Government Censorship

Readers know that I’m no fan of the NLMSM.  However, now we hear of a naked attempt to turn the press—that erstwhile bastion of freedom—into an arm of the Federal government, all at the behest of President Obama’s Labor Department.

Labor officials have put forward a plan to require reporters who analyze and write about economic data which Labor provides in its “lock up” room to use government—Labor—computers, software(!?), and Internet accesses so the government, they claim, can protect itself against potential security hacks.

I have some beachfront property in central New Mexico on offer for those who believe this claim.

This is nothing but the government’s attempt to dictate to the press what they will be permitted to see and what they will be permitted to say about what they will see.  Bloomberg News Executive Editor, Dan Moss, testifying before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has the right of it:

This proposal threatens the First Amendment.  The government would literally open the reporters’ notebooks.

(As an aside, it’s interesting to note that the Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee isn’t conducting any hearings on the matter.)

Carl Fillichio, a Labor communications specialist, told committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R, CA) after Wednesday’s hearing that he, Fillichio, would provide “some flexibility” on a June 15 deadline for the plan’s implementation.  Notice that: a communications specialist, not a Labor official with actual authority, claims to be in a position to commit the Department.  Fillichio did then send an email to Bloomberg, The Washington Examiner, and others, saying in part

Per my commitment to Chairman Issa’s request, we are going to move the effective date on changes to the lock up[.]

Notice this, too: there’s no commitment by this underling—or by anyone in authority at Labor, or by anyone in Obama’s White House—to eliminate this plan; there’s only a “commitment” to move its effective date.

Fox News‘ headline in the linked article is naïve.  This isn’t a backing off.  This is just cynical delay and a weasel-wording of a pseudo-change made by a junior functionary.  This obfuscation is of a piece with the HHS contraceptive, sterilization, and abortifacients insurance coverage “compromise.”  The plan will go into effect essentially unchanged, unless there’s more outcry and more pressure put on our Congressmen to withdraw by legislation this plan’s attack on our freedom (which also will force Obama’s explicit veto).

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