Censorship in Media

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"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…" (United States Constitution 1789). Throughout the history of the United States of America, the Constitution has always been put to the test. The founders of this great country originally created the first amendment to allow colonists to speak out against the British. In the 17th century, the press was accurate and informative with little competition among journalists. But today in the 21st century the circumstances are different and the stakes are higher. Due to incredibly high amount of competition among journalists today, the information is usually exaggerated in order to capture a viewing audience.

Censorship is defined as "Policy of restricting the public expression of ideas, opinions, conceptions, and impulses, which are believed to have the capacity to undermine the governing authority or the social and moral order which authority considers itself bound to protect" (Abraham 357). Political, religious, obscenity, and censorship affecting academic freedom are all equal in their destructiveness towards free speech. "There are two different forms that censorship takes; prior, which refers to advance suppression and "post facto" which is suppression after it has been published" (Calvocoressi 10). Since the beginning of the written word, authorities have used both of these forms of censorship.

The media is everywhere you turn. You can find the media in many different forms such as television, radio, magazines, newspapers, and now on the information superhighway, the Internet. In the process of capturing ratings, who is the media hurting more? Is it the people who are accused of a crime, such as O.J. Simpson, or is it the American public's own fault for believing everything they hear? In my view, some limitations greatly need to be placed upon the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution in regard to freedom of the press because presently the media is doing more harm than good.

The job of the media is to find the truth and tell it to the people. The media has the power to inform the public, but often the information they receive is distorted. The media has shaped our view of society and the process by which we choose our leaders, make our rules, and make up our values. The media has the power to encourage people to like or hate the government. The media promotes what it believes is easiest for the public to accept, but in the process it fails to cover the issues properly. "The media can make us wiser, fuller, sure and sweeter than we are" (Orr 61). But, the media can also cloud the public's judgments, and cause confusion and disillusion as well.

From Churchill to Hitler to the former Soviet Union, it is quite clear that radio, television and newspapers have the power to change and make history. A clear example of the power of the media was when Orson Welles' made his famous radio broadcast about "witnessing" the landing of a spaceship full of Martians. "America saw that the power of the media could appeal to the public easily and cause mass hysteria" (Williams 25).

Noam Chomsky, an established political thinker and magazine editor, stated in an interview in 1990: "If you follow mainstream media with great care and skepticism and approach it with the right understanding of how propaganda works, then you can learn a lot. The normal reader is fooled into believing the propaganda that they are being fed. The media shapes and selects the events and offer their biased opinions to the mass audiences." "The media modifies information to fill what they believe the public's interest is" (Szykowny 9).

The media feels that they should act as a "watchdog." This causes many of the ethical problems among the media because they assume the responsibility of keeping a check on the government, by acting as governmental...
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