« Censorship of Media Undermines Democracy »
( 619 Words )
In an ideal democracy, the most important role of the mass media is to provide the general public with accurate, comprehensive and unbiased information on government politics and current events. Base on careful review of such information, people are more able to make better political decisions. Unfortunately as the Clear Channel case demonstrates, censorship of the mass media by huge media corporations often exists in America. Such censorship undermines our democracy, as the general public can no longer make informed decisions when information are withheld and opinions are censored.

Comprehensive information is essential in decision making, especially when making political choices. When the people are to form public opinions that often affect government policies, they would turn to the mass media for various data, information and political views of others. Since media outlets are the main source of information that the general public relies on, the mass media, the corporations and its staffs bear the responsibility to present unmanipulated information to the public. Censorship by Clear Channel to block Project Billboard’s antiwar advertisement is a direct violation of such responsibility. Censorship of media by any individual, corporation, or government body is against the spirit of democracy. Censorship deprives our right to comprehensive information. Censorship hampers our ability to make informed decisions. Censorship shuts the voices that are equally important for the public to hear.

Censorship on media would not have much impact on the decision making process of the general public if the general public does not put much trust and dependence on the mass media. However, this is not the case in America. “According to a multitude of polls, Americans name television as their most important source of news, and most say they trust television a great deal” (Greenberg, 159). When most of the American public trusts their media and when Censorship exercised by huge media corporations left us with subjective and biased information, you can imagine how censorship may effectively alter public opinions to align with the views of their own.

Besides public trust and reliance, corporate ownership and the concentration of media ownership further intensify the chilling effect of media censorship on democracy. According to our lecture slides on the Mass Media, most major media outlets in America are now owned by 6 corporations. With the prevalence of this trend, one or two huge corporations will eventually monopolize the mass media market in the foreseeable future. What this means is that Americans will have less options and diversity; Corporations will have more power and to exercise censorship that reaches and affects an evermore extensive audience.

With the concentration of media ownership, corporations will own newspapers, magazines, television stations, radio stations, web sites, and any other possible media outlets. Clear Channel had censored the antiwar advertisement on the Marriot Marquis hotel billboard site. Clear Channel had censored the music of the Dixie Chicks on all its radio stations when the lead singer Natalie Maines simply expressed her antiwar opinion which was protected under the first amendment of the US constitution. In fact, there is nothing to stop Clear Channel or any huge media corporation to censor information and views that they dislike. In short, “increase concentration of ownership lead to less diversity of news and opinion” (Greenberg, 164).

Whenever censorship occurs, the general public loses. We lose our rights to objective information; we lose our rights to the wide variety of opinions. Our democracy loses its political liberty when not all of our voices are heard in the political process; our democracy loses its political equality when the corporate voices weight much more than that of the people.

Greenberg, Edward. and Benjamin Page. The Struggle for Democracy. New York: Pearson, 2005.
Wright, Teresa. The Mass Media Lecture Slides. Summer, 2005

at 6:45pm
In addition to the fact that "most major media outlets in America are now owned by 6 corporations" feminism censors away any dissent on a bigger scale in the West than government censorship does in all but the most repressive non-western countries. Because women control most of household spending on the products other companies pay them to advertise, editorial staff on all popular western media uniformly ban men from raising legitimate men's issues.