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Old 07-25-2014, 09:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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censorship

Help me sort it out.

If a magazine caves to lobby group pressure and will not print something/show another side of the story because of said pressure - is that censorship?

Can only governments censor?

There is a battle of two wolves inside us.  One is good and the other is evil.  The wolf that wins is the one you feed.

 

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Old 07-25-2014, 11:02 AM
 
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No, the definition is not restricted to governments, but "suppression" and other synonyms might skirt the semantics argument. There are definitely some strong arm tactics involved in your example. I vote "censorship", but the definition has to be integral to the argument, and without useful alternatives, for me to march down the semantics route.

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Old 07-25-2014, 02:28 PM
 
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By the wikipedia definition, that would be censorship. But you cannot take the private owner of the magazine to court and make them stop it based on your 1st Amendment right to freedom of speech.
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Old 07-25-2014, 02:28 PM
 
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I'm going to copy over one of my posts from the "rights" thread because it really belongs here.

Quote:
There are groups out there that insist that vaccines are responsible for a variety of problems despite all scientific evidence to the contrary. We have reached out to media outlets to try to get them to not give the views of these people equal weight in their reporting to what science has shown and continues to show about the safety of vaccines.
http://www.ebcala.org/areas-of-law/v...ism-link%C2%A0
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Old 07-25-2014, 02:33 PM
 
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I'm going to toss a bit of history into the mix.

There has been a lot of censorship in the past and the results have been very uneven for the censorship side. And no, it hasn't just been governments, see religious groups. As a librarian I ran into an interesting side-light on the history of libraries in Quebec while doing by degree at McGill. There were almost no public libraries in the French speaking areas of Quebec because the Catholic Church offered Parish Libraries and stood in opposition to public libraries. Various private organizations started "public" libraries and a few may still exist. To me, that is a very effective form of censorship and it was not accomplished by an act of government.

One of my favorite censorship failures occurred in France, which had strict laws about what could and could not be printed. The end result was a huge printing industry in Amsterdam and a very large book smuggling industry. Despite censorship, France still had a very messy revolution.

Wanted to add that today Quebec has an excellent public library system!

Last edited by Deborah; 07-25-2014 at 02:57 PM. Reason: left something out.
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Old 07-25-2014, 02:41 PM
 
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Talking about censorship as something we only need to worry about when governments do it, is nonsense.

Why is the phrase "freedom of the press" used?

Because the freedom to print and disseminate information is essential. If the ability of dissenting groups to disseminate their ideas is blocked, there is no freedom of speech or the press and it doesn't matter if the crushing of dissent is done by jack-booted police or by private ownership of all the means of distribution. The end result is identical.
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Old 07-25-2014, 02:43 PM
 
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Moving on to the vaccine issue--here is an example in the medical field involving info that should be published but is being hidden--censorship in reverse, so to speak: http://www.nature.com/news/2009/0909....2009.902.html

Quote:
Selective publication of data from clinical trials is still going on, despite the efforts of a US governmental repository to prevent it, say two new studies.
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Old 07-25-2014, 02:49 PM
 
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In this case, funding affected publication status--getting into higher impact journals. http://www.washingtonpost.com/busine...0a9_story.html

Quote:
...60 were funded by a pharmaceutical company, 50 were co-written by drug company employees and 37 had a lead author, typically an academic, who had previously accepted outside compensation from the sponsoring drug company in the form of consultant pay, grants or speaker fees.
I see "censorship" as controlling the flow of information in order to control the decision making process. I know this is very broad, but this is the way it actually works in the medical field. It is rarely as obvious as someone "killing" an article because it will undermine drug sales or make a vaccine look bad, although I'm sure this occasionally occurs.

And vaccines are not above or beyond this sort of mis-use of info.
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Old 07-25-2014, 03:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Deborah View Post

I see "censorship" as controlling the flow of information in order to control the decision making process.
Indeed taking studies and spinning them into something they are not to back up your position is part of that control over the flow of information.

A little OT (but not really as it is so comparable to the vaccine issue), I watched the documentary Toxic Hot Seat which is free to view at Mercola's site only today (July 25). It is about the issue of chemicals in flame retardant materials and the battle to have them removed because of the impact they are having on (but not limited to) the firefighters that have to put those fires out. It's sad to see the Chicago Tribune being so instrumental in that issue but then produce such BS on the vaccine issue.
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Old 07-25-2014, 06:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Deborah View Post
Talking about censorship as something we only need to worry about when governments do it, is nonsense.

Why is the phrase "freedom of the press" used?

