June 17, 2006

Oh, They Don't Want Censorship, Eh?

I received a lot of very heated objections from conservatives and various Bush supporters about this post from May 2005, which concerned the not-so-veiled threat of censorship periodically used to beat those who dare to question Dear Leader and the great wisdom of his policies about the head and shoulders. The threat is wielded most methodically against the press itself, particularly when it reports anything that is seen as undercutting the administration's goals and its success in reaching them. Since we know that, given the conservative perspective on such matters, reality itself is now seen as having a liberal bias, this presents a not negligible problem.

My incensed critics said it was outrageous of me to even suggest that someone like Glenn Reynolds increased the likelihood of censorship, when he said he was opposed to it. He said he was against it, right out loud and everything!

Well, of course. Statements like this one (quoted in the earlier entry) don't carry even the faintest whiff of future censorship, if the press fails to conduct itself appropriately (i.e, as the warbots demand):
And here's a question: Freedom of the press, as it exists today (and didn't exist, really, until the 1960s) is unlikely to survive if a majority -- or even a large and angry minority -- of Americans comes to conclude that the press is untrustworthy and unpatriotic. How far are we from that point?
Given InstaProf's oeuvre to date, the only part of this I don't get is why he hedges by making it conditional: "if a majority--or even a large and angry minority--of Americans comes to conclude that the press is untrustworthy and unpatriotic." It would appear to me that, insofar as this particular constituency is concerned, that ship sailed some time ago.

Just to prove that the conservatives and (phony) "libertarians" would never, ever want anything remotely like censorship, here comes Cliff May, referring to a study finding that "newspaper coverage of terrorist incidents leads directly to more attacks." After dutifully reciting the usual talking points on the inherent evil of both "the media and terrorists" (who go together like a horse and carriage, doncha know), May concludes:
You would think this would prompt editors and producers to think hard about how they cover terrorism. I’ll bet you a good single malt Scotch that doesn’t happen.
And if those editors and producers don't "think hard" about their coverage, then what will May and his fellow travelers have in mind?

Why, nothing. Nothing at all. Until there's another terrorist attack here in the U.S. -- when it will be World War I and World War II all over again (and see my earlier post for more details), but in an even more extreme form. And given the extent to which our liberties have been undercut across the board since those wars, don't count on censorship or numerous other rights violations ending when the conflict does. Besides, we've been reliably informed by the media and government elites that this war isn't going to end in our lifetimes.

But not to worry. Have a drink. Read the newspaper. Watch teevee.

While you can.

(The regrettable May excrescence courtesy of Roy.)