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US Press Freedom Evaporating

THE “LAND OF THE FREE” IS SLIPPING …  The United States has plunged thirteen spots on the latest Press Freedom Index – compiled annually by global information freedom advocates, Reporters Without Borders. “O’ say does that star-spangled banner still wave … o’er the land of the free and the home…

THE “LAND OF THE FREE” IS SLIPPING … 

The United States has plunged thirteen spots on the latest Press Freedom Index – compiled annually by global information freedom advocates, Reporters Without Borders.

“O’ say does that star-spangled banner still wave … o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

Yeah … anyway, America now ranks No. 46 out of 180 nations (ahead of Haiti but below Romania). What prompted our tumble? Easy: We are now a land which hunts down its whistleblowers and spies on its reporters.

Same for Great Britain, apparently …

“Both the US and UK authorities seem obsessed with hunting down whistleblowers instead of adopting legislation to rein in abusive surveillance practices that negate privacy, a democratic value cherished in both countries,” the compilers of the index noted.

In fact they specifically noted that the hunt for Snowden and the prosecution of Wikileaks’ source Bradley Manning were “warnings to all those thinking of assisting in the disclosure of sensitive information that would clearly be in the public interest.”

Indeed …

“The economic decline of a nation into rule by a handful of corrupt oligarchs will have many negative repercussions,” writes Michael Krieger of the Liberty Blitzkrieg blog. “One of these is a loss of civil rights and freedoms that many of us have taken for granted.”

And one of those is the ongoing erosion of the freedom of the press …

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50 comments

GrandTango February 17, 2014 at 2:57 pm

Hey FITS. You and the liberals got the living $#!* kicked out of you in Chattanooga, trying to force union thugs on the VW plant.

Why are you shriveling up like the little sissy-punk you are, and avoiding that story?…You scared ya’ boy Obama will send the IRS after you and your girlfriend, Sanford??? (I know gay rights and all, it’s a liberal-tarian standard)…You Deserve to be discounted because you are incompetent…

Anyway: YOU are the PRIME example of media that SUCKS, because you only report what your idiots like to hear…it’s why yall are walking around defending Obamacare as working…

When the wanna-be media leaders are liars and @$$hole liberals, the fools that follow you, end up ignorant and ridiculous.

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truthmonger February 17, 2014 at 3:14 pm

GrandTango, you are simply stupid. VW didn’t NEED a union because they were following standard practices in treatment of employees established in UNIONIZE EUROPEAN plants. In fact, they were being treated better than employees at most any other automotive plant in the US. VW is reaping the dividends of loyalty and hard work earned through fair treatment of employees. NOTHING at ALL like how most businesses in the US treat employees. You can’t claim anti-drone bias for this one, since the working conditions at that plant were established through long and productive relationships with EUROPEAN unions. This from a relative who is management – level AT THAT PLANT.

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truthmonger February 17, 2014 at 3:15 pm

Weird auto spell errors. Deal with it.

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Jackie Chiles February 17, 2014 at 3:16 pm

My cousin, the CEO of VW, says you’re lying.

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truthmonger February 17, 2014 at 4:11 pm

Denial… not just a river in Egypt. Funny how your fantasies don’t dovetail with reality. Sorry the idea of treating employees well is so offensive to you.

Jackie Chiles February 17, 2014 at 4:16 pm

My wife’s brother’s uncle’s cousin, the president of Ford, says you don’t know what you’re talking about.

Anecdotes are fun! February 17, 2014 at 4:23 pm

lol, well Ferdinand Porsche wrote a book saying no one knows what they are talking about.

GrandTango February 17, 2014 at 3:32 pm

From your response I an tell tbat @#ki king really smafted. Liberals can never admit gdtting the p¡$$ slapped out of you.

I really LMAO at you and tbe VW massacre.And FITS fear of it tells me how significant it is. Obama even begged for the union thugs.

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Jackie Chiles February 17, 2014 at 3:01 pm

Let’s see: a bunch of reporters create a report complaining about life as a reporter. I wonder if it also indicated that reporters need MOAR monies to be sure they’re independence is protected.

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Jay Ellington February 17, 2014 at 3:47 pm

My decision to leave broadcast news in 1998 has been validated at least weekly ever since. I never thought we would live in a society where 90% of the coverage is designed to protect and insulate the underhandedness taking place in Washington.

