Friday, September 4, 2009


I posted a comment to a New York Times Blog a couple weeks back. The NYT's decided apparently it was not publishable. It's interesting because there is tremendous variation between blog sites, comments and what apparently gets published on the internet. There are certain guidelines, and obviously certain things can not get published. Posts containing profanity, pornography, etc, would be deleted on most blogs. That makes sense. That is intuitive. However past all that, there is the issue of content that may not agree with the agenda, of the blog or the publisher.
The internet has blown things wide open. It is now considered like the old Wild West. No real clear laws on content etc. Do anarchy and power and money prevail? How ironic in a most politically correct world.
Where do we get our news? TV, newspapers, opinion polls? What I am wondering is if there was ever a time, when a reader got an objective news opinion. Things are slanted to the political right or left, Fox News and CNN and MSNBC fight it out. There is lots of money and power on both sides.
Interestingly enough, since the internet is wide open and someone expresses an opinion that the blog host or publisher might not agree is in keeping with their views, is it ok, to block it, to censor it?
What is the purpose of censorship? -To shape the minds and hearts of the people? What is the purpose of that? To control people like puppets?
Such things as book burnings by the Nazi's rising up come to mind. The Bolshevik revolution in Russia a century ago comes to mind. I think this was censorship. I think this was trying to control people and shape their opinions. In 21st century America in the political battles between the right and left how do we get our news? What does the internet mean? Everybody gets to have an opinion now. It is as simple as point and click.
I visited Communist Russia in 1988, right at the crux of Glasnost and Perestroika, I can tell you that the average citizen in the Soviet Union was not doing well economically, they were pretty beaten down. This is from first hand accounts of talking with Average Citizens. In fact one of the people I met, showed us his apartment, took us to a restaurant. We talked for hours. Ironically this person had been a journalist and lost his job because he was writing unpopular opinions. He had to take a job as a barber, and had his salon at his house, a small 6' by 10' room concrete floor that looked like a cave at his apartment. It was pretty sad. I wonder if good journalists that hint at publishing something not in keeping with the political views of the establishment loose their jobs in America in the 21st century.
Another interesting example is that long before the internet, there was a publication called Mother Jones’s magazine. It was considered to be very left by most readers. From what I got out of it, back in the day the left was considered too be pretty close to pro-communist. Interestingly after the Tiananmen Square uprising in 1989, (remember the Chinese guy standing in front of the tank, blocking it and risking his life) The student uprising was considered to be pretty anti-communist. It seemed like the magazine was all over this in support of the students. Yet this was anti-communism. As a reader it confused me. All I could take from it, was that the politically correct view was to side with the opinion of the oppressed, the underdog, - that seemed ok to me.
How do we get objective news? How do people assert their opinions?
Arguably from an intellectual standpoint, it has always been "cool" to be on the side of the left. It gives the appearance of sophistication, being "well-read" and you look way cooler at cocktail parties. You are thinking out of the box, you are non-conformist; you have intellectually "arrived". Interestingly enough, being non-conformist is simply a way to attract attention to oneself, and after a point nothing more than pathological narcissism. Are intellectual minds shaped and overridden by this? How ironic?
Can we think for ourselves, or are we busy thinking we are standing up for the underdog, so we can hold court with our editors, our students, our colleagues at the cocktail party. Perhaps we are deluding ourselves. Perhaps censorship in America in the 21st century does not exist. Who actually decides the political views of a billion dollar industry or publication? Some rich guys with several big houses? How ironic. Not very politically correct.
In 1988 Soviet Union, still very communist, I found that the "party bosses” had an awful lot of privilege that the average citizen did not have. Ironically we complain about our capitalist society politicians having privilege that the little guy does not.
Right or left: Do money, power, greed and connectedness always prevail? Does pathological narcissism always override?
I will post a link to the blog from the NYT; it was about meds and treatment for Alzheimer's disease. It was to me, more opinionated than objective. It painted a certain picture. I believe my comment that was not published was not in keeping with the painted picture. I will publish that tomorrow. It is all simply opinions, and the New York Times is allowed to do what they want with their blog. Fair enough. It is just kind of sad, because arguably the NYT's is kind of powerful and I would have thought all opinions count. Mine was probably too long.
You can judge for yourself.
Remember it is a link address to a NYT's blog. God forbid: I would never cut and paste anything from their blog. We get into lawyer stuff then.
Tomorrow when I post my comment on this blog, (my comment the NYT's did not see fit to print) remember it is just my views, and at this point in America, I am still allowed to own my own views. Thank God the NYT's is a private sector in the United States in the 21st century and allowed to publish what they want.
Here is the web address from NYT blog -topic Alzheimer's
If you can't get in the post was from Aug 5, 2009. Author is Jane Gross, titled "The New Old Age Hope With a Deductible" (Under Health tab Go to blogs)


David Schantz said...


On August 28 I submitted a letter to the editor of my local paper, the St. Joseph News-Press (On-line version, about S. 1942 and H.R. 3286 the Alzheimer's Breakthrough Act of 2009.
Someone from the News-Press staff called a couple of days ago to make sure it was me that wrote the letter. I've had many letters published, as a rule that call means the letter will be published the next day. So far that hasn't happened this time. I hope the media hasn't suddenly found something wrong with speaking of Alzheimer's or promoting legislation that would provide money for Alzheimer's research.

God Bless America, God Save The Republic.

Lisa said...

Joseph, did they say why your post was rejected? Probably not or you would have written that here.

Good news is you can post whatever you want on your own blog so you are still able to get your word out.

I look forward to reading what you wrote.

Joseph J. Sivak MD said...

There was no explanation from the New York Times Health blog for rejection. When I tried to repost, it noted that I had already tried to post this comment and rejected it again.

Talking about the book with the Lake Superior wind....... a calm day