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FreePress: The Gutter's Beacon

Unfortunately FreePress long ago chose to be the gutter's beacon of low-road politics and not a shining beacon of high-road politics to emulate.

FreePress was unfortunately disingenuous in its Hill op-ed today, in saying "When is comes to Internet freedom, the United States of America can be a beacon to the rest of the world. But we must start at home."

If FreePress was genuine in believing that it is truly important to have a shining beacon of positive example for others to follow... why does FreePress not lead by example itself, and let its behavior and tactics in public discourse be a positive beacon for everyone else to follow?

It is tragic and ironic that right after FreePress said its high-minded rhetoric of being "a beacon to the world," FreePress immediately dove into the gutter and proceeded to try and assasinate the character of an honorable thoughtful professional, Andrew Keen, exercising his free speech rights that FreePress claims to support, and demonize companies that also are standing up for their own consitutional rights of free speech and freedom from seizure of their property without just compensation. (Andrew Keen's book "Cult of the Amateur" is an Internet classic and a must-read, and was a strong precursor of the Internet's dark side way before anyone else connected the dots.)   

  • Is FreePress' slash and burn, take no prisoners approach to public discourse supposed to be a shining beacon of the "neutrality" that FreePress wants everyone to strive towards?
  • Is incivility FreePress' concept of what "Internet freedom" should be all about?

Why FreePress is so defensive and willing to dive into gutter political tactics is that they know they cannot prevail on the merits of the issue or if they stay within the boundaries of civil society and the rule of law. 

FreePress is trying to sell a dystopian and Orwellian view of "Internet freedom" where government is the one that grants freedom and takes it away, which is in stark contrast with the U.S. Constitutional view that citizens have freedoms that the Government cannot take away.   

According to the words of FreePress' co-founders and leaders, FreePress is not about consitutional freedom of the press at all, as the brand strongly suggests. Read FreePress co-founders' own words to learn FreePress' public branding is blatant unfair representation of what it is all about.

  • FreePress co-founder and board member, Robert McChesney quoted" on government intervention in journalism: "Only government can implement policies and subsidies to provide an institutional framework for quality journalism...The democratic state, the government, must create the conditions for sustaining the journalism that can provide the people with the information they need to be their own governors."
  • McChesney quoted in Monthly Review: Advertising is the voice of capital.  We need to do whatever we can to limit capitalist propoganda, regulate it, minimize it, and perhaps even eliminate it.
  • Josh Silver, FreePress' co-founder and Executive Director, proposes new federal taxes to fund more government-subsidized media:"Barring the creation of a trust fund, Congress must find a significant steady revenue stream that is not subject to annual appropriations.  One such possibility is a tax of 0.5 percent of the purchase price for every home electronic device: multimedia players, cable and satellite set-top boxes, video game systems, televisions, etc. Those devices that entertain America would in turn be supporting programming to inform, educate and enlighten." 


We can only hope that someday, FreePress attempts to be an example worth following, and that they will actually stand for what the constitutional principle of freedom of the press is truly all about.