Who We Are: An Open Letter to the Old Media
by Rick Fisk
by Rick Fisk
Reality for you, Old Media representatives and executives, is self-fulfilling. That is, the reality broadcast through the airwaves and printed on dead wood has for so long influenced the way that the general public perceives reality, it has become inconceivable that a time would come when your pictures and words would no longer drive public opinion.
I am writing this to you as a final warning. That time has already arrived. Whether or not Dr. Paul threw his hat in the ring, it was inevitable. With the advent of the Internet, people from all over the world, able to tell their own stories and reflect their own perceptions to willing eyes and ears, have provided an awakening and shake at the very foundations of what you currently perceive to be reality.
When your advertising agencies began collecting demographic information and targeting consumers as collective groups who thought as one, that was the beginning of the end for you. When our own government started aiding and abetting this collectivism through expanded census — defying the very nature and intent of a census — the demise of media influence was propelled further. Your agencies and marketing professionals kept refining the data, methods and messages you directed toward these groups until we, who were once just open-mouthed consumers, have finally slipped through your fingers.
I was there when it began as were many of my colleagues — when the "Internet" was a few land-line-connected mainframes via 300-baud modems and the government's idea of electronic mail was less timely than the U.S. Postal service. Its development began slowly. In 1986, we were still using UUCP to send each other messages over the Internet and USENET to broadcast our opinions to anyone who could subscribe. In 1991, the web browser and HTTP arrived. Your reporting of this occurred only in those papers and television programs directed toward that demographic of college-educated geeks whom you thought cared about such things. You certainly didn't cover it as the earth-shattering, reality-altering event that it was.
Tim Berners-Lee's contribution to the Internet (and those who have refined HTTP) was as important as Gutenberg's creation of the practical printing press. But you really didn't see it coming. Had the general population conformed to the reality you were broadcasting and printing at the time, we'd probably never have moved from zero to 100 billion worth of e-commerce per year in the U.S. by the time 16 years had passed.
Now, once again, we are at a time when you are witnessing history but are not aware of its significance. I'm talking about the Ron Paul Revolution.
Consider this: In 1991, the general population in the U.S. was not favorable to gun control. About 42% of the population favored a ban on handguns. But propaganda that you produced and published promoted the idea that the second amendment was an anachronism in this modern age and actually a danger to society. By 1993 53% favored gun control. Your coverage and commentary of high-profile shooting crimes and dubious opinion polls helped to solidify the view that gun control was a national desire and thus the Brady Bill finally made it through Congress. This was similar to what happened leading up to the Gun Control Act of 1934. Old Media characterization of Chicago's mob wars helped to give Congress the public support to pass, in direct violation of the constitution, the first national gun-control law. In 1993, most of the gun-crimes were committed by the hands of criminals profiting from drug prohibition but the sensational "postal" incidents were what carried the news day.
Finally, on April 19, 1993, 84 men, women and children were burned to death at the hands of Federal Police, ostensibly to enforce provisions of the 1934 law and its revisions of 1968. Most of you in the Old Media still do not realize what a galvanizing event this was. On its ten-year anniversary, you were still publishing already-rebutted stories in an attempt to justify the Federal Government's actions.
In 2007, when the Virginia Tech gunman killed so many, your polls showed that a majority of the respondents were in complete opposition to any gun control measures as a response to that tragic event. What happened? The Internet happened. Between 1994 and 2007, pro-second amendment writers, both professional and amateur, made their case for the constitution and the wisdom of the founding fathers. For many, re-doubled efforts were fueled by Waco. And Ron Paul stood alone in Congress during many of those years defying the status quo and defending the constitution.
The same sort of thing occurred in 1776. The Boston Massacre, a galvanizing, violent event, occurred six years before Thomas Paine's Common Sense propelled a small band of freedom-seekers into a formidable movement which finally freed itself from the chains of the British Empire. You can look back on the years leading up to the colonist's war with the British and see some amazing similarities to what is occurring today.
