LETTERS: Censorship brings down democracy

To the editor:

Regarding Leon Pitt’s letter (“The Interview,” Jan. 6 Review-Journal), it seems he would like some form of censorship for movies and how the media portray certain aspects of a war we did not ask for. The fact that he is able to express his opinion in a daily publication shouldn’t be lost on him.

“Saturday Night Live” isn’t a movie, but every weekend since 1975, it has lampooned every sitting president, former presidents and many other elected officials. Although the show never did an assassination skit, the political skits aired on “SNL” would not be seen in North Korea — or many other countries, for that matter — because of the basic lack of freedom.

Mr. Pitt believes there would be protesting, picketing and possibly criminal charges brought by the government against a movie maker who depicted the assassination of a sitting president or a European political leader. Does Mr. Pitt think Hollywood should submit scripts to a government committee before movies are made, to make sure no one is offended? Or should we depend on Hollywood’s good taste not to make a movie that might offend someone? In either case, there probably wouldn’t be many movies.

People have a right to protest, picket or boycott a movie. When a government tells producers they can’t make a movie and that war needs to be portrayed in a certain way, it is the beginning of the end of democracy.

Mr. Pitt goes on to compare the Sony hacking incident by North Korea, a foreign government, to the National Security Agency illegally spying on American citizens. In North Korea, as in many dictatorships, everyone is monitored. The NSA might be watching citizens illegally, but no citizen condones this, and we are allowed to express that to government officials. In North Korea, citizens can’t even think of objecting, let alone voice that thought, because the government won’t allow it.

Mr. Pitt also compares the beheading of Westerners with drone strikes killing innocent women and children. I fail to see the comparison. No one in charge of flying a drone wants civilian casualties; it is war, and bad things happen. But you can bet that individual cutting off an innocent man’s head wants the world to burn.

The fact that Mr. Pitt even knows that there are innocent victims of drone strikes is thanks to information that wasn’t censored. If Mr. Pitt doesn’t like the way the media portray war, he could cancel his subscription, change the channel, turn off the TV or move to North Korea.

JEFF WILLIAMS

KINGMAN, ARIZ.

Religion as government

To the editor:

John L. Smith’s contention that jihadis are “control freaks in the extreme” misses a far greater problem: Islam itself demands and imposes control, with nearly every Muslim country controlling its people through violence or the threat of violence (“Journalists killed, but attackers’ war already lost,” Tuesday Review-Journal). Saudi Arabia, the keepers of Islam’s holiest shrines, enforces Sharia law through the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, also known as the mutawa.

When the call to prayer comes, businesses must close, traffic stops, and everyone on the street must conform or risk swift punishment by the mutawa. This is true in many Muslim countries, and now in increasing areas of the West, where Muslims have taken over entire communities.

The problem is not with radical Muslims or jihadis; the problem is with Islam itself. Islam is a system of government-based on religious principles, and it is incompatible with secular governance. Until the Western world comes to grips with the societal conflicts inherent in Islam, or until Islam goes through the same reformation that Judaism and Christianity went through centuries ago, the world will never be safe.

VICTOR MOSS

LAS VEGAS

TV news bias

To the editor:

The incredible bias of television news has gone over the edge. MSNBC mentioned Republicans nine times in the first two minutes of a story on last week’s massacre in France. There was little mention of the actual killers, so one must gather that radical Islamist groups were not responsible — evidently, it was the evil Republicans pulling the triggers. It’s simply unbelievable that there are sad liberals who hang on every word of the true hate mongers in America.

RICHARD COX

FORT MOHAVE, ARIZ.

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