Don Katich of Santa Barbara News-Press speaks out on free speech, “illegals”

By George Miller

The Santa Barbara News-Press (SBNP) is no stranger to being attacked over 1st Amendment issues. In 2006, its own staff tried to prevent the new owners from eliminating what they believed was bias in news content. This made national headlines. More recently, a political pressure group attempted to coerce them into using only politically correct terminology when writing about immigration issues.

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On Saturday, March 7, Don Katich, Director Of News Operations for the Santa Barbara News-Press, again struck back at assailants, via a presentation on free speech and expression rights, as guaranteed by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. He emphasized its primacy as a right needed to support the rest of the Bill-of-Rights, freedom and liberty. In front of an audience of about 50 Republican women and a few men, he meticulously unfurled his arguments, in a broad defense of free speech rights.

Some important points made:

– The First Amendment does not “grant” rights “from the government.” It merely confirms existing natural rights and the government’s responsibility to uphold them.

– The First Amendment guarantee makes all the other rights possible, even the Second Amendment, which guarantees the right to bear arms (shaky in California).

– There are limits of power of government to control what we say, read. post, or otherwise express ourselves. The First Amendment restricts only government actions not private ones.  This applies to all levels of government- federal, state, county and local entities.

– The First Amendment extends to all communications media- spoken, written, electronic, dress, signs, etc. and to all human activities and organization and nearly all viewpoints- good or evil- with a few exceptions. You have a right to use money to reach the public with your messages. You have a right to wave a flag, wear an armband, even burn the flag. However, government has carved out some infringements/exceptions, such as limits on pornography, incitement to violence, mandated FCC broadcast licensing and restrictions on certain political communications and fundraising.  FCC recently, unilaterally and Katich said, clearly unconstitutionally, extended its reach to encompass the Internet, in a so far secret 300+ page regulation. The IRS, the most feared government agency in the U.S., severely abused its authority in singling out, harassing and denying equivalent tax-exempt status to certain classes of 501C4 non-profit status applicants such as Tea Parties and “Liberty”-oriented groups.

– News media do not exist to be a mouthpiece for government and/or to dispense politically correct content. Without the First Amendment, governmemt would control the press.

– The First Amendment is a privilege and a burden to uphold. (ed. note: some constitutionalists opine that it is a fundamental human right, not  a”privilege”).

– Government alone cannot be entrusted as the guardian of free speech. You can’t rely on just the government to defend your rights. The People must stand up and vigorously protect them.

– Don’t treat everything as equal. Mr. Katich bases his journalistic perspective on fundamental constitutional principles and rule of law.

– Don’t allow others to determine what terminology you can use, nor be bullied into use of politically correct language.

– Once enforcement of law loses its objectivity, that gives birth to the majority of assaults upon freedom.

 

One point that Mr. Katich didn’t make, which we will, is that PODER also had First Amendment rights to opine on Santa Barbara News-Press articles. But they didn’t have the right to deface the property or intimidate people. As far as we know, a boycott is legal. 

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Santa Barbara News-Press Director of News Operations Don Katich presents his First Amendment thoughts- 3-7-15 (Photo: CitizensJournal.us)

Some examples of First Amendment infringement cited by Mr. Katich:

SBNPGrafittAttack on Santa Barbara News-Press by PODER group, on January 3, trying to force them to drop use of the term “illegals” as a label for illegal aliens/illegal immigrants. The trigger was in an SBNP article about “illegals” lining up at a DMV office to get driver’s licenses under a highly controversial new state law. This is a term they have used for ten years and, as Katich points out, is even used on the White House web site. Immigrants rights groups feel that it is a pejorative and would prefer terms like “undocumented immigrants,” or just “immigrants.” Katish and SBNP believe that immigrant rights interests are attempting to change peoples’ perceptions of reality by altering the very language they are permitted to use. This concept was immortalized in the book “1984” by George Orwell, where he used words like “NewSpeak” and “GroupThink” to describe totalitarian mind control techniques.

“It is an appropriate term in describing someone as “illegal” if they are in this country illegally.”

– Statement from Santa Barbara News-Press

The SBNP headquarters was defaced with red paint bombs and graffiti stating “the border is illegal not the people who cross it.” There are no witnesses to the crime, no arrests so far. However, around that time, advocacy group PODER was picketing the area, blocking streets and threatening to demand that advertisers drop SBNP and people cancel their subscriptions if SBNP did not comply by an arbitrary deadline they set. They also insisted upon a review board installed to control SBNP content. Katish insisted that this has been unsuccessful, but conceded that the News-Press has been forced to reduce its scope of operations and size of the paper in the last year. He attributed some of this to the general retreat from print media to the Internet, the economy and consumer preferences. He said a “newspaper’s first duty is to stay in business.”

