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In incredible dissent, federal judge launches broadside attack on SCOTUS precedent protecting left-wing press


A federal judge called for a landmark Supreme Court decision on freedom of the press and libel laws to be overturned in a fiery dissent decrying “bias against the Republican Party,” blasting the near “one-party control” of legacy news media, slamming Silicon Valley’s censorship of the Hunter Biden laptop story, and warning that the current state of American media is “a threat to a viable democracy.”

U.S. Circuit Judge Laurence H. Silberman, a Reagan appointee, launched a broad attack on the Supreme Court’s unwillingness to revisit precedent and the news media in a dissent in Tah v. Global Witness — a defamation case. After arguing against the court majority’s ruling on the merits of the case, Silberman was “prompted to urge the overruling of New York Times v. Sullivan” — a landmark ruling that established what a plaintiff must show to prove a claim of defamation or libel made against a publisher.

Silberman described that ruling, which has made it extraordinarily difficult for an individual to successfully sue the press for false reporting, as a “policy-driven decision masquerading as constitutional law” that “badly constitutionalized an area of law refined over centuries of common law adjudication.”

Acknowledging that the Supreme Court is unlikely to reverse its opinion, he nevertheless said “new considerations have arisen over the last 50 years that make the New York Times decision a threat to American Democracy. It must go.”

New York Times v. Sullivan is a Civil Rights-era decision that established additional First Amendment protections for the press against lawsuits for defamation or libel.

In the 1960s, the New York Times published a full-page advertisement soliciting donations for the legal defense of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who had been charged with perjury. The ad contained several factual inaccuracies and claims that police in Montgomery, Alabama, had locked civil rights demonstrators in a college campus dining room “in an attempt to starve [the students] into submission,” among other threats of violence. Montgomery Public Safety Commissioner L.B. Sullivan — who was not named in the advertisement but was in charge of the police force — sued the Times for defamation in a case that was litigated up to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously for the New York Times in a decision that was influenced in part by the practice of southern officials threatening northern newspapers reporting on civil rights abuses with lawsuits to silence them.

The court established a test for defamation or libel claims, ruling that the First Amendment requires a plaintiff to show that the defendant had acted with “actual malice,” that he knew that a published statement was false or was reckless in deciding to publish that information without investigating whether it was accurate.

“One can understand, if not approve, the Supreme Court’s policy-driven decision. There can be no doubt that the New York Times case has increased the power of the media,” Silberman wrote. “Although the institutional press, it could be argued, needed that protection to cover the civil rights movement, that power is now abused.”

“As the case has subsequently been interpreted, it allows the press to cast false aspersions on public figures with near impunity. It would be one thing if this were a two-sided phenomenon,” the judge continued, observing that the press “more often manufactures scandals involving political conservatives.”

“The increased power of the press is so dangerous today because we are very close to one-party control of these institutions,” he warned.

Silberman goes on to state that “bias against the Republican Party” is long-standing, blasting the New York Times and the Washington Post as “virtually Democratic Party broadsheets.” He calls other news outlets including the Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, and Boston Globe, along with “nearly all television — network and cable” “a Democratic Party trumpet.”

He further decried the “enormous influence” that Silicon Valley exerts over the distribution of the news, saying “it similarly filters news delivery in ways favorable to the Democratic Party.” He cited Facebook and Twitter’s censorship of the Hunter Biden laptop story as proof of “viewpoint discrimination.”

“Ideological homogeneity in the media — or in the channels of information distribution — risks repressing certain ideas from the public consciousness just as surely as if access were restricted by the government,” Silberman wrote.

He concluded: “It should be borne in mind that the first step taken by any potential authoritarian or dictatorial regime is to gain control of communications, particularly the delivery of news. It is fair to conclude, therefore, that one-party control of the press and media is a threat to a viable democracy. It may even give rise to countervailing extremism. The First Amendment guarantees a free press to foster a vibrant trade in ideas. But a biased press can distort the marketplace. And when the media has proven its willingness—if not eagerness—to so distort, it is a profound mistake to stand by unjustified legal rules that serve only to enhance the press’ power.”

