ConWebWatch: out there
ConWebWatch home About ConWebWatch ConWebWatch archive Letters to and from ConWebWatch Who's behind the news sites that ConWebWatch watches? Related links Buy books and more through ConWebWatch ConWebBlog: the weblog of ConWebWatch

An Exhibition of Conservative Paranoia

Exhibit 5: You Call This Censorship?

By Terry Krepel
Posted 6/9/2000

NewsMax is obsessed by the famous photo of a Border Patrol agent meeting up with Elian Gonzalez and Donato Dalrymple. Really obsessed. So obsessed that they have declared: "We want Americans to keep seeing the photo of the federal agent waving the machine gun at Elian."

So obsessed, in fact, they can no longer tell the difference between censorship and fair use under copyright.

"Carl Limbacher and NewsMax.com Staff" whines in a June 8 article that the Associated Press, which owns the photo, has gotten stingy over granting rights to reproduce it. This, they assert, is censorship.

According to the article, a Miami radio station wants to put the photo on billboards across the country as part of they call a "Wake Up America" campaign, but the AP is balking, saying it wants to "remain neutral."

Censorship!

So in trying to find a way around this, the station came up with the idea of reproducing newspaper front pages that ran the picture. This brought concern from Martin Baron, editor of the Miami Herald, whose front page the station would love to use: "We will have to consider whether this is an appropriate use of the front page of the Miami Herald. I have my doubts."

Censorship!

And it points out that AP was upset when NewsMax ran the picture in a May 3 full-page ad it bought in the New York Times, presumably without AP's permission.

Censorship!

Unless NewsMax is interested in changing laws on intellectual property rights -- and considering that every NewsMax page has a copyright notice at the bottom, I'm guessing not -- AP's efforts in trying to restrict the use of its property is NOT censorship. It's AP's photo; it can do whatever it wants with it. (Also note that the copy of the photo on the NewsMax site doesn't carry an AP credit. Apparently NewsMax's obsession doesn't extend to giving credit where it's due -- and required.)

And you can't censor something that the entire country has seen.

NewsMax could clear all a lot of this up simply by joining AP, which is a cooperative owned by the news organizations that belong to it. This would give them a lot more freedom in using AP material. Richard Mellon Scaife's a generous man; he might be willing to pony up the membership fee so his fellow right-wingers can make use of this photo.

Maybe that's the real issue here: NewsMax wants something for nothing.

All of this raises more questions:

-- What business does a Miami radio station have in running a nationwide billboard campaign (20 U.S. cities, according to the story) when you presumably can't pick up the station outside south Florida?

-- What is with NewsMax's annoyance that some newspapers and magazines did not run the photo on their covers? This is mentioned here yet again. Why doesn't NewsMax just call up the editors of those publications and ask them why?

-- When is NewsMax going to comment on another photo of the Elian raid -- the one that shows the Miami relatives were likely lying about the force the agents used?

Just part of the mystery that is NewsMax, I guess.

My diagnosis: Buy a dictionary.

Send this page to:
The latest from


In Association with Amazon.com
Support This Site

home | letters | archive | about | links | shop

This site © Copyright 2000 Terry Krepel