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idcydm February 17, 2014 at 4:30 pm

When we reach the socialist society so many seem to want, the people we elect to have power over us will also have the power over the then powerless puppet media.

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Jay Ellington February 17, 2014 at 4:39 pm

I’d venture to say the media is already puppeted and powerless.

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idcydm February 17, 2014 at 4:43 pm

I still see flickers of truth out there. You know what amazes me, the people that complain about one side but totally believe the other side.

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Jay Ellington February 17, 2014 at 4:53 pm

I read a Pew report recently that determined MSNBC uses fact based reporting something like 18% of the time, the other 82% is commentary and/or opinion based. Granted, their viewership is pretty low, but there is a segment of the population that absorbs what halfwits like Maddow, Matthews, and O’Donnell and accept it as truth and not rhetoric.

idcydm February 17, 2014 at 5:04 pm

Many years ago, as a teenager, a very smart man told me to gather the information, digest it because not all information is fact, then make your decision. He also told me figures don’t lie but liars figure. My father was and at 93 is still a very smart man.

Ellington Aint No Republican February 17, 2014 at 6:09 pm

While you,of course, bask in the truly intellectual discussions of Limbaugh, Hannity, OReilly etc.You know Ellington where the news is Fair,Balanced and Unafraid.

idcydm February 17, 2014 at 7:09 pm

Will you answer a question for me, please. Why do people such as you use screen names like yours? Do you not have the fortitude to use the same constant anonymity?

Jay Ellington February 17, 2014 at 8:01 pm

No, this is the same sort of clown that breaks in line, makes up things about their pathetic life to make themselves seem interesting, doesn’t tip well, and at the end of the day probably goes home to a significant other that they’re making completely miserable. Hopefully they either don’t have kids or they’re a deadbeat parent not having any influence on their offspring.

idcydm February 17, 2014 at 8:17 pm

Yes, he’s one of those I spoke of earlier and he speaks of intellectual discussions.

Jay Ellington February 17, 2014 at 8:32 pm

That’s assuming it’s a male.

idcydm February 17, 2014 at 9:44 pm

Don’t give me that PC bull shit, I will always consider it a man unless identified. I’m too old to change.

Ellington Aint No Republican February 17, 2014 at 10:40 pm

Always a joy to see two Non Republican Republicans calling people names, engaging in a little sexism etc etc

Shades of Todd Akin I dare say.

Carry on boys!

idcydm February 17, 2014 at 11:00 pm

LOL, as if what a troll has to say is of any importance. Why don’t you find Rosie Palm and her five sisters, isn’t that what trolls do when they log off.

Jay Ellington February 17, 2014 at 11:02 pm

Fuck you clown.

Jay Ellington February 17, 2014 at 7:52 pm

I killed cable almost a year ago you fucking moronic bastard.

Ellington Aint No Republican February 17, 2014 at 9:26 pm

Sure you did Ellington .

Commercial is over. Back to Sean!

Jay Ellington February 17, 2014 at 9:31 pm

This site is ripe with simpletons. You’re the one that seems to know the Fox schedule like the palm of your hand. Intellectual you are not.

Tom February 18, 2014 at 9:55 am

Amazing how you know the MSNBC anchors so well, and what their positions are without cable. If you are not watching, how do you know you don’t agree with them? Unless of course you were listening to someone else, like Rush, Beck, Hannity or Drudge.
By the way, what is the link to that Pew article you are talking about? Do they rate Fox, Rush and Glenn Beck as well?
Of course you don’t need cable to listen to Hannity, Rush, and Beck, they are on the radio; and Drudge is on the internet.

Jay Ellington February 18, 2014 at 10:43 am

Amazing, is it Tom? You sir are easily slack jawed. Bet you’re a lot of fun to take a magic show. And yes the Pew report covers CNN and FOX… I actually gave MSNBC a little more credit than I originally remembered…

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/06/05/is-msnbc-the-place-for-opinion/

vicupstate February 18, 2014 at 11:19 am

Please let your like-minded kindred know that CNN is the most factual network.

venomachine February 18, 2014 at 9:09 am

We really revved it coming off of the line with the Patriot Act.