Bill of Rights’ Most Important Liberty: Religion


waving flagWritten by Bethany Blankley

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The Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution, listed non-negotiable constitutionally guaranteed freedoms in specific order, unchanged since 1791. James Madison, its chief architect, listed freedom of religion first; then speech, press, assembly, petition, right to keep and bear arms, and freedom from forced quartering of military members in one’s home.

Freedom from civil government overreach and interference was essential to establishing sustainable civil order and a just rule of law; the first ten amendments — only 468 words — were added to protect what the founders considered “preexisting rights” from federal government “encroachment.”

Freedom of religion was un-mistakenly listed as the first freedom of the Bill of Rights. And the term “religion” was well understood from its original context derived from the State of Virginia’s Bill of Rights. In Article 1, Section 16, Virginia’s Bill of Rights defines “religion” as “the duty which we owe to our Creator… the manner of discharging… [of which] can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence.”

(Many significant words and phrases used to write the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution were selected from preexisting documents and individual state constitutions’ declaration of rights, which provided more detailed definitions.)

Virginia’s Bill of Rights legally defined “religion” as a means to secure freedom from government coercion, which enabled a foundational protection for other freedoms. The Bill of Rights, by defining religion, allows people to believe and act by “reason or conviction” without fear of being coerced to violate their “dictates of conscience.” In this way, religion is jurisdictional– the Bill of Rights ensures that the government cannot force a citizen to violate his/her conscience.AAA02

James Madison articulated in Memorial and Remonstrance:

“The Religion … of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as they may indicate. This right in its nature is an unalienable right. It is unalienable; because the opinions of men … cannot follow the dictates of other men: It is unalienable also; because what is here a right towards men, is a duty towards the Creator. … This duty is precedent both in order of time and degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society.”GOD

Madison believed that citizens were first “subject[s] of the Great Governor of the Universe,” who must first make his/her “allegiance to the Universal Sovereign” before they could consider being a “member of Civil Society.”ONE NATION

He considered religion first and foremost “immune” from any and all civil authorities. The wording used for the First Amendment’s two religion clauses were specifically straightforward: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …” All matters of religion were exempted from civil authority.

Madison asserted:

“In matters of Religion, no man’s right is abridged by the institution of Civil Society, and that Religion is wholly exempt from its cognizance.”

want_rel_liberty_rAs a legal and jurisdictional matter, Madison asserted that all men are first subject to God as an immutable fact based on the Christian worldview (Mark 12:17, Psalm 24:1). It was imperative to specify that no government could ever have authority over one’s relationship with God. Understanding that even governmental authority itself originates from God (Romans 13:1) — moral standards could not be mutually exclusive from rule of law.

Furthermore, freedom of conscience, under the jurisdiction of freedom of religion, established the next four freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment. They include freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom to peacefully assemble, and freedom to petition the government for a redress of grievances. These four freedoms granted constitutional security for “residual sovereignty” of the people, not the government. The Bill of Rights ensured freedom of religion as the foundation for all other liberties. No other amendments were possible if freedom of religion had not first been guaranteed as an unalienable right.One Nation Under God

Bethany Blankley; http://BethanyBlankley.com

Bethany Blankley is a political analyst for Fox News Radio and has appeared on television and radio programs nationwide. She writes about political, cultural, and religious issues in America. She worked on Capitol Hill for four U.S. Senators and one U.S. Congressman, for a former New York governor, and for several non-profits. She earned her masters degree in theology from The University of Edinburgh, Scotland and her bachelors degree in politics from the University of Maryland. Follow her @bethanyblankley & BethanyBlankley.com.049590d9aa5e45170821a5ba6f11ac12  SCOTUS Death lost forever liberty 

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TYRANNY UPDATE: Barack Obama Muzzles the Media


National Day of Protest with datehttp://www.tpnn.com/2014/07/08/tyranny-update-barack-obama-muzzles-the-media/

July 8, 2014 By

Obama-SinisterImperial President Obamakingobamafingerconstitution-300x204

In a move reminiscent of Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez and Cuban tyrant Fidel Castro, Barack Obama is putting a muzzle on the media. After refusing to visit the border to see firsthand, as he described it, the humanitarian crisis, instead choosing to attend high dollar fundraisers in Texas, Obama is sending the message that he wants to control what the people see and hear about this border fiasco of his making as well.

