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The cyber-collectivist threat

Posted by Richard on July 23, 2010

I was vaguely aware that a group of radical leftists had formed a new organization named "Free Press." And I assumed that their goal was to put control of the flow of information back into the "proper" hands. That they wanted to silence me. Well, not me specifically; they've never heard of me (let's be honest, how many people have?). But everyone like me.

I was right. Adam Thierer has the gory details (emphasis added):

There are many battle fronts in the war for human freedom, but perhaps the least-appreciated of these is the battle over America's communications and media marketplace and whether free markets or government mandates will ultimately rule them. This battle takes on added importance since all other public policy debates depend upon an unfettered press and robust, independent channels of communication.

What many on the far Left have long understood, and many defenders of freedom have failed to appreciate, is that the battle for control of media and communications policy is fundamentally tied up with the broader war for control of our economy and society. "Instead of waiting for the revolution to happen, we learned that unless you make significant changes in the media, it will be vastly more difficult to have a revolution," argues the prolific Marxist media theorist Robert W. McChesney. "While the media is not the single most important issue in the world, it is one of the core issues that any successful Left project needs to integrate into its strategic program."

Normally we wouldn't need to pay attention to what unrepentant ‘60's radicals or neo-Marxist university professors think about media and communications policy. In this case, however, it is essential we pay attention. First, McChesney is right in one sense: history reveals that almost every successful effort to impose sweeping controls over an economy / society was accompanied by government efforts to control press and communication systems. If the State is going to have any luck gaining widespread and far-reaching control of an economy, gaining more control over "the Press" – which means all of us these days – becomes an essential part of the "strategic program" for control. Second, we need to pay attention to these radicals because McChesney and the group that he and John Nichols of The Nation co-founded – the insultingly misnamed Free Press – have given this fight new immediacy with their relentless agitation for media and communications policy "reform." And they are not the only ones.

Read the whole thing. Thierer is correct: control over the flow of information is critical to control over the people. And control over the people is what McChesney, Nichols, and their many friends and ideological allies in the current administration want. 

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