Scared Silent: NSA Surveillance has 'Chilling Effect' on American Writers
byline is Lauren McCauley, staff writer, commondreams. Tues. Nov 12, 2013
Published Tuesday by the group PEN* America—an organization of writers dedicated to advancing literature and promoting free speech for writers around the world—surveyed 520 American writers and found they are "not only overwhelmingly worried about government surveillance, but are engaging in self-censorship as a result."
We've so many Wars, and they've all failed miserably. Not just 'failed,' but in the sense of scoring-3-or-4-own-goals failed. But Right-Thinking People everywhere can rejoice that The War on Investigating the Government is going swimmingly.

To the point that

For example, the survey found:
  • 24% have deliberately avoided certain topics in phone or email conversations;
  • 16% have avoided writer or speaking about a particular topic and another 11% have seriously considered it;
  • 16% have refrained from conducting Internet searches or visiting websites on topics that may be considered controversial or suspicious and another 12% have seriously considered it.

Of course, those are the people who'd admit it. After all, surely some agent somewhere, or a trust-worthy private contractor, knows exactly who is answering what polls in what ways.

There's more to the story. A graphic shows that 1 in 6 has avoided writing or speaking on a topic they thought would bring surveillance. Plus another 1 or 6 seriously considering it. At least arithmetic is still legal, so we can say that one-third of American journalists, feel fear of our secret watchers. We've a Free Press much like we've Free Trade.

But how silly are our Journalists! I'm sure "They" only stalk all of us to make sure we're safe. Like those heroes in that TV show. And spy on journalists and prosecute their sources for the same reason. It's all about being safe.

There's nothing in the poll about government sources shutting up, but that was covered by the President of AP back when -- and can we, dear reader, in this the drive-by-reality days, even remember? -- the spying on journalists story came out.

Again, on the plus side, none of us will ever have to trouble ourselves to remember anything that happens in our lives at all. Surely all this spying is not about money and unchecked power, but a plan to one day have a place where any of us can call and ask 'what exactly did I tell my kids on July 12th, 2005?' And for a modest fee. (Price varies with different tier memories, or evidence, you want to access.)

* * * * * * * * * *
PEN is the acronym at the founding of the organization: “poets, essayists and novelists.” It has evolved to be the world's foremost defender of journalists and fair judge of most nations' journalistic freedom.



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