Censorship à l’americaine

A historical feature film about the Reagans and an environmental textbook were withdrawn from circulation in the U.S

A jolt goes through the country – only the country is the USA, and the jolt goes to the right: In the beginning of November, the Republicans won two governor elections (Mississippi and Kentucky). If you add in the forced change in California (Republican Schwarzenegger beat Democrat Davis), Republicans have increased their number of governors from 26 to 29 out of 50 states in recent weeks. And although it is now proven that Fox News disinforms its viewers more than any other US channel, the highest representatives of the White House are mainly to be seen there. Now, a campaign backed by Fox News, at least, has ensured that a docu-drama about the couple Nancy and Ronald Reagan, will not be aired.

If you’re flying into Washington, DC, you’ll probably get off at Ronald Reagan National Airport. The controversial president does have his supporters, e.g. his friends.B. the Ronald Reagan Legacy Project, which wanted to see Reagan’s face inscribed on the lofty Mount Rushmore next to only four other U.S. presidents honored there. This would be a small revolution, because after all nothing has been changed on the mountain since 1941 (history of Mount Rushmore as a flash).

Actually, one would expect that Reagan’s supporters would be happy to see a film about their hero. But when a few details leaked out about a two-part television movie on CBS, conservatives ran up a storm against its airing. None but the heads of CBS have seen the film to date, except for a 30-second preview. But the Times said that Ronald was quoted as saying about the then new AIDS epidemic: "They that live in sin shall die in sin." Republicans pointed out that the quote was unsubstantiated, and CBS removed the passage. But the conservatives were by no means satisfied with that, suspecting a "Anti-Reagan film", and not only demanded that the entire film be re-examined from the ground up in terms of its veracity, but also called for a boycott of CBS and complaints to the companies that advertise on CBS.

V.l.n.r.: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln. The moustache of Roosevelt is 6 meters wide. (Source: Mount Rushmore National Memorial)

CBS defended the film, pointing to its extensive research and emphasizing the apolitical nature of the film: after all, it is primarily about the couple Nancy and Ronald. The Iran-Contra affair, for example, is not even mentioned in the film. But then first the operators of boycottcbs.com invited to be interviewed on Fox News, followed the next day by a few TV pundits. The boycottcbs site.com crashed shortly thereafter under the grossly. A popular movement had been set in motion. A few days later, CBS removed the film from its schedule altogether, calling it too one-sided. Interested people will now have to wait until the film is released on pay TV and DVD.

So the republicans didn’t make sure that the film was taken out of circulation at all. On the contrary, the film will sell even more because it has caused such a scandal. The goal, however, was probably not to destroy the film at all, because it doesn’t matter much to the Republicans whether the film in fact has the "defenseless" Reagan (the 92-year-old Ronald, suffering from Alzheimer’s, lives in seclusion) treated unfairly. The party that has made lying the official means of communication (Lies, damn lies, and statistics) is concerned with creating the appearance of a "left-liberal media landscape" Maintain. In this way, one can always deflect criticism of one’s own party with the argument that it is all just typical liberal claptrap. And when you are constantly exalting the lies of others and otherwise pretending to be very correct, your own lies seem much more credible.

The clever thing was that Fox News didn’t have to support the boycott either, on the contrary: the presenter played devil’s advocate and asked whether it was fair to censor a film that they hadn’t seen themselves. The repeated mention of the boycott alone is enough free publicity.

"The countries of Western Christian civilization are the cleanest"

At the same time, the author of a textbook on the environment sues the Texas Department of Education because Texas Republicans have banned his book from schools there. In November 2001, while everyone was still preoccupied with 9/11, Republicans at the Department of Homeland Security were up in arms about the book "Environmental Science: Creating a Sustainable Future" by Daniel D. Chiras on. While Chiras claims that the steadily growing U.S. economy has overstressed the environment, a member of the ministry counters:

The Western Christian civilization countries are the cleanest, and have the most stable population growths in the world.

Since no book may be banned solely on the basis of differences of opinion, the ministry argued that the book contained falsehoods. David Bradley, a member of the ministry, cited two errors: 1) the aerial view of a settlement, with a caption underneath saying that urban sprawl is environmentally harmful, and 2) the criticism of the destruction of the environment by a dam in Asia, with no mention of the clean electricity generated there. Bradley is a real estate agent by trade.

Other critics went further. Since Chiras is of the opinion that the Indians and other primitive people were more likely to live in harmony with nature, the book "anti-Christian", said a spokeswoman for Citizens for a Sound Economy, adding that the department has the task of "to continue the tradition of teaching free market economics". also:

September 11 was not an attack on our military or our financial institutions but an attack on our freedom. We must defend attacks on our freedom both from outside our borders and from within.

And because Chiras dared to claim that air traffic is bad for the environment, the Texas Public Policy Foundation accused Chiras of making a kind of hero out of Osama Bin Laden, who, after all, has contributed to the decrease in air traffic

Since Texas is the second largest market for textbooks in the U.S., the publisher tried to respond to Republican criticism. Chira’s book was abandoned and another book was proposed – and promptly rejected. The publisher met with some members of the Ministry of Education to agree on some changes so that the second book could be sold after all. Z.B. According to the New York Times, the following sentence was deleted:

Most experts on global warming feel that immediate action should be taken to curb global warming.

And the following sentences were added:

In the past, the earth has been much warmer than it is now, and fossils of sea creatures show us that the sea level was much higher than it is today. So does it really matter if the world gets warmer??

At least the Texas Department of Education seems to have loosened up a bit, because just a few days ago it approved a biology book that unilaterally teaches evolution – to the detriment of the "creationism", thus the doctrine that God created the world. Four of the fifteen members of the committee nevertheless opposed the book, citing the "Gaps in the theory of evolution" – after all there is the "missing link". The dissenting opinion against evolution was explained by a member of the committee:

People don’t realize the threat of scientific dogmatism. They’re not looking for the truth.

The Texans for Better Science Education protest against the "censorship" and have started a petition demanding that the strong and the weak of the theory of evolution be taught, which is why "Error" had to be highlighted or removed from the books of. They point to a poll in which 82 percent of Texans supported this stance.

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