Media censorship

Don’t criticize Bush if you don’t want to be censored. Plus, how the traditional news media have abdicated their role.

Kanye West criticized Bush during a NBC concert. NBC’s explanation (from that article):

There was a several-second tape delay, but the person in charge “was instructed to listen for a curse word, and didn’t realize (West) had gone off-script,” said NBC spokeswoman Rebecca Marks.

Oh great! Now, in the great country of the U.S. of A., “land of the free and home of the brave”, expressing political views is valid grounds for censorship. Now maybe West had a legal obligation to not go off-script but that does not explain NBC running to the press with the excuse that their censorship system failed. I find the notion,implied in the quote above, that just “going off-script” is one of the criteria to censor a segment quite spurious. I’d bet most performers went off-script at one moment or another. I’m sure that Tim McGraw’s tearing up (see article) was not scripted but they didn’t censor that either… and I’m not hearing any apologies about that.

No, the real rule is that criticism of the Bush administration cannot be broadcast “as is”. No no no, criticism of the Bush administration must be bracketed and managed to neutralize, aseptize,defang it as much as possible. Unfortunately, this rule taints everything traditional media do, including the news. As far as I’m concerned, the traditional news media in this country have abdicated its responsibilities. At some point, news ceased to be about reporting important matters and asking important questions (reporting is just one side of the role of the traditional news media,editorializing is the other one) and became entertainment. I hear news pundits now and then pontificating about how the population has abandoned the traditional news media and how that is somehow symptomatic of apathy or a general dumbening down of the general population. Well, the public is not stupid, O Great Pundits. If news are served as entertainment, they are going to treat them as entertainment and since news are pretty boring entertainment, news are going lose to other entertainment sources. For editorial, the population is going to look somewhere else, like non-traditional news media.

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