Monday, July 21, 2008

Did Free Press Practice Caution or Censorship?

I attended the National Conference for Media Reform, and was in the audience when Klein delivered this speech. It was met with very mixed reaction. I wanted to hear it again, but couldn't find a copy on the Free Press web site.

Quite by accident today I found it posted on You Tube by simulator, along with the following comment:

Naomi Klein's speech at the National Conference for Media reform was not included on the conference website. subMedia contacted Free Press, the organizer or the conference, to ask why Klein's speech could not be found online, and the person explained that Free Press is a non-profit organization and that I should reefer to the disclaimer on their website which reads:

"Despite our best efforts, we feel that some of our speakers encroached on electoral space during their remarks at the National Conference for Media Reform. It is not in our interest to disseminate these recordings. We are reviewing all of our video content and will add that which we determine to be free of electoral statements to this page."

I don't quite understand how these things work, but whatever. Two sources have told me the reason Free Press did not include the speech was Klein's criticism of Barack Obama. It would be pretty fuckin lame if it were true.
I'm not sure the reason for not posting this actually applies to Klein's speech.

Non-profit, tax exempt organizations, are prohibited from engaging in partisan political activity. The IRS defines partisan as support, or opposition, for a political candidate or party.

There were some very partisan presentations, particularly the one by Arianna Huffington who basically used her speech to encourage everyone in the audience to vote for Sen. Obama. Posting that to the Free Press web site could be considered a violation of tax exempt non-profit regulations -- but Klein didn't do that. She clearly stated that she was not endorsing any political candidate, and she did not appear to be opposing Sen. Obama. My take on her speech is that she was telling the audience what it must do to encourage the next president to do the right thing.

So what do you think? Did Free Press practice caution, or censorship?


FranIAm said...

I have only watched the first five minutes due to some time constraints.

I will watch the rest later. That said- it was very clear that she was not endorsing anyone...

Why would Arianna's speech go up but not Naomi's?

Naomi's job is making people truly uncomfortable. She did it well here and I say that in a good way.

It would appear that such discomfort got morphed into censorship of some sort. VERY sad.

Mary Ellen said...

I just read on another blog that Oprah Winfry is doing a "clean-up" of her blog where she is removing any anti Obama comments or posts. I'm not talking about comments that had bad language or anything, just removing anything that isn't in complete compliance with support of Obama.

Just look at the reaction from the satire cartoon of was all over the news, how dare anyone approve of that, they said! Yet when there was a satire of Hillary that was just as unflattering...crickets.

If anyone thinks the news was skewed when Bush was running, get ready....that was nothing compared to what it will be in this election. I guess that history does repeat itself....

BAC said...

Fran - Free Press didn't post Arianna's speech. I was merely using it as an example of a partisan speech that did take place during this session.

Mary Ellen - it doesn't bother me if Oprah is removing anti-Obama comments from her web site. She is a strong and visible Obama supporter, and is not part of the news media. I would not allow anti-Hillary comments here, so I have no room to pass judgment on Oprah.