Press and Speech in the u.s. not "Free"

If one were to say that in the United States citizens have the freedom of speech, they would be completely wrong. A more correct statement would be that speech is more free in the United States than in many other countries.

Freedom of speech has never truly existed, and with current media trends has shown no promise that it will ever exist. Besides libel, slander and obscenity, citizens face the wrath of the government's right of interference should they find such use of speech to be a direct threat made towards the government. The newest threat to speech is corporate media ownership.

Project Censored, which can be seen on www.projectcensored.org, has clearly made it their project statement to oust corporate media. The site gives specifics on how a team worked to research "the board members of 10 major media organizations from newspaper to television to radio."

They then found that "there are 118 people who sit on 288 different American and international corporate boards proving a close on-going interlock between big media and corporate America," and that they "found media directors who also were former senators or representatives in the House such as Sam Nunn (Disney) and William Cohen (Viacom). Board members served at the FCC such as William Kennard (New York Times) and Dennis Fitzsimmons (Tribune Company) showing revolving door relationships with big media and U.S. government officials."

Clearly, upon further inspection of these companies, it is seen that the top companies reign in top control. This would not be bad if they were ruling with fairness, but this is not the case at all.

On MSNBC with Keith Olbermann, Scott McClellan, ex-White House Press Secretary for the Bush Administration, exposed Fox News as a tool to spread "talking points," which could also be known as propaganda.

Fox News is owned by the News Corporation which is run by CEO Rupert Murdoch. Another interesting fact is that News Corporation is ranked number four in the list of the top 20 U.S. media owners. News Corporation also owns the popular networking website www.myspace.com, and it is troubling to think that if the White House could easily buy out Fox News to send slanted information to the masses, that there is a possibility that the same is happening somehow on myspace and all of News Corporation's subsidiaries.

Outside of the U.S., in China, which openly censors internet sites from its citizens, has done all but admit to the tiresome battle with censoring the internet by scaring citizens with harsh punishments if found on banned sites. With bloggers creating their own public source of information, there is a teeming underground of uncensored opinions floating out there on the world web.

This is enough for hope, but there is little financial backing behind the average blogger for enough strength to compete with the big media owners. Now, the only way to fight back would be to speak in the only language these media companies know: money. If consumers show companies they choose not to invest in a company that puts finance in front of the interest of the people, then the companies will have to change, especially in the economic crisis the U.S. faces today.

The next time a student finds that content has been removed from a site, for any given reason, it would be wise to see what company it is owned by, and what that company's ranking is in the top 20 largest U.S. corporate media companies.

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