Is the censorship in the U.S in the past 80 years justified?Could you guys list as much argument for both sides as possible. I really want to see in depth of both sides of argument. Is all the...

Is the censorship in the U.S in the past 80 years justified?

Could you guys list as much argument for both sides as possible. I really want to see in depth of both sides of argument. Is all the censoring the government has done in the past 80 years justified....


Expert Answers
brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Neither justified nor successful.  In fact, efforts at censorship in society usually backfire, by merely drawing even more attention to that which has been censored.  Album sales go up when limits are placed on their sale, pornography is more widely accessible than ever.  In terms of censoring government documents and actions from the public eye, this has been more successful, and often times less justified to me.  I think, many times, documents are classified to protect reputations of individuals or offices rather than because they are actually dangerous or destructive for the public to know.  JFK was assassinated almost 50 years ago, but there are still tens of thousands of classified documents surrounding the investigation.  As a historian, this seems silly and frustrating to me.  I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but it seems it is time for us all to know the full truth, whatever it may be.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This really depends on what exactly you mean by censorship -- what things do you feel that the government has censored?

The most obvious government censorship has been the censorship of what is broadcast on TV and radio airwaves.  As far as that goes, I have no problem with the censorship.  I think that there is no reason that words that many families find objectionable should be allowed on the air during times when lots of children may well be watching TV.  So as far as things like that -- the censorship of words or images on TV and radio networks, I believe that censorship is appropriate.

Perhaps if you could be more precise as to what censorship you are talking about...

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the interests of government security some things are censored.  One such example of this that was beneficial was the forbidding of the news media to broadcast military conflicts on the airways.  Watching the Vietnam Conflict on television was almost surreal; there were parents who actually saw their boys shot! 

Of course, the problem with censorship is always where to draw the line.  As the previous poster so cogently mentions, the government's covert activities are sometimes extended to areas where they need not be. 

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There has been some censorship, such as what is on television.  There are rules about what can be shown when, what can be said when and so on.  That applies to some channels, non-cable networks.  The purpose is supposedly to prevent children from seeing and hearing things they shouldn't.  There is also the movie rating system.  In both cases, while there may be good intentions, the fact of the matter is that a small group of people is arbitrarily making and applying these rules.

lrwilliams eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I am not sure that us who live in the United States truly know what censorship is. As someone else has mentioned there are regulations as to what can be seen and said on television at certain hours, however I don't know that that really qualifies as true censorship.