Media Accountability and Project Censored

“A popular Government without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives.” James Madison

“The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object.” Thomas Jefferson

This weekend, Project Censored hosts the Second Annual Media Accountability conference at Sonoma State University in Northern California focuses on Media Censorship and the erosion of Civil Liberties. Project Censored, founded by Dr. Carl Jensen and in its 31st year now, is a major watchdog research group that looks for bias and censorship in mainstream media concerning key issues. This year’s show, celebrating the newly released Censored 2008 and the top 25 stories of the past year, led by sociologist Dr. Peter Phillips, has yet another series of timely, serious, and important stories that most in the American public have never heard about, and if they have, they haven’t heard all there is to be known about the stories. This year’s conference presenters include Thom Hartmann, Frank Morales, Jeremy Scahill, Odette Wilkens, Robert Parry, Fariba Nawa, and many more (even yours truly, moderating a panel on “Terrorism and New Legal Realities”).

Hope to see you all there, or to feel you there in spirit, to fight for press freedom and open government while defeating the scourge of corporatist propaganda that fills the nations airwaves and publications.

“No government ought to be without censors & where the press is free, no one ever will.” Thomas Jefferson, letter to George Washington, September 9, 1792

Vox Populi

Howling at Windmills: Ginsberg, Censorship, and Overcoming the Cowardice of the Now

More from Myth America…

Allen Ginsberg’s Howl

So why are we as a culture still debating censorship and indecency about a fifty year old poem that merely stated the obvious and was declared by the courts as not obscene?

It’s another trip down memory hole lane. Propaganda comes in many forms. The best form is omission. Forbid certain works, forbid certain ideas, and in turn, legitmize dissent by reframing it. And marginalize it simultaneously. Otherwise, it’s seek and destroy. Why is Howl so radical today? We live in a media saturated landscape that celebrates its own profiteering from sexism, heterosexism, violence, imperialism, greed, and narcisism. Telling the truth in times of universal deceit can (apparently) be a revolutionary act (as Orwell once stated). We’re decades on, and this poem is still too relevant as cultural critique.

Ginsberg doesn’t just leave it to Beaver? You mean there was a life outside the bourgeois establisment? Shocking! Real? Visceral? Couldn’t be! That’s why fifty years later it still can’t be heard openly without fear. Perhaps a bit too close to the bone for too many. Try the links and see for yourself…what are we ready for? Why the FCC threat to cultural expression but not corporatist conglomeration and media ownership? It’s too obvious…just listen at the first link above.

America I’ve given you all and now I’m nothing.”

“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix, angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night, who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of cold-water flatsfloating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz, who bared their brains to Heaven under the El and saw Mohammedan angels staggering on tene- ment roofsilluminated, who passed through universities with radiant cool eyes hallucinating Arkansas and Blake-light tragedy among thescholars of war, who were expelled from the academies for crazy & publishing obscene odes on the windows of the skull, who cowered in unshaven rooms in underwear, burn- ing their money in wastebaskets and listening to the Terror through the wall…”

Terror, indeed. As today, we’re listening to a War on Terror through walls of media manipulation and the best minds of this generation are being destroyed by the cult of celebrity, celebration of mediocrity, and the angry, fruitless search of an endless fix for anything real.