Intent to Intimidate – Why the World is Watching

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By writing this blog, I could be self-attaching a target on my back. Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press are under siege in America. Make no mistake. It is “fake news” if you believe otherwise. Paranoia, or déjà vu? Felt it during the Nixon regime. War of words with the press. And how much of a leap would Nixon’s old school “Enemies List” be from the Department of Homeland Security high-tech bid for a “Media Monitoring Services” to compile a database of hundreds of thousands of journalists, bloggers and “media influencers” for the federal government?

According to an article in Bloomberg Law, DHS is “seeking a contractor that can help it monitor traditional news sources as well as social media and identify ‘any and all’ coverage related to the agency or a particular event…” Very open-ended “or a particular event,” wouldn’t you say?

Yes. A Department of Homeland Security spokesman has since commented “this is nothing more than the standard practice of monitoring current events in the media” — but for what purpose?

If it is just a listing, what is the significance of requiring “contact details and any other information that could be relevant, including publications this influencer writes for, and an overview of the previous coverage published by the media influencer.” There it is again, “overview of the previous coverage,” another open-ended category.

And chillingly, there is no restriction that the database of hundreds of thousands of journalists, bloggers and “media influencers” must be Americans only.

Watchdog organization Freedom House said in its Press Freedom Report – 2017 that global media freedom had dropped to its lowest level in 13 years.

Every day, journalists face serious consequences including physical violence, imprisonment and death. A few days ago, the Committee to Protect Journalists launched its annual Free The Press campaign to raise awareness about imprisoned journalists throughout the world. On May 3, UNESCO will once again mark World Press Freedom Day “to inform citizens of violations of press freedom — a reminder that in dozens of countries around the world, publications are censored, fined, suspended and closed down, while journalists, editors and publishers are harassed, attacked, detained and even murdered.”  —Forbes.com

Intent to intimidate.

One more consideration, if Facebook, with its well-paid top tech geniuses, could not protect all the data they collected on users, how can we be confident that this mass database of info being authorized by the government to the lowest bidder, would be any more secure?

Let’s say this low bid “Media Monitoring Services,” agency exists. And for sake of argument, we call it, oh say… Big Brother. And, it scoops up this blog. And, you consider a response to my comments.

You could write in your blog or FB post or tweet, “Anthony, you are one strap short on a straitjacket.” Or you could write, “Anthony, there is merit in your postulation.” Either way, Big Brother would note not only that you commented, but also the intention of your comment.

What if you say nothing, because it is safer?

Intention to Intimidate.

You just gave up your Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press rights because you were afraid to express yourself as an American. Some might hear echoes of Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia. They laughed as well. Until it was too late.

{Call to Action: Contact your elected representatives in the House & Senate. Tell them you find this DHS action anti-American. Or, tell them you see nothing wrong. What??? That is how Freedom of Speech works. Everybody gets a say.}

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How Much Do I Hate Thee Sinclair Broadcasting? America Is Counting the Ways

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By this point most people in the USA know about the Sinclair Broadcasting manifesto to force all its local affiliates, partnerships, holdings etc. to not just toe the company line but to do it at the expense of local communities. If you don’t here is link to my last blog with info and the offending video.

A great deal has happened since my blog posted. But since it is nearly 1am and I have to be up at 5am, let me just point to two interesting items.

My suggestion was to activate a 1.0 world solution, to challenge Sinclair stations one by one as the license renewals came up.

The 2.0 world is to get on Twitter, create a hashtag of #SinclairStrike and motivate people to act on May 15th 2018 (thanks to Ed Krassenstein @EdKrassen)

Mark your calendars!
May 15th, 2018 is the #SinclairStrike.

  • Sinclair Broadcasting Employees call out sick
  • Sinclair viewers boycott the network
  • Sinclair advertisers pull their ads by this date

And while #2 and #3 started happening immediately, I didn’t think much would come of asking employees who had buckled under to do these-called “hostage videos” to call out sick. 

Sinclair TwitterBut then there was a tweet from one of the stations that gave me hope that there were still warriors on the front line of this battle.

The other interesting thing was when out of left field Preet Bharara (Former US Atty SDNY) suggests in a Tweet that Jeff Bezos of Amazon just flat out buy Twitter “with the change in his pocket and shut Trump’s account.”  Interesting, but what does that have to do with Sinclair?

Other voices soon urged Bezos (who has been feuding with Trump over the Amazon and Washington Post connections) to either buy Sinclair Broadcasting – or buy the Tribune stations away from Sinclair. Again, it is 1am and I can only imagine without checking, the logistics of Amazon buying up a monstrous amount of local tv stations.

But the point is, people are not siting back and waiting for someone else to protect the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press. To quote Mr. Bharara “Citizens working together are more powerful than US Attorneys. And presidents.”

{Update at 5:30am, finding the Sinclair issue has been cooking overnight, it is a Twitter moment now. https://twitter.com/i/moments/980985089109590016}