The purpose of media is quite simply, "a warning signal--information--that alerts the citizens that something is wrong which needs attention and resolution. An aware and informed populace could then influence its leaders to act upon that information in an effort to solve that problem" (Jensen, Project Censored).
But Media has often been criticized for promoting a mass mediocrity, because it only tells the public what it wants to hear. The idea of Media promoting mass mediocrity is a reoccurring image in Fahrenheit 451. Such is not the case in today's society. One of the most successful freedom fighting campaign has been the Tibetan Freedom Concert, a rock concert where artists and citizens converge, sharing their views for Tibetan freedom from Chinese oppression.
Fahrenheit 451 is set in a future that is “immediate, personal, and intimate, to create an atmosphere that is 'strange rather than extravagant.'” Bradbury wanted the book to remain relatable, so he created the, “'world as we know it, but with a slight anticipation in time.'”8 It chronicles the life of a fireman in the future, Guy Montag, who actually sets books on fire to keep the public ignorantly happy. Guy is the main pusher of this sensory driven, hedonistic society. His wife Mildred is the main consumer. She always has “seashell” radio buds in her ears, is engrossed by mindless short sitcoms (with characters which she affectingly calls “family”), and has an irrational fear of the subversive nature of books. Guy's life completely changes when he meets a “troubled” young girl Clarisse McClellan, who prompts him to evaluate his life and work. The novel traverses Guy's constant inner-struggle and outward battle between conforming to social norms while flirting with the subversive desire to read books. He meets both obstacles and supporters (fire captain Beatty and former professor Faber, respectively) in his quest for knowledge. The novel chronicles Montag's spiral downward, out of his respected position as a fireman; it also follows his rise to a “wannabe” academic trying to find like-minded individuals to salvage the world. This all culminates in a very public police chase which stops only after an innocent man is killed and the city is destroyed by an atomic bomb.
Censorship in Modern American
The corporate media in the US likes to think of themselves as the official most accurate news reporting of the day. The New York Times motto of “all the news that's fit to print” is a clear example of this perspective. However, with corporate media coverage that increasingly focuses on a narrow range of celebrity updates, news from “official” government sources, and sensationalized crimes and disasters, the self-justification of being the most "fit" is no longer valid in the US.
We need to broaden our understanding of censorship in the US. The dictionary definition of direct government control of news as 'censorship' is no longer adequate. The private corporate media in the US significantly under-covers and/or deliberately censors numerous important news stories every year.