I'm not sure exactly what this has to do with "patriotism." It is not mere patriotism to want to be able go to sleep at night without the nagging suspicion that you might have just contributed to the imminent maiming and killing of untold numbers of innocent people just for the sake of a couple of hours' worth of slightly higher ratings. (Citizens who, by the way, may not necessarily be American. There's no guarantee at all that the next terrorist act won't be in London, or Toronto, or Allah knows where. About all we know is it probably won't be anywhere in the Middle East.)
or a government order enforced by men in jackboots makes no difference - the effect is the same.
Which part of "freedom of the press" don't you understand? There HAS BEEN NO government order. There CANNOT BE any government order.
(in fact, this is very nicely spun by the government to make it seem like "not censorship" -the point Declan was making by placing the quotes in the main link).
I'm not really sure that's precisely the point he was trying to make, but in any case, if he was he's wrong. Not only is it not censorship, they didn't even agree not to ever air any of his stuff. All they said is they'll probably not run the full motion video, or allow the untranslated Arabic speech to be heard on the air.
By the way, I might also point out that the network news divisions are not providing wall-to-wall coverage of every single moment any US government official hold a press conference, either. Not even the 24-hour news channels run those things in their entirety. If that's not "censorship" (self-imposed or otherwise), then neither is cutting the percentage of Al-Qaida BS that they put on the air.posted by aaron at 6:18 AM on October 11, 2001
And he's absolutely correct. Nobody in the White House has any obligation to bow to the demands of any reporter, period.posted by aaron at 7:05 AM on October 11, 2001
That we are spending so much time nitpicking such a minor coverage decision, which won't really affect our ability to obtain the debated "information" at all if we really want to see it, is rather inherent proof as to the utter, total lack of true censorship in this country.
Because people have to be careful what they say and what they do?
No, because freedom of the press does not mean government subjugation TO the press.
As a member of the media yourself, I'm surprised you abandon the idea that reporters are serving the public (not just themselves) when they make demands of information to the White House.
No, I believe they do both. But having done tours at two network news divisions, I'll always know that the two competing desires (personal gain vs. actual serving of the public) command at least equal amounts of the reporters' attention at all times, and that the former often wins out. They are not holy servants of the public trust. They ought to be, but they're not. They want all the privileges, but none of the responsibilities.
If the White House isn't obligated to the press, can it shut down all press conferences, clear out the reporters from their workspaces in the building, and communicate only via press release?
If that was ever what the Administration wanted to do, absolutely. (Though it would of course do irreparable damage to their public support.) The only legal OBLIGATION they have is to provide the information that federal law says they must, and that is information they must provide to ANY member of the public that asks for it. Members of the White House press corps have no right to any exclusive access to White House staffers. They only get it because it is in the interest of the White House to use them. Just like they use the White House.posted by aaron at 7:41 AM on October 11, 2001
So, if it's okay for our government to *ask* the media to gag itself for 'national security' reasons, then I'm sure it's okay for the government to *ask* all citizens to voluntarily surrender certain civil rights for national security reasons, hmm?
Not me. America's government is of the people, by the people, and for the people. Anybody in our government --anybody-- is just a citizen like you and me, a human working for a paycheck guaranteed by you and me, and has no more or no less rights than you or me as an American.
And we're fighting for freedom... not security. Bush himself even said it's an "attack on freedom."
But we're in this mess partly because of bad government decisions made in the past by ordinary citizens --in service of our country-- who honestly believed that rubbing off a little freedom here and there wouldn't hurt anything if it helped to make 'national security' shine.
But sometimes it's better to live with tarnish than to rub the silver until it disappears.posted by blackholebrain at 2:28 PM on October 11, 2001
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