Norris: Freedom Of Press And First Amendment Under Assault Again

Earlier last week liberal mainstream media and the Democrat establishment in particular went berserk when they learned Fox News’ Tucker Carlson and his team had been granted access to over 40,000 hours of surveillance footage from the protests at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Much of the film shows protesters calmly walking through the Capitol and even alongside police officers. While it doesn’t justify or discard those rioters who vandalized and committed other crimes on Jan. 6, it shows a side of the protests that wasn’t violent but civil.

The release of this previously unseen 40,000 hours of surveillance started a firestorm of opinion last week.

Without even examining the footage, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said on live television from within the U.S. Capitol: “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a prime-time cable-news anchor manipulate his viewers the way Mr. Carlson did last night.” Schumer then urged Fox Corp. Chair Rupert Murdoch to stop Mr. Carlson from airing a second night of footage. “You know it’s a lie,” he said.

Will this presidential election be the most important in American history?

What’s a lie? Everything? You mean not a single hour of the new footage shows anything true, new or contrary to what Schumer thinks? How could he or any other news network condemn it before even examining it? Yet, polarized opinion immediately ran rampant and proliferated mainstream media broadcasts and the blogosphere all week long.

Every liberal media outlet – including CNN, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, etc. – ran repeated diatribes against Tucker, Fox News Channel and even the possibility of truth in a shred of 40,000 hours of footage, despite they never possessed or even examined it.

I understand why Thomas Jefferson once wrote near the end of his presidency, “Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle.”

Whether or not you agree that the newly released Jan. 6 footage shows a calmer side of the protests or that it was cherry-picked to sway people’s opinions that way, I have a bigger bone to pick. Why is anyone afraid of examining any evidence that might show something contrary to their opinion or conclusions?

Why can the so-called political “Jan. 6 Committee” repeatedly release new footage to media and the world, including more “footage of violence” just a month ago, but Fox News can’t show any “footage of civility” from that day?

Personally, I totally appreciate House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., releasing the 40,000 hours of previously unseen footage to the media. Why not? What are we afraid of? What’s so terrifying?

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) wrote, “Several media outlets including CNN, CBS and ABC have sent a letter to congressional leadership seeking access to the footage provided to Mr. Carlson. Republicans have said other outlets besides Fox would be granted access.”

That’s why Speaker McCarthy said last Tuesday night, “Each person can come up with their own conclusion, but what I just wanted to make sure was I had transparency.”

Wow, what a crime! Transparency. Freedom of the press. Government officials not controlling or jading the process of our opinion, allowing us to draw our own conclusions.

In fact, rather than taking anyone’s opinion for that previously unseen surveillance footage, including mine, why not watch some of it for yourself? You can do so here.

Regarding the chaos that happened two years ago at the U.S. Capitol, I have no beef with men like Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., who said, “I was there on January 6. It was not peaceful. It was an abomination.”

Or Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., who said, “I was there, it was violent. I thought it then to be an insurrection, I still think it was an attempted insurrection.”

I do have a big beef with politicians like Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., who said, according to the WSJ, “the footage never should have been released at all, as it posed a security risk to the Capitol and everyone who works in and visits the complex.”

My beef is with anyone who thinks that the unseen surveillance footage should not have been released to any media.

My beef is when any Washington power withholds 40,000 hours of surveillance video from “we the people” or any press agency regarding such a national and pivotal day in U.S. history (Jan. 6), and especially when over 1,000 Americans have been arrested for it by the Department of Justice, half of whom are still awaiting their trials or plea deals.

How would you like it if one of those arrested were your loved one? And what if you knew that person was innocent of wrongdoing? Would you not want to review possible evidence that could exonerate him or her? How would you know justice was really done? Just take the DOJ’s word for it?

My beef is with the White House, other progressive politicians like Schumer, and liberal mainstream media outlets who panic over any potential evidence that might even possibly convey a narrative contrary to the one they know, believe or present to others.

My beef is with politicians and other global forces who want to control the narratives they want us to believe.

Most of all, my beef is with any person, power or institution that wants to override and suppress the freedom of press and our other First Amendment rights. And that is exactly what is happening and is the greatest travesty of all!

What isn’t crystal clear about the words and tenets of the First Amendment?

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Who cannot see that all the prohibitions therein are against government’s overreach and control of us, which is exactly what they are doing!

Just this past week, it was beyond sickening to watch how leading Democrat congressional politicians abused their power by belittling, badgering and bullying veteran and award-winning journalist Matt Taibbi because he wouldn’t reveal his sources regarding revelations of government censorship.

Again, what is wrong with testing the truth, especially when we believe we truly possess it? Why are government and media agencies so intolerant of varying opinions, even if they believe they are totally erroneous?

I’m reminded again of the spirit of our founders regarding the First Amendment through Jefferson’s vision for the University of Virginia, which included his aspiration that “here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.”

Jefferson was correct. I pray we return to our senses and the republic they established, and that his words here ring from sea to shining sea: “Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.”

Lastly, my wife, Gena, and I were also reminded again through this whole Jan. 6 debacle and craziness that, while we all are tempted to try to bring justice on our own at times, we need to remember what the Good Book says: “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written: ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.”

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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.


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