"It may not be good for America, but it's damn good for CBS," said CBS Chairman Les Moonves. "Man, who would have expected the ride we're all having right now? ...The money's rolling in and this is fun. ...I've never seen anything like this, and this is going to be a very good year for us. Sorry. It's a terrible thing to say. But, bring it on, Donald. Keep going.”
Our small staff of 17 people in Denver is worried.
Given the recent election cycle and events unfolding daily, we believe our fiercely independent television network may soon face challenges and threats unlike anything we have experienced before.
I am writing to ask you to stand with us, to make a statement that you will join us in defending our democratic system's first line of defense--a free and independent press.
For over two decades Free Speech TV has been a rare and courageous part of American television, enriching the marketplace of ideas by providing a 24/7 platform to amplify voices and lift up issues that would otherwise be ignored or silenced.
We know that playing this role in 2017 will be more critical than ever. But the skies are darkening for the media, especially for those of us who are willing to pursue facts and ask the tough questions.
There is no doubt that the mainstream media played a major role in the outcome of the election. CBS Chairman Les Moonves could barely contain his glee as he described (above) how profitable this citizen-united fueled election cycle has been for his massive corporate media empire. He is alone among his mainstream peers only in his level of public candor.
It is estimated that the Trump campaign received a whopping $4.96 BILLION in free media during the primary and general election cycles.
In spite of that, the darkest clouds in the sky are coming from the president-elect, who has exhibited a level of hostility and unaccountability toward the media that is unprecedented in modern politics:
Trump’s team is claiming that he is too busy to answer questions from journalists. Since the election, the President-elect has not held a press conference nor allowed the press pool to follow him. In fact, it has been July 27 since Trump's last press conference.
On the campaign trial, the candidate chillingly vowed to "...open up the libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money."
“Trump Slams Media Elite, Face to Face,” blared the Drudge Report. “Trump Eats Press,” wrote Breitbart News, describing a November 21 meeting with members of the mainstream media. One participant said, "Trump kept saying, 'We’re in a room of liars, the deceitful, dishonest media who got it all wrong.'"
It is clear that if you can successfully bully and threaten the press, intimidate the media, then publishers, editors and reporters will be less likely to take risks, to do their job.
You can count on Free Speech TV to continue to bring you reporting and analysis you won't find anywhere else. To not back down or give one inch when our basic freedoms are at stake.
David Pakman and Sonali Kolhatkar will be there for you. So will Amy Goodman and Bill Press. Thom Hartmann and Stephanie Miller. Elon James White and Gay USA.
We have two powerful allies that give us strength and confidence in these difficult times.
The first is one of the bedrocks of our democracy. It’s called the First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The second is you, our viewer--those of you who have been watching and appreciating our uncompromised and fearless public interest broadcasting service over the years. To those who have donated to Free Speech TV, you have my profound gratitude.
For those of you never having had the opportunity to give, we need your help. If there ever was a time for you to send us a message of encouragement and financial support, this is the time.
FSTV was built for this historical moment, where the ability of a free press to do its job will be vital to our society weathering the storms ahead.
Several of our viewers have just stepped forward in an extraordinary way, recognizing the urgent situation the planet and our country are confronting. But more help is needed to keep Free Speech TV providing trusted news and information.
Since the successful conclusion of our recent pledge drive, we have received a new $200,000 match. These generous donors are inviting you to join them in making an end of the year, tax-deductible donation to Free Speech TV, by agreeing to match dollar for dollar any contribution you make up to that amount.
If you have never given to Free Speech TV in the past, this is a special invitation to join us at this time of crisis.
Will you stand with us in defending our democratic system's first line of defense--a free and independent press?