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White House Edits the News

By truth versus death in MLP
Fri Oct 12, 2001 at 09:37:52 AM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

At White House request, the major United States television news networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and Fox) have agreed to censor future video footage of Osama bin Laden, particularly statements or language the government considers inflammatory.

Story at New York Times.


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White House Edits the News | 52 comments (41 topical, 11 editorial, 1 hidden)
Misleading (3.66 / 9) (#1)
by onyxruby on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 01:52:18 AM EST

They haven't agree to censor it, they have agreed to not broadcast the images live. All that is being asked for is a time delay - hardly cencorship.

The moon is covered with the results of astronomical odds.

Re:Misleading (5.00 / 1) (#6)
by truth versus death on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 03:00:48 AM EST

I disagree and affirm my statement that the news networks have agreed to censor it. Quote from the story:

The five major television news organizations reached a joint agreement yesterday to follow the suggestion of the White House and abridge any future videotaped statements from Osama bin Laden or his followers to remove language the government considers inflammatory.

Further:

The networks were not the first news organizations to acquiesce to an administration requests to edit or withhold information.

Editting and withholding information at government request is censorship.

The news networks have agreed to remove part of the videos they receive, the parts which the government finds objectionable. If this merely leads to a delay in news reporting at government request, then censorship still has occured.

I'm not the only one who thinks so. In the Yahoo article, Matthew Felling of the Center for Media and Public Affairs called the request by the administration "a silky form of censorship."

"any erection implies consent"-fae
[ Trim your Bush ]
[ Parent ]
Censored? (4.00 / 2) (#8)
by onyxruby on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 03:22:08 AM EST

This is different that what I had read previously on the issue some hours ago. If the networks are indeed removing parts of the videos at the bequest of government and not just time delaying them, than censorship has occured. The goverment seems to think that "hidden code" messages are contained in these public statements.

If indeed this is the case, than we may unwittingly be helping him communicate with terrorist cells he can't otherwise reach. Regardless, even if the tapes are not shown exactly as they are, the words can be repeated by a reporter without such risk of spreading his "code" orders or censorship.

The moon is covered with the results of astronomical odds.
[ Parent ]

Re:Censored? (3.00 / 2) (#9)
by truth versus death on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 04:23:04 AM EST

I can only request that next time you read the MLP article before commenting.

"any erection implies consent"-fae
[ Trim your Bush ]
[ Parent ]
not very effective communication method... (4.00 / 3) (#20)
by botono9 on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 09:54:59 AM EST

I think today, with access to the Internet, terrorists would be foolish to depend on national television to communicate. It would be much easier to simply post a coded message to some online forum, like K5. The "coded message" reasoning sounds like a smoke-screen to me, setting Americans at ease while the press further limits the scope of information that is passes down.

"Guns are real. Blue uniforms are real. Cops are social fiction."
--Robert Anton Wilson
[ Parent ]

Your definition of censorship (4.66 / 3) (#29)
by jacob on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 01:21:34 PM EST

... is so broad that it's really only useful as a loaded word. This is an old rhetorical trick: You use a word that everybody thinks they know the meaning of, and preferably one with a very strong emotional response, but then you use it in a way they aren't used to. It's quite effective. Think of all the appeals to justice and freedom you've heard in your life, and how many of them were in advertisements for soap!

Ask yourself, if censorship simply means watching what you say ["to examine in order to suppress or delete anything considered objectionable"], why is that bad? In fact, why is that not very good? If censorship in that broad sense is always to be eschewed, then I have no excuse to censor my speech by not inquiring as to your mental health making colorful but ultimately improbable guesses as to your ancestry and sexual habits, do I? In fact, I am a horrible person for censoring my actions by not urinating on my computer right now! ADSKJFIWAEFDA ASDSAFAD FSA! AKDFO94iaK#RFa! Adjfdjfaosfj!!! ajdfiajfs!! FOR GREAT JUSTICE!!!!

I'm intentionally exaggerating, but very seriously the broad definition of censorship, even if you restricted to other-directed censorship, is not really something a person can seriously object to in general. (Would you like to run a magazine where you weren't allowed to have any editors and you had to publish everything anybody sent to you? Indeed, doesn't that infringe on your right to free speech?) Indeed, you can substitute other loaded words, such as judgment or discretion, and all the sudden it doesn't seem so bad anymore. A much more limited definition of censorship -- the government regulating its citizens' freedom of speech or the freedom of the press to report anything it wants -- is much less defensible, and that's the form of censorship that gives the general word its negative connotation. It is also a definition that's hard to apply in this case, as the government has not regulated anyone, but requested.



