Friday, January 28, 2011

Scholars, writers & journalists on censorship


A precursor of this alphabetical compilation was an account originally published by Gideon Polya, "Rare ethical writers expose Mainstream media lying", Countercurrents, May 2010:

The most palpable reality in the Western democracies is that Mainstream Media massively lie by omission and lie by commission. Normally people try to cover their tracks when they lie but numerous examples show that the lying of Mainstream Media is all too readily discerned.

Thus, for example, “holocaust” is the death of a huge number of people and “genocide” is defined by Article 2 of the UN Genocide Convention as “ acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group” (see: ). However there are major holocaust and genocide events, past and present, that are almost completely ignored by Mainstream Media. And, of course, holocaust ignoring and genocide ignoring are vastly worse than repugnant holocaust denial and genocide denial because while denial admits of the possibility of public debate, media ignoring simply obviates any such public discussion.

I have analyzed such holocaust ignoring and genocide ignoring by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), the ostensibly authoritative Australian equivalent of the UK BBC. The ABC has a search engine that allows one to “search the entire ABC site” and one can use this to compare ABC reportage with the results of Google searches. For example, in the 1943-1945 Bengali Holocaust (the first World War 2 atrocity to be described as a “holocaust”) the British deliberately starved to death 6-7 million Indians (see BBC, “The Bengal Famine”: ), an atrocity greater in magnitude than the WW2 Jewish Holocaust (5-6 million Jews killed, 1 in 6 dying from deprivation).

However the ABC Search results/Google Search result for the phrase “Bengali Holocaust” is 0/6,930 whereas it is 101/206,000 for the phrase “Jewish Holocaust”. A similar ABC Search/Google Search analysis has been performed in to relation to 23 past and present holocaust and genocide atrocities ranging from “Aboriginal Holocaust” (0/3,000) to Palestinian Genocide (0/44, 800) (for the shocking details see “Australian ABC ignores holocaust and genocide atrocities ”: ).

Many more examples can be given of the ABC and other Mainstream Media ignoring huge, Elephant-in-the-Room realities. Indeed I have created a website “Mainstream Media Lying” to progressively document this gross abuse of truth, ethics and morality (see: ).


Mark Aarons and J. Loftus on “the holes in history” (see Mark Aarons and J. Loftus “The Secret War Against the Jews”): “The hidden parts of history, the covert sides, are far more orderly and rational, but can be seen and understood only if you are told where to look. The holes in history are what makes sense of the thing.”


Jane Austen (brilliant English novelist) had a sceptical attitude to the “official version” e.g. that Richard III had murdered the Princes in the Tower of London: “...I am rather inclined to suppose him a very respectable Man;...but it also has been declared that he did not kill his two Nephews, which I am inclined to believe true; & if this is the case, it may also be that he did not kill his wife...” (Jane Austen on Richard III in her Juvenilia writing “The History of England”, 1791). Jane Austen has also posed a germane series of questions that are directly relevant to this problem of public honesty. In her novel “Northanger Abbey” the heroine, Miss Catherine Morland, affected by the somewhat Gothic atmosphere of the Tilney family home and the romantic horrors of Mrs Radcliffe's Gothic novels, conceives the fantasy that General Tilney (the father of her beloved, Henry Tilney) has done away with the late Mrs Tilney. Henry reproves Catherine as follows:

"If I understand you rightly, you have formed a surmise of such horror as I have hardly words to -. Dear Miss Morland, consider the dreadful nature of the suspicions you have entertained. What have you been judging from? Remember the country and the age in which we live. Remember that we are English, that we are Christians. Consult your own understanding, your own sense of the probable, your own observation of what is passing around you. Does our education prepare us for such atrocities? Do our laws connive at them? Could they be perpetrated without being known, in a country like this, where social and literary intercourse is on such a footing, where every man is surrounded by a neighbourhood of voluntary spies, and where roads and newspapers lay everything open?”"

[My answers to Henry Tilney's questions are “Yes! Yes! Yes!” ]

BURCHETT, Wilfrid.

