Government, Media, Censorship and Terrorism – Perhaps We Can’t Handle the Truth
Government and media influencing each other is a tender ethical situation. Initially, it seems simply appalling that any government would either censor or use its media as a tool, but considering the possible benefits of such acts makes the issue more complex. What if censorship saves lives? What if manipulating the media brings a resolution to a conflict?
Wartime especially brings these questions to the forefront. When peoples lives are at stake, often standard rules of morality must either be reconsidered or suspended. Wartime is also the only situation in which the government could get the support of such practices from a constituency with a free press. Practiced responsibly, censorship and manipulation can be quite effective. Although, there is always the legitimate fear of the slippery slope.
First, I would like to examine media manipulation. In the United
States, in accordance to our press tradition, this is seen as an
absolute travesty. No self-respecting journalist would ever admit to
fabricating, adjusting or otherwise using their work as a tool of
government propaganda. A public outrage would follow such an action.
Yet, the American public is not opposed to such manipulation in other
countries, especially non-Western and third world nations. James Adams
even writes that the US and UK leaked false stories into the Middle East
to build anti-Saddam sentiment. These countries, like Saudi Arabia and
Kuwait, are allies. But, as Adams points out, we can reason this
deception as strategic vision. This practice is very telling of the
sociological phenomenon in America of indirectly viewing the non-western
world as lesser people. It is a complete lack of respect for their
free-thinking, and a measure that Americans would be incensed about if
it was committed towards them.
To a limited extent media manipulation is used even against Americans,
if not by directly doctoring...