There have been numerous reports of diseases previously eradicated here in the U.S. spreading in these makeshift facilities, even afflicting border patrol agents. During a media tour of a military facility in which tens of thousands of children, adults, gang bangers, and potentially Muslim terrorists are housed, the Obama HHS has placed the following restrictions on the America the movie with hyperlinkmedia. So much for the guarantee of freedom of the press.  

  • No recording devices will be allowed
  • No questions will be allowed during the tour
  • No interacting with staff and children at the shelter
  • We ask that your questions be provided via email or phone after the tour to Kenneth Wolfe
  • HHS ACF public affairs will provide answers to your follow up questions as quickly as possible
  • We will provide photos of the facility after the tour
  • There will be no on-site interviews by HHS staff before or after the tour, all inquiries go to Kenneth WolfeWhat Did You Say Logo

“Doesn’t this remind those of you that are Baby Boomers like me, the conditions we heard about in Russia during their communist days. In fact, you can find these restrictions in every communist country. So much for transparency.” JB

Obama tearing up the constitutionOklahoma Rep. Jim Bridenstine was outraged and said, “This violates the First Amendment. This is not transparent. HHS is trying to muzzle the media and hide the human tragedy that has resulted directly from the administration’s failure to enforce the law.” Bridenstine was recently denied access to a facility housing illegal aliens in his home state.

While the Obama regime claims that this is to protect the safety and privacy of children, this is not the first time that Obama has exerted control over the media in an attempt to create a pseudo  state-run media from which the only messages that get out to the people are those which he controls. 

He has come under fire for not allowing press photographers to take pictures, instead relying on staged pictures taken only by the official White House photographer. He attempted to get FOX News thrown out of the White House press corps, insisting that they were not a legitimate news organization. He has even gone so far as to spy on AP reporters as well as investigate FOX News’ James Rosen as a co-conspirator against the United States when his only crime was doing his job as a journalist.

Award-winning investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson detailed the intimidation and harassment by the Barack Obama regime which led to

Click on image to see movie trailer and more

Click on image to see movie trailer and more

her decision to leave her job as an investigative journalist at CBS. Following her resignation, she described the efforts by the Obama regime to control the media, thereby also controlling the message.

“There is pressure coming to bear to journalists for just doing their job in ways that have never come to bear before. Now, there have always been tensions, there have always been calls from the White House under any administration, I assume, when they don’t like a particular story.  But, it is particularly aggressive under the Obama administration and I think it’s a campaign that is very well organized, this design to have sort of a chilling effect and, to some degree, has been somewhat successful in getting broadcast producers who don’t really want to deal with the headache of it. Why put on these controversial stories we’re going to have to fight people on when we can fill the broadcast with other, perfectly decent, stories that don’t ruffle the same feathers?” 

Tyrant ObamaThis move by a self-described ‘Constitutional professor,” who in actuality was a lecturer with little respect for the document upon which this nation was built, is the type of blockade to the media that one would see in Communist countries. It has no place in the United States of America. 

H/T National Review

 

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Obama Crackdown on Press Freedom Escalates


 

Last week, Reporters Without Borders dropped America in the World Press Freedom Index 2014 from 33rd to 46th. James Risen of The New York Times rightly explained, “I think 2013 will go down in history as the worst year for press freedom in the United States’ modern history.” And he’s right. The violation of press freedoms has been egregious under this administration, even as the press fetes President Obama as an honest and effective commander-in-chief.

Selective Access.

