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News Censorship for criticising Bush

  1. Jul 23, 2004 #1
    Just thought I'd bring up a topic I heard one of the radio DJ's talking about yesterday.

    At the moment, she's in New York doing some showbiz work but she brought up something she observed over the last week whilst staying in America.

    Why is it that all the people criticising the Bush Admin are being silenced? The Dixie Chicks told him of a while back and nobody has heard of them since, Linda Ronstadt (Spelling??) was thrown out of HER OWN Las vegas show after criticising him on stage. Quite a few other celebrities have lost endorsements for their comments. Also, this DJ said that celebrities shy away from political questions because of what MAY happen if they say something - even though they do have valid views on the subject ie. the Bush admin/War in Iraq etc.

    Is it true that all these big co-operations do have the Bush admin in their pocket or is my imagination just running wild??

    Any comments??
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 23, 2004 #2
    And if your a sponsor or business owner that has a contractual relationship with one of these entertainers (dubious), you have a right to terminate their contract if they say something that's detrimental to your business.
  4. Jul 23, 2004 #3
    I hate to admit it, but you have just given me the only two reasons I know of to be thankful for Bush :frown:
    I can only hope that a few of those talentless airhead boy bands will start criticising the government. Some hope :rolleyes:
  5. Jul 23, 2004 #4


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    Private companies and individuals are free to grant or deny access to their venues as they see fit. It is only the US government that is prohibited from restricting political speech (here in the US anyway).

    I think it is just fine. Celebrities have influence out of all proportion to their wisdom. The use of their celebrity for political purposes should be a calculated risk on their part. For consistency, those organizations that decide to retaliate against celebrities should also face risk of counter-retaliation from the customer base that agree with the celebrity's stance.

  6. Jul 23, 2004 #5


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    There is a big, big difference between censorship and business. The people you listed made bad business decisions. Also, celebrities are typically too dumb to even understand the difference - which is why they get so mad about it.
  7. Jul 23, 2004 #6
    Essentially, the businesses were exercising their right to free speech.

    And no one is being silenced. Linda Ronstadt and the Dixie Chicks are perfectly free to shoot their mouths off as much as they want.

    And yes, your imagination is running wild.
  8. Jul 23, 2004 #7


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    Indeed, this all hinges on public vs. private rights. Any performer can go screaming from the streets about whatever she wants, but she does not have the right to use a privately owned venue to make statements that the owner of the venue does not want made.
  9. Jul 23, 2004 #8


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    Being a celebrity, Linda Ronstadt forgot that professional entertainers are actually employees, just like the common people. While she is free to voice her opinion on any subject on her own time, she was being paid to do a job.

    The Dixie Chicks just misjudged their audience. Demographically, country music fans are a little more likely to have a 'support the troops' attitude than the average person and it should have come as no surprise that quite a few fans would be alienated by comments from one of the Dixie Chicks members.

    It's beyond me why a person would be influenced by the political opinions of an entertainment celebrity any more than the political opinions of the guy living 12 houses down the street. But people are and if a celebrity wants to take advantage of that, then they also have to accept the risks. You have a right to say what you feel - that's not the same as having a right to be liked for whatever you say.

    For what it's worth, my opinion of an entertainer's character or political opinions have no bearing on whether I listen, watch, or read them. In fact, I'd almost rather not know anything about the person - it's usually a little disappointing.
  10. Jul 23, 2004 #9
    This brings up the excellent point of media ownership. Right now, we have 5 conglomerates that own most of the meda (there were 6 until recently, but Bertelsmann and Sony merged)-Viacom, Vivendi-Universal, Disney, Newscropt, Sony-Bertelsmann. This means that these few huge entities control what we see, read, and hear. If they don't like what someone has to say, they can shut him/her out. It has a chilling effect of dissident, public discourse, and representative government.