--
"it's not rocket science" right right insofar as rocket science is boring

--Iced_Up

[ Parent ]
Dictionary Definition (4.00 / 1) (#34)
by truth versus death on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 07:49:14 PM EST

It is not my definition of censorship. It is from the dictionary.

censorship - the institution, system, or practice of censoring

censoring - to examine in order to suppress or delete anything considered objectionable

The government has become the editor here and that is what people usually dislike about censorship. That the news networks regulated by the government through the FCC have chosen to allow the government to become the editor for these video clips does not change the analysis. An agreement has been made to allow the goverment to censor - to examine in order to suppress or delete anything considered objectionable - the newscasts containing bin Laden footage and this is an example of censorship - the institution, system, or practice of censoring. This is not a misuse of the word.

If it's loaded, it's because people really do not like censorship. And I agree with them. I do not like that the White House is now going to have a hand in editting the nightly news.

"any erection implies consent"-fae
[ Trim your Bush ]
[ Parent ]
You have missed the point (4.00 / 1) (#35)
by jacob on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 08:38:12 PM EST

I am well aware of how the dictionary defines the word and that you're not just making that definition up. In fact, you will notice that I quoted the very same definition that you did in my post. The very point of my last post, if you will remember, was that the definition you used was too broad to support the deduction "censorship -> bad" that you made and continue to make.

I am prepared to accept -- actually, I already believe very strongly -- that the government proscribing the free expression of ideas is both very immoral and simply a bad idea. I do not believe that editing to remove objectionable content is immoral ipso facto, and as I thought my original response demonstrated, I find that notion silly. I have noticed that you're relying on people's repugnance towards the first idea to make them buy in to the second idea, a logical fallacy.

You might well be right, though, that the government is behaving immorally. Here's a challenge: without using the word 'censor' or any of its derivatives, explain why the US government asking the newsmedia not to air certain of Osama bin Laden's statements is immoral.



--
"it's not rocket science" right right insofar as rocket science is boring

--Iced_Up

[ Parent ]
A response (4.00 / 1) (#39)
by truth versus death on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 10:57:54 PM EST

You're over-analysing what I'm saying. This might make it more clear:

The major TV news networks in the U.S. will now edit their broadcasts of video footage featuring Osama bin Laden at the discretion of the White House. This means that government officials gets to decide what you see on TV of bin Laden. The government will remove content it finds objectionable from the videos of bin Laden. These videos have previously been aired uncut (or editted by the TV networks) on national TV. Now the Federal government has stepped into the position of making editorial decisions on how to air these video tapes for public consumption. For the purposes of these video tapes, the government is now an editor for the national TV news.

If my goal is to insure people's repugnance towards these action, then I rely on the White House's actions (as they are) and the end result of an incomplete airing of both sides of the conflict to yield the result. Most Americans would agree with the sentiment that the American people do not want their nightly newscasts being editted by the government to delete content the government finds objectionable. That the press should be free of government interference is a doctrine enshrined in the Constitution.

"any erection implies consent"-fae
[ Trim your Bush ]
[ Parent ]
Couple Points (3.66 / 9) (#4)
by Neuromancer on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 02:37:17 AM EST

1) I don't think this is censorship, it was a request, not force.
2) I don't think this is an attempt to hide the truth from the people, it's an attempt to not get any more mosques burned down.
3) The fact that they're doing this DID get printed in a newspaper, it's not exactly a coverup. It's a republican newspaper at that.

Other than that, it does bother me a bit, but so does the fact that people ran out and gunned down Moslem owned establishments. If I have to take the tradeoff of a request to soften bin Laden's tone in American broadcasts and some hick with a shotgun causing his congressman to push an antiencryption law through congress. Well, I think the choice is a no brainer.

Force (2.50 / 2) (#48)
by paulT on Fri Oct 12, 2001 at 01:08:44 PM EST

1) I don't think this is censorship, it was a request, not force.

Partial Definition Definition: Force- capacity of exercising an influence or producing an effect; especially, power to persuade, or convince, or impose obligation.

