Tag Archives: Charlie Heldbo

Don’t Start Me Talking…I’ll Tell Everything I Know*

5 Sep

 

 

 

The majestic equality of laws forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets and to steal bread.
Anatole France
Journalism is printing what some else does not want printed. Everything else is public relations
 George Orwell

 

 

 

Slave owning Thomas Jefferson was on to something when he suggested eternal vigilance would be necessary to preserve the government he and his fellows envisioned and instituted. While since those heady days of birthing a nation many of the fundamental tenets of democracy and social justice are frequently besieged, none is more so than the First Feedom, the freedom of speech.

 

 

Apparently the oppressive climate stirred up by the Gawker /Hulk Hogan khamsin has continued. The documentary, Nobody Speak :Trials of the Free Press presents a useful primer on that libel/First Amendment case as was well as introducing two billionaires, Peter Thiel and Sheldon Adelman who make up 2/3 of the authoritarian troika that is committed to undermining a free press and open society.

The New York Times dismissed Nobody Speaks calling it “bombastic” while the Guardian ** presented a lucid brief for the films usefulness.

This film sets the case [Gawker/Hulk Hogan] alongside a more conventional attempt to control the press, that is simply to own it – also what the super-rich plutocrats love to do. In 2015, the Las Vegas Review-Journal was bought by the aggressively litigious casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who incredibly tried to keep his identity as buyer a secret. The paper’s reporters themselves had to ferret out the truth. The new management promptly declared that star columnist John L Smith could no longer write about Adelson, who had in fact already sued him. Most of the paper’s talent quit, but it was an extraordinary putsch.

As for Trump, it is notable that he considers himself something of a one-man press baron, by virtue of his millions of Twitter followers – a situation he compares to owning a newspaper without the losses. His contempt for the press, aside from what may be revealed about Russia, is an almost hysterical expression of his hatred of criticism – a lèse-majesté he always resented as both boardroom blowhard and TV star. Now Trump wants to loosen the libel rules for wealthy plaintiffs (who of course have always found the UK a more congenial place to launch lawsuits). This documentary is an invigorating, disturbing portrait of the arrogance and sinister self-importance of rich people, bullying politicians and their battalions of lawyers.

 

Gee, who ya gonna believe? The NYT or your lying eyes?

 

 

 

 

 

Of course you remember the noisy and avid exhibitions ovsupport for ‘free speech’ when the French magazine Charlie Heldbo suffered the killing of ten of its  for publishing anti Muslim cartoons. Well , it appears that that free speech is different than the free speech** the magazine is exercising in it portrayal of Houston disaster survivors…

 

So, there is more to be said about the Gawker legal mugging and in this case while the film was a fine representation,  I  can’t wait for the book. Hopefully, someone like Matt Taibbi or Charles Pierce will write it…

 

 

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  • Title inspired by Sonny BOY WILLIAMSON CLASSIC

 

 

**   https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/jun/22/nobody-speak-trials-of-a-free-press-review-hulk-hogan-gawker-netflix

*** https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/08/31/cover-of-frances-charlie-hebdo-suggests-hurricane-harvey-victims-are-neo-nazis/?utm_term=.4246a3b21dea