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The Boston Globe

Opinion

Martha Bayles

Subdued by the tube

Confessional talk shows, trashy reality shows, “soft” news focused on crime and celebrity gossip — the “infotainment” side of contemporary media is routinely justified as “the price we pay for freedom.” Behind this cliché is the assumption that America’s constitutional tradition has always entailed not just the liberty to express oneself politically but also the license to disseminate trash.

Unfortunately, a rather recent American tendency to treat political and nonpolitical expression as rough equivalents is encouraging people all around the world to do the same.

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