Because the freedom to print and disseminate information is essential. If the ability of dissenting groups to disseminate their ideas is blocked, there is no freedom of speech or the press and it doesn't matter if the crushing of dissent is done by jack-booted police or by private ownership of all the means of distribution. The end result is identical.
Freedom of the press is freedom from the government. It's not freedom from coercion by someone who is exercising their freedom to boycott your advertisers. It's not freedom from coercion by someone criticizing your standards if you give the flat-earth society equal time in a debate.
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Old 07-25-2014, 07:53 PM
 
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It's not freedom from coercion by someone criticizing your standards if you give the flat-earth society equal time in a debate.
Very telling comparison. As in it tells a lot about your opinion of people who criticize vaccinations.
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Old 07-25-2014, 07:56 PM
 
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Let's play a little imagination game.

Let us suppose that a large corporation which produces...well...cars...has come out with a car that has a defect which is killing people. The car catches fire when bumped from behind and incinerates the passengers. Some people have put the pieces together, found the smoking gun, want to call the car company out and get them to stop incinerating people but they can't. The car industry advertises big time, the media industry has been doing really badly and desperately needs the income and they just won't publish any articles that are critical of any car manufacturers.

No government censorship.

Dead bodies.

Stifled voices of people with something that should be said publicly, but cannot.

Too bad.
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Old 07-25-2014, 09:27 PM
 
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It is all a matter of framing. Shutting people up by corporate control of media is a form of censorship and we all know censorship is bad, so let's just call it something else--like "avoiding false balance." Add in a mention of creationism, Holocaust denial or the flat-earth society and the problem is all gone!
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Old 07-25-2014, 09:41 PM
 
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Nothing new. Nearly 40 years ago, during the swine flu fiasco of 1976, Dr. Robert Mendelsohn, MD, shared a warning from a colleague in his syndicated column that the proposed swine flu vaccine was neurologically toxic.

A week or so later, the Medical Heretic, a practicing pediatrician and member of the AMA for 20+ yrs at the time, wrote a column advocating for the end to all routine childhood vaccines. Within a week, his column was dropped by 50% of his circulation because of complaints.

Too much?

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Old 07-26-2014, 12:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Still musing on the topic.

Tadamsmar, I tentatively reject the idea that only governments can censor. I have taken a look at a number of defintions over the past day or two and the jury seems out on whether censorship has to be state imposed or run. A few of this defintions are found here:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/cultureshock...finitions.html

I liked this defintion, and it speaks to my confusion. I use the broader term, while you may be (?) using the more narrow term:

"Censorship is a word of many meanings. In its broadest sense it refers to suppression of information, ideas, or artistic expression by anyone, whether government officials, church authorities, private pressure groups, or speakers, writers, and artists themselves. It may take place at any point in time, whether before an utterance occurs, prior to its widespread circulation, or by punishment of communicators after dissemination of their messages, so as to deter others from like expression. In its narrower, more legalistic sense, censorship means only the prevention by official government action of the circulation of messages already produced...
--Academic American Encyclopedia"

I do think this discussion has the potential to get caught up in samantics. Whether or not caving to lobby group pressure is censorship or not is not so important as acknowledging that someone is trying to suppress information. If the press does suppress info then we have two guilty parties - those asking for info to be suppressed (the lobby group) and those who did as the lobby group demanded (the press).

Does anyone here think suppressing information to the adult public, in non-war type situations, is good?

There is a battle of two wolves inside us.  One is good and the other is evil.  The wolf that wins is the one you feed.

 

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Last edited by kathymuggle; 07-26-2014 at 03:09 PM.
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Old 07-26-2014, 01:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Scary article here (warning: read only if your blood pressure is good)

http://www.slate.com/articles/techno...h_.single.html

"Unfortunately, Google's recent embrace of social search, whereby links shared by our friends on Google's own social network suddenly gain prominence in our search results, moves the company in the opposite direction. It's not unreasonable to think that denialists of global warming or benefits of vaccination are online friends with other denialists. As such, finding information that contradicts one's views would be even harder. This is one more reason for Google to atone for its sins and ensure that subjects dominated by pseudoscience and conspiracy theories are given a socially responsible curated treatment."

There is a battle of two wolves inside us.  One is good and the other is evil.  The wolf that wins is the one you feed.

