Monday, October 19, 2009

A War on Words

For years it has been apparent that although many different news organizations claim to be an unbiased source of news, most have the tendencies to promote news that supports one political school of thought more than any other. This is often attributed to the personal views of the writers and usually overlooked by both readers and politicians, usually that is. For years now, left skewed news organizations have done their best to villanize the Bush administration as incompetent and acting solely in the interests of the "richest one percent". The Bush Administration overlooked this bias and continued to provide those news sources access to information from the Office of the President as well as the President himself. President Obama's Administration, however, feels that this equal access is not necessary now that they control the White House.

The White House has decided that it is no longer going to allow Fox News, one of the major news outlets, access to information or even access to the President in what in what Fox News exec Michael Clemente is calling a "war on a news organization". This "war" is not just one of idle rhetoric, this last weekend the White House sent the Administrations messages to all major new outlets save Fox News. When the President appeared on television this last Sunday morning to promote his healthcare bill, Obama appeared on all the major Sunday news shows accept for Fox News Sunday.

We all know that Fox News is clearly on the conservative side of the spectrum. It is often seen as the only conservative news group among all the major news networks. Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity are outspoken and animated, often being labeled as over the top, conservative crusaders focused on bringing down the liberal government. While this label may not be that far from the truth, at what point did the government get the right to decided who could and could not report the news?

The White House's decision to not consider Fox News a news organization is one of the most egregious examples of the Democratic Party abusing the star power that the President commands. The President stated during the election that he felt that Fox News had cost his several polling points in the campaign. The Party is now using the freedom that they are receiving from the American people to silence their opposition. It is appalling that the White House is intentionally blocking a group from exercising one of the most basic principles of freedom that our government was founded on, a truly free press.

It is no surprise that people are going to disagree on any particular topic. The only time that we seem to agree is when the outcome is so trivial that it has no real effect on our lives or when it would be seen as inappropriate to disagree, but on any matter of real importance, we all want to do things differently and all feel that we have the best way of accomplishing our goals. We do however, pride ourselves on the fact that we are all allowed our own opinions and the freedom to express them.

The White House Communications Director stated that Fox News is almost "the communication arm of the Republican Party". While some might believe that this is more than enough reason to block the group from access to the news, that statement is the exact reason that the government, as well as the people, should be fighting to make sure that they receive the same access to the government and the President as any other news organization. We would then be reinforcing the rights that our forefathers fought and died for, and so many of our ancestors gave up everything for and moved to a strange new country that promised inalienable rights. When we start to allow the government to keep certain groups from having access to those rights and freedoms, we are giving up those rights altogether. How can we expect to have the protection of the First Amendment when we require it, if we do not protect that right for those are currently being denied them, regardless of how much we disagree with their views and opinions?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Misplaced Praise

It has become more and more difficult to surprise the American people with the praise that President Obama has been receiving from the international community, but it appears that there are still groups out there that are willing to rise to the challenge. This last Friday, President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

It would not have been a surprise if the award had come a year from now, and many of Obama opponents would have agreed with the decision to award the prize to the current sitting president. The President has done many good thing in bring the world together. For example, the President recently spoke to the UN General Assembly in which he called for a new era in international cooperation. The one thing that really has many Americans concerned is the fact that these efforts have been just that, recent.

To receive a Nobel Peace Prize, you must be nominated. Those nominations are due by February 1st, only two week after the President took office. Are there really that many people that believe that the President accomplished enough goals to be awarded the Peace Prize in a meager two weeks?

Let us take a step back in time and think about what was happening in January. If you leave out the pomp and circumstance that is associated with the inauguration of a President of the United States there was a substantial list of things that needed to be done on the domestic front that were considered a much higher priority than international relations. The housing market had collapsed and along with it, the entire economy. Jobs were being lost, the Auto-Industry was on the brink of collapse, and the government was scrambling to pass a trillion dollar piece of legislation to try to prevent the country from entering a second Great-Depression, not to mention the thousands of positions that needed to be fill in President Obama's Cabinet. The President did not have the time to focus on international peace. The only thing he did was call the Heads-of-State of our allies.

It is clear that the President is a celebrity on the international stage. The last time that it was news that the President was taking his wife too dinner on their anniversary was back when John F. Kennedy was President. It seems that all the international community cares about is that of his celebrity status and keeping Obama's reputation clean in the international community.

Do not misunderstand, this was not the fault of President Obama or should he be personally ridiculed for the award. Rather, we should be concerned with the fact that those lacking basic requirements are being awarded the most respected award in the world, and suspect of the political motivation of those who give the award. They admit that the award was given in a political move, but does that undermine the underlying intentions of the awards?

That is a question that is not so easy to answer.