The government controls the media's crack (aka information). Any strong request from the government to a news agency carries implicit in it the threat of removal from the information loop. So a "request" also carries huge consequences for media who do not comply.



--
"Outside of a dog, a book is probably man's best friend; inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx
[ Parent ]
Hrmm (none / 0) (#49)
by Neuromancer on Fri Oct 12, 2001 at 02:09:17 PM EST

The local police carry guns, but they're smart enough not to just shoot me because they would catch a lot of flack for it.

[ Parent ]
Censorship of other (4.10 / 10) (#5)
by Nickus on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 02:54:46 AM EST

I think they said on CNN yesterday that the US goverment also asked Al Jazeera to censor their material. Shouldn't CNN also remove White House "propaganda" then? Because it is no longer about hunting individual terrorists. They are bombing a whole country now.

I find it very important that both sides can get their views out in the public especially in a time of conflict. It is never good to get just one side of the story.

Due to budget cuts, light at end of tunnel will be out. --Unknown
This just in... (4.71 / 7) (#11)
by Skwirl on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 06:31:59 AM EST

According to sources in the White House, there is substantial proof that Al Queda is using disscussions of civil liberty violations on weblogs such as Kuro5hin.org to trigger the emergence of terrorist cells in the United States. The President urges the editors of these sites to use the utmost discretion in fulfilling their patriotic duty by blocking all such references.

"Nothing in the world is more distasteful to a man than to take the path that leads to himself." -- Herman Hesse
chainmail (none / 0) (#13)
by hjw on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 07:15:24 AM EST

Shortly after the 11/9 terrorism when reports were circulating of the FBI installing Carnivore like devices on ISP's networks I was thinking about the signal to noise ratio they will have to deal with. All the discussion heppening on the web, in email and on discussion forums make for a lot of 'hits'.

I wondered at the time how effective a spoof chainmail would be asking people to refrain from discussing the 11/9 attrocities in order to help the authorities to track down their targets.

Probably very effective



[ Parent ]

The broader picture (5.00 / 9) (#12)
by hjw on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 07:10:48 AM EST

Depending on the sociopolitical climate of the time, requests can be demands. I'd love to see CNN refuse to comply with this request, but I can't imagine them doing it.
It's very worrying really. Let's look at the broader picture.
  • Most media sources are providing a prominent 'front page' section on 'The War Against Terrorism'. It is obviously a story that most people have an interest in. It is being discussed practically everywhere.
  • We see most media covering the story from much the same angle. There is good reportage and journalism available, but it isn't as easy to find as it should be (IMO)
  • There is very little substantial information coming out of Afghanistan. We rely on the US and UK government to inform our press at briefings.
  • There is a surprising amount of legislation being drafted at the moment that curtail civil liberties in the interests of national security. This is happening in a lot of countries, but in the US the names of the bills scare me. See this good summary of the proposed changes. Names like 'USA Act' and 'Patriot Act' suggest that to disagree with them is unamerican or unpatriotic. This is not healthy for your country.
  • The government has stepped in and asked the press to restrain themselves on reporting Bin Laden messages. There are several reasons presented. The two main ones are that he's inciting people to kill Americans, or passing orders to his associates.
  • We have yet to see if the press will comply with this request. We have also yet to see how the public reacts to the government taking a very direct hand in self censorship.
  • The coded message argument suggests that passing the message is assiting Bin Laden. Who knows, perhaps Bin Ladens associates are waiting for a picture of 'Bert' to appear in the news before unleashing their retaliation. Maybe we should ask the internet to stop passing this fluff around.


That or... (none / 0) (#44)
by AArthur on Fri Oct 12, 2001 at 12:32:55 PM EST

The Republicans are just doing whatever they truely want to do on their agenda.

Anybody else notice the homeland security agency was something Bush is just now pushing through -- yet he talked about it on his campaign.

Then there is no real proof how the war in afganstan is truely going. Is the US goverment lying to us about the success of the war? Maybe they didn't hit all of their targets -- or maybe they hit 40% and not the 80% they are now claiming.

They claim to talk freedom, yet they take it away.

Kind of reminds me of a certain other administration's Attorney General whose name happened to be John Mitchel. "What what I do, not what I say."

Sept 11: What happens when Republicans run this country.

