They have to be. Otherwise, why would the FCC want to insert itself into newsrooms to determine who selects which stories to run?
I'm certainly frightened to hear that our government feels it is their job to monitor our newsrooms, but then it hit me: They are on the defense.
The alternative media is on the offense.
It's bad news, but it's also good news.
I'm happy to be a part of a website such as TF Metals Report that can break through the mainstream media clutter and share some unfiltered perspectives.
Yesterday, it dawned on me exactly how fortunate we are that have the Internet to disseminate news and information. The FCC might try to censor television stations - and I would not go so far as to say, "Who cares?" - but the real news is happening online. I never watch my local news. I don't watch cable news either, unless I'm forced to due to proximity.
I dropped cable years ago. I get my news from the Internet. I subscribe to a bunch of alternative television and radio channels just to give a big middle finger to the establishment media - even though I don't have time to watch or listen to them all. It makes me feel good that I am supporting non-state-run media. (I'm sure this means I'm on Homeland Security list somewhere. So be it.)
But the pervasive state propaganda is everywhere. I joined a new gym, and they unfortunately blast CNN in the locker rooms. I am stunned at how completely shoddy and inflammatory CNN has become. The just spent the last two weeks hammering on this "loud music" shooting trial - I guess they were hoping this would be another Trayvon Martin call to arms.
Do they care about the NSA? Nope. Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law is a vital national issue, but who cares if we are all being spied upon? And the Ukraine? Well, that's just a bunch of "freedom fighters," but let's not look into who might be funding them and what their agenda might be (assimilation into the E.U.-soon-to-be-New-World-Order-borg?). Nope. What goes for deep analysis on CNN is an "outraged" Erin Burnett explaining in an exasperated, condescending tone that "subhuman" and "mongrel " were the exact words that Hitler used..implying that Ted Nugent is a wannabe Hitler! (Gee, I didn't know that Hitler spoke English!)
Mike Rowe recently appeared on CNN after (manufactured) controversy erupted over his voiceover for a Wal-Mart commercial about the company's pledge to invest $250 billion in American manufacturing. The CNN banner beneath Rowe read: "Host of Dirty Jobs Proud to be a Sellout" - seriously:
Wow, CNN, you suck.
One has to wonder why the federal government needs to send the FCC to television stations at all, considering the almost complete lock it already has on the mainstream media. Even Fox News is just "controlled opposition" and won't touch certain stories. The United States now ranks 46th on the World Press Freedom Index, down from 33rd last year.
You'd think, with the amount of positive press Obama receives, that he would not be concerned about a few stations not being on board. But, the desire for control is a never-ending bottomless pit - control freaks don't like to do things half-assed. They need 100%.
A lot of people are going to actually applaud the FCC meddling into the news - they are using emotional button issues like "women," "minorities," and "the environment" to justify the intrusion. So we can expect to see more efforts to control under the cover of "good" and most of the "sheeple" not blinking an eye about it.
For this reason, it behooves us to be suspicious of the true motives of an initiative, starting in California, to equip all smartphones (and possibly tablets) with remote "kill switches" - ostensibly to protect them from theft. Once again, a control mechanism is being justified through a button - the fear of cellphone theft.
The problem is, if the initial bill passes and becomes law in California, will smartphone companies end up installing these kill switches for everyone just to comply with California? Probably so. California is, in the least, the test run.
It's bad enough our phones are now beholden to presidential alerts whether we like it or not, but now phone companies will be able to kill the phones remotely. Of course, some will say the NSA already has that capability, but is that a reason not to fight it? It's a bad sign that when you buy your phone you're told you don't really own it. I've rooted my phone, but most people don't have the technical capacity to do that.
Lurking on the horizon - after the FCC control mechanism is put into place in our newsrooms, and the kill switch is placed on our smart phones and personal computers (tablets now becoming computers for many) - is the "Internet Kill Switch."
Oh, you think they've given up on that? Think again. It will rear its ugly head again soon, perhaps under another name or in another guise, but they'll do their damnedest. The reason that will be given for providing this unilateral power to the president will be "security" or some such nonsense, but we know better. The problem is, they might not need a central kill switch if they have access to our individual devices.
Thankfully, we still have good people out there trying to circumvent totalitarian control. It is heartening to hear that one company plans to side-step government Internet censorship by placing satellites in orbit to deliver free wi-fi to everyone on the planet. Still, would it be that difficult for a large rogue government to shoot them down or block them? We cannot rely on that initiative alone to save us from online censorship.
The best plan I read about years and years ago to create a totally decentralized Internet, not beholden to governments or corporations, was the idea of a distributed peer-to-peer wi-fi network. This technology would create a network through direct wi-fi connections from one person's computer or smart phone to another and so on. No routers would be necessary. (A router, like the one you have connecting to your home Internet, is basically a box that controls network traffic and tells it where to go.)
A peer-to-peer wi-fi network unfortunately requires some proximity and would not work so well in rural areas with less population density. But companies like Broadcom are already developing devices capable of "Wi-Fi Direct," so we may see plenty of ad-hoc networks sprouting up in the near future, some of which, perhaps, might be directed towards distributing information outside of Internet censorship. The Open Wireless movement is also working to create "a world in which openness is the default." These are positive developments for free speech and technological democracy.
Now we see why a "per-device" kill switch might be desired by the Powers That Be. If they can't kill off the entire Internet, they might resort to killing individual access to it instead. Imagine how they might try to shut off peer-to-peer networks if given the power to do so. They need a per-device kill switch for total control.
Fortunately, I trust the technical abilities of computer programmers and hackers more than the elite's. I've rarely met a person in charge who can program their way out of a paper bag. Most have a hard time dealing with basic email functionality. And most computer programmers tend to be freedom-loving and suspicious of control. We can bet that even as the elite are attempting to clamp down on our Internet freedoms, programmers will be coming up with ways to root phones and bypass kill switches.
You might do your part by gaining more technical knowledge. Learn how to root your own phone. Take some time to install Linux on a computer. You might just end up as one of the few who can still access and share information when everyone else has been shut down.
We'll see who wins. But the very technology that is enabling the police state may very well end up saving us.
Update: Since I wrote this piece, the FCC has backed down on its plans to monitor newsrooms due to the outcry. Once again, this shows the power of the alternative media. I find it telling that they're now trying to soften the whole initiative by making the monitoring out to be just a "study" or a "survey" - well, as we know, surveys can be highly intrusive. There is speculation that the purpose of doing surveys is to set up a case for race-based media ownership rules. The question would then be, would broadcast licenses be taken from certain owners to be given to others on the alleged basis of meeting some racial quota...when the real purpose would be to have more control over media content?
Note that the FCC has apparently been trying to extend its reach past traditional broadcasters to newspapers and Internet media companies. The FCC's original jurisdiction was over-the-air broadcasts, and it was necessary to license stations due to the limited amount of broadcast frequencies available. The expansion of channels due to cable, digital broadcasts, and the Internet has in many ways hobbled the FCC's control. It is no wonder, then, that scared politicians like Dianne Feinstein have sought other ways to control the explosion of grassroots media by claiming to be able to define who is or is not a journalist. This war is far from over, but the score one for the alternative media for winning this latest battle.