President Obama has regularly granted special access to reporters who give him preferential coverage. CBS’ Steve Kroft admitted as much after a late-2012 interview with the President during which CBS clipped Obama’s explicit refusal to label Benghazi an act of terror: “(Obama) knows that we’re not going to play ‘gotcha’ with him, that we’re not going to go out of our way to make him look bad or stupid.”

Michael Lewis, author of Moneyball, got special access for a profile of Obama for Vanity Fair – but Obama insisted on redlining his quotes. Lewis explained that “the White House insisted on signing off on the quotes that would appear.” A reporter from the San Francisco Chronicle was threatened for covering an anti-Obama protest. As early as 2008, candidate Obama was kicking dissenters off planes after their outlets endorsed John McCain.

Targeting Reporters.

In May 2013, the Associated Press dropped the bombshell that the Department of Justice had grabbed phone records for its reporters and editors of the course of two months. Records for 20 telephone lines belonging to the AP and reporters for it were seized between April and May of 2012. Those seizures affected over 100 journalists.

The AP’s President and CEO Gary Pruitt stated, “There can be no possible justification for such an overbroad collection of the telephone communications of The Associated Press and its reporters.” Fox News’ James Rosen was also targeted by the DOJ after running a story about North Korea nuclear development. His State Department visits were tracked and his movements were followed. His parents’ phone records were even grabbed.

Placing FCC Monitors in Newsrooms.

Last week, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai revealed in the pages of the Wall Street Journal that the FCC will be sending employees into media workplaces to monitor how and what stories are chosen. The goal: to “ferret out information from television and radio broadcasters” concerning “the process by which stories are selected.”

Pai explained, the FCC “plans to ask station managers, news directors, journalists, television anchors and on-air reporters to tell the government about their ‘news philosophy’ and how the station ensures that the community gets critical information.” Reporters will also be asked whether their stories were killed by management in an effort to elicit “specifics about how editorial discretion is exercised, as well as the reasoning behind the decision.”

Refusing to Answer Questions.

President Obama held fewer press conferences than any president since Reagan. He held ten less than George W. Bush, 54 less than President Clinton, and 64 less than George H.W. Bush. And during those press conferences, questions were largely scripted and chosen. He held just 107 Q&As with the press during his first term, as compared with 354 by George W. Bush. In fact, Obama considers tough questions “unfair,” as he told Bill O’Reilly during his pre-Super Bowl interview.

Refusing to Comply With Freedom of Information Act Requests.

According to Bloomberg News, Freedom of Information Act compliance under the Obama administration has been abysmal. Bloomberg reported that “19 of 20 federal agencies did not comply within 20 days to a request for travel expenses made under the Freedom of Information Act.” Obama’s record on FOIA requests in his first two years was worse than George W. Bush’s in his last three – an odd pattern, given that administrations tend to tighten up on transparency as time goes on. When Obama was given an award for open government, it was not open to the press.

Here are Obama’s stats: 38.4% denied in 2009, 37.7% denied in 2010, 35.3% denied in 2011. In his last three years, Bush’s stats were 23.5%, 24%, and 40.6%. In 2009, the Obama administration asked Judicial Watch to praise the administration’s transparency, but then refused to hand over Secret Service logs Judicial Watch requested. The Obama administration has said that documents about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are not subject to FOIA.

The White House Propaganda Machine.

The White House infamously put restrictions on journalists taking some videos and photos of the President, but has simultaneously released administration-produced content that is little more than propaganda. In November 2013, news organizations sent the administration a letter protesting the treatment: “As surely as if they were placing a hand over a journalist’s camera lens, officials in this administration are blocking the public from having an independent view of important functions of the executive branch of government.”

The Obama administration’s actions, the letter stated, have “a direct and adverse impact on the public’s ability to independently monitor and see what its government is doing.” The letter asked news organizations to stop using White House produced photos. The White House banned independent photos of events including a meeting between Obama and black faith leaders and between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators and Vice President Joe Biden, as well as a meeting with Hillary Clinton. AP executive editor Kathleen Carroll stated, “are now recorded only by photographers who work directly for the White House, resulting in images that are little more than visual press releases.” The White House also prefers to use non-profit group Media Matters to distribute its spin on the news.