Andrew B. Arthur | aarthur@imaclinux.net | http://hvcc.edu/~aa310264
[ Parent ]

Assumptions aboot the media... (5.00 / 2) (#51)
by Sir Spankotron on Fri Oct 12, 2001 at 04:50:23 PM EST

"Most media sources are providing a prominent 'front page' section on 'The War Against Terrorism'. It is obviously a story that most people have an interest in. It is being discussed practically everywhere. "

I believe you meant to say: 'It is obviously a story that the media have an interest in telling.'
Just because it's front page news, doesn't mean people are interested in hearing it. It means the propaganda machine is interested in telling you about it. For instance, the cover of todays New York Times has headlines about the bombing in Afghanistan and anthrax. No mention of important laws that are being voted on and have been passed (regarding the USA act passed by the Senate last night, and the bill before the House today).

Anthrax is an excellent example of the propaganda machine distracting us from the really important laws that are being passed. It can't even be spread person to person, it's basically not a threat, it's too hard to distribute effectively. The media spends quite a bit of time talking about anthrax, it's here, it's there, it's in Florida, it's in NYC. Then they turn around and get all sorts of experts to tell us that it's ok, it's safe, don't worry about it.

Just because something is on the front page, doesn't mean people are interested in hearing about it.


[ Parent ]
With Good Reason (4.11 / 9) (#14)
by Anatta on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 08:45:25 AM EST

The British used the BBC during WWII in order to get transmissions to troops in France.

An American POW in Korea (I believe, could have been Vietnam) blinked "T-O-R-T-U-R-E" in morse code when given the opportunity to send a transmission home.

Both the Axis and the Allies used the Classified sections of newspapers in order to transmit messages to troops.

Warring powers tend to use whatever is at their disposal in order to transmit messages. We already know that Al Qaeda is pretty resourceful, hell almost MacGuyverish in their brutality. This action (which did not censor, but rather simply request news media to delay transmission of questionable materials, and transmit English translations with perhaps 3 or 4 still frames per messages) is quite sensible.

Though there are clearly many more ways to transmit messages now than there were in 1938, it still seems to be a wise move from an administration acting shockingly wisely.
My Music

You should read the article (4.50 / 4) (#16)
by slaytanic killer on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 09:08:59 AM EST

What you said does not jibe with the linked article, though I had the same thoughts before I read it.
Ms. Rice was primarily concerned that terrorists could be using the broadcasts to send coded messages to other terrorists, but the network executives said in interviews that this was only a secondary consideration.


[ Parent ]
Truly scary (3.80 / 10) (#15)
by slaytanic killer on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 09:05:14 AM EST

This is not about sending encrypted signals. It is really about the propaganda war. Propaganda is seen as a guerrilla attack, and is being shut down.

The American people are not being allowed to have full information about the war. The military leaders are thinking that they're "protecting" us, when in reality they're arrogantly shunting away information.

In my country, citizens are part of the policy-making process. The military does not operate on US soil. In fact, sad as it is to say, the military's job is to clean up after us when we make mistakes. So with all respect for the hard work they're doing, they should stop monkeying with the information.

Proof: US' guerrilla war (5.00 / 5) (#18)
by slaytanic killer on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 09:33:53 AM EST

Here's a little MLP that I hope could be integrated to this article. It is about the US taking these tactics to the enemy.

By the way, if anyone knows Perl, I would be grateful if they could help along that fix so that we have an editing queue, where people can get editorial comments before hitting the voting queue. I would personally like to find information to bolster other peoples articles. Things would be 10X better.

[ Parent ]

And ... ? (4.50 / 6) (#22)
by jacob on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 12:09:57 PM EST

If you're trying to imply that this is censorship in the traditional sense of the word, which I think you're trying to do, you're wrong. Bush can't tell CNN what to broadcast at all, and didn't. He made a request and gave reasons, and the news media as a whole thought it was a good idea and complied. If they wanted ignore his request, they could. If they wanted to air 24-hour round-the-clock pro-bin-Laden coverage, they could do that too as long as they weren't knowingly aiding terrorist actions against the US, which would be treason, just as un-Constitutional as Congress making a law that abridged the freedom of the press. They could also ignore the whole situation altogether and show Mr. Ed reruns. No government censorship is going on here.

Of course that doesn't mean that some interesting or devious subtle media trick is going on. But if that's what you want to talk about, say that, don't just incorrectly scream "censorship!"



