freedom, filters & misuse

[Disclosure notice: the specific names and identifying details have been changed in the below account. Contrary to protecting the privacy of said individuals, the motive here is instead to diffuse the polarized reactions that often accompany partisan leanings.]

This weekend there was a gathering in which multiple political candidates from the same party vying for the same office converged in a singular, likeminded locale. They each spoke and were spoken to. They were interviewed and asked key questions. Each offered a speech to a live audience, who naturally reacted in spontaneous ways… perhaps some preplanned, too. 

There were most likely a surfeit of cheers and chants, even hisses and boos. 

There were most likely judicious, eye-opening comments, comments from the candidates that would give the viewer increased insight into who that candidate really is, what guides them, and what they truly believe. Viewers want to know those who potentially could represent them.

(Note the words “most likely.” See below why the Intramuralist could not see..)

No doubt one of the benefits of television viewership is that it changes the makeup of the audience. Too many candidates across the country change what they say depending who sits in that audience; therefore, the candidate’s “yes” doesn’t always mean “yes” and their “no” doesn’t always mean “no,” as it depends on who they’re talking to. The makeup of the audience matters. 

Hence, the ability to view the candidates, one after the another, in an unedited live window is of distinct value in comprehending the integrity of the candidate and what they believe.

This weekend, no less, the gathering’s host denied viewership, coverage, and livestream.

Only one network was originally given the right to broadcast. Note that it is a national network known to be somewhere between “skewed” and “hyper-partisan.” (Note: these exist on both the right and the left.)

Let us be respectfully clear…

No other network was originally given the right to broadcast. It should be stated that since the host’s original statement that only one national network would be allowed to cover, the host announced they would allow a small, local station to also air the speeches, seemingly bowing to journalistic pressure that came from every partisan angle. The left, right, middle — even “B-SPAN” (remember the specific names have been changed) — complained. Not even known, objective reporting is allowed. Let me say that again…

Known, objective reporting is not allowed.

When the state party chair was asked why they would limit live coverage of their convention to one cable outlet, he would not answer the question. He later said he was “done talking about the issue and declined to comment on whether other media outlets would now be allowed to broadcast live.” 

Note that in addition to the exclusive coverage by the one network, other media outlets were prohibited from airing any actual footage until three hours after the event ends.

Question: What is the motive for such control?

Why control those who are supposed to inform us — reporting, giving us insight, sharing the news — controlling what we hear and how we hear it?

Why would the gatherers not allow not only editorial comments from other filters — but also not allow coverage from the news outlets with no filter? Did they editorialize a candidate’s speech or edit a slip up or audience reaction, with the goal of making it sound better or worse? Did the host want to manipulate what the rest of us see and hear? Are we not allowed to walk away with our own perceptions? … or do our perceptions even matter?

Friends, I am no fan of the “fake news” cheers and chants, even hisses and boos. There’s too much throwing out of “the baby with the bath water,” so-to-speak, in that perspective; the freedom of the press and authentic, unbiased journalism is of great, necessary value in our country. We benefit from a healthy, objective media.

Yet this weekend’s event exhibits exactly the kind of control that fuels the cry of being “fake.” There seems ample intent to control what we see, when we see it, and how the general public sees it. That’s controlling — arguably manipulative — and definitely concerning.

This feels not as the right and need of the freedom of our press. Sadly, it’s seems more a misuse.