Freedom of Expression
Freedom of expression, and open access to media, are as fundamental to the survival of Progress as the sun and rain are to the survival of planet Earth. Yet censorship remains a traditional response of any group that finds itself offended at another's message or creative indulgence.
The argument that because they serve the "public interest," media should willingly accept a moral arbiter to decide what will and what will not be disseminated is both uninformed and dangerous. The biggest problem is that nobody will have the opportunity to vote for the people charged with determining what information is left on the cutting room floor. Worse yet, certain lower life forms with an eye on world domination will always find ways to apply this primitive form of babysitting to their own sinister ends.
Because the new communications paradigm calls only for media to get bigger-not better-access to media is more costly. As corporate interests pool their resources to control the most print and broadcast outlets allowable by law, certain news stories will surely be censored. Media is market-driven (that is, it needs an audience), and less "marketable" stories will always be ignored.
For example, only cave dwellers and the cable-TV impaired could have possibly missed NASA's most recent PR coup, the landing of Voyager on Mars. Don't believe that CNN, C-SPAN, MSNBC, CNBC and all the rest were planning to feature this as a major story from the beginning. The Media spun the Mars story big time because People were interested in it, the same way we are always interested in exploration, at pushing boundaries. It's the same reason the book Undaunted Courage is on the Best Seller list, and why filmmaker Ken Burns (The Civil War, Baseball) is giving Lewis & Clark his mega-mini-series treatment. Because Lewis & Clark were the baddest explorers ever, and, in the immortal words of Fleetwood Mac, heroes are so hard to find.
Back to NASA. The story you probably haven't heard much about is that this month, NASA intends to launch 72 pounds of...