blog 4 chris powers
In light of the terrorist attacks on the WTC and Pentagon on 9/11/01, I believe that the government should not be able to exercise prior restraint and block publication of material it feels might hurt national security interests; however, it is absurd to think that the government didn’t try to assert more power. After the attacks on the WTC and Pentagon, the government took the liberty of making travel a hellish experience (by exercising prior restraint) and interrogated anyone they “thought” to be a threat (mostly those of other races). It is not fair for the government to be able to do this; however, it is in “the nations best security interests.”
If the government decided to not exercise prior restraint and leave the flow of information on the internet and other forms of media alone, a lot of information would leak out that would potentially cause the country more hysteria and confusion than already present. A lot of stories and websites out there are completely false and exist just to get a rise out of people and disrupt the flow of things. For example, I can remember watching several stories online about how the devil’s face was in the clouds of black smoke coming out of the twin towers. This is clearly not true but at the time it disturbed me all the same and contributed to my already uneasy state. If the government allowed these stupid claims to surface in all aspects of the media and didn’t censor anything at all, I believe public unrest would be even greater……….At the same time though, by allowing the free flow of information without censorship, the government would be fulfilling the American notion of free speech. As long as these stories and websites don’t physically hurt anyone, it is one’s right of free speech to publish anything one wants. In my opinion, free speech reigns and the government should go about protecting out national security in other ways that don’t undermine the first amendment. What do you think? Should the government have the almighty power to censor what they want to? Is it their right to do so?
In relation to your comments, it is not feasible for the government to censor ideas that are false and create hysteria because freedom of speech is protected under the first amendment. If one wants to post a blog that spews forth ideas that are controversial to the American people it is their right to do so. Having said this though, I believe that it is the right of the government to censor ludacris ideas that provide no factual claims. Some people simply are not smart enough to realize that there is a lot of SHIT out there and not all of it is true or has merit. I am not trying to say that the first amendment be completely ignored by the government, but I do believe that some censorship (such as the wikileaks we saw last class) is necessary.