The Phaserl


When Silencing Dissent Isn’t News

from The News Doctors:

What if Martin Luther King Jr. had been arrested in Birmingham, Alabama, in April 1963 and the U.S. news media had decided that it wasn’t a story, just some troublemaker getting what he deserved for breaking the law? Would King have gone on to give his “I have a dream speech” in August, win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 and change American history?

Some Americans would insist that suppressing news about King’s arrest during the Birmingham protests simply couldn’t happen here because we have a free press that – for all its faults – knows a good story when it sees one.

Sure, these people might acknowledge that there may have been a time before airplanes and television when significant events in fairly remote parts of the country were missed because they were harder to get to or because editors might not even have been aware of a newsworthy story, but not in 1963 and surely not today, in the Internet age when there’s Facebook and Twitter, which news organizations monitor regularly.

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