College Papers Must Remain Censor-Free
Richland Chronicle 4 may 2010
Journalism should the most-trusted means by which we learn about the issues that affect us most: the economy, politics, and local and world events. Unfortunately, journalism has been hijacked by corporate interests and the government lackeys who regulate the media on their behalf.
According to Edward Herman's and Noam Chomsky's Propaganda Model, five filters influence our news media. These filters cause news journalists to censor themselves to keep their jobs within news organizations.
The first filter is ownership. Corporations that own the newspapers, radio stations and television stations and networks ultimately control what news will and will not be reported. Coupled with the pressure not to offend advertisers, upon whose support corporate-owned news outlets rely, the ownership and advertising filters create a system in which privileged special interests cannot be exposed. Thus protected from the light of journalism, these interests can essentially operate outside of public scrutiny.
For instance, if an oil company owned or purchased advertising in a newspaper, that newspaper would feel indirect pressure not to investigate any possible negative stories about that oil company. Is it any wonder that there was so little hard-hitting reporting about safety concerns on offshore oil rigs before the recent accident in the Gulf of Mexico?
This is a major problem. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that today's political climate will allow real reform to come to the news business.
Thankfully, student press is not subject to the same sort of ownership and advertising pressures that corporate news outlets often are.
Student media does require funding, mind you. But The Richland Chronicle, for example, isn't beholden to any of our advertisers or the administration of Richland College or the Dallas County Community College District. We will never refuse to publish a story for fear that it may offend a potential advertiser or a powerful administrator.
Federal and state courts alike have established through dozens of cases in recent decades that First Amendment forbids school honchos from virtually all censorship or prior review of student-edited publications, particularly at public colleges and universities.
So even though Richland and the DCCCD contribute most of our budget, administrators do so knowing that they cannot censor our content. To that end, we are grateful that the faculty and administration have never attempted to do so.
That's not always the case. Several colleges have ignored, or deliberately trampled upon, First Amendment protections against censorship of student media in recent years. The student newspaper at Trinity Valley Community College (TVCC) in Athens is being subjected to reviews by their Student Governments -- and even their deans. TVCC Journalism Adviser Danny Teague warned that this sort of regulation is a "slippery slope to having a pre-approved paper." Teague said he likely would not return this fall.
This sets a dangerous precedent for creating a censored student news media. If administrators and/or Student Government are allowed to censor student media, then they can effectively control the information that students receive and, therefore, unduly influence students' perception of their school. The students, in turn, would lose an important, independent voice speaking out about their school's policies, programs and personnel. The school essentially could use the student media as its own house organ.
George Orwell's 1984, Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, and Alan Moore's V for Vendetta all warned us about this.
The Texas A&M University - Commerce student newspaper, The East Texan, suffered another form of censorship. According to police records, University football players, acting with the blessing of their head coach, recently stole copies of The East Texan, because the paper reported that some of the football players were arrested for allegedly using illegal drugs. Because he was angry about the story, Coach Guy Morris asked his players to throw away all the newspapers. Morris also told police that he thought his players' theft was an excellent "team-building exercise." The administration quietly swept this incident under the rug, when they ought to have suspended him for his misconduct.
Colleges are meant to be learning institutions where students can share ideas and learn from one another without fear of being unfairly and unduly censored. It is the responsibility of these schools to ensure and protect that right, particularly one that's important enough to be guaranteed by our Founding Fathers.
===== EXAMPLE OF A FRIED BRAIN =====
If anyone needs an example of COGNITIVE DISSONANCE
(ability of educated people to hold two opposing
concepts in the craniums and regard BOTH as valid)
try this mental diarrhea:
May 01, 2010
The Origins of the Lapdog Media
By Steve McCann
Noam Chomsky, a self-declared socialist, once said, "Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the US [mainstream] media." Never would he have imagined that his critique would apply more than ever to the present-day relationship between the mainstream media and President Obama.
This march to the media's present role of being in league with the Obama administration is the culmination of the good-versus-evil narrative of modern journalism. The process of determining who are the righteous and who are the villains began almost half a century ago.
The manufactured villain evolved to be: 1) the traditions and tenets espoused by the founding fathers and the present day-politicians and citizenry (i.e., conservatives) who stand for those values, and 2) the perceived "unfairness" within the free enterprise system. The righteous: all those claiming to oppose the fabricated villain and favor "equality."
In the 1960s, a social revolution took place against historical and societal norms. An era of peace and prosperity unprecedented in the history of mankind was underway in the United States, allowing a new generation who had never experienced hardship on a massive scale to focus on hedonistic pursuits, self-aggrandizement, and a search for meaning in their lives.
This movement was promptly seized by the true believers of the Left as a recruiting tool; Leftists proclaimed to the gullible that the United States was an unjust, repressive instrument of capitalism. The siren song of a classless society wherein all are treated fairly and there are no absolutes found eager ears. The protests against the Vietnam War and the very necessary civil rights movement, which achieved so much, were hijacked by many of the post-depression generation into a call to overthrow all of society's foundational standards.