Wilfrid Burchett (outstanding Australian journalist who was severely persecuted for reporting World War 2, and the Korean and Indo-China Wars from the Communist side) writing to his brother on 12 October 1969 (see Ben Kiernan, editor, “Burchett. Reporting the other side of the world 1939- 1983): “ Thank goodness I have been able to maintain my independence throughout all these years, awfully difficult from all viewpoints though it was. To be able to speak to Russians, Chinese, Vietnamese, Koreans, Cambodians as a friend but completely independent, enables me to do and say things others may not. But now and again this yields positive results.”

CAREY, Peter.

Peter Carey (outstanding Australian novelist) on media censorship (panel discussion on ABC TV Q&A, Monday 24 May 2010: ):

“TONY JONES [ABC presenter]: All right, let's hear from Peter [re truth and lying in public life]..

PETER CAREY: I keep on thinking about the role of the medial generally in this and how the media is always so continually hysterical about people lying and not telling the truth. And if I really think there's a big problem in our society today, it's that the media is not telling the truth to people and they know what it is. If you really want to know what's happening the world, you go out and get drunk with journalists and they will tell you what isn't in the papers. So they're living - these guys are living every day with the reality of a proprietor, say, or a corporation who owns them will not permit them to tell what they know to be true. So, okay, this guy lied. He's not a good person because he did it but I think the hysteria is about a bigger, bigger issue, which is we are not being honestly reported to. And if there was, you know, Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction but...

MALCOLM FRASER [former Australian PM}: But they knew he didn't.


TONY JONES: They knew he didn't, you say?



TONY JONES: You mean the Howard Government knew he didn't?

MALCOLM FRASER: It should have. I think the British Government did, the American Government did and the Australian Government should have.”


Barbara Kingsolver in her great novel "The Lacuna" (lacuna meaning hiatus, blank, missing part, gap, cavity, or empty space) has Russian Communist revolutionary and theorist Leon Trotsky (Lev) and his assistant Van have the following discussion about media (part 3, p159, Faber & Faber, London, 2009 edition): ""But newspapers have a duty to truth", Van said. Lev [Trotsky] clicked his tongue. "They tell the truth only as the exception. Zola [French novelist of "J'accuse" fame] wrote that the mendacity of the press could be could be divided into two groups: the yellow press lies every day without hesitating. But others, like the Times , speak the truth on all inconsequential occasions, so they can deceive the public with the requisite authority when it becomes necessary." Van got up from his chair to gather the cast-off newspapers. Lev took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes. " I don't mean to offend the journalists; they aren't any different from other people. They're merely the megaphones of other people" … [Trotsky observes to his assistant Shepherd] “Soli, let me tell you. The most important thing about a person is always the thing you don't know”” (p218).

MILLAR, Robert.

Robert C. Millar, a United Press correspondent covering the Korean War in 1952 (quoted by John Pilger: ) “There are certain facts and stories from Korea that editors and publishers have printed which were pure fabrication ... Many of us who sent the stories knew they were false, but we had to write them because they were official releases from responsible military headquarters and were released for publication even though the people responsible knew they were untrue”


John Pilger (outstanding expatriate Australian UK writer and journalist) reviewing “The First Casualty” by Phillip Knightley (Evatt Foundation, 13 March 2003. “The people don't know and can't know”: ): “When I read the first edition of this remarkable book twenty-five years ago, I was struck by the following quotations. During the First World War, Prime Minister David Lloyd George told C P Scott, editor of the Manchester Guardian: "If the people really knew [the truth] the war would be stopped tomorrow. But of course they don't know and can't know." The truth was reported, insisted The Times correspondent, Sir Phillip Gibbs (knighted for his services), "apart from the naked realism of horrors and losses, and criticism of the facts…Like [William Howard] Russell's, the best journalism is the first draft of history: for that we are indebted to Phillip Knightley, whose clear-sighted and principled book throws down a challenge to journalists to examine their role in the promotion of the war, in propaganda and its myths, and the subliminal pressures applied by organisations like the BBC, whose news is often selected on the basis of a spurious establishment "credibility". The following pages ought to be read by every young reporter and by those who retain pride in our craft of truth-telling, no matter how unpopular and unpalatable the truth. The rest is not journalism.”


