“My country, right or wrong,” is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, “My mother, drunk or sober.”—G. K. Chesterton, The Defendant
These are indeed desperate times.
On September 11, 2001, America witnessed the worst act of terrorism in U.S. history. Grief-stricken, angry, and shocked, people from all over America came together in the face of tragedy and solidly affirmed their pride in the U.S.A. The outpouring of patriotism that resulted from this tragedy was astonishing. Our country came together: specific agendas were swept aside in favor of partisanship and overwhelming support for our leaders, for our institutions, for our democracy.
Picking up on this trend, the media, typically a primary conveyer of culture in America, soon adopted a positive attitude towards the government. Patriotic bias, in part because of the public demand, began dictating broadcasts. In fact, the pendulum swung far over to the radical side: the media by and large accepted governmentalcensorship requests, ceased to question our leaders, and even began censoring their interviews, handling our nation’s institutions with velvet gloves.
We championed our country, with its ideals of freedom and democracy, and in the process lost a part of our freedom and democracy.
Taking advantage of the patriotic fever sweeping the nation, the federal government began making “requests” of the media, asking them to censor their coverage of particular events, or to withhold information regarding the government from the public. These requests were not particularly surprising. What was startling was the by and large acceptance of these reque...
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Chronicle, 6 Jan. 2002: D4.
7. “Day,” D4.
8. Quoted in Fred Barnes, “The Press in Time of War,” Weekly Standard 3 Dec. 2001: 31.
9. Hurst A8.
10. Michael Hoyt, “Journalists as Patriots,” Columbia Journalism Review 40.4 (2001): 4.
11. “Veteran CBS News Anchor Dan Rather Speaks Out on BBC Newsnight Tonight,” BBC News