While the First Amendment does not specifically protect SBNP from some of these actions, they are all counter to the concepts of freedom of the press/expression.

 

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Attack on UCSB campus by Asst. Professor Mireille Miller-Young. Inset: Thrin Short. (Photo of Katish 3-7-15 speech PowerPoint)

 

Attack by UCSB (University of California- Santa Barbara) Assistant Professor on teen-age pro-life protester. 

Yes, really. UCSB Assistant Professor of Feminist Studies, Mireille Miller-Young, physically assaulted, and also stole and destroyed property of a 16 year-old pro-life protester Thrin Short right on the UCSB campus. Partial PROOF. Convicted,  Sentenced.  Miller-Young wasn’t fired, never even reprimanded by UCSB, or otherwise held accountable, to Mr. Katish’s knowledge.

 

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FCC majority in favor of net neutrality celebrates in advance of 3-2 vote.

FCC recently and unilaterally took control of the Internet, placing it under the rules that govern broadcasting over the airwaves. This was done without congressional authorization, making the 332 pages still secret rule-making of questionable constitutionality. Two Commissioners tipped off the public to the general nature of the threat, but were enjoined from revealing the details. They strenuously objected to it, demanded that it be retracted and the public be allowed to study it and comment for 30 days. No action from Congress so far. While we don’t even know the extent of restrictions they aspire to impose on the Internet, broadcasters must get a license, meet many technical and content requirements/restrictions, and can be shut down remotely on a moment’s notice, all at the sole discretion of the un-elected, largely unaccountable FCC, 

The Internet has been spectacularly successful with very minimal regulation, but the FCC and “net neutrality” supporters opine that prices would soar and access would be restricted, unregulated. But just the opposite has occurred.

 

IRSHarassCartoonIRS harasses Conservative Tea Party and Liberty groups

It has been established as fact that the IRS, under Lois Lerner’s section, deliberately and overwhelming disproportionately delayed applications for 501C4 non-profit status for organizations with the words “Tea Party” and “Liberty” in their names. They demanded responses to extremely intrusive questions and imposed demands upon these organizations not made upon organizations elsewhere on the political spectrum.

 

Conclusion

Mr. Katich wrapped up the presentation with a medley of final thoughts …. saying that they “work 24/7 to earn your trust …. without your commitment to local news providers, it wouldn’t exist and there would be no one else to hold ‘them’ accountable.” He implored the audience to “support truthful, reliable, accurate news organizations” … with advertising and subscriptions. He is thankful for the “amazing gift of First Amendment freedoms, bought by the sacrifice, even death, of untold numbers of people.” He said “we shouldn’t be kissing ass, but kicking ass… (we should) be that 16 year old who confronted UCSB.” He lamented institutions and people “who preach tolerance but advocate conformity.”

In remarks afterward, Mr. Katich expressed the thought that “youth understand free speech …. growing up and seeing through “Progressive” thoughts on it and the dangers that they pose.” 

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(in some cases paraphrasing was used when we couldn’t get Mr. Katich’s exact wording.)

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Don Katich’s freedom of speech presentation was delivered to the Santa Barbara Republican Women Federated at the La Cumbre Country Club in Hope Ranch, Santa Barbara., on 3-7-15.

Some previous relevant Citizensjournal.us coverage:

·  Santa Barbara News-Press Freedom of Speech Rally- and counter-rally- 1-19-15- Part 1

·  Charlie Hebdo and Santa Barbara News-Press–Free …

citizensjournal.us/charlie-hebdo-and-santa-barbara-newspressfreespeec

Jan 9, 2015 – Charlie Hebdo and Santa Barbara NewsPressFree Speech Threatened! … George Miller is Publisher of Citizensjournal.us and a “retired” operations … Attending yesterdays rally in support of the Santa Barbara News Press …

·  Je Suis Santa Barbara News Press: Hey, ho, the USA has to …

citizensjournal.us/ju-suis-santa-barbara-newspress-hey-ho-the-usa-has-to…

Jan 20, 2015 – Why would Americans have to defend their right to free speech? … Therally was scheduled for 12:30pm in front of the News Press offices in the De la Guerra Plaza. …. Get Citizensjournal.us Headlines free SUBSCRIPTION.

·  Beseiged Santa Barbara news exec to speak on “Freedom …

citizensjournal.us/…/beseiged-santa-barbara-news-exec-to-speak-on-free

Charlie Hebdo and Santa Barbara News-Press–Free Speech Threatened!

Charlie Hebdo and Santa Barbara News-Press–Free Speech Threatened!

 

 

 

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George Miller is Publisher of Citizensjournal.us and a “retired” operations management consultant, active in civic affairs, living in Oxnard.

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