--
"it's not rocket science" right right insofar as rocket science is boring

--Iced_Up

Of course it's censorship... (2.60 / 5) (#26)
by SIGFPE on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 12:51:21 PM EST

But it's not simply a case of 'making a request' is it? You don't say no to the President. If CNN, say, doesn't comply with Bush they get cut out of the 'exclusive' deals with the government that they so love to advertise.

Censorship isn't simply preventing information getting out. It's preventing information getting out under pain of some punishment. This fits that definition exactly.
SIGFPE
[ Parent ]

I have to disagree (4.75 / 4) (#30)
by jacob on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 01:41:00 PM EST

Saying 'you have a right to free speech' just means you won't get arrested for speech, not that everyone has to keep liking you no matter what you say. If Bush said "Air the speeches unedited and we'll throw you in jail," that would be one thing, but saying "Air the speeches unedited and we won't like you anymore, and we'll probably stop doing the completely voluntary things we've been doing for you that you've come to depend on" is another. Not that it actually did say either of those things.

And what do you mean, you don't say no to the President? You don't say no to the czar, but the president you're perfectly allowed to say whatever you want to. But it's not your constitutional right to have friends in high places.

Ultimately I think there's conflict on this topic because we have variant operational definitions of "censorship." Given sufficiently broad definitions of censorship, you can say that it applies to the topic at hand. However, I argue that the broader definitions aren't the ones we would object to if we thought about it carefully. Read my post about the definition if you care.



--
"it's not rocket science" right right insofar as rocket science is boring

--Iced_Up

[ Parent ]
I don't care for semantics (4.33 / 3) (#31)
by SIGFPE on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 04:49:13 PM EST

Air the speeches unedited and we won't like you anymore
That's hardly the situation. The government have a monopoly on the supply of information about US operations in Afghanistan (obviously). They are then using their control on that supply to manipulate people. They will choose to withhold information from the public, not because it's not in the interest of the public, but because they can use it to get media companies to suppress other information. If you want to call that something other than censorship you're at liberty to do so. Either way, it's pretty despicable.

It's interesting to contrast with the situation with Gerry Adams in the UK several years ago. The British government used anti-terrorist laws to make illegal the broadcast of Adams's words. So British channels simply dubbed over another voice. The US might have free speech formally specified in a document but Americans still need to work to actually have free speech.
SIGFPE
[ Parent ]

Aha! (4.50 / 2) (#32)
by jacob on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 06:12:48 PM EST

So you're saying that you object to the US government trying to manipulate media companies by withholding tasty news morsels from those that choose to air certain content they wish wasn't aired? That is a cogent argument. Note, though, that it isn't censorship; it's manipulation, pure and simple. Microsoft or you or I can try that gambit just as easily as George Bush can, though it's unlikely that we have news bits that are in as much demand. If the government were willing to engage in censorship, there'd be no need for bribery; they'd just pass a law and that would be that.

I do care about the semantics, especially in this case. The word 'censorship' is a loaded word, and if you're not careful around loaded words they're likely to go off and hurt you -- specifically, to make you make bad decisions because you're not thinking the issue through fully enough.



--
"it's not rocket science" right right insofar as rocket science is boring

--Iced_Up

[ Parent ]
Not willing? (4.50 / 2) (#33)
by SIGFPE on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 07:28:51 PM EST

If the government were willing to engage in censorship, there'd be no need for bribery
Well I'm sure they are ready and willing, if only they could figure out a suitable constitutional loophole.

But back to semantics...the US government has caused to be removed from the media parts of stories that it would prefer not to have broadcast. It didn't do so directly but it did so nonetheless. Few censors work directly, eg. by going into a printing press and removing undesirable words. Censors work by bringing pressure to bear on reporters. For example in Saudi Arabia you have the threat of prison or execution for printing something undesirable in a newspaper. That's how censors work: by threatening some kind of repercussion for carrying out an act. In this case the goal is the same as that of censorship. The motives are the same as those of censorship. The net result is the same as that of censorship. As Spock once said, "A difference that makes no difference is no difference."
SIGFPE
[ Parent ]

Rights vs Privileges (4.50 / 2) (#36)
by jacob on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 09:11:45 PM EST

The key difference is that of rights versus privileges: the government is obliged to protect everyone's rights, but not to provide everyone with the same privileges. Life and liberty are basic rights, so depriving you of those for expressing ideas it objects to clearly violates its obligation. On the other hand, denying you privileges based on your not cooperating with it does not strike me as being obviously or unconditionally wrong. Consider the implications of believing that it was. And, I should point out, you are the only source I've even heard claiming the government would withdraw press privileges from non-compliant organizations. Everyone else is saying it was a simple request.

