yearn for less freedom
by PAT MURPHY
happened in Singapore to the global Bloomberg News Service should
positively thrill a 49 percent slice of the American public.
Singapore dictator Lee Kuan Yew gloated as Bloomberg (founded by New
York Mayor Michael Bloomberg) groveled, publicly apologized and paid a
$334,000 fine for a column offensive to Yew.
offense? A comment that Yew appoints his children and in-laws, short on
skills, to powerful posts in government and government-owned businesses
in acts of "nepotism" – that is, favoritism based on
keeps Singapore media in line with tough laws, wants no imported First
Amendment nonsense from U.S. media.
it be cut off from reporting from Singapore, Bloomberg prostituted its
way back into the tyrant’s favor, but leaving Bloomberg news consumers
wondering if they’re getting the truth out of Singapore.
about that 49 percent of Americans.
to a University of Connecticut Center for Survey Research and Analysis
poll commissioned by the First Amendment Center in Arlington, Va., 49
percent believe the First Amendment goes too far with freedoms. They
favor restrictions on the press, especially criticism of the military
and government during wartime, plus allowing government agents to spy on
religious activities, especially but not limited to Muslims.
presents a chilling portrait of a future America with a watered down
First Amendment. Americans would be under surveillance to prevent them
from exceeding their rights.
now getting a taste of heavy-handed government.
General John Ashcroft is clapping hundreds of alleged war on terror
"suspects" in prison without benefit of hearings, without
charges and without lawyers, and essentially telling inquisitive judges
fretting about constitutional liberties to take a hike.
freedoms were limited because of President Bush’s ersatz
"war" on terrorism, news organizations could face government
reprisal for exposing Pentagon waste, criticizing connections of
Secretary of the Army Thomas White to the corrupt Enron corporation, or
reviling Vice President Cheney for secret negotiations with energy
tycoons behind closed doors.
even be worse for pundits criticizing Bush’s threat to attack Iraq. If
the press could be muzzled, would Bush critics in Congress be far
freedom of speech obviously also would target hundreds of thousands of
Internet chat rooms where language about government, politicians and the
military gets irreverent. Ashrcroft told Congress he considers criticism
unpatriotic aid to the enemy.
decide which First Amendment freedoms should be rewritten and how far
government could go in controlling the First Amendment? Attorney General
notion of government using muscle on media is spreading. CNN found
itself bowing to pressure in Israel and Washington: CNN rushed its
senior news executive, Eason Jordan, to Israel to apologize for its
coverage when Israeli TV threatened to dump CNN; CNN president Walter
Isaacson rushed to Capitol Hill to make peace with Republicans who
claimed CNN was too liberal.
this: the 49 percent that’s so enamored with less freedoms would howl
bloody murder if speaking their mind to pollsters was restricted, or
they were banned from writing nasty letters to the editor about their
percent seem to forget that less freedom means more tyranny.
this possibility: maybe the 49 percent – described by pollsters in an
Associated Press report as adults without a college education,
evangelicals and Republicans – actually want a world of controlled and
century English poet Thomas Gray had a lament for that mentality.
would destroy their paradise. No more; Where ignorance is bliss, ’Tis
folly to be wise."