, Salem, MA


February 27, 2014

Anderson: There's more to fear than fear


OK, that’s enough to scare the living daylights out of any American. Keep in mind that broadcasters would be out of business without an FCC license, so they have reason to be afraid themselves. And oddly, the CIN study includes newspapers, where the FCC has no authority.

Once this issue became public, the FCC backed down, sort of, for now. Though few media outlets were shouting their First Amendment rights from the rooftops, I’m assuming that phone calls were made to Washington, D.C., some of them from media-mogul Obama supporters, indicating displeasure. They had to be thinking that they can’t count on having their own political biases in charge after the next election, so they don’t want to establish a precedent.

We need media and government to be adversarial. We’ve already learned to fear the union of business and government (fascism) and religion and government (the Inquisition, and now, fundamentalist Islam). America was founded to avoid these fearsome power-combinations; later, it had to fight some of them. It is not reassuring to hear Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel say that “We are entering an era where American dominance on the seas, in the skies and in space can no longer be taken for granted.”

Certainly, defense budgets should be scrutinized, but we don’t want a world in which authoritarian mind-sets dominate the seas and the sky!

I recall the Cold War fear, especially the few days of the Cuban missile crisis when we came very close to nuclear engagement. Maybe that memory makes members of my generation, college age at that time, less inclined to think that whatever is scary can’t happen here.

I like to think that the media will return, post-Obama, to critical scrutiny of the privilege enjoyed by Washington, D.C., insiders, as it shares our fear of government intrusion into privacy and any other assault on our constitutional rights.

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