February 22, 2014
Shades of “1984”! Orwell’s novel of the future is with us in spirit even today. Somebody at the FCC (nobody seems to know who) thought it would be a good idea to check out newsrooms in the country to be sure that left-thinking was not left out.
The media should have been outraged but only Fox thought it serious enough to call their hand on press freedom, press intimidation, in addition to one outspoken FCC commissioner. The Commission quickly backed away but not completely, leaving hanging out there the real possibility of revisiting the idea later.
I’m thinking how close our society is from complete intimidation by the government, snooping in on the most intimate of details. Now what I’m talking about is taking it to the individual (the NSA has already done this to a considerable extent) and to hush all opposition to government power. A chilling thought.
There are present ways, however, to squelch free speech and that is by throwing roadblocks to discourage criticism. An example concerns the TVA’s FOIA methods. All TVA has to do is to make the charge for getting documents so expensive, so onerous, as to make it practically impossible for an individual to retrieve such documents.
In other instances, the media itself makes it cost prohibitive to obtain content from them unless you subscribe or, in one significant case of the Chattanooga Free Press, not even taking comments anymore. Is that a “free press”? Others make it so difficult to interact with the media that only the persistent break through.
The media in TVA’s territory has “rolled over” and only presents a regurgitation of TVA “news,” according to TVA. One brave Kentucky legislator has challenged TVA’s transparency of board meetings. That trickle of opposition, hopefully, will turn into a torrent of dissatisfactions with TVA’s operations.
I’m rereading “1984” to pick out the immediate analogies to today’s society. Is it time to “hunker down” and wait for better times? I think not; the present oppressiveness needs to be challenged with every fearless ounce of courage we can muster. We can no longer depend on a submissive “free press” to do its constitutionally granted job.