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081 - Is the First Amendment Alive Today?


Since my platform is all about self publishing… the freedom of the press and the ability to have free speech is something I’m watching these days. I thought this to be a very apropos subject for discussion on today’s podcast given the state of our lockdown and messy political system we are all wrapped up in.

I’m tired of being censored and shut down on social media and I’m tired of the biased propaganda in the mainstream media! How about you?

Hi Guys! Nicole Gabriel here.

The First Amendment guarantees the right to express ideas and information. People can express an opinion (whether popular or unpopular) without government censoring. All forms of communication are protected.

I wanted to understand if the first amendment had limits, so I did some research to understand it some more. We are allowed to speak our mind and stand up for what we believe in as long as we are not harming others to get what we want. We are not allowed to use speech to force, fraud, or defame others.

I was reading a short article from Publishing Does Everyone “Deserve” a Platform? And it basically says no! The article written by Nathan Robinson discusses the idea of censorship over a new book by Jordan Peterson that Penguin Random House Canada is bringing to print. There has been a bunch of backlash at many of the points Peterson makes in his new book. He talks about gay marriage, women wearing makeup as “sexually provocative” in the workplace, trans women having babies, and a few other touchy subjects. The author of the article proclaims that “a publisher isn’t kinko’s” and many have been outraged that a prestigious publisher would give a contract to such a book or person. Peterson goes on to say that “publishers are amoral and bring out books on the basis of whether they will sell rather than whether they have social value” and states the real problem is they aren’t doing it enough. He reminds us that “profit-seeking companies find it hard to turn down bestsellers.”

I want to relate this to today’s media.

We see that the truth isn’t being told and yet we have been programed to believe what we see since the first TV was invented in 1922 when Charles Jenkins sent the first still image over radio waves for the first time. Then, in 1927, Philo Farnsworth filed a patent for the first completely electronic TV and it continued to develop from there. Now of course, in 1893 Nikolai Tesla demonstrated a wireless radio in St. Louis, Missouri and many across the globe have been programmed over the years to rely on these kind of connections to share stories, communicate messages, and either unite or disagree. And did you know that TV stations were shut down during world war II as radio became the primary source of information to relay news of war time to the public. Now of course, I cannot mention all of this without mentioning the infamous 1938 War of the Worlds radio broadcast by Orson Wells. World War II was just about to begin in 1939 and people were unsettled. The 40-year old novel was turned into fake news bulletins describing a Maritan invasion in New Jersey and many listeners believed it to be the real thing. There was nationwide hysteria.

Apparently the FCC opened an investigation and Congress demanded that laws be passed to prevent such a broadcast from happening again, but no law was ever passed. Many years later the FCC made a ruling against the broadcast of hoaxes.

Section 73.1217 forbids broadcasters from airing programs that are false where it is foreseeable that the broadcast will tie up the resources of first responders or that the broadcast will otherwise cause harm to people or damage to property, and where such harm is in fact caused.

I find this interesting given all the fake news shared today. It seems with social media and the freedom of speech that we currently now have a very divided and not so united states. Does any of this FCC rule apply to social media these days? We are all freely broadcasting podcasts and videos in many outlets.

Our country is fighting to remain a constitutional republic. And let me explain the difference between a republic and democracy, because someone had to recently clarify this for me. While often categorized as a democracy, the United States is more accurately defined as a constitutional federal republic. So what does this mean? “Constitutional” refers to the fact that government in the United States is based on a Constitution which is the supreme law of the United States.

If one were to look outside of party affiliation and simply look at what is occurring in the united states with lockdowns and media censoring one might come to the conclusion that the united states is clearly going against it’s own foundation as a constitutional republic. We currently have some serious violations happening with regard to the First Amendment. The First Amendment guarantees your freedom of speech, as long as you don’t engage in force, fraud, or defamation. Isn’t this being clearly disregarded across the board in our states today? The First Amendment guarantees the right to express ideas and information, the right to peaceably assemble, yet we can’t go to churches or schools. And honestly, don’t we need more of this during turmoil?

In May 2020, the White House issued an executive order on preventing online censorship. It is stated in this order…

“Online platforms are engaging in selective censorship that is harming our national discourse. Tens of thousands of Americans have reported, among other troubling behaviors, online platforms “flagging” content as inappropriate, even though it does not violate any stated terms of service; making unannounced and unexplained changes to company policies that have the effect of disfavoring certain viewpoints; and deleting content and entire accounts with no warning, no rationale, and no recourse.”

And “Twitter now selectively decides to place a warning label on certain tweets in a manner that clearly reflects political bias.”

“As a Nation, we must foster and protect diverse viewpoints in today’s digital communications environment where all Americans can and should have a voice.  We must seek transparency and accountability from online platforms, and encourage standards and tools to protect and preserve the integrity and openness of American discourse and freedom of expression.”

So let’s wrap this all back around to the idea of self publishing. Here is what Penguin Random House says:
“We at Penguin Random House are unwavering in our support of writers who seek out truth in their stories and stand with organizations that share in our commitment and devotion to free speech as a fundamental right.”

They also say:
“Unfortunately, the cost of litigation is so high that defending a lawsuit can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, regardless of whether one wins or loses.”

Penguin Random House also is involved in what is call Banned Book Week. As it says on their website: “
“For years, Penguin Random House has been a lead supporter of Banned Books Week (, an annual celebration of the freedom to read. This campaign rallies thousands of libraries, schools, bookstores, readers, and community centers across America and around the world to celebrate our freedom to read what we want—and to explore the histories and reasons behind literary censorship.”

A large publisher will always try to minimize the risk of publishing an authors free speech book. They won’t always take it on. As a self-published author you will be responsible only for yourself. Not everyone has to like what you write about and certainly none of us have to agree. Unfortunately, though, sometimes we have to turn a cheek to something we disagree with in order to keep the freedoms we have with our first amendment.

What I personally love about the ability to self publish is that I don’t have to conform. I don’t get told no for the sake of a large company trying to make a profit or run a popularity contest. We have to weed through far more than we used to these days to determine what is fake news and what has meaningful content. We have to choose news leaders we like and agree with and then research and be aware where we might either be mislead or disagree. We can’t live as mindless watchers simply trusting what gets produced. We have to stay vigilant and aware that these large organizations have just as much freedom to speak about and share what they wish as we do as information consumers and spreaders.

Clearly there is a fine line with the state of our country today…so many violations could be called against the first amendment - remember, we are all allowed to speak our mind and stand up for what we believe in… as long as we are not harming others to get what we want! I personally believe many of us are being seriously harmed in the biased propaganda these big organizations churn out as they manipulate us simply to make a profit.

Stay aware guys!

As always…wishing you peace, love, and light!

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