background image
Analysts refer to this as the "echo chamber" of news media, where a report,
once entering the national discourse, is repeated endlessly without any sense of
the checks and balances normally applied to reporting. Oftentimes the competi-
tive rush to air, print, or tell a story overwhelms the need for independent verifi-
cation and truth-seeking. The story simply repeats and repeats, like an echo. As
has been observed repeatedly in the United States since 9/11, in a time of intense
political discourse and derision, this echo usually reverberates along side a call to
stifle the speech of those involved.
The "echo chamber" manifests itself in another way once an action has been
labeled "treasonous," "unpatriotic," "anti-Bush," "unsupportive of troops" - those
statements tend to become part of the echo as well. Matters of intention and
meaning are inherently subjective and often open to interpretation. Sometimes
one person sees an action or event through a completely different lens than a
person standing next to him, or even differently than the person participating in
the original event. This has been a historical problem in matters of censorship
subjective interpretation passed on as cold, hard fact.
Further complicating matters is the speed at which controversial statements
are spread through media, with little emphasis on truth or exploration of ideas,
accompanied by hasty judgments against those involved.
Whenever musicians find themselves in the center of controversy, calls for
censure are quick on the accusations heels. Additionally, as assumed judgments
against performers spread, so do the calls for punitive action against them, creat-
ing a culture of intolerance to any political dissent. As is illustrated in this report,
the "echo chamber" (and the knee-jerk reactions it sparks) is the central cause of
most current calls for censorship against musicians in the United States.