 

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Old 07-26-2014, 07:05 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
Scary article here (warning: read only if your blood pressure is good)

http://www.slate.com/articles/techno...h_.single.html

"Unfortunately, Google's recent embrace of social search, whereby links shared by our friends on Google's own social network suddenly gain prominence in our search results, moves the company in the opposite direction. It's not unreasonable to think that denialists of global warming or benefits of vaccination are online friends with other denialists. As such, finding information that contradicts one's views would be even harder. This is one more reason for Google to atone for its sins and ensure that subjects dominated by pseudoscience and conspiracy theories are given a socially responsible curated treatment."
That works both ways, though. Properly managed, it would mean that the pro-vaccine couldn't remain in their comfortable cocoon of denial of vaccine injury. But of course it wouldn't be properly managed.

I find it creepy that people just take for granted the idea that some varieties of information are so obviously stupid that there is no need to think about them. Yep, there are some, but it isn't nearly as broad a category as those who would like to suppress dissent like to believe.

Take for example the lead wars. The lead industry was quite successful for quite a long time in covering up many of the problems with lead pollution, helped by the fact that so many of the victims were poor and black.

The aluminum industry is using many of the same tactics. Since they are considerably richer than the lead industry, they are doing quite well covering up and denying problems with aluminum.

See also plastics. Did you know that the plastics substituted for BPA are, for the most part, even more toxic?
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Old 07-26-2014, 07:06 PM
 
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And we definitely shouldn't overlook the GMO battles
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Old 07-26-2014, 07:22 PM
 
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It's never ending, isn't it?! And the suppression is always there, throughout the years, for every issue.

 
 
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Old 07-26-2014, 07:43 PM
 
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It's never ending, isn't it?! And the suppression is always there, throughout the years, for every issue.
I think the process has become more sophisticated over the last 100 years or so. All sorts of clever strategies to hide data, blacken the names of "troublemakers", delay discovery of wrong-doing, etc.

The use of very narrow definitions of particular terms works well in certain situations.
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Old 07-27-2014, 10:06 AM
 
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And we definitely shouldn't overlook the GMO battles
Or the flame retardant battles. See the doc "Toxic Hot Seat".

Or the lyme disease battles. Until Aug 1 you can view the documentary "Under Our Skin" for free at Mercola's site. See how a group of 12 "professionals" with conflicts were able to write the guidelines for Lyme disease treatment and how doctors who dared to treat their patients differently were Wakefielded by them and the insurance companies.
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Old 07-27-2014, 05:42 PM
 
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Okay. For the health of democracy, I personally feel that it is better that some "nonsense" gets air time. The risk of suppressing information about a real problem because one side is making noise about "false balance" exists. In fact, I'm pretty sure that we only get noise about "false balance" when there is a real problem to be suppressed. I don't think the opponents of the flat earth society need to run around to the press and media telling them not to give the flat earth society equal time. And when people are running around asking for censorship (and let's not pretend that it isn't censorship), they are doing so because they want to suppress information that is dangerous to their public standing or their income, or their legal position.
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Old 07-28-2014, 10:14 AM
 
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And when people are running around asking for censorship (and let's not pretend that it isn't censorship), they are doing so because they want to suppress information that is dangerous to their public standing or their income, or their legal position.
Exactly.

If the truth is on their side, then they should welcome the opportunities to dazzle everyone with the facts.
Currently if you look at the posts of some of the industry's most prolific defenders, it's more about attacking the people who question instead of the science that supports their positions.
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Old 07-28-2014, 10:49 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Deborah View Post
In this case, funding affected publication status--getting into higher impact journals. http://www.washingtonpost.com/busine...0a9_story.html



I see "censorship" as controlling the flow of information in order to control the decision making process. I know this is very broad, but this is the way it actually works in the medical field. It is rarely as obvious as someone "killing" an article because it will undermine drug sales or make a vaccine look bad, although I'm sure this occasionally occurs.

And vaccines are not above or beyond this sort of mis-use of info.
Well, if someone attempts to control the flow of memes just because they think the memes promote decisions that are harmful to kids and the general welfare, that would still be censorship by your definition. Any attempt to combat misinformation would be censorship. Not illegal censorship of course.

Throwing around the term censorship is censorship. Throwing it at people who attack your ideas.

The way I look at it, it's all part of the game. It's all legal. Sticks and stones...
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Old 07-28-2014, 01:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, if someone attempts to control the flow of memes just because they think the memes promote decisions that are harmful to kids and the general welfare, that would still be censorship by your definition. Any attempt to combat misinformation would be censorship. Not illegal censorship of course.

Throwing around the term censorship is censorship. Throwing it at people who attack your ideas.

.
Context is really important.

I have objected to memes here (as have others)

I have objected as some of them skirt very close (nay - are) hate speech.

