Censorship and Media (COMM514): Session #2


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Censorship and Media (COMM514): Session #2

  1. 1. Censorship and Media<br />Session #2<br />Sept. 2, 2010<br />
  2. 2. Housekeeping<br />Image: xaraxone.com<br />
  3. 3. Blackboard<br />Groups, Wikis, Syllabus<br />
  4. 4. thisblogiscensored.wordpress.com<br />
  5. 5. Censorship and Media<br />What? Suppression of human expression, manipulation of information, and secrecy of information. --Richard B. Collins, Univ. of Colorado<br />Why? Retention of power, upholding theological dogmas, maintaining community standards.--Frank Caso<br />Who? Governments, religious groups, mass media, corporations, individuals<br />Newspapers<br />Magazines<br />Television<br />Radio<br />Films<br />Books<br />Internet<br />Live performance<br />What else?<br />
  6. 6. Censorship Updates<br />
  7. 7.
  8. 8. History of Censorshipin the U.S. Through 1920 (Abridged)<br />
  9. 9. An anonymous article criticized Governor William Cosby<br />Publisher John Peter Zenger charged with “seditious libel”<br />Image: raglinen.com<br />
  10. 10. Andrew Hamilton defends Zenger:<br /><ul><li> Admits Zenger published the papers.
  11. 11. Argued truth should be a defense of libel.</li></ul>- Noted that the law of England should not be the law of New York.<br /><ul><li> Sought jury nullification. Got it.</li></ul>Outcome: The truth is a defense for libel.<br />COLONIAL ERA<br />Image: www.courts.state.ny.us<br />
  12. 12. Declaration of Independence<br />1776<br />Constitution Ratified1789<br />Images: www.1776web.com, www.princetonol.com<br />
  13. 13. Bill of Rights, First Amendment <br />1791<br />Sedition Act<br />1798<br />Made it a crime to criticize government<br />Images: www.norulak.com, www.earlyamerica.com<br />
  14. 14. Sedition Act of 1798<br />SECTION 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled. That if any persons shall unlawfully combine or conspire together, with intent to oppose any measure or measures of the government of the United States, which are or shall be directed by proper authority, or to impede the operation of any law of the United States, or to intimidate or prevent any person holding a place or office in or under the government of the United States, from undertaking, performing, or executing his trust or duty: and if any person or persons, with intent as aforesaid, shall counsel, advise, or attempt to procure any insurrection, riot, unlawful assembly, or combination, whether such conspiracy, threatening, counsel, advice, or attempt shall have the proposed effect or not, he or they shall be deemed guilty of a high misdemeanour, and on conviction before any court of the United States having jurisdiction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars, and by imprisonment during a term of not less than six months, nor exceeding five years; and further, at the discretion of the court, may be holden to find sureties for his good behaviour, in such sum, and for such time, as the said court may direct.<br />SECT. 2. And be it further enacted, That if any person shall write, print, utter, or publish, or shall cause or procure to be written, printed, uttered, or published, or shall knowingly and willingly assist or aid in writing, printing, uttering, or publishing any false, scandalous and malicious writing or writings against the government of the United States, or either House of the Congress of the United States, or the President of the United States, with intent to defame the said government, or either House of the said Congress, or the said President, or to bring them, or either of them, into contempt or disrepute; or to excite against them, or either or any of them, the hatred of the good people of the United States, or to stir up sedition within the United States; or to excite any unlawful combinations therein, for opposing or resisting any law of the United States, or any act of the President of the United States, done in pursuance of any such law, or of the powers in him vested by the Constitution of the United States; or to resist, oppose, or defeat any such law or act; or to aid, encourage or abet any hostile designs of any foreign nation against the United States, their people or government, then such person, being thereof convicted before any court of the United States having jurisdiction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars, and by imprisonment not exceeding two years.<br />
  15. 15. Sedition Act of 1798<br />SECT. 3. And be it further enacted and declared, That if any person shall be prosecuted under this act for the writing or publishing any libel aforesaid, it shall be lawful for the defendant, upon the trial of the cause, to give in evidence in his defence, the truth of the matter contained in the publication charged as a libel. And the jury who shall try the cause shall have a right to determine the law and the fact, under the direction of the court, as in other cases.<br />SECT. 4. And be it further enacted, That this act shall continue and be in force until the third day of March, one thousand eight hundred and one, and no longer: Provided, That the expiration of the act shall not prevent or defeat a prosecution and punishment of any offence against the law, during the time it shall be in force.<br />John Adams<br />Image: Independent.co.uk<br />
  16. 16. Rep. Matthew Lyon<br />Anti-Federalist<br />From Vermont<br />Jan 1798: Spitting fight with Rep. Roger Griswold<br />“Scourge of Aristocracy and Repository of Important Political Truths”<br />“[M]easures which I opposed [in Congress] as injurious and ruinous to the liberty and interest of this country… you cannot expect me to advocate at home.”<br />Indicted on Oct. 5, 1798<br />Served as his own attorney<br />Found guilty<br />Served four months, and fined $1,000 plus costs<br />Was re-elected<br />Images: posterityproject.blogspot.com<br />
  17. 17. Thomas Jefferson & The Sedition Act of 1798<br />Opposed not on 1st amendment grounds, but on 10th amendment.<br />“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”<br />Pardoned everyone convicted.<br />Congress repaid their fines.<br />Sedition Act did not mention the Vice President.<br />Despite attacks by Federalists, none were indicted.<br />Image: commons.wikipedia.org<br />
  18. 18. Abraham Lincoln<br />1862: Suspended habeas corpus (“you shall have the body”) in border states for the third time. Meant: Prisoners could be held indefinitely. <br />Fmr. Rep. Clement Vallandigham spoke against the war at the Ohio Democratic Convention. Gen. Ambrose Burnside ordered him arrested.<br />Chicago Times criticized Lincoln administration. Burnside ordered the paper shut down. Lincoln overturned that, but Vallandigham was exiled to the Confederacy.<br />1868: Fourteenth Amendment extended First Amendment guarantees, keeping state and local governments to same standard as federal government.<br />
  19. 19. Anthony Comstock<br />Ultra-conservative Puritan<br />1873: Shut down saloons open after legal closing hours. Confiscated “racy” postcards. <br />Then pushed Congress to pass “An Act for the Suppression of Trade in, and Circulation of, Obscene Literature and Articles of Immoral Use”, or, The Comstock Laws.<br />Had himself appointed postal inspector until death in 1915. <br />Seized roughly 160 tons of printed materials and photographs.<br />Broadened definition of obscenity. Not just pornography, but literature, reproductions of paintings and social information.<br />Images: Lonyo.edu<br />
  20. 20. April 6, 1917: U.S. Enters World War I<br />June 15, 1917: Congress Passes Espionage Act<br />Image: army.mil<br />
  21. 21. Espionage Act of 1917:<br />“…by promoting the enemies’ success, attempting to ‘cause insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny or refusal of duty,’ or opposing military enlistment or the draft.”<br />Sedition Act of 1918:<br />“…making it a federal crime to ‘utter, print, write, publish any disloyal, profane, scurrilous or abusive language about the form of government of the United States, or the Constitution of the United States, or the uniform of the Army or Navy’.”<br />Congress repealed the Sedition Act of 1918 in 1920.<br />
  22. 22. Truth as defense of libel<br />Sedition Acts<br />Bottom line: <br />History of censorship in the U.S. prior to 1920 has less to do with military secrets or wrongdoing than it did with protecting politicians, patriotism, and principles.<br />Comstock Laws on mail<br />