By the way, sorry to be a pedant, but I think you'd really get a lot out of reading John Stuart Mill's On Liberty. I may be misremembering it (been a long time since I read it) but I seem to remember it being extremely insightful on this very topic.



--
"it's not rocket science" right right insofar as rocket science is boring

--Iced_Up

[ Parent ]
Simple request (4.50 / 2) (#37)
by SIGFPE on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 10:23:22 PM EST

Everyone else is saying it was a simple request.
Ask them the question: "Do you think that if a media company were to fail to comply with this request then the US government would make as much effort to give information to that company?" and see what response you get. I think people aren't explicitly saying no because it's taken for granted that that's how things work.
SIGFPE
[ Parent ]
it isnt censorship (2.66 / 3) (#41)
by ganglian on Fri Oct 12, 2001 at 11:23:35 AM EST

If there is legimate concern that bin laden is sending coded messages (and there is). then why does the parasitic media have the right or obligation to be vehicle of dissemination for it?

There is indeed something called the freedom of the press, but guess what? Nothing's free. With Journalistic freedom comes the role of ethical responsibility.

Some of you hippies just dont seem able to live in the real world. Your imagined loss of freedom means more to you than the fact the media parasites are facilitating possible enemy intelligence. That is sad.
You heard me.
[ Parent ]
Implicit (3.50 / 4) (#46)
by paulT on Fri Oct 12, 2001 at 12:55:24 PM EST

And, I should point out, you are the only source I've even heard claiming the government would withdraw press privileges from non-compliant organizations. Everyone else is saying it was a simple request.

The threat is implicit in the request. I have worked in various capacities in politics and media over the last ten years. Every reporter I've spoken with and every person with experience in media and politics has told me reporters and media who do not play ball with government requests will quickly find themselves out of the loop. CNN can not risk MSNBC have exclusive access to the White House and vice versa.





--
"Outside of a dog, a book is probably man's best friend; inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx
[ Parent ]
The proverbial finger (none / 0) (#47)
by Cepper on Fri Oct 12, 2001 at 12:59:28 PM EST

Large companies, especially media companies, tell the administraton NO! all the time. At time media organizations even publish or broadcast to give the proverbial finger to a person or persons in power. The News media did not have to comply with the request. The Govt did not censor. You would have an arguement to say that the Media outlets are censoring themselves....but they have always censored themselfs to guarentee prophit.
"In the land of Mordor, where shadows lie"
[ Parent ]
Widely available (4.75 / 4) (#28)
by maveness on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 01:12:53 PM EST

This request on the part of the government seems sort of pointless and futile.

First of all, the material we've seen from Bin Laden and cohorts hasn't been "live" -- it's been delivered on tape. And when the US media broadcasts it, it's generally with a "voice over" translator, which obscures the original arabic soundtrack, and thus at least any verbally encoded messages.

Second, whether or not US Media broadcasts these messages in their entireity is moot. Other news outlets around the world are likely to do so, and in this modern day and age, anyone with access to a sat dish can get the information they want or need.

This seems like a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing. In my more skeptical moments, I wonder whether our government isn't trying to simply raise the ante on the fear factor here.

*********
Latest fortune cookie: "The current year will bring you much happiness." As if.

What you say is true but... (3.00 / 1) (#38)
by SIGFPE on Thu Oct 11, 2001 at 10:26:05 PM EST

anyone with access to a sat dish can get the information they want or need
Anyone can - but most people won't. Democratic governments work by having the support of most (actually, not even that) of the people - not all.
SIGFPE
[ Parent ]
However... (4.50 / 2) (#45)
by paulT on Fri Oct 12, 2001 at 12:36:49 PM EST

...the people who will respond to incitations of hatred to the US or are waiting for coded messages are exactly the people most likely to go to the source for these broadcasts. Thus as long as one station is broadcasting anywhere in the world the message will be delivered. Stifling the US media will not stop coded messages from being delivered or from Bin Laden speeches inciting hatred in their target audiences. What it will do is give the US government more control over what the majority of Americans see and hear.