The protests surrounding the Vietnam War, and then Watergate, that most infamous of scandals, not only gave rise to the resignation of a president, but also accelerated the virulent polarization of politics and the beginning of the end of the impartial mainstream media.
As a consequence of the media's perception of their own role in ending the Vietnam War and Watergate, the press began to look upon themselves not as neutral reporters of the news, but rather as a crusaders out to right the wrongs, as they perceived them, of the United States. Journalism, as taught in the university and promoted by those who had been active in the 1960s, came to be viewed not as an independent watchdog of government regardless of who is in charge, but rather as a vehicle for social and economic change.
As further incentive, the journalists who successfully assumed the role of "societal avenger" were feted by their fellow scribes, became celebrities, and coincidentally achieved great wealth. This, in addition to any so-called noble calling to transform the United States, became a vital part of the metamorphosis of journalism from news-gathering to news manipulation and the naïve promotion of a radical leftist ideology.
Over the intervening years and into the present, the far Left effectively promoted: 1) the false and unfounded desire by conservatives to turn the United States into a theocracy, and 2) guilt for the nation's past and one's own success. These tactics became the basis for many of the gullible in the media to promote the policies of the Progressives without understanding what, in fact, the end game was.
It became more important and fashionable for a majority in the media to protect their lifestyles against the right-wing horde descending upon them, and to assuage their guilt, rather than comprehend what was happening around them or the controlling agenda they unwittingly supported.
Thus, the coverage of news stories concerning conservative issues or politicians became notable for vitriol and deliberate slanting or omission of facts. Polls, commissioned by the media and easily manipulated, were substituted for news and real reporting. Every personal failure of a Republican politician was amplified into a national outcry. All civility and traditional objectivity was rejected when discussing the (predeterminedly) evil conservatives.
By comparison, those politicians who said the right things relative to morals and lifestyles and used the magic phrase "social justice" were treated in an opposite fashion, except when a story, thanks to the alternate media, became too big to ignore.
This 45-year evolution of the mainstream media culminated in the election of Barack Obama, who on the surface fulfilled all the requirements of an ideal presidential candidate for the chattering class. He was one of them -- Ivy League-educated, well-spoken, attractive, and capable of saying all the right things designed to appeal to the myopic worldview of the New York-Washington media axis. But above all, he was African-American, an opportunity to wash away the collective guilt so embedded in the psyche of the press.
Barack Obama also knew that he had those tangible and intangible factors, and he used them to manipulate the press. The mainstream media willingly became, to use a phrase often attributed to Lenin, useful idiots. Obama's background and radicalism were ignored, and all effort was exerted to tamp down negative stories and make certain that he was elected.
Yet after a year and a half of the Obama administration, the very members of the media who so prostituted themselves are being treated with outright disdain by their Idol, and they will be among those to suffer the most under his policies.
The Health Care Reform Bill is not about health care; it is a thinly veiled attempt to ultimately control the behavior of the citizenry. Once government controls the access to and the cost of medical treatments, it can dictate what behavior is acceptable under the guise of controlling expenditures. Thus, the very personal behavior many in the media deem so central to their lives could be outlawed by this or future administrations, or Congress.
The Obama budget projects near-trillion-dollar annual deficits for the next ten years. The national debt will exceed 100% of GDP by 2019. Although everyone now acknowledges that this level of spending is unsustainable, there is no intention to reduce expenditures, but rather to continue creating new entitlements. Therefore, massive tax increases, which will fall heavily on the income segment that includes most of the media, are at the forefront of the Obama agenda.
The socialist economic policies of this government will cause the standard of living for the members of the media and their progeny to dramatically decrease along with the country at large. If unchecked, the Obama administration will succeed in moving a step closer to accomplishing a major goal (one the media chose to ignore during the campaign): Reduce all to one economic class through income redistribution.
The present administration intends to proceed with its plan to have Washington, D.C. control all aspects of the economy through regulations, bailouts, and bureaucracy. How long will it be before the mainstream media, either through the seeking of bailouts or having new standards and regulations imposed on them, fully succumb to the control of the government?
Indirectly, this administration, by its hubris and radical policies, and the media, by its sycophantic allegiance to Barack Obama, have enabled the alternative media to expand by leaps and bounds, thus threatening the very existence of the mainstream media and the well-paying jobs of those who with their eyes closed pledged fealty to Barack Obama.
If the (once-)mainstream media is to become relevant again, it must recognize and acknowledge what damage it has done to itself. It must look past skin color and ideology and begin reporting honestly on where this government is leading the United State and all of its citizens, the media themselves included.
If not, then the country can only hope that Joseph Pulitzer was not prescient when he said, "Our republic and its press will rise and fall together."