Journalists: Free Press in Danger of Extinction

photo of protest in Turkey against the persecution, arrest and murder of journalists.

By Lynda Bryant-Work   Freedom of the press is on the verge of collapse and with it goes liberty. Around the world in 2017, a total of 65 media workers and journalists were killed, 326 imprisoned and 54 held hostage. The deadliest countries for journalists are Syria, Mexico, Afghanistan, Iraq and the Philippines. Countries holding journalists hostage include Syria, Yemen, Iraq and the Ukraine. Countries detaining the most journalists include China, Turkey, Syria, Iran and Vietnam.   We’ve recently detailed how that Russian journalists who run afoul of the regime of…

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Reality Winner’s Case May Determine Who Is A Journalist In The Social Media Age

demonstrators protesting against the prosecution of Reality Winner, government whistleblower that revealed Russian tampering with American election equipment in November 2016 presidential election.

by Tony Wyman By the time Reality Winner, a former intelligence specialist in the United States Air Force, goes to trial, she will have been imprisoned for nearly 18 months – more than twice as long as the sentence served by Dinesh D’Souza, who was recently pardoned by President Trump after being convicted of a felony associated with illegal campaign contributions he made in 2014. Of course, the crime Ms. Winner has been charged with by the U.S. Justice Department is arguably more serious than the one Mr. D’Souza admitted…

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Media Consolidation: Grabbing Control of America

  By Lynda Bryant-Work “Our founding fathers could not have foreseen that freedom of the press might eventually be threatened just as much by media consolidation as by government.” Marshall Herskovitz Relaxed media ownership over time has led to companies narrowing the depth of news information and opened the door to biased reporting of the news. Laws that were in place to prevent monopolies and consolidation of ownership, or media cross-ownership, have through the years, put five companies in charge of the national distribution of information presented to the public.…

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2018’s Mass School Shootings – 29 Deaths That Failed To Move A Nation

Sky cam view of Santa Fe High School with law enforcement and first responder vehicles staging response to Friday's mass shooting on campus

by Tony Wyman No matter what I write, no matter how much I plead with readers that we not allow the deaths in Texas yesterday to be in vain by allowing our discussion of the problem of school shootings to degrade into a pointless, futile shouting match over the Second Amendment, that is likely what will happen. Because we care more about guns – loving them or hating them – than we do about kids. I suppose that isn’t really a fair statement.  Outside of the most deranged and extreme…

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The Privacy Crisis – The Perfect Excuse To Restrict Freedom of the Press

by Oletta Branstiter Are you a “media influencer”?  If so, the U.S. government is very interested in your online activities. The Department of Homeland Security needs a private contractor to provide “24/7 access to a password protected, media influencer database, including journalists, editors, correspondents, social media influencers, bloggers etc.” in order to “identify any and all media coverage related to the Department of Homeland Security or a particular event.” from Forbes.com Hmmm. Couldn’t anything be considered a “particular event”? Haven’t we all become “bloggers”?  According to the Forbes article, “the United…

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Second Amendment: Once Gone, There Is No Turning Back

By Lynda Bryant-Work Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Benjamin Franklin, 1755.  Every student of American history knows the words. And every lover of liberty has heard them and known that they speak to that great truth about the constitution of civilized government – that governments are empowered to protect its citizens in a devil’s bargain from which they will lose in the long run. Through the history of the world, tyrants have sought power under the guise…

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50 Years After MLK’s Assassination – A Tale Of Four Cities, Memphis To Beijing

video still of the Reverend Martin Luther King delivering his "I have been to the Mountaintop" oration in Memphis on April 3, 1968

by Richard Cameron Memphis and Martin Luther King’s Assassination On this day, 50 years ago, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was shot to death. He had come to Memphis, Tennessee the day prior, to join in solidarity with Black city sanitation workers. They and King were known as ‘Negroes’ at the time – and that was the more polite term. The men were on strike to protest unequal pay and dangerous work conditions. While whites were paid even if they stayed home during severe weather events, blacks would be…

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Trump And Bannon Are Changing The Way We Think – Is It For The Better?

photo montage of Donald Trump and Steve Bannon

by Tony Wyman Steve Bannon, one-time adviser to President Trump and current editor of Breitbart News – a far-right political website that mixes hard news with tabloid sensationalism, has perfected a method of dialogue that is changing the way people think. What Mr. Bannon does is he takes an extremist position and hopes his readers will follow him at least 75% of the way. Let’s look at immigration, as an example. Immigrants to this country are substantially less likely to commit crimes than native-born Americans. Legal immigrants, for example, are 69%…

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Restoring Unity Through Patriotism – The Values That Can Bring Us Together

graphic image combining the American flag and the Declaration of Independance

by Oletta Branstiter Facts + Principles = Opinions I teach my students that forming a strong opinion consists of filtering facts through personal principles to make an ideological conclusion. They learn that if our opinions differ, it’s because our valid personal principles differ. I impress upon my students that opinions cannot be wrong, and should be shared and accepted with respect. It has occurred to me, especially in light of recent divisive statements and protests in current events, that while opinions cannot be “wrong”, they can foment disunity. Diversity at the…

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Compulsory Patriotism – Why I Don’t Insist You Salute Or Observe Anything

1930s era photo of Nazi women saluting Swastika

by Richard Cameron   I’ve seen a lot of angry people expressing their outrage about football players kneeling during the anthem. I respect their right to their viewpoint, while at the same time, I don’t share it.  Donald Trump, predictably, got in the middle of this, seeing in it another opportunity to exploit the anger of his remaining base voters.  At a rally in Alabama, Trump juiced up the crowd with, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say: ‘Get that…

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