This is quite different than saying the New York Times, for example, shopuldn't publish articles that are critical of the flu vaccine (even when they have solid studies to back up this POV) or, worse yet, when Slate suggests Google should bury any sites that are vaccine critical.

There is a battle of two wolves inside us.  One is good and the other is evil.  The wolf that wins is the one you feed.

 

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Old 07-28-2014, 02:06 PM
 
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Context is really important.

I have objected to memes here (as have others)

I have objected as some of them skirt very close (nay - are) hate speech.

This is quite different than saying the New York Times, for example, shopuldn't publish articles that are critical of the flu vaccine (even when they have solid studies to back up this POV) or, worse yet, when Slate suggests Google should bury any sites that are vaccine critical.
Slate seems to be calling for Google to engage in self-censorship, or perhaps for the government to pass a law requiring Google to censor, not sure which.

Neither of those are censorship, they are instead just calls for censorship. Slate is not in a position to censor what appears high in a Google search.

"Glendower:
I can call spirits from the vasty deep.

Hotspur:
Why, so can I, or so can any man;
But will they come when you do call for them?"

- Shakespeare

Saying something is hate speech is not censorship. Hiring a lawyer to try to get someone prosecuted for hate speech is not censorship. But if the government prosecuted and won the case and carryed out the sentence, that would be censorship.
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Old 07-28-2014, 02:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Slate seems to be calling for Google to engage in self-censorship, or perhaps for the government to pass a law requiring Google to censor, not sure which.

Neither of those are censorship, they are instead just calls for censorship. Slate is not in a position to censor what appears high in a Google search.
Bolding mine. That is bad enough. I am aware calling for censorship is not the same as censoring - but really, those who call for censorship of information are not anyone I look up to.

There is a battle of two wolves inside us.  One is good and the other is evil.  The wolf that wins is the one you feed.

 

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Old 07-28-2014, 05:18 PM
 
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Bolding mine. That is bad enough. I am aware calling for censorship is not the same as censoring - but really, those who call for censorship of information are not anyone I look up to.
Mothering.com censors posts. Lots of web sites do that.

Lots of forums that don't censor posts are useless, particularly if the topic is controversial.

So, you don't look up to Mothering.com because they censor posts?

They censor in arguably a balanced manner, I think that's what web sites that deal with controversy have to do. The achieve balance by having balanced unbalanced forums. And, I am pretty sure they did that after trying a few approaches and (to some extent) responding to pressure and criticism. That's the way it works, I advise you to get use to it.
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Old 07-28-2014, 05:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Mothering.com censors posts. Lots of web sites do that.

Lots of forums that don't censor posts are useless, particularly if the topic is controversial.

So, you don't look up to Mothering.com because they censor posts?

They censor in arguably a balanced manner, I think that's what web sites that deal with controversy have to do.

Well, let's start with the fact MDC is not a news site. Nor is it a search engine for information. It is a discussion board. I think it it worse for some entities to censor than others.


That being said, the thing MDC censors the most is tone, ad hominem attacks, etc. They also request that certain topics go in certain areas. They do not censor topics very often - only abortion, advocating mandatory vaccines and pro-circ, I think. There are a number of people, including pro-vaxxers,who are quite annoyed MDC censors any topic for discussion.


I read an interesting article today on Mother Jones about how Glaxo_Klein Smith was covering up that Avandia, a diabetes drug, is not as safe as purported. Do you believe a pharmaceutical lobby group should tell Mother Jones not to run a critical article? Do you believe Mother Jones should cave in to the lobby group and not run it?


http://www.motherjones.com/politics/...hkline-avandia


Really, we need to preserve freedom of the press, search engines, libraries, which includes not bowing to special interest pressure. We rely on them for information. If we do not get info from them, whom, exactly, are we supposed get it from? The government alone? Doctors? Both have certain biases that the press should be free from. Diversity of voices benefits us all.

There is a battle of two wolves inside us.  One is good and the other is evil.  The wolf that wins is the one you feed.

 

Book and herb loving mama to 1 preteen and 2 teens (when did that happen?).  We travel, go to school, homeschool, live rurally, eat our veggies, spend too much time...


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Old 07-28-2014, 05:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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http://www.freepress.net/blog/2014/0...ure-journalism


Just place holding for further discussion

There is a battle of two wolves inside us.  One is good and the other is evil.  The wolf that wins is the one you feed.

 

Book and herb loving mama to 1 preteen and 2 teens (when did that happen?).  We travel, go to school, homeschool, live rurally, eat our veggies, spend too much time...

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