America’s Postmodern One-Sided Freedom of the Press
by Carl Parnell
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In 1735, a very important judicial precedent was established in colonial America, even though the U.S. Constitution had not yet been written. This judicial precedent concerned the freedom of the press, that is, the right to print the truth about a person, even though the printed truth might be offensive. This judicial precedent was established as a result of the trial of John Peter Zenger, a German-American New York printer and editor of the New York Weekly Journal. Mr. Zenger was tried for making negative statements about William Cosby, the governor of New York, in his newspaper. Therefore, a jury would have to decide whether the statements that he made were libelous or whether the statements that he made were permissible to print for anyone and everyone to read.
Unfortunately, the cards were stacked against Mr. Zenger from the beginning of the trial. His two defense attorneys, James Alexander and William Smith, were disbarred because they complained about Governor Cosby’s hand-picked, two-man court. But, due to the nature of the case, Mr. Zenger’s former lawyers, with the help of Benjamin Franklin, were able to get Andrew Hamilton, the most famous lawyer in the colonies, to take the high-profile case. Of course, Andrew Hamilton, since he would be facing opposition from lawyers who would represent the governor of New York, would need to develop a unique judicial strategy. Therefore, he chose to plead Zenger’s case directly to the jury.
Ultimately, in his closing argument, Mr. Hamilton embraced the importance of acquitting Mr. Zenger and ensuring that the freedom of the press would not be weakened or eliminated. In fact, he said, “The question before the court and you, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, is not of small nor private concern...No! It may in its consequences affect every free man that lives under a British government on the main of America. It is the best cause of liberty but no man has the right to say so.” (1) As a result, the jury rewarded Mr. Hamilton with a victory for John Peter Zenger. The jury accepted Hamilton’s belief that if a statement is true it cannot be considered libelous, even if it is offensive in nature.
Eventually, Mr. Zenger would print the transactions of his court case in the newspaper. It was entitled A Brief Narrative of the Case and Trial of John Peter Zenger (1736). While giving a verbatim account of the trial, Mr. Zenger was able to express the seriousness of establishing freedom of the press even in a British-controlled America. He said, “No nation, ancient or modern, ever lost the liberty of speaking freely, writing, or publishing their sentiments, but forthwith lost their liberty in general and became slaves.” (1) Therefore, could this be the underlying reason why so much emphasis has been placed by liberals in America on reducing and or eliminating the conservative voice, specifically the Christian voice, in news print or in any other form of media and, at the same time, branding those who express these viewpoints?
As a result of the new politically-correct, supersensitive, anti-Christian point of view in postmodern America, it is difficult for conservative writers to even get their written material advertised in the liberally-controlled book market or news print. In fact, an example at hand occurred recently to me. I had placed an advertisement for my new eBook entitled A Brewing Pot of Christian Persecution: America’s Postmodern Anti-Christian Crusade on eBay Classified, which has an audience of over one million perspective viewers in my region of the United States. Originally, my advertisement was placed in the media/book section, which is where I wanted it to be located. At that time, there were around two hundred books that were advertised. However, in a short period of time, my advertisement was relocated in the retail/shopping section which had about two thousand items for sale. Supposedly, eBay Classified changed the original location in order to give me more viewer exposure.
Regardless, though, my book has been advertised since December 2010, for which I am thankful. Every two months I would have to repost my advertisement. Recently, as usual when I reposted it, I received an email confirmation. However, within twenty-four hours, I received another email that notified me that my advertisement was being removed from eBay Classified because it violated the policies of the company, which means I had some words in my advertisement that evidently offended someone who read the advertisement and, as a result, he or she contacted the company and complained about the wording of my advertisement.
As best as I can remember, the following advertisement is the advertisement that I had posted on eBay Classified:
Dr. Carl Sterling Parnell, a Christian educator, author, and columnist, has completed his second book, which is in an Adobe PDF, eBook format. It is entitled A Brewing Pot of Christian Persecution: America’s Postmodern Anti-Christian Crusade. It was written to prove that Christian persecution does exist in America. It can be purchased for $5.00 at http://ebooks.faithwriters.com/ebook-details.php?id=565. It is listed under the category of “End Times.” PayPal and Credit Cards are accepted. His articles may also be read at http://www.faithwriters.com/member-profile.php?id=50188.
Therefore, as can be seen, there is nothing in this advertisement that could be offensive, unless the word Christian bothered someone. However, there is possibly one other thing that could have offended someone. They possibly could have gone to FaithWriters and actually read some of my articles. Of course, if they did read some of my articles, they would read negative comments about abortion, homosexuality and other components of America’s worldly agenda. But, since my beliefs are backed by scriptures from the Bible, non-Christians could get upset at what is written in my articles, especially since the Word of God is “sharper than a two-edged sword.” However, regardless of what is contained in my articles, my advertisement should not have been removed from eBay Classified, if the decision was based on the advertisement itself or based on my articles. Needless to say, the removal of my advertisement was a violation of my freedom of the press.
Another personal example is related to the branding of conservative material by the liberal media. I am specifically referring to Amazon.Com. and the remarks it made about my first book entitled From Schoolhouse to Courthouse: Exposing America’s New Terror from Within. As stated in a previous article, I was checking online to see what information might exist about my book. While browsing my title, I found an Amazon site that classified my book, along with several other books and videos, as Christian propaganda. Personally, it angered me at first. But, I ultimately realized that it was in reality a compliment, even though apparently someone did not accept my views on the rationale for the failing of America’s public schools. However, the branding of my book as Christian propaganda was just someone’s personal opinion that infringed on my First Amendment right of the freedom of the press, especially since what I wrote was the Christian truth.
In conclusion, I surmise that those who presently control the press/media in America are endeavoring to take America back to the era of United States History prior to the John Peter Zenger trial. If they have their way, they would take America back to a time before the writing of the United States Constitution, which through its Bill of Rights guaranteed the freedom of the press. They would also take America back to a time before it became a Christian nation, even though the President of the United States routinely reminds Americans that America is no longer a Christian nation. However, it is the belief in Jesus Christ that promotes freedom and liberty for all mankind. Therefore, if Americans accept the mindset of the President and if all Americans are not permitted to enjoy the benefits of the
freedom of the press as it was intended, then, as stated earlier, John Peter Zenger would be correct when he said, “No nation, ancient or modern, ever lost the liberty of speaking freely, writing, or publishing their sentiments, but forthwith lost their liberty in general and became slaves.” (1)
1. “John Peter Zenger.” Wikipedia. (Fellow, Anthony. American Media History: Second Edition. Boston: Wadsworth, 2010.)
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