It has been a downhill slide ever since. All for our protection, of course.

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Yep! February 17, 2014 at 4:38 pm

The government really shot itself in the foot when it helped to nudge along internet development.

I’ll bet they wish they had a “do over” on that one.

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venomachine February 18, 2014 at 9:08 am

Only if it benefits the corporate bottom line.

GE owns NBC, The Mouse owns ABC. Who owns CBS?

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Elfego February 19, 2014 at 10:20 am

The more they(Press) caters to this corruption the sooner they(Press) and citizens will lose all their rights! The so called Press live on talking points and have no intestinal fortitude. They are lazy and as corrupt as those they rub elbows with.

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Jack February 17, 2014 at 4:09 pm

Please identify the language in the Constitution that guarantees a speaker anonymity, or that shields a reporter from identifying the sources of his information. It is has always been illegal to divulge classified information. Nothing has changed.

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Bill February 17, 2014 at 4:12 pm

Agreed. Freedom of speech guarantees you the right to speak, it does not guarantee you there will be no consequences to your exercise of that right

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Wiki is your friend. February 17, 2014 at 4:37 pm

“Please identify the language in the Constitution that guarantees a speaker anonymity, or that shields a reporter from identifying the sources of his information.”

“The Supreme Court declined to rule on the constitutionality of any federal law regarding the Free Speech Clause until the 20th century. For example, the Supreme Court never ruled on the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798, legislation by President John Adams’ Federalist Party to ban seditious libel; three of the Supreme Court’s justices presided over resulting sedition trials without indicating any reservations.[38] The leading critics of the law, Vice President Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, argued for the Acts’ unconstitutionality based on the First Amendment and other Constitutional provisions.[39] Jefferson succeeded Adams as president, in part due to the unpopularity of the latter’s sedition prosecutions; he and his party quickly overturned the Acts and pardoned those imprisoned by them.[40] In the majority opinion in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (1964),[41] Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. noted the importance of this public debate as a precedent in First Amendment law and ruled that the Acts had been unconstitutional: “Although the Sedition Act was never tested in this Court, the attack upon its validity has carried the day in the court of history.”

Anonymous speech

In Talley v. California (1960),[78] the Court struck down a Los Angeles city ordinance that made it a crime to distribute anonymous pamphlets. Justice Hugo Black wrote in the majority opinion: “There can be no doubt that such an identification requirement would tend to restrict freedom to distribute information and thereby freedom of expression … Anonymous pamphlets, leaflets, brochures and even books have played an important role in the progress of mankind.”[79] In McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission (1995),[80] the Court struck down an Ohio statute that made it a crime to distribute anonymous campaign literature.[81]However, in Meese v. Keene (1987),[82] the Court upheld the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938, under which several Canadian films were defined as “political propaganda”, requiring their sponsors to be identified.[83]”

You are technically correct, but the country has been running for some time on the constant build up of case law since the Constitution’s inception, with some common law sprinkled in.

More importantly though, is your concern solely for national security as it relates to freedom of speech, or does more than that bother you?

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Jack February 17, 2014 at 6:24 pm

We had this debate the other days. According to the Tea Party the Constitution is not rocket science. Its simple. Anyone can read the Constitution and understand Constitutional Law. We do not really even need a Court. All that Supreme Court stuff is just a bunch of activist judges, not the real Constitution.

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Wiki is your friend February 17, 2014 at 8:15 pm

Well, technically speaking it is a fairly simply and easy to read document, even some 240 years later…but the lawyers, judges, & case law make it all very difficult to discern in application today with all the “living document” type stuff.

So basically while I agree with Tea Party types that the Constitution itself is relatively easy to understand, the case law surrounding it and how it’s applied today is not.

You never answered my question though and I was genuinely curious.

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person February 17, 2014 at 8:28 pm

Can we talk about the tea party a minute please….
The “tea party people”, back when the tea was actually dumped into the Boston Harbor, were the people standing around watching. They were not active participants.
The Improved Order of Red Men, or Odd Fellows, dressed up as Native Americans, infiltrated the ships, and dumped the tea in the harbor with their own hands.
To hell with people who just want to stand around and watch.
Give me an Odd Fellow or IORM member anyday.
And all Odd Fellows and IORM’s are true red conservatives.
LOOK IT UP. IT IS HISTORY . It is truth.