The Religious Society of Friends is a name used by a range of independent religious organizations which all trace their origins to a Christian movement in mid-17th century England and Wales. The Friends are otherwise known as the Quakers because of their commitment to pacifism. George Fox was an important 17th century founder of the Friends movement (see: ) .

The Preamble to the Quaker document “Speak Truth to Power” (1955): “Speak truth to power. A Quaker Search for an Alternative to Violence. A study of international conflict prepared for the American Friends Service Committee.


For more than thirty-five years the American Friends Service Committee has worked among those who suffer, recognizing no enemies, and seeking only to give expression to the love of God in service. Out of this experience, gained under all kinds of governments and amidst all kinds of people, has come some appreciation of the problems of peacemaking in the modern world. This has led the Committee to issue over the past five years a series of studies on possible ways to ease tension and move toward international peace. The series began in 1949 with the publication of The United States and the Soviet Union. It was continued in 1951 with Steps to Peace and in 1952 with Toward Security through Disarmament. This is the fourth of the series, while a fifth, dealing with the future of the United Nations, is now in preparation.

All of these reports have been prepared for the American Friends Service Committee by study groups convened especially for the purpose. They have been approved for publication by the Committee's Executive Board-not as official pronouncements, but in the interest of stimulating public discussion of the issues raised, and in the hope that such discussion will contribute to the formation of policies that will bring peace.

The other studies have been developed on the assumption that reliance on military power is so integral in the policy of every major nation, that the most practical approach to peacemaking is to suggest specific next steps to reduce tension and thereby move gradually away from the reliance on force. Many other individuals and organizations have made similar suggestions, so that discussion of such alternatives to present policy has been fairly widespread. A large area of agreement has indeed been reached, and many Americans both in and out of government concur on the kind of constructive measures needed.

Yet American policy has continued to develop in the opposite direction. This study attempts to discover why this should be so. It finds its answer not in the inadequacy of statesmanship or in the machinations of evil men, but in what seem to the drafters of this report to be the unsound premises upon which policy is based. Most Americans accept without question the assumption that winning the peace depends upon a simultaneous reliance upon military strength and long-range programs of a positive and constructive character. They accept also the assumption that totalitarian communism is the greatest evil that now threatens men and that this evil can be met only by violence, or at least by the threat of violence. We believe these assumptions cannot be sustained, and therefore that the policies based on them are built upon sand. We have here attempted to analyze our reasons, and without denying the value of proposals that might ease present tensions, to suggest another and less widely considered alternative built on a different assumption, namely, that military power in today's world is incompatible with freedom, incapable of providing security, and ineffective in dealing with evil.

Our title, Speak Truth to Power, taken from a charge given to Eighteenth Century Friends, suggests the effort that is made to speak from the deepest insight of the Quaker faith, as this faith is understood by those who prepared this study. We speak to power in three senses:

  • To those who hold high places in our national life and bear the terrible responsibility of making decisions for war or peace.
  • To the American people who are the final reservoir of power in this country and whose values and expectations set the limits for those who exercise authority.
  • To the idea of Power itself, and its impact on Twentieth Century life.

Our truth is an ancient one: that love endures and overcomes; that hatred destroys; that what is obtained by love is retained, but what is obtained by hatred proves a burden. This truth, fundamental to the position which rejects reliance on the method of war, is ultimately a religious perception, a belief that stands outside of history. Because of this we could not end this study without discussing the relationship between the politics of time with which men are daily concerned and the politics of eternity which they too easily ignore.

But our main purpose is not to restate the many prophetic expositions of the pacifist position. Beginning with The Sermon on the Mount, the Christian tradition alone has produced a library of enduring religious statements, and the same can be said for the literature of other great faiths. The urgent need is not to preach religious truth, but to show how it is possible and why it is reasonable to give practical expression to it in the great conflict that now divides the world.

