Charles Keefer's Blog

You Don’t Get A Photo This Time

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I voluntarily relinquished my right to free speech for 35 years because I chose to work for newspapers.

They believed that if I exercised my Constitutional right to free speech, I would compromise their business. And if I did that, they would fire me.

This was not a minor hurdle. It was industry wide.

It isn’t hard to exercise your right to free speech while standing in a bread line. It is just that nobody listens.

I’d love to have a copy of our code of conduct, or whatever they called it, but I don’t. I’ll have to trust memory.

I believe it said I could not participate in public protests. I believe it said I could not talk to other media without permission from a supervisor.

Here is the First Ammendment to the Constitution in what we call the “Bill of Rights.”

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.

My employers thought this was a significant thing because they trotted it out every time someone criticized them.

But it seems they thought the “or of the press” trumped “abridging the freedom of speech.” They certainly put it in the code of conduct for their employees.

The fiction behind this was the same fiction you see today on Fox News.

“Fair and balanced” before Fox News meant that we had to repeat baldfaced lies from one side to balance something from the other side that approached the truth. We had to give equal weight. We couldn’t say they were just lies.

We knew we were printing lies, but we had to do it because we might be sued if we didn’t. That would be bad for business.

If we didn’t print the lies, we would be fired.

And if we said anything about this madness, we would be fired.

And if we were fired by one newspaper for something like that, we could forget working in the business. We could sell shoes.

“Fair and balanced” today means we have gone one step farther. A network that bills itself as news can make up, photoshop, lie, and even hire that Alaskan bimbo Sarah Palin to fanticize what news is and we are supposed to believe it.

Facts are facts. George W. Bush took us to war against a country that was under the control of the United Nations for a made-up reason. He blew our deficit sky high with that war and tax breaks for the rich.

His no oversight policies toward the banks brought us a depression that is duplicated in modern history only once.

I have a right to say that.

I have a right to say that John Boehner looks to me like Strom Thurmond looked when I was younger.

I have a right to say it because I no longer work for a newspaper.

I rant, therefore I am.

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Written by Charles Keefer

March 4, 2010 at 9:36 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. At the University of Georgia Vet School(in the 80’s), in order to get a job I had to sign a form stating that I was not a communist (and never had been). Didn’t really think that was legal, but I already had enough strikes against me as it was (female, PhD not a DVM, etc.).

    Carol K

    March 5, 2010 at 6:24 pm


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