Freedom of the press… for those who can afford it
Jeff Rense portrays himself as a champion of free speech and a defender of freedom of the press. He publicly supports these First Amendment rights and condemns attempts by others to infringe on them. He even asks for donations to help him “save your right to question and dissent” and “save truly free and independent journalism.”
But as it turns out, while publicly claiming to be a bastion of free press, he is–behind the scenes–trying to censor and suppress information on the internet about himself. Apparently, Jeff Rense doesn’t believe in freedom of the press for everyone.
Rense has set his legal attack dogs loose on the host of this website, because it has published some uncomfortable truths about him. They have received notice from Jeff Rense’s lawyers, claiming that jeffrense.org contains material which “infringes on their intellectual property rights.”
Now that is quite an astounding claim, considering that neither Jeff Rense, nor anyone working for Jeff Rense, nor anyone acting on behalf of Jeff Rense, wrote ANY of the articles contained on this website. It is original material, written exclusively for this website.
Any excerpts on this website that have been taken from elsewhere, are permitted to be used under “Fair Use” guidelines. (Incidentally, Jeff Rense supports Fair Use when it applies to material appearing on his own website.)
Jeff Rense’s website and radio show cover highly controversial topics and Rense defends his choice of contentious material as follows:
We present multiple facts, perspectives, viewpoints, opinions, analyses, and information… The idea of a free press in America is one that we hold in the highest regard… We have great trust and respect for the American people, and our worldwide audience, and believe them to be fully-capable of making their own decisions…
Rense comes across as a big supporter of an uncensored free press. Indeed, in a 2008 article, he decries the actions of Hearst News in blocking access to Rense’s website, Rense.com, to its employees:
This raw, unabashed, fascist censorship is indicative of a corporation under Zionist dominance and not serving the will or the interests of the people… This kind of Fascist, totalitarian repression of the First Amendment… is an indicator of the constantly growing loss of our Liberty and the right to inquiry… Hearst has forgotten that America was founded upon the inviolate bedrock of Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press.
Yet at the same time Rense is defending “freedom of the press” for his own website, he is trying to have content about himself removed from the websites of others.
If people have a right to read all about, say, Barack Obama or Mitt Romney, then should they not have the same right to read about Jeff Rense, who many see as a leader in the Truth Movement? Do people not have the right to know what kind of man he is–his values and morals, his character and his lifestyle–most especially when the image being portrayed is at odds with the facts?
Not according to Jeff Rense. If he doesn’t want certain information about himself being revealed, he pays his Los Angeles lawyers (at $490-$550 per hour) to try and get it removed. It seems he’d rather feed people the information about himself that he wants them to know, and keep them in the dark about that which he doesn’t.
Rense has chosen his legal team carefully. The Law Offices of Gerard Fox “offer aggressive, client tailored litigation,” and have represented “some of the largest corporations in the World, high net worth individuals [and] well known entertainment figures.” Their client list includes Premiere Radio Networks, Clear Channel, Dow Chemical (Union Carbide) and Rush Limbaugh. And now Jeff Rense.
This website is not the only one that Rense’s lawyers have tried to intimidate. The following have also come under fire:
- the personal website of Melinda Jane Kellogg (Rense’s latest ex-wife), specifically her revelations about the nature of their relationship. (Donate to the Kellogg Legal Defense Fund here);
- Henry Makow‘s series of articles that comprise The Jeff Rense Collection;
- an article from Ken Adachi’s website Educate-Yourself, entitled The Battle Between Jeff Rense & Henry Makow and Its Predictable Outcome (cached version); see Adachi’s commentary on the article’s removal here.
Jeff Rense, while defending freedom of the press publicly, has been using his lawyers to intimidate the hosts of websites that have published revealing information about him.
Freedom of the press is one of the cornerstones of a free and democratic society. It is through a free press that we can learn the truth about the world around us, and those who control it.
But it should be available to all, not just those with the means to defend themselves against spurious legal attacks.
 The Rense.com Kitty. Retrieved 12 June 2012.
 Disclaimer and Fair Use. Retrieved 12 June 2012.
 Hearst News Bans Rense. Retrieved 12 June 2012.
 Law Offices of Gerard Fox. Retrieved 12 June 2012.