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21st Century Media

The DailyWith exciting developments in technology and new media, such as Apple‘s announcement about iCloud, the possibilities are truly dazzling for creating content across multiple platforms. I’ve been writing for print, broadcast, and online (and currently creating for page and screen) since the 1980s and I have never been more optimistic about the future of the arts, including journalism.

As I’ve previously observed, there is the ominous threat of government control of the press. Whether a newspaper already heavily influenced by powerful Mormons hires a top government official to write a regular column, as recently happened in Utah, or top reporters flee journalism to work for government, as recently happened in Oregon, separation of government and the press (like separation of government and religion or government and business) is rapidly eroding. Today’s media is plastered with government bureaucrats or former politicians: shrill Chris Matthews and smarmy Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC, CNN’s sleazy Eliot Spitzer, and the parade of clowns on FoxNews that’s like a festival of 20th century fools, from Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich to Karl Rove and Sarah Palin. None honored the United States of America while in government and none have anything new and original, much less rational, to say. They represent the failed past and suggest a dark future of government-controlled media and a state of de facto censorship, whether from the left or from the right.

Companies such as Apple are changing how we produce and consume news and information in ways which may make it harder to establish a centralized press and easier to escape government controls. Apple’s new operating system for the iPhone and iPad, iOS 5, will make creating a digital newsstand more desirable, according to this media post. This Mashable piece observes that Apple’s new favorite social media, Twitter, counters Microsoft’s relationship with Facebook, and offers real market competition, which makes it harder for the state to insidiously control or seize the media. Google is reportedly now supporting certain tags which may encourage people to read work by individual writers and discourage stealing writers’ content. The New York Observer is remaking its print and online editions to feature longer articles, unveiling its new Web site tomorrow. Of course, the Observer is liberal, and some changes may also make it easier to disrupt and censor the press in certain cases, a legitimate concern given the nation’s trend toward total government control.

But opportunities exist for those willing to discover, explore, and create challenging new voices for reason and means of distribution, though Rupert Murdoch’s heavily hyped The Daily, dubbed the first magazine application for the iPad and apparently managed mostly by former New York Times staffers, which may explain why no one wants to read, let alone pay for, its content, is not likely to be one of them (incidentally, I have ideas for creating an organ of objective journalism if anyone serious is interested). To preserve a free press and the freedom of speech, we need the innovations of visionary businessmen such as Steve Jobs, who was greeted by an ovation for being a man of ability during his speech yesterday. People must be free to nurture the spirit of enterprise that is integral to restoring the lost art of objective communication.

News Corporation’s The Daily may fail, but at least Rupert Murdoch, like former Atari video game creator Steve Jobs and Polaroid’s Edwin Land, are using what freedom we have left to manufacture technology so we can choose what to produce and consume to improve our lives. In this sense, media entrepreneurs deserve our admiration and support.

Juan Williams, NPR, and Islam in America

First, the President hosted an Islamic event in the White House and practically endorsed the Ground Zero mosque. Then, the government demanded that an American citizen cease and desist plans to burn an Islamic book, the Koran. Today, the government’s domestic radio network, state-sponsored National Public Radio, which is financed by the taxpayer-funded Corporation for Public Broadcasting, fired one of its senior journalists, Juan Williams, for speaking his mind about Moslems. Nine years after the worst attack in American history by jihadist Moslems, with the nation still, in fact, at war with jihadists and the states that sponsor them (whether we acknowledge it or not), the insidious rise of the Islamic religion in America and the demand by our government that the American people submit to acceptance of Islamic faith is unmistakable.

As Juan Williams’ comments about Moslems suggest, to pretend that no correlation exists between Moslems and jihadist Moslems, who are widely known to attack based on a political-religious concept known as jihad, which means holy war, is to drop the context that we are at war. We need look no further than the pre-war actions and maneuvers of those Islamic soldiers who attacked us on 9/11; they sought to assimilate as Americans, appearing to innocently practice Islam and attend prayers at mosques while plotting their diabolical act of war.

That an intellectual has been ousted by a federally-funded organ of the press for expressing his thoughts about Moslems ought to concern every American. There are numerous examples of the government either turning the other cheek to jihadist Moslem activities and/or attacks in America or sanctioning and spreading this particular religion, among others. The undeniable advancement of Islam in our government, our nation and our culture since we were attacked by those who seek our destruction in the name of Islam is ominous.

Supreme Court Rules Against Freedom of Speech

The Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision against Fox in the television network’s case versus the fascist Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Fox rightly asserted that the FCC’s “fleeting expletive” rule is arbitrary. But Conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, stated that he did not find the rule arbitrary and capricious, as Fox claims. So, this decision is extremely harmful to freedom of speech because broadcasters will continue to be censored and live in fear of government penalties. However, the Supreme Court dodged the issue of whether the FCC rule is Constitutional (censorship is certainly not Constitutional) giving a lower court a crack at addressing that fundamental issue. Look for more on this highly important case, which may determine how quickly we advance toward dictatorship.