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“The media [is] the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.” — Malcolm X
OPINION | By Khalil Hakim
We are in trouble, America.
While the news cycle overwhelms us with negative stories of Trump and his alleged affair with a porn star — and while we debate who was a better basketball player, Michael Jordan or Lebron James, constantly written are the new rules and laws that will change the landscape for the US media. As a result truth and factual-based evidence are in jeopardy.
One of the critical components in an actual democracy is our ability to have freedom of the press. Not only liberty in media but journalism that disseminates information, which is uncontrolled by the government.
If we slide down that slippery slope and become a nation-state that controls the media outlets: Oh, my bad! That is already here, and it’s called Fox News ladies and gentlemen, but I have digressed.
It is imperative that journalist have integrity and character because the American public is dependent upon the information that media conglomerates disseminate. The modern-day journalists should be a truth teller and not controlled by corporate interests or controlled by fear of repercussions.
But it seems to me that there’s a storm coming for the modern-day media and how and what information the American people receive.
With the most recent assault on journalism, minimized to fake news from the right and left, there is a worse scenario playing-out behind the veil. According to CBSNews the Department of Homeland Security has taken it upon itself to create a database of journalists, bloggers, and media-influencers worldwide.
Our government can track individual journalist for various reasons, which is an apparent attack on our First Amendment rights as US citizens. Their purpose seeming intends to intimidate journalists and warns them that big brother is always looking over their shoulder.
The Department of Homeland Security has stated that it plans to track and monitor any and all media coverage related to the Department of Homeland Security.
They now monitor activity and sources of media print, broadcast, blogs, and video.
They plan to track, monitor, and target editors, journalists, and correspondence — a clear litmus test to measure the sentiment and attitudes of each person based on what they say, write, and do.
Their reasons — presumably to share the compiled list of journalists within state departments across the country. Local authorities and private partners don’t appear to know why or how they’ll be using this information, which sounds eerily like something out a Joseph Goebel (a German Nazi politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda of Nazi Germany) playbook.
It seems to me that there would be massive pushback, even from corporate media giants such as CNN and MSNBC. The fact that none of the major media corporations aren’t countering headon is troublesome.
When you can broadcast 20 minutes of Trump-less podium an call that news worthy but unwilling to expose that the Department of Homeland Security is compiling a list of news influencers is quite unsettling.
There is something fundamentally wrong with the foundation of our democratic institution when media companies are more concerned with clicks than their ability to exist as free stand alone institutions. It amazes me how so many political pundits — so-called patriots of America who love, eat, breathe and sleep the Constitution — will not speak out against this apparent covert attack of the First Amendment.
So, here we are in America with the Department of Homeland Security compiling a list of journalists with the intention of monitoring them: Why isn’t the corporate media pushing back against the government?
The government’s interest includes controlling the corporate media. Although this is not the law that directly regulates the freedom of the press. If you find your name on that list, you will begin to censor yourself. People will no longer feel free to deliver the truth. Moreover, people may choose not to cover controversial stories out of fear of being put on that list or retaliation. The action by our government directly violates the US constitution, and will ultimately produce a negative lasting impact on our first amendment rights.
With the flippant response to “fake news” being passed around and used to discredit the media and institutions, the government’s action is the next step in the evolution of total control of what people see, hear, and think.
We’re witnessing the sunset of investigative journalism when homeland security is looking over everybody’s shoulder.
What type of freedom do we have with a state-controlled media?
There was a time in America where there was a clear separation between the media and the government, but now conscious experience in this brave new world is what I like to call the bleed-over effect when power players, like Jeff Bezos, owner of Amazon and the Washington Post are allowed to buy multiple conglomerates. We’re witnessing a clear sign in the consolidation of power, wealth, and influence in America. If this doesn’t open up your eyes to what’s actually unfolding, what will? Before we know, it the First Amendment won’t be worth the paper on which it is written.
Khalil Hakim is a former Veteran of the US Air Force and holds a Bachelors of Science Degree in Telecommunications. Hakim also studied Theology at Phillips Theological Seminary. Hakim was the pastor of Shekinah Glory for 14 years. He is a poet and the author of the critically acclaimed novel Fade to Black. He is also the founder of 4KB Publishing as well as a Staff Writer for the Black Wall St. Times.