Wiki is your friend February 18, 2014 at 8:21 am

“Can we talk about the tea party a minute please”

It looks like you didn’t need me at all for your discussion.

:)

Look, if your recounting history on the Revolution was a sideways jab at the Tea Party people then you could have saved a lot of time and said “They suck”.

Bill February 18, 2014 at 11:03 am

Well technically speaking its not simple at all. The Constitution is the skeleton, and court decisions provide the flesh. The court decisions tell us what happens when rights collide. For example the right to “privacy” vs the need for security or the right to “life” vs. property rights.

Jack February 18, 2014 at 11:21 am

Honestly, I am a moderate. I am just sick and tired of this Tea Party/Libertarian line of how horrible the US has become and how we have become a dictatorship. That is all just so much garbage. The rules have not really changed. Within very liberal guidelines we can all say whatever we want about our government and government officials without fear of reprisal. No, we can’t divulge classified information when we have agreed not to and expect nothing to happen.
Regarding anonymity, we can generally have it so long as we are not protecting criminals or coordinating crimes.
Regarding the press, we do have a free press. The government does not censor the press or intimidate the press; and the press is not set up to protect Washington. That is just more crap. Generally the far right thinks the press should not point out when they are lying or exaggerating the truth and they consider that protecting Washington.
As far as spying on reporters. Reporters have never had the right to keep their sources confidential when they are reporting on a criminal act or aiding in the commission of a crime. Such as divulging classified information.
I guess I am just tired of the America bashing by the far right for their own personal agenda.

9" February 17, 2014 at 4:20 pm

The internet is like the Bible.You can pick and choose your ‘sources'(Reporters w/o Borders,Liberty Blitzkrieg blog???) to support any feeble ‘argument’ you’ve got…

Too much information=no information.We were better off before the,’information superhighway’.It’s a dead end. You’ve got plenty of freedom to be-unfair,imbalanced,and tell all the lies you want,without fear of repercussion,and you’re complaining?

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Ned Ludd February 17, 2014 at 5:02 pm

Luddites unite!

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9" February 18, 2014 at 3:34 pm

Nah.Social media : facebook,blogs,etc,ruined the internet-

http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2009/12/why_this_decade.php

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anon. February 18, 2014 at 12:07 pm

You have to realize the purpose of the media is NOT the reporting of news…
It’s generating ADVERTISING REVENUE.

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Philip Branton February 18, 2014 at 12:50 pm

In the land known as FITS….there came a day when 45 souls united in the comment section. These 45 brothers in the “band” sat still and pinged one article each day for 40 days. This action caused fear and concern in the house of FITS. Calls were made. Emails were sent. Lindsey Graham logged on and watched. Nancy Mace was interrogated for her thoughts. Mayor Riley and Mayor Summey grew very concerned. The FBI, the CIA and the DOD were summoned.

What are 45 “souls” capable of via FITSNEWS. ?

A moderator was “contracted” and reviewed the significance of a “ping” history. The moderator grew irate and tempered. The moderator called Grand Tango and Jackie Chiles and anon and 9″ and venon machine. The moderator reviewed the actions and tactics of WWII and Korea. The moderator reviewed the “plume” from Baghdad and Manama and Cairo and Tripoli and Homs. Great joy began to fill the fingertips on his keyboard. A meeting was summoned with Wil Folks to discuss further actions.

As both sat down and cracked a fresh coke, the moderator asked Mr. Folks, “have you seen the movie “Wallstreet” lately..?”

Wil Folks calmly sipped his coke and then said.. “I remember the movie”….

The moderator asked “Mr. Folks, you do a great job posting articles with a hook; but you are doing a terrible job on telling your readers how to USE your articles on top of reading them. Do you have any idea how your articles should be used”?

Wil Folks just looked bleakly and said “Why should I care..?”

The moderator just smiled and said….” I quit..!” ….and walked out the door.

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9" February 18, 2014 at 4:04 pm

Did the troll finish watching,Breaking Bad?

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Philip Branton February 19, 2014 at 11:14 am

(chuckle) Well, 9″, we would rather set a trot line than troll. It uses less gas. By the way, with a trot line, its like a box of chocolates, you just never know what your going to catch……(unless you do what….)

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