Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Internet is to Today's Society What the Printing Press was to Revolutionary War America

“Sour Grapes” would have been a more appropriate headline for an article in the Washington Post, “Blog Comments Become Fodder for Attack Ads”, on September 22, 2007 ( The article decried the use of “unidentified, unverified quotes from a blog” in political campaign ads. The story then expresses concern about the use of Internet postings “instead of more authoritative sources such as news reports or public records”.

Hardly a day goes by when the Washington Post does not quote a source “on the condition of anonymity”. See LA Judge story on A-8 of the same newspaper ( As mainstream media becomes more tabloid-like, polls indicate that most people no longer consider “news reports” to be “authoritative sources”.

The Internet allows virtually anyone with a computer to publish their views for others to read. This was similarly true during the time of the American Revolution, when printing presses were relatively affordable and easy to operate. The printing press of the 18th Century was to Americans then what the Internet is today. Over time, printing presses grew more complicated and expensive and the industrial media made market entry expensive and risky.

The real story here is that the Fourth Estate feels threatened by the Internet. I won’t defend all Web content, but I will argue for the First Amendment Right of Americans to challenge any monopoly on thought. Bring on the competition!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Why Talk It Up America?

In 1970, I was working on my aunt and uncle's ranch near Cody, Wyoming. I had visited Washington, DC, the previous three summers and I had decided to submit a photograph of mine to Friends Magazine, a publication for Chevrolet owners, for publication on the Owner's Page. Because it was my uncle who owned the Chevy pickup, I used his name to enter my photo montage of the head of Thomas Jefferson from the Jefferson Memorial superimposed over the Capital Dome framed by tree leaves. To my pleasant surprise, the magazine sent a check for $175.00 (big money for a sixteen year old in 1970) and asked for permission to publish my photo on the cover of the July edition of Friends Magazine. The cover read, "Saving the Face of America."

Now, these were the 1970's--turbulent times to say the least--and it was a low point for America and American morale. My cousin had a GMC panel wagon with an upside-down American Flag decal on the rear window. My aunt scolded him saying, "The flag should only be flown upside down in times of distress!"

He replied, "If these aren't times of distress, then what are?"

I went on to college in the fall of 1970. I attended the University of California at San Diego's Revelle College, home of devoted communist philosophers Herbert Marcuse and Angela Davis. The Viet Nam War was nearing an end largely due to a major anti-war movement and the protests of the baby-boom generation.

After graduating in 1974 with a degree in Economics and Biology, I moved back to the family home town of Cody, Wyoming, and put down roots. My career path has been diverse and interesting and includes over 20 years of public service. I came to believe and embody what Winston Churchill once said, "If you are young and not liberal, you have no heart. If you are old and not conservative, you have no brain."

I now live in the Southside of Virginia. I retired in August 2008, from the U.S. Department of the Interior, where as a political appointee for 6.5 years, I gained extensive experience with the media. I have been subjected to vilification and lies by the likes of the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, the New Republic, Vanity Fair, and even National Geographic. I am not fooled for one minute into thinking that I was that important or anything I did was that newsworthy. But, having worked for Dick Cheney when he was Congressman from Wyoming made anything I did the subject of speculation, and for conspriritorial types, it meant anything I did must have been the result of orders from the White House. All pure bunk, of course, but for "mainstream" media, political agendas and the advancement of their philosophy trump truth, accuracy, and journalistic integrity. It is a sad state of affairs that should make you skeptical of everything you read.

I am determined to stand against the lies and overcome evil with good. Thus, I have created this blog--Talk It Up America--to post news consistent with Philippians 4:8.
--Paul Hoffman