--
"Outside of a dog, a book is probably man's best friend; inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx
[ Parent ]
Reasonable alternative (4.33 / 3) (#40)
by Rasvar on Fri Oct 12, 2001 at 09:24:16 AM EST

Simply post a picture of Bin laden on the screen and read the translated statement. No audio of Bin Laden in the background. No video for him to get signals across. At least make it difficult if he is actually sending coded statements. Considering differences in translations I have heard already, that should jumble things up enough. Is it overkill? Possibly. I think for us to hear a translated statement should be ok. Plus, the media can do what it wants. it was just a request.

wow (3.00 / 2) (#42)
by Ender Ryan on Fri Oct 12, 2001 at 11:51:50 AM EST

Wow, look at that title. Rather inflamatory, and factually incorrect to boot.

And people here question Slashdot's integrity...

Can we please base our articles and discussions on facts, instead of misinformation and half-truths?

This is getting absolutely ridiculous.


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even better (3.50 / 2) (#43)
by gr1sw41d on Fri Oct 12, 2001 at 12:27:15 PM EST

Just not broadcast any further evidence of his existence. Hopefully his sad pathetic shell of a person can be removed too, whenever convenient.

Really, do we need to see his mug anymore? Does anybody? We know what he stands for, can he be removed now? From what I've heard he doesn't mind death, would his removal even be a bad thing? Ok, maybe like 'not signalling a right turn', whatever. C'mon folks, let him chat philosophy with Satan, I'm not interested in what he has to say, anybody who is can clearly be classified as either agents for his rightful indictment and prosecution and indeed prevention of his entire species (he surrendered membership in humanity a little while ago) or a drooling idiot. As I'm not involved in his prosecution (I leave that to the experts, irregardless of how convinced I am of his evil and unworthiness even of the air he breaths), I just view him as an unwelcome intrusion on my field of vision, much like involuntarily clicking goatse.cx. Go ahead, debate invited, I'd love to chat amiably with anybody who could possibly believe for any bizzare reason that Bin Laden could cause anything good to happen in the world. He has nothing to say to me.

What is the problem here? Why do folks care what he has to say? What value does any information he cares to relay have? His next terror attack, even if given day, hour, location, can simply be sent to the proper authorities ok?Somebody, anybody, tell me why I should care that his mike be turned off?

Sad, I don't even hate the guy. Were his legacy not so tragic in the context of all the legitimate world's beliefs and values, he'd matter no more to me than your average cockroach. Anybody got a can of "Bin Laden Be Gone?" Censorship? Get a clue! We don't offer live ongoing coverage of me taking my morning crap, why broadcast any speech of Bin Laden's?

It's not censorship but, ... (4.50 / 2) (#50)
by drquick on Fri Oct 12, 2001 at 03:53:46 PM EST

This is not a free press! This is government control of the news feed. Albeit not censorhip it's purpose is the same, controlling what information the people will get! There is a word for it, self-censorship. It does not really matter why the media accepts to censor itself. In a dictature the methods of intimidation are obvious. In a democracy the reasons are suttle, moderated, even incomplete, but still destructive to democracy itself.

So, the press doesn't want to seem unpatriotic and the government uses that situaton. Benign? Not! Free speech is infringed. Theres lots of other examples. We get video pictures on TV of precision bombing, but news said that carpet bombings have started. It seems to me we get no pictures of carpet bombings, the government can choose the impressions we get, the opinions we will form. A 100 times over they choose information for us and imply half truths, hide unplesant facts.

Actually all media people do the same. News is always a selection of facts. But now, we have only one selection, one criteria of what's relevant. We have lost the diversity in media reporting. There is only one media opinion echoed by all stations, effectively the government channel.

The media seems very uncritical to this. Why do they accept it? A heritage of CIA funding of news during the cold war? Radio Free Europe and CNN were both CIA financed during the Reagan years. Satellite transmissions of news. The rest has just gone on momentum. How was this possible? Opposition and many varying opinions were present before and during the Vietnam era. Now we have only one voice. Imposed on us and the press almost without anyone noticing.

White House Edits the News | 52 comments (41 topical, 11 editorial, 1 hidden)
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