When the Old Media was new, before the collectivist targeting of people as "consumers" and when ordinary colonists were printing their own newspapers, a Revolution had begun. The colonists were the subjects of a tyrannical empire which continued to erode their liberties and fortunes in order to prosecute unnecessary and belligerent wars; enriching Rulers who had little or no concern for their subject's interests.
Men, women and children from varied political and religious backgrounds grew tired of the tyrants who wished to rule them and banded together to promote liberty and independence. They produced an amazing variety of artifacts to promote these ideas and to turn public opinion to their way of thinking. Silver flatware engraved with pro-Liberty images, paintings, drawings, poems, songs, tea sets, signs, pamphlets, letters, quilts and flags. The ingenuity, optimism and apparently inexhaustible enthusiasm made the revolution's success possible.
And so, while you keep scratching the surface and proclaiming that we are just a bunch of kooks and geeks who spend all of our time on the Internet, we, the modern revolutionaries, are also engaging in the same sorts of activities as did our predecessors. We've written poems, songs, and pamphlets. We've produced videos, radio shows and newspaper ads. We've launched a blimp, painted signs on barns, houses and cars. We've raised 10 million dollars in two one-day fund raising events. We've put our candidate in the top-tier of fund raising. We've voted him the top contender in almost every Internet poll, in more than half of the straw-polls held around the country and have mobilized over 80,000 volunteers (and growing) for the cause of liberty.
We've organized rallies in every state, many of which have been attended by thousands of real-life individuals who crave freedom and still you keep pretending that we're going to fizzle out or simply go away, embarrassed by defeat, when in fact we're enjoying a healthy and steady rate of growth.
While you've rejected change and cling to your old ways, we've embraced change. When you tried to tell us about the "new economy" we recognized it for what it was: The old Federal Reserve—driven boom-and-bust centrally-planned economy. We're not buying what you have to sell and in some cases, we're even shorting your stock and profiting from your demise.
We're young, old, Republican, Libertarian, Democrat, Anarchist, Green, Constitutionalist, Christian, Muslim, Jews, Atheist, Pagan, homeschooling, no-TV-watching, TV-watching, raw milk-drinking, pasteurized milk-drinking, farmer's market-shopping, alternative building, single, divorced, 2.5 kid-having, 3-car-having, bicycle-riding, fitness-fanatic, farmer, no-car-having, sedentary, public school—attending, Gay, Straight, Black, Yellow, Red, Brown, White, Man, Woman, child. We're the demographic group to whom you have never marketed. We believe that we're smart enough to manage our own affairs and don't need government hand-outs.
We're tired of being told about a Social Security trust fund that never existed, a government that is here to help us and an income tax that really, really does make us liable to pay — cross our hearts and hope to die (just don't read the law please). We're tired of being treated like children. We treat our own children much better than the bureaucrats, whom you constantly claim have our best interests at heart, treat us.
We're tired of being told that we should live our lives in fear of people six thousand miles away; who hate us because we're free, when we aren't actually free. We're tired of being told that every encroachment upon our freedoms is justified because the world is "different now." Different from what? Does our dictator wear a different brand of suit than the one whose country was bombed into oblivion on his orders?
Whether you are yourselves frightened, or you just want us to be frightened, we're giving up fear.
We. Are. No. Longer. Afraid.
If there is just one message beyond what you find at the surface, take that with you. We're past fear, we've gone beyond cynicism and our apathy has been cured.
Perhaps you could understand if you would only allow yourself one moment to take Dr. Paul's utterances seriously. However, if you won't move beyond the surface and won't take even a moment to imagine what it would be like to live in a truly free society, then you will see your fortunes reversed.
As much as we'd love you to join us, we understand that you may want to cling to the status quo. We apologize for the inconvenience but the status quo just will not do. Allowing a continuance of the status quo will render us all penniless and at the mercy of the same people who are now managing us into bankruptcy.
Yours in Freedom,
January 4, 2008
Rick Fisk [send him mail] is a 45-year-old software developer and entrepreneur. He is married, has three children and resides in Austin, TX.
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