Friday, February 25, 2011

An interesting look at Freedom of the Press in the US

There is more to this story than just a funny prank in Minneapolis.

As far as the story line goes, this seems like a funny prank, which I bet it is. Someone painted a bra on a billboard advertising the art museum's show of paintings by the grand master Titian. The artwork on the billboard was topless. You can see the before and after photos of the billboard here.

If you notice, this story is from the Daily Mail newspaper in London, England.

I googled this story and saw there were 25 google news mentions. 24 from the US, and this article from the Daily Mail. Guess how many websites in the US ran the before photo? Zero, Nada, Zilch. Now this is the true censorship story. These publications are either such bad journalists that they didn't ask for a before photo from the Art museum like the Daily Mail did, or they are scared to death to show even a 450 year old famous painting of a mythical woman with bare breasts.

So much for freedom of the press in the USA. It's a myth. The government doesn't have to censor us, we're already doing it to ourselves. No more Watergate investigative reporting. News is now about entertainment.

According to reporters without borders survey in 2010, the US is ranked only the 20th most free press in the world out of 178 countries. We're closer in press freedom to Ghana, Nambia, Mali and Latvia than we are to Germany, Sweden, or Switzerland. On a positive note, the US has taken great strides to improve our press freedom. As Americans know, from the years 2001-2009 press freedom in the US almost disappeared. Just 5 years ago we were close to 50th in free press in the world which meant most of the western world had a freer press than us.

Yet, with this story here, the American press won't show a painting of a topless mythical woman that is 450 years old. That is pathetic and our press should be ashamed of itself.

Here's the British story:

"It's a cover up! The Titian billboard that was given a little tweak by rather prudish vandals

Titian's masterpiece of the Goddess Venus has managed to be inoffensive to spectators for more than 450 years.

But one graffiti artist in Minnesota seems to be a little bit prudish about her naked bosom being on display for all to see on a street side billboard.

Clambering up the billboard for the Minneapolis Institute of Arts' Titian exhibition, he gave its star attraction – a bare-chested Venus Rising from the Sea - a bright red bra.

Of course, he could just have been worried the Greek Goddess of Love was a little chilly in the sub-zero temperatures of Minnesota, which would explain why he added the letters: 'Brrr!'...

A spokeswoman for the MIA said: 'Without those words it did look as though some one's trying to censor it.'

'But with '"Brrrr!" it has that whole sort of funny element. Because it is cold.'..."

For the full story Click here

Tom Mulhall
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