Bringing Transparent Excuses and Modern Technology to Good Old Fashioned Censorship
In 2007, President Hugo Chavez shut down a television station that was critical of him. Less than a month ago, he ordered the shut down of thirty four radio stations for the “crime” of belonging to the “bourgeoisie”.
(Golf enthusiasts, check out what else is “bourgeoisie” and had to be shut down in Venezuela a couple of weeks ago.)
Listening with half an ear a couple of days ago to Glenn Beck as he was plugging [correction]
DirecTV – I think; in any case, Dish Network – a company that allows you to remotely order the recording of your favorite programs on your television back home – it occurred to me, obviously in a first amendment vacuum, how convenient it would be for a dictator president to hook up all of the media outlets in his country to such a device. An offending outlet could then be easily and swifty shut down with a couple of key strokes.
That got me musing on a slightly more serious matter: what exactly is the difference between shutting down media outlets because they’re “bourgeoisie” and elbowing them out on the basis of insufficient diversity or localism?
[NewsBusters’ Seton Motley has more about the FCC’s new “Chief Diversity Officer” – is such a position even legal? – here.] Though one sounds slightly more noble than the other, aren’t these reasons – bourgeoisie bad, diversity good – simply a cover to accomplish the same thing: censorship and a hijacking of airwaves?
“The FCC must ensure that the communications field is competitive, generates widespread opportunities, and is open to new ideas from all sources,” said Chairman Genachowski. “This exceptionally talented team will collaborate on the policies and legal framework necessary to expand opportunities for women, minorities, and small businesses to participate in the communications marketplace.”