We don’t need a censorship of the press. We have a censorship by the press. G. K. Chesterton, 1908
So, as you can see, it has been going on a rather long time – meaning, this process whereby what is happening isn’t actually revealed in a timely manner by the press.
I was thinking about this the other day when I came across something I hadn’t thought of before – I was looking a bit into World War Two’s “Battle of the Atlantic“; the war-long conflict where the Germans were trying to strangle Britain via sinking merchant ships. I think anyone with a cursory knowledge of World War Two is aware of the phrase “loose lips sink ships”. This was a propaganda effort ostensibly to ensure that Americans on the home front didn’t discuss ships movements – lest the Germans get wind of them and thus massacre our poor merchant ships. It seemed to make sense; and it always did to me until I saw a comment which noted that this might have been more an effort to prevent the American people from discussing the fact that merchant ships were being massacred right off the coast of the United States. The Nazi submariners called this “the second happy time“. The first happy time for them was right after the Germans got control of France’s Atlantic ports, thus massively increasing the effectiveness of German U-Boats against British targets. But the second happy time was a real good time for the Germans – about 1/4 of all merchant ships sunk by U-Boats occurred during this 7 month period. It was really bad – and the response by the U.S. Navy and the American government was less than pathetic. To be sure, there were circumstances which could not be swiftly corrected (most notably the shortage of suitable Naval escort vessels for merchant convoys) but, still, it was just a terrible Naval defeat for the United States. One wonders: maybe “loose lips sinks ships” really reflected a concern that the Germans were learning of ships movements via careless talk but, then again, maybe it was just a means of suppressing news of what was happening? And, after all, it isn’t like the Germans during this time needed to get top secret information – all they had to do was lay off American harbors and wait for the targets to conveniently present themselves in succession (it really was that easy for them – hence, “happy time”…nothing a submariner likes better than easy targets). Now, just where was the vaunted free press of the United States? It was a rather sensational story, wasn’t it? Ships being destroyed in sight of America’s greatest cities. Heroic efforts to rescue people from the briny deep. Widows and orphans of the dead to be interviewed. Questions to be asked about why the Navy was so unprepared – and what steps they were taking to combat the crisis. But, from all appearances, the MSM of the day was going along with the official line.
I wrote a bit ago about the really terrible way World War Two was conducted on our side at the highest levels. Some really bone headed mistakes were made, and all through the war. To be sure, Admiral Kimmel and General Short were cashiered after Pearl Harbor, but not many officers of senior rank felt the heat (and Kimmel and Short both did have some valid extenuating circumstances – but as an old sailor, I still fault Kimmel – the Navy’s job is to be instantly ready for war; regardless of what else was going on, Kimmel should have had his ships in a state to immediately repel an attack from any quarter, 24/7). Let’s take a look at Eisenhower, for instance. In charge of Operation Torch, which was intended to get to Tunisia before the Axis powers could occupy it, he allowed his massively strong forces to be checked by a handful of Germans flown into Tunisia with nearly no heavy weapons. In charge of Overlord, he got his forces hung up in grinding, attrition warfare and when the enemy finally cracked, he failed to close the ring on them, allowing many to escape to fight another day. In charge of the drive towards Germany, he got to the gates of Germany at a time when there were, at most, the combat strength of 10 German divisions to cover hundreds of miles of front, and then paused just long enough for the Germans to scrape up troops to defend against attacks, thus extending the war by months and countless dead. After that, caught completely flat-footed by the Germans in the “Battle of the Bulge“. None of these mistakes, all of them costly in blood and treasure, resulted in a rebuke for Eisenhower – indeed, he was lauded as the great hero and got to be President of the United States for eight years. One wonders if we had in World War Two the sort of press we had during the Civil War just how long Eisenhower could have hung on in command (the Army of the Potomac had four commanders tossed out due to mistakes – but no mistakes they made were any worse than the mistakes made by Eisenhower…or a bunch of other senior commanders during World War Two). And that leads to the question: just how much censorship by the press have we been getting?
Conservatives tend to be aware of what is really going on with things like ISIS and what is at stake in Hillary’s private server – but isn’t that because we tend to read conservative media of various types? Are the full stories of these things – as well as many others – even being reported in any significant way to the average American who doesn’t consume conservative media? I doubt it highly – after all, it is just downright bizarre that more people aren’t demanding vigorous action against ISIS; they are doing very nasty things all the time, after all. Doubly bizarre that the Democrat front-runner may very well have committed a whole series of felonies and yet she remains the front-runner. It can only be explained, as far as I’m concerned, by most people being unaware of what is going on.
Do people – average, every day people who don’t seek out alternative news sources – know that Planned Parenthood is America’s largest abortion provider? Do they know that China is making a bid for Naval supremacy in the western Pacific? Do they know that Japan, India, Australia and South Korea are all building aircraft carriers of various capabilities because of the China threat, and the worry we won’t be there if a war breaks out? Do they know that Iran and Saudi Arabia are coming to military blows over Yemen? Do they know that the Egyptian government is battling Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups in the Sinai? Do they know the United States has record natural gas production and our cheap energy means that with a bit of effort, manufacturing can come back to the United States? Do they know we can produce even more if the government will get out of the way? Probably not – none of these stories are any more helpful to the Ruling Class (of which the MSM is a member) than stories of tankers being blown to pieces off Long Island would have been in World War Two. And, so, they aren’t told in a way which would make people sit up and notice…which means repetitive reporting about it for several days in all the MSM outfits (it takes a while to drill a story into the public mind – an in-depth report on page A-28 of the New York Times won’t do it…it has to be on page one of the major dailies for several days while the talking heads on TV are mentioning it again and again and again…proof of this is if we polled how many Americans know who Kim Kardashian is against the number who can even identify Yemen on a map).
It is said that a free press is vital to a free society – and that is true. But what happens when the press refuses to be free? That is, when it refuses to confront people with what is really going on, preferring instead to just repeat what the bosses think the people should hear? Can a people be free when they can only choose between false alternatives presented to them by a press which is venal and in the hip pocket of those in charge?
I really don’t have a solution to this – among the freedoms the press enjoy is the freedom to sell itself entirely to one side in the political debate. If people wish to be puppets on a string, then it is their right to be such. But we do, I believe, need something of national reach which will tell the actual truth – tell what is really happening in our nation and in the world. How to get it escapes me – but I hope that someone out there with the resources will get on it.