Welcome to Do Now’s Special Series on “The Press, The Presidency & Propaganda”. We live in a controversial and confusing political climate where there are daily disputes about what is factual and true, and what is not. We think it is important to have the vocabulary and media literacy background to think critically about different ways the nation and its leaders speak and write about issues that matter to us.
Join us here on Wednesdays in February for Do Now questions exploring different aspects of the press and propaganda as it relates to the presidency and public knowledge.
February 1: Lying Politicians & Propaganda
February 8: Censorship
February 15: The Fourth Estate
February 22: Citizen Accountability
Censorship is “the suppression of ideas and information that certain persons — individuals, groups or government officials — find objectionable or dangerous”. In extreme cases, those in power have censored their opposition by banning literature, silencing the media, and even causing physical harm to detractors in an effort to control the dominant narrative.
Censorship takes on many forms.
A high school principal prohibiting the student newspaper from running an article about drug use; a college campus canceling a speaking engagement based on objections to the guest’s work; and barring government agencies from publishing data, are all examples.
In these cases, the perceived impact of the information on the audience outweighs the speaker’s right to share that information in the first place.
In one such example, a high school principal decided that a student article exposing the practice of “dabbing”, or smoking the distilled version of marijuana’s active ingredient, on campus was unsuitable for the school newspaper. While the author claimed that many students already knew about the practice, the principal and other school administrators were unaware of the activity. Did their lack of knowledge, or perception of danger warrant censorship of the article?
How does this translate to a White House administration whose stance on scientific issues differs from that of the agencies it oversees?
Does the administration have the right to determine what information is shares with the media, and subsequently, the public?
Trump and the EPA
The Trump Administration barred the Environmental Protection Agency from sharing data about tax-funded research, and mandated that studies or data be reviewed by the administration before it’s released to the public.
Describe a time you or someone you know was barred from speaking their mind or sharing information? What was your reaction?