Why Government Censorship of US Media is Unnecessary

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Salon.com

Why Government Censorship of US Media is Unnecessary

In this week's New Yorker, Peter Maass -- who was in Iraq covering the war at the time -- examines the iconic, manufactured toppling of the Saddam statue in Baghdad's Firdos Square, an event the American media relentlessly exploited in April, 2003, to propagandize citizens into believing that Iraqis were gleeful over the U.S. invasion and that the war was a smashing success.  Acknowledging that the episode demonstrated that American troops had taken over the center of Baghdad, Maas nonetheless explains that "everything else the toppling was said to represent during repeated replays on television -- victory for America, the end of the war, joy throughout Iraq -- was a disservice to the truth."

Working jointly with ProPublica on this investigation, Maass describes the hidden, indispensable role the U.S. military played in that event -- which has long been known -- though he convincingly argues that the primary culprit in this propaganda effort was the Americans media.  That is who did more than anyone to wildly distort this event.  As usual, the Watchdog Press not only happily ingests and trumpets pro-government propaganda, but does so even more enthusiastically and uncritically than government spokespeople themselves.

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.

Read the full article at Salon.com

Glenn Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, constitutional lawyer, commentator, author of three New York Times best-selling books on politics and law, and a staff writer and editor at First Look media. His fifth and latest book is, No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State, about the U.S. surveillance state and his experiences reporting on the Snowden documents around the world. Prior to his collaboration with Pierre Omidyar, Glenn’s column was featured at Guardian US and Salon.  His previous books include: With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the PowerfulGreat American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myths of Republican PoliticsA Tragic Legacy: How a Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency, and How Would a Patriot Act? Defending American Values from a President Run Amok. He is the recipient of the first annual I.F. Stone Award for Independent Journalism, a George Polk Award, and was on The Guardian team that won the Pulitzer Prize for public interest journalism in 2014.

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