Did you know Washington state rep. Bob Hasegawa wants to tax newspapers based on their editorial content? 

I didn't either, but Scott St. Clair knows. He also knows about the detention by Syrian thugs of a Seattle-area journalist of progressive bent who has been covering the uprising in that nation for al Jazeera. 

Here's what St. Clair says about Hasegawa's proposal:

"The good gentleman from the 11th district has introduced an amendment to a bill that would result in differing rates of taxation for newspapers based upon their editorial content.

"This is a stupid and patently unconstitutional bit of legislative foolishness, and Hasegawa should be so ashamed of himself that he should resign in disgrace."

And here's St. Clair's observation concerning the detention of Dorothy Parvaz:

"Parvaz was an unabashed progressive, but that’s irrelevent. She went to Syria as an experienced and accredited journalist to cover an important story, and she’s been silenced and whisked away by a government that has no respect for basic human freedom.

 "I don’t give a rip one way or the other about her political leanings - the only thing that matters is that a journalist has been prevented from reporting the news by a government."

Now, you might be wondering why St. Clair would deal with both of these developments within one article. Here's why:

"There isn’t much daylight between the philosophical positions of Bob Hasegawa and the Syrian government of Bashar al Assad.

"One seeks to regulate news and commentary through varying tax rates, while the other uses a truncheon, shackles and a jail cell. Both are rooted in the same devious idea: The press must be censored. The latter is but a logical extension and more extreme example of the principle."

To which I would simply add:

I don't see much difference between those two approaches to media criticism and that of the Obama administration's attempts through the FCC to "help" newspapers and "quality journalism" survive in the digital era because what always follows federal assistance is federal control. It would just be a soft despotism rather than the hard despotism displayed in Syria, and the goofball despotism of Hasegawa.

Go here for St. Clair's full post here.


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Mark Tapscott

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