War of the Words

Along the Way @ mlsgregg.com

Gentle Reader,

It’s a chilly almost mid-October afternoon. My coffee has grown cold. I’m dazed and confused, to borrow the film title, following a wicked days-long headache. Caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror earlier and I look like death warmed up. Ghostly pale skin. The pupil of my right eye is dilated, which makes sense, as that’s where the Witch-King of Angmar has been stabbing me repeatedly.

Shout out to Tolkien.

There’s been a lot of talk about protesting. What good does it do? When should it be done? Who can protest? How should protesters conduct themselves? What does it all mean? When is life going to return to normal?

And now this.

Click the link.

Read the article.

This short entry, posted on one small blog that resides in a dusty corner of the internet, is my protest.

In a battle over words, I use words.

Without them, specifically the written variety, I wouldn’t be able to communicate. I wouldn’t be able to process the world around me. The love affair began at age 6, on the day I picked up the pen and committed unknowing plagiarism with the composition of a Sherlock Holmes story. I haven’t put it down since.

Should writers be people of integrity? Should we tell the truth? Yes. I was blessed to have a college journalism adviser that could spot a fabrication or a “stretching” from miles away. Once he even yelled at me for manipulating a quote from one of the local papers. The reporter had contacted him and complained. (Haven’t told anyone this story until today. Because, you know, shame and stuff). Fairness and accuracy matter.

Nevertheless, the “disgusting” press can write whatever they want. It’s up to the reading public to hold journalists accountable. It’s up to editors and owners to dish out discipline. Anyone can sue for libel. If laws are broken, then justice should be swift and direct.

None of that means that the printing rooms should go dark at the whim of a public official. The government – local, state or federal – is in no position to dictate to or control the press, thanks to James Madison and the people who thought the Bill of Rights was a good idea. We, especially Christians, do not want state-controlled press. We do not want the president, any president, to have a say in what goes to print.

Why especially Christians?

Think of your brothers and sisters around the world, men and women who risk life and limb to get their hands on even a single page of the Bible.

Censorship, in any form, will only harm everyone in the end.


Photo Credit: Alexa Mazzarello

2 thoughts on “War of the Words

  1. Marie, I completely agree with you regarding print, cable and internet media, but broadcast is fundamentally a bit different.

    There being a discrete number of broadcast frequencies reserved for television VHF and UHF), the FCC licenses stations under a set of guidelines that include local access and refraining from indecency. CNN can publish whatever nonsense it likes (and their fact-checking is dismal), but ABC, NBC, and CBS operate with the imprimatur, as it were, of the American people, the ‘owners’ of the airwaves.

    We would not, I think, put up with Kim Jong-Un buying CBS and setting it up as the Hermit Kingdom Network (he might buy CBS itself, but would never keep the affiliates in license). But he could buy CNN, and that might drastically improve CNN’s content.

    Thus, broadcast networks CAN be held to a higher standard for accuracy. Bias may be distasteful, but knowingly reporting false news or splicing together interviews to give a misleading impression of what was said is a breach of both public trust and the intent of the law. We’re stuck with the preening Jimmy Kimmel presenting himself as the nation’s conscience, but we need not be saddled with reportage that is made up of whole cloth. There’s a remedy for that.

    It’s a bit like the National Airspace System; the skies are finite, and they are controlled. Your property rights don’t extend into the air above your land; I can’t shoot down the drone that’s taking pictures of Barb when she’s sunbathing. I can contact a Russian aeroplane dealer and buy a MiG-29 (the Russian equivalent of an F-15), but I couldn’t just bring it back and fly it off the two-mile runway on my ranch, much less drop in at Los Angeles International. I’d have to jump through a lot of hoops before I could even fly the thing over, say, eastern Montana, because the Feds don’t want me dropping a multiton lawn dart into the middle of Rodeo Drive. (But the FAA aren’t humourless killjoys bent on taking all the fun out of flying; there are a couple of privately owned -29s flying in the US.)


    1. First, have you ever seen “Parks and Recreation?” A character in that show does shoot down a drone and it’s absolutely hilarious.

      I was never interested in going into television, but I do know about the FCC licences and whatnot. I have a really hard time with this war on the media, though. CNN might be bad, but FOX is equally bad. They just occupy different ends of the political scale. Neither conservatives or liberals can claim to have a “better” standard when it comes to this issue. And what really sucks about it is that the majority of reporters who are just trying to do a good job are caught in the middle.

      Bottom line for me: I don’t want the government telling me who I can and can’t trust. I’m a grown-up. I can sort that out for myself. I don’t want the government deciding what kind of information I can and can’t have access to (barring, obviously, classified stuff). It’s a good thing that we, the people, get to hear stories that praise our leaders and then hear stories that criticize them. It helps us, I believe, to think, instead of teaching us how to swallow propaganda.



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