Censorship is the primary tool of all dictatorships. Be it a Communist or Capitalist dictatorship, control of the masses depends on the control of the media. In Communism, the media is directly controlled by the state. The Russian language even had a word for it, Pravda. Pravda literally means “Official Truth” as opposed to real truth. In other words, Pravda means that you know it’s a lie but you are going to make believe it’s true. The alternative is a one-way ticket to Siberia. In a Capitalist dictatorship, or fascism, the media is controlled by the corporations and is used to support their puppet government. This is why we have a White House press corps which obediently tells the American public any Pravda the White House hands them. You know that they are lying, but it is even more difficult to discover the truth than it is in a Communist dictatorship.
The Corporations discovered how dangerous a free press is when Woodward and Bernstein brought down the Nixon Administration. That set the fascist takeover of America back by an entire decade. From the beginning of the Reagan Administration, the corporations began a massive push to emasculate out free press, and they have succeeded. Just look at Fox News or CNN. That obscene example of “McNews” was made possible by the deregulation of the media.
Back in my youth, the media was regulated for the public good. Antitrust laws prevented any single network from taking over the airwaves. Local affiliates were required to serve their broadcast area. They had to promote local interest broadcasts, advertise local businesses, and present opposing views to editorials. Most importantly, the free press was protected by law. Today deregulation has reduced the media to the personal mouthpieces of the monopolistic corporations. Local affiliates are no longer independently owned thanks to the eliminations of anti-trust laws. Local businesses stay solvent by selling Chinese-made merchandise, and the only point of view the media is required to promote are their owner’s. This means that the press is no longer free. The media is now exclusively the mouthpiece of the monopolies which own them.
Deregulation has utterly destroyed any semblance of a free press. The courts have ruled that press releases can be treated as real news. Public Relations puff pieces can be presented as fact, and there is nothing that the public can do about it. Fox News and CNN can falsely report weapons of mass destruction in Iraq without legal consequences. The laws that protected a free press are no longer in force. What is left is corporate Pravda.
Now that the corporations have the media just the way they want it, they need to make certain that it stays that way. This is where the Libertarians come in. The purpose of the Libertarian party is to protect corporate power. (More about this in a future section.) In the strangest example of double-speak that I have ever seen, the Libertarians call the laws that protect free speech censorship. They decry the obvious censorship of Fox News and CNN while opposing any sort of regulation that would put a stop to it.
There is a certain logic to that. The Libertarian movement serves as another source of government disinformation. Libertarians are a source of conspiracy theories that act as a smoke screen for government misconduct. They are a source of rumors which undermine the legal system which protects us from fascism. The Libertarian disdain for defamation laws also act as a divide and conquer tactic to split the left.
A common Libertarian tactic is to say “Do you expect the government to tell you the truth?” and then turn around and tell a bigger whopper. Accusations of the Mossad being behind the Bush Administration, or that jet fuel does not burn hot enough to melt cheap steel. The rumors about Karl Rove being indicted by a grand jury would guarantee that it would not happen. (Such rumors undermine the grand jury process and would invalidate any such indictments. ) Holocaust denial and the return of the International Jewish Conspiracy assures that Jews will be frozen out of the left. Thus, Libertarians are as big a tool of censorship as the Born Again Christianoids. I will go into more detail in my next post about the Libertarian Market Place of Ideas.