Censorship in America: Death of the First Amendment

Conservative political interests have become so powerful in America that they have succeeded in stifling the First Amendment to the Constitution. And they have done this not through political influence but through commercial clout. Here’s a case in point:

An independent political action committee (PAC) has produced an ad that could be offensive to some people. It asks John McCain to release medical records that he has hidden. Some of the visuals in the ad are disturbing.

The ad has evoked a firestorm of protest – especially from partisan Fox News commentators. But as usual, there are two sides to this issue: On one side, you have the distasteful nature of the ad; on the other, you have the public’s right to know McCain’s state of health.

mccainMcCain (photo at right) has had two episodes of melanoma, a deadly skin cancer. At 72 years old, this factor is relevant to his presidential bid. Melanoma tends to recur, and the next time could be fatal. Voters should be aware that, if elected, McCain might not be able to serve out his term as President.

However, as a political weapon, the effectiveness of the ad is doubtful. From my perspective, it will probably prompt many voters to support McCain out of sympathy and out of outrage at the ad’s producers. But that is not the point.

The PAC group has a First Amendment right to make its opinion known. And both Fox News and CNN refused to run its ad. That is censorship – pure and simple. This censorship is not the result of the laws of the land. Such laws would be unconstitutional. The First Amendment specifically forbids them. The networks are afraid to air the ad because of their commercial advertisers, powerful business interests with a right-wing political agenda.

It is interesting that an ad produced by the McCain campaign, which falsely accused Obama of supporting sex education for children in kindergarten and included suggestive visuals that I found repugnant, was accepted without question by the media. Yet this ad, which is factually accurate, was rejected by at least two major networks.

In the oligarchy that America has become, dangerous power rests in the hands of a few greedy and often corrupt individuals who would stop at nothing to control the country’s law making process. These power brokers spend billions in lobbying to influence members of Congress, and they do not hesitate to use their advertising budget to manipulate the media.

How ironic it is that the American taxpayer is at this moment being asked to ante up $700 billion to rescue the financial system that created this corrupt oligarchy.