ENDANGERED FREEDOM ALERTS
Number 2 November 2, 1997
WHITE HOUSE STATISTS GO AFTER ONLINE NEWS ORGANIZATIONS
by Fulton Huxtable
In another effort to place further limitations on freedom of speech, statists are now pressuring online news organizations to adopt a ratings system. The significance of this is explained in the following excerpt from Chapter 4:
"Emboldened by their success in mandating the adoption of a ratings system for television networks, but frustrated by the Supreme Court ruling (July 2, 1997) striking down the 1996 Communications Decency Act, statists in the Clinton administration are now going after news organizations who have a presence on the Internet. Organizations such as CNN, The Associated Press, ABC News, MSNBC, and all others like them, are being pressured by White House statists to adopt a ratings system for the content of their news programs. Here we have what is nothing less than an overt, flagrant effort on the part of statists to begin to gain control of the news media. Recall what I stressed earlier: ratings are based on content and their purpose is to keep certain viewers from seeing or reading certain programs. In the case of news, this is an effort by statists to control your access to certain news programs, to keep you from knowing what is happening about certain events, to control the flow of information which comes to you. This was what they had in the former Soviet Union, this is what they now have in communist China and this is what they had in Nazi Germany.
If statists are successful in getting these ratings in place, consider the practical manner in which they will work. Early on, the ratings system for news stories will be "voluntary" (this "voluntary" approach will later be abandoned in favor of a legislated system because of a few renegade news organizations who will refuse to kowtow to statists and not participate in the ratings) and news organizations will police themselves. But news organizations will know they will have statists, who wield the powers of state, looking over their shoulders, watching everything they are doing, with the not-so-subtle threat: do it our way or else—or else, statists will enact legislation bringing these news organizations under greater control. In order to gain the most favorable rating and not offend statists, news reporters will begin to carefully select the content of their stories, carefully choosing their words in order to get the best rating, one which will give them and their story the widest circulation. Reporters will quickly lose interest in reporting anything which will not get them the best rating and the most exposure. What about a story such as the Paula Jones lawsuit? This would receive an unfavorable rating because it contains sexual content. What if there is another Ruby Ridge or Waco? These stories would receive an unfavorable rating because they contain violence. Reporters will not be primarily interested in reporting the truth, in reporting news of interest to you, but will be primarily interested in publishing and broadcasting stories which will please statists who control our governments. Once we reach this point, news story after news story will end up being suppressed, stories which statist rulers will find offensive, effectively bringing these news organizations under control of the state. And when statists finally achieve full control of the news media, they will possess the power to control which ideas may or may not be disseminated in the media, to dictate which ideas they deem suitable for your consumption—and once that happens, totalitarianism will quickly rear its ugly face in America."