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SELLERS: To Prevent Anti-Patriotic Rot, Corrupt Media Should Register as Foreign Agents

'Notwithstanding the dark picture I have this day presented, of the state of the nation, I do not despair of this country...'

Holidays are always a good time to step back and take inventory of where and who we really are.

At Christmas, a long walk and a poignant reminder of the reason for the season brought me a particular calm in the tumultuous aftermath of the Nov. 3 election.

Likewise, 2020’s pandemic-driven absence of normalcy made this year’s July 4 gathering of friends and family for a backyard barbecue all the more special.

But, sadly, the effort to get back to where we were as a nation, pre-sickness, comes as the patriotic principles underlying Independence Day face unprecedented assault.

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Take, for instance, the hateful rhetoric parroted by Squad pledge-member Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo.

UP FROM SLAVERY

The rise in anti-patriotism—largely associated with the same hustlers who push the Marxist Black Lives Matter agenda, Critical Race Theory, etc.—has drowned out symbols and expressions of national unity.

Not, mind you, among the masses of flag-waving, everyday people still donning their red, white and blue, but in the intentional politicization of it by warped left-wing activists and their media accomplices.

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On Sunday, for instance, the official Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation sent an email with the header “This ‘celebration’ is a sham.”

BLM’s apparent purpose was to invoke Frederick Douglass’s 1852 address “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro.”

Douglass was right, after all, that for those still in the shackles of involuntary bondage at the time—roughly 10 years before the Emancipation Proclamation—there was no reason to celebrate America’s independence.

But he also remained optimistic that the framework laid by America’s architects would lead to better things: that democracy was capable of righting the wrongs of society, and that the American system of checks and balances was uniquely designed to do so.

“[N]otwithstanding the dark picture I have this day presented, of the state of the nation, I do not despair of this country. There are forces in operation which must inevitably work the downfall of slavery,” he wrote.

” … I, therefore, leave off where I began, with hope,” he continued. “While drawing encouragement from the Declaration of Independence, the great principles it contains, and the genius of American Institutions, my spirit is also cheered by the obvious tendencies of the age.”

NON-NEGOTIABLE TERMS

Believers in such a just system as Douglass supported maintain that several inalienable factors must be present to maintain a healthy democracy:

  • No Fraud—that America’s form of government, although not a pure democracy, is a pragmatic version, in which good-faith efforts to prevent vote fraud are universal. A system in which fraud is rampant, systematic and widely accepted may appear to function like a democracy on some level, but it ceases to be an actual democracy.
  • No Censorship—that the principles of free speech and other rights bestowed by the US Constitution are necessary to the implementation of our democratic system, and that it is the duty of the populace to be well informed in matters of public policy, as well as having access to the full array of dissenting and opposing viewpoints
  • No Cancel Culture—that the US Constitution and American symbols like the flag, the pledge and the national anthem do not represent oppression, but instead manifest the concept of a fluid and organic form of self-governance; and, thus, that they equally encompass all who possess American citizenship and are active, civic participants therein
  • No Power Grabs—that the only constant in democracy is its capacity to withstand fluctuations and shifts in the political dynamic, and that (apart from death and taxes), the one thing we can be certain of is that political trade-winds will, inevitably, blow the other way while allowing the best ideas to rise above the rest

If there is a glitch in America’s system, though, it is this: For democracy to succeed, a majority of people still need to buy into the idea of democracy.

Yet, as basic and essential as these conditions may be, all indications are that the radical Left no longer shares or supports the same principles.

TROJAN-HORSE TACTICS

Instead of using the mechanisms of US democracy to effect positive change, leftists now want to corrupt its foundations in order to erode America from within, like a Trojan horse.

That creates yet another paradox within the system. As the march toward fascist collectivism quashes any and all dissent, efforts to push back—to try to silence these radicals in kind, using tactics from their own playbook—actually assist their goal of undermining America’s fundamental principles.

Complicating matters even more is the fact that the powers behind the Left’s outrageous gambit are exploiting traditionally marginalized communities as their front-line attack.