In recent years, outside of theological circles, and infrequently there, there has been little able discussion of the pacifist point of view. Pacifism has been cataloged as the private witness of a small but useful minority, or as the irresponsible action of men who are so overwhelmed with the horror of war that they fail to see that greater evil sometimes exists and that the sacrifices of war may be necessary to turn it back. Whether condemned or in a sense valued, pacifism has been considered irrelevant to the concrete problems of international relations.

This study attempts to show its relevance. It is focused on the current international crisis. It begins with a survey of the same concrete problems with which any discussion of world affairs must deal. It is concerned with problems of security, the growth of Russian and American power, the challenge to American interests presented by Soviet Communism. It recognizes the existence of evil and the need to resist it actively. It does not see peacemaking as the attempt to reconcile evil with good. It speaks to the problem of inevitable conflict.

We believe it is time for thoughtful men to look behind the label "pacifist," to deal fairly with the ideas and beliefs which sustain those whose approach to foreign policy begins with the rejection of reliance upon military power. We speak to the great majority of Americans who still stand opposed to war, who expect no good of armies and H-bombs. Their reluctant acceptance of a dominantly military policy has been based on the belief that military power provides the necessary security without which the constructive work that builds peace cannot be undertaken. They are for a military program because they feel they must be. "There is no alternative."

We have tried to present an alternative and to set forth our reasons for believing that it offers far greater hope and involves no greater risk than our present military policy. Our effort is incomplete, but we believe it is a step toward the serious examination of a nonviolent approach to world problems. Is there a method for dealing with conflict which does not involve us in the betrayal of our own beliefs, either through acquiescence to our opponent's will or through resorting to evil means to resist him? Is there a way to meet that which threatens us, without relying on our ability to cause pain to the human being who embodies the threat?

We believe there is a way, and that it lies in the attempt to give practical demonstration to the effectiveness of love in human relations. We believe able men, pacifist and non-pacifist alike, have taken this initial insight, developed it, demonstrated it, and built understanding and support for it in field after field of human relations. In view of this, it is strange that almost no one has made a serious attempt to explore its implications in international affairs. There is now almost no place in our great universities, few lines in the budgets of our great foundations, and little space in scholarly journals, for thought and experimentation that begin with the unconditional rejection of organized mass violence and seek to think through the concrete problems of present international relations in new terms. It is time there was.

New conditions demand new responses. We have tried here to suggest a new response. We hope the reader will bring to it an open mind, and if in any way challenged, will join in a serious effort to explore farther the lines of thought we have suggested.

Submitted to the Executive Board and approved for publication March 2, 1955.




[1]. Friends (Quaker) document “Speak Truth to Power” (1955): “Speak truth to power. A Quaker Search for an Alternative to Violence. A study of international conflict prepared for the American Friends Service Committee, 2 March 1955: .


Dan Rather, eminent American journalist speaks out on journalist and Mainstream media self-censorship.

Daniel Irvin "Dan" Rather, Jr. (born 1931) is an American journalist, former news anchor for the CBS Evening News and now managing editor and anchor of a television news magazine, Dan Rather Reports, on the cable channel HDNet. Rather was anchor of the CBS Evening News for 24 years, from March 9, 1981, to March 9, 2005. He also contributed to CBS' 60 Minutes. Rather was involved in controversy about a disputed news report involving the 2004 U.S. Presidential Election, subsequently left CBS Evening News in 2005 and left the CBS network altogether after 43 years in 2006 (see: ).

Dan Rather on press self-censorship to the National Coalition Against Censorship (2008): “Therein, I believe, lies the central challenge of this cause to defend First Amendment rights: To make it understood from sea to shining sea, in towns big and small, that the First Amendment is not some scoundrel’s refuge for elites real or imagined, but a bulwark against tyranny for all Americans.

In the case of the press, the guarantee of a free press represented the Framers’ implicit understanding that journalists had an essential role to play in our democracy—that without the raw material of information, We the People would not be able to govern ourselves wisely or well.

So it is not for the press but for the people that we fight for access to the corridors of power, as the people’s surrogates. It is not for the press but for the people that we pressure our elected representatives and our candidates for office to answer the questions that the people might ask, if they had the opportunity. And it is not for the press but for the people that we defend (and call for our publishers and news owners to defend) our right to print and broadcast the truth—straight, no chaser.

