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“…there were Three Estates in Parliament; but in the Reporters’ Gallery there sat a Fourth Estate more important than them all. It is not a figure of speech, or a witty saying; it is a literal fact. Printing…is equivalent to Democracy; invent Writing, Democracy is inevitable. Whoever can speak now to the whole nation, becomes a power, a branch of government, with inalienable weight in law-making, in all acts of authority.”

– Carlyle, Historian, 1905

The Fourth Estate has failed.

Whether you’re Socialist, Liberal, or Conservative you’ve got to be alarmed by the lack of substance in our media diet which follows from the 1990s. Long criticized for being too “Left Wing” the American media have become irresponsible and unintentional (we hope) tools of the prevailing authority.

Whereas Clinton could have bombed Moscow while the press focused on the size of Linda Tripp’s nose and the exact detail of what his definition of “sex” really is, Bush could be and is in fact conducting a war at the behest of his corporate sponsors while the press focuses on the next Special Forces photo op.

Below is yet another example of a complicit media attempting to positively affirm an “audience” that only they perceive to be a seething mass of milquetoasts.

Question: What’s the difference between a media that is focused on squashing messages of dissent in order to preserve its bottom line (Bushism) and one which is directly controlled by the governing powers (Stalinism)?

Where we are failed by the Free Market economy folks such as Michael Moore (with his book “Stupid White Men”), Drew Carey, et al become unwitting combatants in a battle to establish a voice which is TRULY reflective of the populous.

We are intelligent people, but we are also busy people. For the most part, we eat what we are fed. Only when the people are given CHOICE does the real discourse of Democracy begin, and that is supposed to be the role of the Fourth Estate.

Am I the only one among us who is deeply disturbed by the >LACK< of actual reflective, investigative journalism that is occurring during this war? In Vietnam we saw the brutality of war: American teenagers being mortally wounded, innocent civilians being executed in the streets, villages burning while napalm-covered children fled. This made war appear to be what it is -- utterly abhorrent -- and it ultimately brought that war to a stop. The Fourth Estate played its hand in the political poker game. Camera crews were welcomed on the battle front and offered protection by the military, and us such they got to stories that compelled them-- and us-- to stop. In Desert Storm, the US government began to manage the media, no longer allowing them to move freely among the combatants. They were not offered any sort of amnesty and were promised that, if they lurked into the battle zone, that they would likely become the object of "Friendly Fire". Instead the US Government provided pool footage. The logo "cleared by US Military" appeared over every piece of video and every photo from the event. Now we have moved a step further. There is NOTHING. No information, no footage, no actual reporting -- just news releases from the Pentagon. The Fourth Estate has been muted. We see satellite trucks in Kabul doing remote hits featuring reporters wearing flak vests; who are reading press releases that have been faxed to them from Washington-based correspondents. We have a media desperate for ratings attempting to maintain the perception of reality, but it's less real than ever. So where does it stop? This is where the clash of two worlds -- the Western, electronic world, and the Eastern, developing world -- brings one or the other to a humiliating defeat. The West is dependent upon its control of the media to continue the war, and the East is dependent upon its ability to channel religious fervor into resistance. Time will tell which grasp is stronger. Admittedly this rant only has a little bit to do with Drew Carey, but the article below documents the tip of the iceberg for a much more sinister form of Censorship. It's an example where the media is censoring itself in an effort to conform to a nethery concept called "popular opinion". I don¹t think that in our history the media has been so far out of touch with what people really think out there. The media have a responsibility to raise dissent and to stimulate discourse, and that responsibility is not being met. -Ian. ---- ose_show_is_it_anyway_&cidy7

Drew: Whose Show Is It Anyway? Wed Mar 6, 1:29 PM ET

Just to clear things up: Cleveland rocks. Network censorship does not rock.

That about sums up Drew Carey’s feelings, after the sitcom star says he had a run-in with network censors regarding an episode of The Drew Carey Show making fun of airport security.

Carey is peeved at ABC (join the club) after he says the network threatened to halt production on his show unless he made changes to the episode. The installment, set to be taped Thursday and air next month, features Carey’s goofball buddies Lewis (Ryan Stiles) and Oswald (Diedrich Bader) scoring jobs as airport security.

ABC, however, was purportedly concerned that the script didn’t feature anyone “competent” on the airport security staff. Carey claims the censors then threatened to toss the entire episode if producers didn’t make changes.

“I’ve never had a threat like that from the network…Everybody was kind of in shock,” Carey tells the Los Angeles Times. “If you can’t satirize authority institutions, what’s the point?”

ABC couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Wednesday. But a network source told the Times that censors were concerned it might be irresponsible to make all airport security look incompetent. (After all, where would the writers get such a bizarre idea in the first place?)

Producers for the Warner Bros. Television production ultimately agreed to change some jokes in time for the show’s taping.

It’s not like airport security guards haven’t already endured their share of ribbing over the past few months. Security has replaced airline food humor as the gripe du jour on the stand-up comedy circuit. And just last week, Daily Show host Jon Stewart opened the Grammy Awards with a sketch poking fun at security, as he was groped by guards and stripped of his clothing.

But as anyone who watches Drew Carey can attest, presenting “competent” characters isn’t exactly the show’s strong point. “I think we have a pretty good track record of not being serious on the show,” Carey said.

ABC, meanwhile, is having one heck of a time keeping its dirty laundry out of the press. Carey’s public ranting comes just a day after Ted Koppel took to the Op-Ed pages of the New York Times, lambasting ABC executives who said his news show Nightline was not “relevant.” The Disney-owned network also has had very public run-ins over the past year with Regis Philbin and Barbara Walters over Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (news – web sites) and 20/20, respectively.