Prosecution of Whistleblowers.

The Obama administration is the leakiest administration in history. The IRS leaked information about a conservative 501(c)3’s donors; Joe Biden leaked the identity of the team responsible for killing Bin Laden; the Obama administration leaked information about Israeli national security repeatedly in order to prevent an Israeli strike on Iran, among other major leaks. But when it comes to prosecuting press members for cooperating with whistleblowers, the Obama administration’s use of the Espionage Act has been historically heavy handed.

In 2009, the Justice Department initiated an investigation into James Rosen, after which Attorney General Eric Holder lied, “With regard to potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material: that is not something I’ve ever been involved in, heard of or would think would be wise policy.” Overall, the administration has used the Espionage Act six times to prosecute whistleblowers. Leonard Downie of The Washington Post wrote in October 2013, “The war on leaks and other efforts to control information are the most aggressive I’ve seen since the Nixon administration.”

The Obama administration has been curtailing press freedom – but that hasn’t ended the press’ drool-cup worship for their beloved president. Despite occasional flare-ups, the relationship between the Obama White House and its press lackeys remains strong. Which is not only a testament to the tyrannical tendencies of the Obama administration, but to the cowardice of those who cover it.

Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013). He is also Editor-in-Chief of TruthRevolt.org. Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.

US Falls to 46th in the World for Freedom of the Press


http://lastresistance.com/4736/us-falls-46th-world-freedom-press/#pIO5xGVHELmmU7G8.99

Posted By on Feb 13, 2014

Paris-based organization Reporters Without Borders produces a list of which countries in the world they think enjoy the most and least freedom of the press. Given the fact that the US has enshrined freedom of the press in the First Amendment, it would make sense if we were near the top every year.

But we’ve been sliding down the list precipitously. This year, we slid down twelve places to 46th, mostly because of the pending investigations that have hounded whistleblowers like Edward Snowden. In the words of the report: “The trial and conviction of Private Bradley Manning and the pursuit of NSA analyst Edward Snowden were warnings to all those thinking of assisting in the disclosure of sensitive information that would clearly be in the public interest.”

Punitive measures against whistleblowers is just one element of our constricted freedom of the press, however. Equally unsettling is the degree to which the legislative and executive branches have moved toward accomplishing political maneuvers hidden from the public view. Whether it is writing executive orders, applying political leverage, enforcing bureaucratic regulations, or the like, our government has become a largely “shadow government.”

And this shadow government upholds its public image with puppets and placeholders carefully arranged for “official” reporters and photographers. It is not news that the Obama administration is notoriously opaque toward reporters while at the same time claiming to be “open” and “transparent.”

A scathing report by the Committee to Protect Journalists unfolds the real story of an administration whose “war on leaks and other efforts to control information are the most aggressive since the Nixon administration.” In its concluding paragraphs, it points out that the example America sets for freedom of the press affects countries around the world. Right now, we are not setting a good example:

Journalists from other countries pointed out that hostility by the U.S. government to the news media can be damaging to press freedom elsewhere, contrary to the openness the Obama administration has been advocating internationally. Mohamed Elmenshawy, the widely published Egyptian columnist and director of regional studies at the Middle Eastern Institute in Washington, said, “As journalists from Third World countries, we look at the U.S. as a model for the very things we want: more freedom of expression and professionalism. We are fighting for free news and not to be threatened, and when we see some issues here regarding regulating news and reporting, it is bad news for us because usually our governments, especially undemocratic ones, use this as an example in a very negative way.”

But I think the worst enemy to freedom of the press is not our tyrannical government. The fact is that news really isn’t news anymore. It hasn’t been for a while. People want to be distracted and entertained. We are glutted with information, but no closer to the truth. Because the masses don’t want to be informed. They just want to feel informed.  So the biggest enemy to the freedom of the press isn’t a tyrannical government—it’s an apathetic populace.

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