Journalism is activity, not identity

When established power structures are challenged, they respond typically first by ignoring challenge, then with ridicule and finally in direct attack. It happens in Oklahoma, nationally and in many media markets, but it is most visible in the history of First Amendment Champions James O’Keefe, founder of Project Veritas, and Glenn Greenwald, now of Substack. The recent conference, FREEDOMFEST 2022: Collapse of Journalistic Gatekeeping: How Independents Are Reaching New Audiences offered hope with specifics in their calls to engage.

In Oklahoma, The V1SUT Vantage offering How to Steal a State and Project Red Man, an independent journalist investigating Oklahoma and Native American issues both on Substack and others are increasing coverage of critical issues. Patrick B. McGuigan, an Oklahoma Hall of Fame journalist is Editor Emeritus and reporter for The Oklahoma City Sentinel and founder, publisher and editor of we note as the honored senior of the craft and Tulsa Today which you are reading (thank you for that) continue the fight locally.

At FreedomFest’s offering in Las Vegas, Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe and Glenn Greenwald broke down what the definition of journalism really is.

Glenn Greenwald: You know, when related to James, it was notable when the FBI situation happened, the number of blue check journalists on Twitter who wanted to argue that the First Amendment doesn’t really apply to you, the freedom of the press. Because you’re not the press. It always amazes me. The number of reporters who have these situations come up, feel like that section, the First Amendment belongs only to professional journalists, and because you’re excluded [from it], it doesn’t apply. I think that’s a key point that there’s — it is this incredible misconception that’s being promulgated on purpose by employees of media corporations who might have the job title in their HR file of journalists. But what they really are is employees and media corporations. They want to create this fiction that somehow there’s a part of the Constitution that isn’t for every American citizen, even though it says it is. This part of the Constitution is like this secret little part that applies only to people who earn the title journalist. And if you go back and look at how journalism was practiced and the freedom of the press, it was, you know, the actual literal press, the printing press, which is what they were protecting. Most of the people who were using that to agitate against the crown were not journalists. That that was not a profession. It was like, they’re like, here’s a surgeon, here’s a lawyer. Here’s a journalist — that didn’t exist. Journalism as James suggested was something that citizens could use as a tool, just like freedom of speech to agitate against those in power. It is an activity that’s protected, available to everybody. And the idea that there’s now this like, cloistered license status that you need to prove that you belong to. And the other irony of it is in some way, the irony is, is that the more stories you break of significance, somehow in their eyes, the less of a journalist you are. Which is why, if you ask most of these employees of media corporations, do they think [Julian Assange] should be in prison? They’ll say, ‘yeah, of course he’s not a journalist,’ even though they could live to be 5,000 years old and never get close to the number of significant stories he’s broken. And you know, the same is true with James. And there’s an attempt to [weed] me out of journalism as well, despite the stories I’ve done. So, I mean, it’s kind of this inversion, it’s the ultimate propaganda.

Further during a panel that included James and Eric Metaxas, Eric explained why journalism is such an essential activity for a free society.

Eric Metaxas: What we’re really talking about here, in the context of journalism, is a moral issue. Do you believe there’s such a thing as truth? What is truth? What does it mean to speak the truth? What price are you willing to pay? Or, are you some kind of whore, who does not believe in anything, is willing to sell your soul and your credentials and anything for money? I think that it’s curious to live in a time when, you know, most of us have been drifting through this wonderful time in America where we haven’t had to face anything like this, but I think- when I wrote my biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, I can kind of smell that what I was writing about happening in Germany in the early thirties was coming in our direction. I mean, I can sense it, and so then the question is: Will I stand? Will I do what he did?

James O’Keefe: I think it all comes down to fear. This whole thing is really about fear because a lot of people know the truth and want to support it, but they’re afraid of what the impact will be to them. You have to follow your conscience, even if it means enduring pain. FBI agents in my apartment. I said this yesterday, you know, I was — when they did that, you know, they pointed guns at me, threw me against the wall, took my stuff, and I thought, ‘Is this the America that I grew up, like, pledging allegiance to the flag in, like, elementary school?’ What is this dystopian nightmare?

Project Veritas declares their recommendation: fight for truth, engage in journalism, AND NEVER BACK DOWN.

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