals here; and if all British media becomes state run, where will Americans go for accurate news reporting on the latest outrage from Washington? For quite some time political news junkies have been looking to the Telegraph and the UK Daily Mail for accurate news reporting on our own political scene because it’s not available this side of the Atlantic through the traditional news outlets.
Rush Limbaugh jokingly refers to the U.S. old media as the “state-run” media. All humor depends upon a grain of truth in order to be funny or interesting, and there is a certain level of truth in Rush’s wisecrack because even though the U.S. media claims to care about freedom of the press, it acts exactly the same as a state-run media would act. Well, only when Democrats are in power. Whenever there is a Republican in the White House the liberals suck-ups actually engage in news reporting instead of mere stenography for the government line. Their reporting is still not accurate no matter which party is in power because while they hide and cover up the facts to protect Democrats, they stretch and distort the facts to destroy Republicans.
So far I haven’t said exactly what it is that the British Parliament is up to. It’s so horrible I’ve been trying to avoid it, perhaps. It’s horrible because the British Conservative party is just as much involved in destroying freedom in the mother country as the Labour party and the Liberal Democrats. There is no one in Great Britain these days, outside of James Delingpole and Daniel Hannan and the American-born Janet Daley willing to stand up against government oppression. Prime Minister David Cameron is supposed to be a conservative but is even more worthless than the RINOS in our government. The British UKIP is their equivalent of the Tea Party Patriots, fighting for limited government and fiscal responsibility, but that’s about it. There is no conservative talk radio in Britain, and the Telegragh is the sole conservative voice of any reliability.
Mike McNally at PJ Media explains the current scheme for government control of the British media:
In a move that would be unthinkable to most Americans, politicians in Britain are on the brink of introducing statutory regulation of the press in a bid to curb what they see as the excesses of the nation’s newspapers. Those behind the proposals are taking advantage of the lack of explicit free speech or press freedom protections in the UK’s piecemeal constitution, which is partly written and partly based on convention. At the end of the day, what Parliament says, goes. Liberals in the U.S. would kill for a similar arrangement.
The politicians have rejected the newspaper industry’s own plans to beef up its current system of self-regulation. And while they insist the press has nothing to fear from their proposals, newspapers argue that, once the principle of state regulation has been established, future governments could abuse it. Under the proposals, the regulator would have the power to demand prominent corrections and apologies from publishers and impose £1million fines. Newspaper publishers that refuse to submit to the regulator’s fines and rulings could face punitive damages in the courts, and could be made to pay the full costs of court cases even if they win.
David Cameron once appeared to be at least somewhat supporting of a free press in the UK, but like his conservative counterparts in the U.S., he caves easily to pressure from the Left. What makes the attack on liberty so destructive in the UK is that it’s not just the politicians who are leading it. The British public seems to be going all out to give up their liberty at every turn. A group called Hacked Off, consisting of left-wing academics and activists, establishment figures, and celebrities who believe they’ve been victims of press intrusion, are also leading the charge. The Left always wants only to silence criticism, never to confront it with debate. When the proposed new regulation of the press in the UK comes into force, it will be a huge victory for Labour, Hacked Off, and the BBC, which shares their left-wing sympathies, and which also dominates television, radio, and internet news provision in Britain, and would love to see its ideological and business competitors hobbled. That’s the way of the Left. Don’t face your opposition’s ideas with ideas and debate of your own, just use government power to make them shut up.
The modern left hates the idea of a free press, and of free speech in general, because it knows that in a free exchange of ideas it will always lose. Leftists fantasize about a press controlled by journalism professors, lawyers and other members of the great and the good, who would ensure the public was “educated” with a non-stop diet of stories about racism, inequality, global warming and third-world poverty, and despise the celebrity-worshiping and crime-obsessed majority of the British public that doesn’t share their politics or their good taste.
If you don’t want to see this situation come to our shores, something I guarantee our politicians would love, I recommend supporting the Tea Party Patriots movement with your money and your volunteer hours. This is a political movement promoting a return to individual freedom, limited government and fiscal responsibility. Your position on social issues, whatever it may be, will not be offended as the Tea Party movement takes no position on any social issue.
In 1655 John Milton wrote Areopagitica, A speech for the liberty of unlicensed printing to the parliament of England. Here is a favorite part of that speech:
To sequester out of the world into Atlantic and Utopian polities, which never can be drawn into use, will not mend our condition; but to ordain wisely as in this world of evil, in the midst whereof God hath placed us unavoidably. Nor is it Plato’s licensing of books will do this, which necessarily pulls along with it so many other kinds of licensing, as will make us all both ridiculous and weary, and yet frustrate; but those unwritten, or at least unconstraining, laws of virtuous education, religious and civil nurture, which Plato there mentions as the bonds and ligaments of the commonwealth, the pillars and the sustainers of every written statute; these they be which will bear chief sway in such matters as these, when all licensing will be easily eluded. Impunity and remissness, for certain, are the bane of a commonwealth; but here the great art lies, to discern in what the law is to bid restraint and punishment, and in what things persuasion only is to work.