If journalists hope to enlist our fellow Americans in the defense of the Constitutional rights that are there for all of us, we must inspire in them a sense that we are using these rights with a sense of Constitutional purpose. That is not to say that they are in any sense a privilege, rather than inalienable rights; it is to say that these rights will be taken seriously—and we will be taken seriously—only to the degree that we put them in practice towards serious ends.

And we might recognize that, when we work towards trivial ends, we undermine our case and we play a hand in eroding our hard-won freedoms.

I will say, in closing, that one of the most pernicious ways in which we do this is through self-censorship, which may be the worst censorship of all. We have seen too much self-censorship in the news in recent years, and as I say this please know that I do not except myself from this criticism.

As Mark Twain once said, “We write frankly and freely but then we ‘modify’ before we print.” Why do we modify the free and frank expression of journalistic truth? We do it out of fear: Fear for our jobs. Fear that we’ll catch hell for it. Fear that someone will seek to hang a sign around our neck that says, in essence, “Unpatriotic.”

We modify with euphemisms such as “collateral damage” or “less than truthful statements.” We modify with passive-voice constructions such as “mistakes were made.” We modify with false equivalencies that provide for bad behavior the ready-made excuse that “everybody’s doing it.” And sometimes we modify with an eraser—simply removing offending and inconvenient truths from our reporting.” [1].

[1]. Dan Rather's remarks at NCAC's Annual Celebration of Free Speech and Its Defendents, National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC), 29 October 2008: .

ROY, Arundhati.

Arundhati Roy (brilliant humanitarian Indian writer) on simultaneous First World holocaust commission and holocaust denial (see Arundhati Roy in “The Chequebook and the Cruise Missile”): “the ultimate privilege of the élite is not just their deluxe lifestyles, but deluxe lifestyles with a clear conscience.”

RUSSELL, Howard.

William Howard Russell, who was sent by The Times (UK) to cover the Crimean War, in a letter to his editor (see: ) : “Am I to tell these things? or am I to hold my tongue?" To which his editor Delane replied, "Continue to tell as much truth as you can."


Professor Yoshio Sugimoto commenting on press censorship via the “reporters' clubs” in Japan (see his book “An Introduction to Japanese Society”, Cambridge University Press, 1997; pp211-215): “ Japan 's mass media tend to be docile because of the way in which information-gathering units are based on government and business-establishments. Government ministries, prefectural and municipal governments, police headquarters, and business and union organizations all provide reporters of major print and electronic media with office space called kisha kurabu (reporters' clubs). These clubrooms are normally equipped with telephones and other communications machines, service personnel, and other facilities. Media organizations use them free of charge. In almost all cases, club membership is restricted to the reporters of major news organizations and is not open to journalists from minor presses or to foreign journalists. …By constantly feeding information to reporters in this environment, representatives of the institutions which provide club facilities can obliquely control the way in which it is reported to the public. Reporters cannot risk being excluded from their club because they would then lose access to this regular flow of information.”


Voltaire's "Candide" criticizes corruption of English freedom of speech by "party feeling and party spirit"

François-Marie Arouet (21 November 1694 – 30 May 1778), better known by the pen name Voltaire, was a brilliant and prolific French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of belief. His polemical novel “Candide” is critical of the passivity and acceptance induced the philosophy of optimism, that this is the best of possible worlds (see: ).

In Chapter 25 of Voltaire's novel "Candide", entitled "Visit to Lord Pococurante, Venetian nobleman"
: "Martin noticed some shelves laden with English books. "I trust", he said, "that a republican must take pleasure in the majority of those books written with so much freedom". "Yes", replied Pococurante, "it's a fine thing to write what one thinks; it's the privilege of man. In all Italy people write only what they don't think; those who inhabit the native land of the Caesars and the Antonines don't care to have an idea without permission of a Dominican. I would be happy with the freedom that inspires the English geniuses if party feeling and party spirit didn't corrupt everything estimable in that precious freedom."

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