Censorship in the United States
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
-First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States
Censorship is an ongoing battle in America of good and evil in the press, art, and music industries. The First Amendment of the United States Constitution has provided that there should be no “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…” since the 1700’s, but censorship remains as prominent an issue now as it was in the days of our Founding Fathers.
This site is dedicated to informing the public of the prevalent and unfortunate use of censorship in both the American and International press and media systems.
Challenged Books in the United States:
Brave New World
Catcher in the Rye
The Color Purple
The Diary of a Young Girl
Flowers for Algernon
The Grapes of Wrath
Harriet the Spy
Merchant of Venice
To Kill a Mockingbird
Uncle Tom’s Cabin
-Harriet B. Stowe
Where the Sidewalk Ends
Examples of Challenged Music:
In June, radio stations across the country ban the Rolling Stones hit "I Can't Get No Satisfaction" because they believe the lyrics are too sexually suggestive.
Radio stations across the country refuse to play Loretta Lynn's "The Pill" because of its references to birth control.
Meyer Music Markets places an "explicit lyrics" warning sticker on Frank Zappa's Jazz from Hell - even though the album is entirely instrumental.
In New Braunfels, Texas, 18-year-old John Schroder is arrested in a local grocery store and charged with making an obscene display for wearing a Marilyn Manson tee shirt.
18-year-old Eric Van Hoven is suspended from Zeeland High School in Holland, Michigan, for wearing a tee shirt promoting the band Korn, even though the shirt contains no images or words save the band's name.
An April Indigo Girls concert scheduled for a South Carolina high school is canceled when the school's principal learns the performers are gay.
Censorship in Major News Networks
Even network news stations such as CNN and FOXNews practice censorship on themselves. While the reasons behind this censorship are usually understandable, there are certain cases in which the loyalties of a particular network to a figure in the government interfere with that network’s objectivity. A prime example of this self-censoring came for CNN just after the start of the Iraq war. The following is an excerpt from Christiane Amanpour’s interview with USA Today in 2003.
“CNN's top war correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, says that the press muzzled itself during the Iraq war. And, she says CNN "was intimidated" by the Bush administration and Fox News, which "put a climate of fear and self-censorship."
As criticism of the war and its aftermath intensifies, Amanpour joins a chorus of journalists and pundits who charge that the media largely toed the Bush administrationline in covering the war and, by doing so, failed to aggressively question the motives behind the invasion.
On last week's Topic A With Tina Brown on CNBC, Brown, the former Talk magazine editor, asked comedian Al Franken, former Pentagon spokeswoman Torie Clarke and Amanpour if "we in the media, as much as in the administration, drank the Kool-Aid when it came to the war."
Said Amanpour: "I think the press was muzzled, and I think the press self-muzzled. I'm sorry to say, but certainly television and, perhaps, to a certain extent, my station was intimidated by the administration and its foot soldiers at Fox News. And it did, in fact, put a climate of fear and self-censorship, in my view, in terms of the kind of broadcast work we did."
Brown then asked Amanpour if there was any story during the war that she couldn't report.
"It's not a question of couldn't do it, it's a question of tone," Amanpour said. "It's a question of being rigorous. It's really a question of really asking the questions. All of the entire body politic in my view, whether it's the administration, the intelligence, the journalists, whoever, did not ask enough questions, for instance, about weapons of mass destruction. I mean, it looks like this was disinformation at the highest levels."
Clarke called the disinformation charge "categorically untrue" and added, "In my experience, a little over two years at the Pentagon, I never saw them (the media) holding back. I saw them reporting the good, the bad and the in between."
Fox News spokeswoman Irena Briganti said of Amanpour's comments: "Given the choice, it's better to be viewed as a foot soldier for Bush than a spokeswoman for al-Qaeda."
CNN had no comment.”
For More Information:
Reporters Without Borders
Banned Films (Wikipedia)
North Korea (Wikipedia)
Christane Amanpour on CNN Censorship
More CNN Censorship
Student in Afghanistan
Censored Books In The USA. 1996. American Library Association. 25 Sept 2008.
Parental Advisory: Music Censorship in America. 2003. Eric Nuzum. 25 Sept 2008.
Censorship 1. 03 Feb. 2007. Google Images. 25 Sept 2008.
US Constitution: First Amendment. 2008. FindLaw. 25 Sept 2008. http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data/constitution/amendment01