But just as border czar Kamala Harris is on a mission to understand the “root causes” of illegal immigration, so, too, must we understand the root causes of this poisonous blight within the tree of liberty.

If an actual ex-slave like Frederick Douglass saw the promise of US democracy, despite its inherent flaws, as the best means to righting the evils of society, why have those claiming to have inherited Douglass’s mantle as modern-day social-justice leaders reversed course so rapidly?

And why do so many who stand to suffer under a more oppressive system—including academics, affluent elites and corporations—suddenly support this call for a bloodless coup against middle America?

The only obvious answer is that forces outside the US are actively seeking to damage our standing as a dominant world power. And their secret weapon is the mainstream media.

FOLLOW THE MONEY

More and more, the media bias that has been present for generations is turning into blatant dishonesty, with some networks, such as CNN, even openly acknowledging their propagandist mission.

However, holding the media to some form of account for its malpractice remains an unthinkable course of action due to First Amendment protections.

Ultimately, even the most benign censorship attempt does more harm than good, and laws to that effect can be weaponized in the wrong hands to achieve the opposite end.

In the era when leftist values were synonymous with liberalism, freedom of the press was one of those rare areas where everyone could find common ground.

Yet, serious problems for America’s Fifth Estate began when the media’s independence was destabilized by the changing paradigms of the Internet and social-media age.

Once powerful tech companies took control of the industry by driving legacy, print-based media into the ground, only those who sought outside revenue sources were able to survive.

But along with that unholy business alliance, journalists also became more beholden than ever to outside influences on their news coverage.

For many newsrooms of the Obama era onward, the promotion of honest journalism became secondary to advancing the corporate interests or partisan political agendas that sustained them.

Meanwhile, ties to foreign influence might easily be masked through a complex progression of grants, loans, investments from nebulous hedge-fund groups or fire-sale acquisitions by billionaire oligarchs.

Enter China, and other adversarial countries that were flush with wealth and seeing to trade it for more global influence.

THE BIG SHORT

When the US economy tanked in 2008, due largely to the fiscal irresponsibility of America’s ruling elite class, the world’s wealth suddenly was redistributed to its trans-Pacific counterpart.

Vulture capitalists like George Soros—and many leftist leaders who were invested heavily in short-selling the George W. Bush economy—reaped the dividends by putting their bets on the Chinese yuan.

That, sadly, meant embracing the Chinese Communist Party’s legacy of censorship, oppressive human-rights practices and other authoritarian, anti-American policies.

Like Hollywood actors but with slightly more gravitas, many aspiring journalists already had impulses toward self-indulging prima donna behavior, bringing a millennial work ethic and the indoctrination from oblivious, ivory-tower universities into once vaunted newsrooms.

With the turmoil that the entire industry faced, they found their excuse to cast off ethical constraints in order to please a new breed of financial backers who disdained the old institutions and had no concern for wielding their platform responsibly.

IN SEARCH OF SOLUTIONS

Fixing such a system requires creative solutions that will promote, encourage and enforce accountability but without having a chilling effect on the positive press freedoms that support democracy.

One way of doing so may be to apply to corporate media entities the same stipulations as the Foreign Agent Registration Act.

Republican leaders like Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, already have suggested as much for Al Jazeera—a network that receives the bulk of its direct funding from the Qatari government.

But more recently, Chinese funding of dozens of major media organizations has become equally apparent.

Media companies should not, under any circumstances, be denied the right to publish what they deem fit and to pursue funding in whatever way is necessary.

Nonetheless, requiring outlets that receive a large portion of their funding from hostile foreign entities to register accordingly is the only way to ensure that the outlets in America are kept honest, and possibly to preserve national security given the pernicious, unforeseen foreign threat to our democracy from within.

Of course, if the rules are to be equally applied, some innocent casualties get caught in the dragnet. Democrats in Congress might suddenly declare Australia as a safe-haven for terrorism in order to monitor the Rupert Murdoch-owned FOX News.

But in the end, it is a necessary step to ensuring that our information pipeline, so essential to the marketplace of ideas, cannot be shut down any more than other critical forms of American infrastructure.

Follow Ben Sellers on Gettr at https://gettr.com/user/bensellers.

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