    Ted Turner has some good things to say on this: http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2004/0407.turner.html [Broken]
    This is what the state of media ownership looked like before the Sony-Bertelsmann merger: http://www.med.sc.edu:1081/bigmedia.pdf
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  11. Jul 23, 2004 #10


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    If that is true, then it's probably unusual. I bought a Tom Clancy novel at the airport bookstore a while ago, so I had something to read on the plane. The plot and writing were ok, but the crudely inserted political agenda makes me wonder, to this day, whether I should have read the book.

    For many people authors, and by extension play and screenwriters' (not sure what the correct technique for typing that expression is) political views affect the content, and consequently also whether the person enjoys the work.

    Although entertainment does incorporate elements from other aspects of society, political commentary is one of the fundemental themes of performance, and hence enterainment.

    Similarly, I expect that the audience for Farenheit 9/11 was, on average, more politically liberal than the population as a whole, and that Rush Limbaugh's radio audience is liable to be more conservative.

    For material that is less ovet in its political leanings, things are probably fuzzier, something like Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" is an ironic example of this, since it is, in fact, a Vietnam War protest song, but is frequently mistaken as an endorsement of the USA.

    Of course, for processed, homoginized, mass market pop music like Britany Spears, the political content is minimal since the goal is minimal offence.
  12. Jul 23, 2004 #11
    If I let a songwriter's political leanings affect my musical tastes, then I would have to throw out over half of my music collection.

    I even have one song in my collection called Hard Left, and the writer makes no bones about his leftist political leanings. Cool song, though.
  13. Jul 24, 2004 #12
    i think its hard to say someone has freedom of speach if they get fired over saying something political.

    what i herd about Linda Ronstadt is that she said Michael Moore was an american patriot (or something to do with being a positive citizen of the usa) and that she encouraged people to see his new movie and was booed off stage.
  14. Jul 24, 2004 #13
    True, but what if the Pope excommunicated Kerry for his views on abortion? Or if your boss penalised you for saying (or posting) something political during office hours? I would agree that having an entertainer use the stage as a soap box isn't what most people call entertainment - especially if you don't agree with the views, as in the case of the Dixie Chicks' audience - but the penalty should fit the 'crime'. Let the audience vote with their feet.

  15. Jul 24, 2004 #14
    I think people misunderstand what we mean by freedom of speech. Essentially, the *government* cannot prohibit certain views from being aired. This amendment has little to do with the private sector.

    All you have to do is think about this logically. If you walked into your boss' office and called him a lousy jerk, should he not be able to fire you? If you are working on the Kerry campaign and you stated publically that you are a Bush supporter, can they not dismiss you?

    Another example: If a public school teacher tries to indoctrinate his students into a certain political view, they should be fired. (At the university level, things are a little different.)

    In fact, Scharzenegger fired one of his campaign advisors because he espoused certain views on taxation that were contrary to his campaign platform.

    Just think about it.
  16. Jul 24, 2004 #15
    Both the Pope and the boss are in their right. If your boss is a member of the Republican Party and you paste up a picture of Kerry on your computer monitor, he can tell you to remove it. If you refuse, he can fire you.

    If you don't like it, become the boss.
  17. Jul 24, 2004 #16
    The city of Boston, in compliance with the request of the DNC has provided a fenced-in protest area called a "free speech zone”.

    How nice of the Democrats!
  18. Jul 25, 2004 #17
    Are you serious? So they're taking after bush? (Bush has been doing that consistently for his public appearances). Damn, maybe Nader is right.

    This is a ridiculous violation of the 1st Amendment.

    BTW, got a link?
  19. Jul 25, 2004 #18
    http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0220-02.htm [Broken] (I know nothing about the source.)

    http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2004/02/20/convention_plan_puts_protesters_blocks_away?mode=PF [Broken]

    Voting Nader this year?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  20. Jul 25, 2004 #19


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    Sorry, but I think you're mistaken here. I'm pretty sure that Bush actually followed Clinton's example. So, They're actually taking after Clinton.
  21. Jul 25, 2004 #20


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    Yes, nice to see the shoe on the other foot.
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