Censorship in America, like many other topics, is not black and white and thus, must be analyzed and evaluated in order to deem its proper application in any issue. In the subsequent paragraphs, I will be explaining how censorship should be applied within homophobia, violence and sexism in advertising, and news outlets. I hold liberal views among each of these topics; however, as a result of my first point above, the application of censorship will be flexibly applied to each of these issues all while connecting each other through the same theme. Some would say that there must be censorship of the LGBT community in society and back that argument with religious rationalizations. Many will say that censoring anything in advertising somehow takes away country-given rights (emphasis added.) I know many parents would agree that censoring the news to some extent would be a good idea considering the unsuitable content their kids become exposed to. Censorship should only be employed and supported when it is used to avoid oppression and hate speech; homophobia inappropriately causes censorship of the LGBT community, without proper censorship of violence and sexism in advertising it can cause wide societal oppression and hate speech and although in a perfect world there should be some censorship within news outlets there mustn’t be, for that would be a dangerous path which is not worth censorship of any kind.
Having prefaced the multiple ways the application or lack thereof of censorship must be used in order to avoid hate speech and oppression, we must push towards censorship of homophobia and motivate society to accept the LGBT legally and morally. I believe that everyone should have equal rights under the law and should not be negatively judged or recognized as outsiders in society. Although one can speak volumes about the recent spike in the number of states that recognize and/or perform same sex marriages as suggested in an article published on the Huffington Post website, there still remains a dire portion of America that refuses to come to grips with simply giving all people equal marital rights among the law. Ann Coulter is famously among one of those people. In her internet article, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Call Our Troops Homophobes”, Coulter bitterly makes what she seems to think are coherent and well-founded arguments supporting the oppression of gays and lesbians in the military. Quite to the contrary, by using blatant mockery and verbal bullying, she exhibits the very core of what is fowl, shameful and just plain wrong with the opposition’s argument of censorship of homophobia. Luckily, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was finally repealed and while article’s that contain a bulk of hate-speech should be censored to the public, Coulter’s unruly commentary was left to do nothing but give her a bad name. Many Americans who oppose gay marriage do so with a foundational belief that god intended marriage to be between a man and a woman. This in itself is a questionable argument but assuming it is a valid one, why can this govern our country? There is something that is not so insignificant called the separation of church and state. This, unlike marriage, actually is specified by America’s founding fathers. Society must take steps to diminish homophobia and beside censorship of hate-speech, it is the responsibility of the people to ensure we reach our goal by incorporating pictures and stories of LGBT and their families in school books, television shows, community events and the like. After all, they are our nurses, teachers, engineers, and tax payers who contribute just as much as the person next door, so why would feel it is right to treat them any differently? It is fundamentally immoral to deny the LGBT common American rights and it is equally crucial to continue the shifting of society so that a gay couple can freely kiss each other on the street just like a straight couple can without feeling oppressed or in danger.
Constructing upon the same principle of censorship being practiced only when its purpose is to avoid oppression and/or hate-speech, we must also support censorship of violence and sexism in advertisements. I believe that the severity of violence and sexism in advertisements has significantly increased over the past couple of decades partly due to the abundance of advertisements all around us and partly because of this notion that “sex sells.” I feel that the current and potential fall-outs that result lack of censorship in these areas cause damage and take society backwards instead of ahead. Particularly, and most crucially, what kind of example is the exposure of all of these hate-speech and oppression filled ads setting for children and adolescents? The Huffington Post published an article in which it lists several sexist Super Bowl commercials. One of which was created by Miller Lite; this commercial shows two polished and attractive women initially arguing over why Miller Lite is a good beer and eventually the two women end up fighting and ripping each other’s clothes off in public in a large water fountain. I feel this commercial to be highly inappropriate for anyone to watch because it objectifies women and because of the suggestions that (1) attractive women drink beer (2) it is sexy for women to fight (3) violence is humorous, but it is more disturbing to know that millions of kids that were watching the Super Bowl watched this commercial. Most kids and adolescents do not have the ability to correctly interpret these messages and thus, something like this should definitely be censored from public television and especially during daytime, “family-friendly” television. An opposing argument is that it is the responsibility of parents to have sit downs with their children to explain what these advertisements mean and why they should not be taken seriously. The problem is – they should be taken seriously! It is the responsibility of parents to monitor what kids watch and for that same reason it becomes a societal responsibility was well. With the ever-growing world of technology it is becoming more and more difficult to monitor and take the time to explain and properly interpret things for young people. Schools, companies and advertisers should all take responsibility for what our future generations are exposed to because that directly shapes who and what they become. It is not an “out of this world” proposition that when young kids see something on television or in magazines, that they will try to re-create, mimic or find it to be acceptable behavior.
In order to diminish hate-speech and oppression, censorship of homophobia and censorship of sexism and violence in advertisements must be supported, and it follows that we should support no censorship in news outlets. I feel a slight curve in this issue because I believe that entertainment has taken over the news, not only because of the uprising in popularity and consumption of television, movies, video games, social networks etc., that has shifted and seemingly tyrannized people’s interests, maybe the news thought that it had no choice but to re-invent itself to mirror the entertainment phenomenon. Some may suggest that this occurred naturally because what sells and provides high ratings is what makes the news nowadays. And what is it that allegedly sells? Sex and violence does. So, if this is true, is it safe to say that we as a society control the news and what is being viewed/presented? I have a hard time agreeing with this because I am one of those rare people that actually likes to know what is really going on in the world and likes to be informed of educational occurrences instead of what the dog of the week sis on channel 5. Having said that, although it would be ideal for me individually to have a lot of the empty, entertainment filled news be censored, I think that opens up the door for important real life issues to be censored and that is unacceptable. I believe everyone has the right to information – real news information. There should be no censorship within real news outlets. I find it increasingly difficult to find such an ideal outlet, but the one source I do count on is Democracy Now. I think that one way to cure the current issue is to separate entertainment from news outlets. In order to do this, we must again, start in grammar school to educate kids on the differences and importance of the two so that they demand of society changes. Education is the key to re-establish reliable news sources.
To clearly bind these issues together, we are ethically obligated to employ censorship to protect the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans; we are morally responsible for censoring hate-speech and sexism in all advertisements; and as a society we are to be held accountable for the lack of interest in reliable and legitimate news sources. Fairness, equality, protection and information are all unequivocal American values and there should be nothing to stand in the way of plainly making these values available to all Americans. We must make marriage equality the law of the land and enact laws against homophobia in every state. We must incorporate a government department that oversees and regulates inappropriate content in advertisements. We must install school subject classes that cover the importance of the news and educate young people to understand that the news is a part of real life which makes it a part of their lives and that it is more important and valuable than the profusion of entertainment that is available to them.
 11th Edition Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric the use of reason in everyday life by Nancy M. Cavender and Howard Kahane.