Glenn Greenwald on Why There’s so Little Government Censorship of the Media in America

“The reason there’s so little government censorship of the press in America is because it’s totally unnecessary; why would the government even want to censor a media this compliant and subservient?  Recall the derision heaped upon the media even by Bush’s own former Press Secretary, Scott McClellan, for being “too deferential” to administration propaganda.  As soon as an entity emerges that provides genuinely adversarial coverage of the U.S. Government — such as WikiLeaks, whistleblowers, or isolated articles exposing its malfeasance — the repressive measures come fast and furious.  But in general, it’s no more necessary for the U.S. Government to censor the American media than it would be for Barack Obama to try to silence Robert Gibbs.”

Glenn Greenwald

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8 thoughts on “Glenn Greenwald on Why There’s so Little Government Censorship of the Media in America

  1. Brian Williams appeared on Letterman last night and described his ordeal with security at LAX airport. MSNBC ran the clip this morning and Chuck Todd made this comment: “Good luck flying in LA, Mr. Williams.”

    Nothing is more symptomatic of the decline in American journalism than the self-serving self-censorship of celebrity news anchors. When celebrity delivers the news, the news is about protecting celebrity.

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  2. I do not believe that there is any censorship of the “media” because no news organization is anything but a performance. When the government chose to export pornography by wire and not enforce the Communications Act it was just a matter of time till mass communication was no longer a source of power.

    This BLOG can be seen by ANYONE with Internet on Earth. It can be read in any language. The Internet was once the great equalizer but the Internet will be government censored as required by laws already passed by the end of next year. I hope it is exclusively pornography that is regulated but that could be the crack the government uses to finally control the Internet.

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  3. Too true, alas.

    News is no longer required in this country. It’s bread and circuses, or I should say, high fructose corn syrup cake and circuses, with a side of fries.

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  4. News reporting, the content, the tone, the slant, the shallowness of most of it is very predictable. Of course, the mass media, and the various news organizations are focused upon giving their market segment what it wants. Bread and circuses for sure, and just try to add a little whole grain bread to the diet of many. That will cost market share.

    Miss Lohan simply is much more interesting to most people than a financial crisis in Greece. The press may run some stories on legislative battles over entitlement spending, but LiLo’s revolving door relationship with the Betty Ford Center is generally what the masses want to read about. Miss Lohan may be a threat to drivers and pedestrians, but she poses no threat to the State, nor does any news organization that devotes effort sufficient to feed the appetites of a readership that hungers to know if she is really moving to Venice this week.

    I try to integrate foreign news sources, Russia Today, and ITN are a couple of them, into my reading and viewing diet. The different perspectives are edifying, even stimulating.

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  5. It seems to me that the government in America is increasingly inseparable from the same corporate entities that either sponsor the media or run the media, so as Greenwald points out, there’s really no need for the government to formally silence the media. The media silences itself.

    If anything, it’s more effective to avoid overt censorship, because then you can pontificate about having a “free press” while at the same time ensuring that coverage is limited to certain perspectives.

    Sheldon Wolin’s comments on “Inverted Totalitarianism” seems appropriate here.

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  6. Thanks Paul! It’s a great blog you have here. I’m glad you like the link, Wolin has been around for a long time but he is still largely unknown.

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