An intellectual freedom blog with an emphasis on libraries and technology

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Economic censorship : control the pictures

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, censoring images proves more efficient?

The U.S. has become a very visually oriented society. Many do not take anything seriously unless they see it on television. Others do not grasp the significance of an event unless they see pictures.

One of its first acts when FEMA did take control over the situation in New Orleans last September was the barring of reporters from covering the recovery of bodies. Not only refusing to allow reporters to accompany search and recovery teams, but preventing them from entering New Orleans at all, even in their own boats.

Aside from a brief report on the TV news and the AP news feed, I have not seen nor heard any noise on this act of censorship at all. In the bad old days of the former Soviet Union the ideologues in the Kremlin never allowed the coverage of bad news or disasters: crime, plane crashes, damage from storms, nothing, zero, "nichevo." I find astonishing the speed with which the most righteously indignant opponents of the Soviet regime have adopted one of its most pernicious practices. The disaster of hurricane Katrina in New Orleans is a historical event, as important as major battles, assasinations and major crimes. A U.S. administration attempts to sanitize reality and interfere with the recording of history. We teach our school children that this kind of censorship helped put the "Evil" in "Evil Empire." Think about it.