Essay: Civil Liberties, a Price

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[. . .] Nevertheless, some argue that the Patriot Act, as previously stated before may support some civil liberties while offering safety for citizens. As Marcovitz stated in his book: Americans do not believe the law is intrusive or, if they do, they are willing to sacrifice some of their civil liberties to protect human life" (Marcovitz 69).

A study performed by Domke, Graham, Coe, John, and Coopman suggests in reference to political elites, that control of political media and information environments especially during national crises, heightens revealing hidden political agendas in the process. This study examines the formation and enactment of the Patriot Act, which was recommended by the Bush administration after the September 2001 terrorist attacks and immediately passed through the active support of the U.S. Congress. Domke, Graham, Coe, John, and Coopmane argue that: "(a) the public communications of the Bush administration, particularly those by George W. Bush and John Ashcroft, and (b) news coverage about the legislation were instrumental in this outcome. Public communications by Bush and Ashcroft and news coverage about the Act were content analyzed to identify the timing of the messages and the themes and perspectives emphasized, and congressional debates and activities were examined for insight into their relation with administration and press discourse" (Domke, Graham, Coe, John, and Coopman 291). Their findings suggest the communications between Bush and Ashcroft, along with a supportive press that mirrored the administration's messages, generated an environment where Congress faced serious pressure to pass the legislation with unprecedented speed. The media also played a role in affecting public opinion over the passing of the Patriot Act.

In their article, Abdolian and Takooshian examine the role the media played in the Patriot Act. "Historically, during trouble times, the American public has turned to the mass media for information solace" (Abdolian, and Takooshian 1432) . The article states the media failed to deliver specifics on the Patriot Act and instead focusing on generating fear amongst the masses, allowing quick acceptance of the Patriot Act as a saving grace for the United States. "Very few news reports filled in the basic blanks- the who, what, where, when, and why- about U.S. policy, the U.S.A. PATRIOT Act, and the government's insistence on the need for secrecy and more power" (Abdolian, and Takooshian 1432) It is uncertain whether the government had a hidden agenda or not in passing the Patriot Act, but evidence leads to the Patriot Act decreasing terrorist incidents. And although some people protest government interference as it related to civil liberties, most people accept the sacrifice.

In conclusion, people across the country have faced and accepted the consequences of government interference such as the Patriot Act in order to feel safer. Although studies reveal some people feel the need for less restriction on civil liberties, the majority of U.S. citizens have to accept actions such as the Patriot Act and continued living their lives regardless. Terrorism will always be a looming threat. How big a threat is left to chance. The best a nation can do to safeguard against national threats is sometimes to pass legislature that can and will affect a person's civil liberties, like right to privacy, freedom of speech, etc.

The Patriot is just one of many examples of the government attempting to safeguard the nation's interests. How the media plays a role in public acceptance to these acts is yet determined as media has both supported and gone against the Patriot Act. Although the media during its passing did not provide enough details for people to truly understanf the consequences of the Patriot Act, they still demonstrated the need for action regardless of whether or not it related to sacrificing of civil liberties or restrictions.

Works Cited

Abdolian, Lisa F., and Harold Takooshian. "The U.S.A. Patriot Act: Civil Liberties, the Media, and Public Opinion." Fordham Urban Law Journal 30.4 (2003): 1429-1440. Print.

Davis, Darren W., and Brian D. Silver. "Civil Liberties vs. Security: Public Opinion in the Context of the Terrorist Attacks on America." American Journal of Political Science.48.1 (2004): 28-46. Print.

Domke, David, Erica Graham, Kevin Coe, Sue L. John, and Ted Coopman. "Going Public as Political Strategy: The Bush Administration, an Echoing Press, and Passage of the Patriot Act." Political Communication 23.3 (2006): 291-312. Print.

Leone, Richard C, and Greg Anrig. The War on Our Freedoms: Civil Liberties in an Age of… [END OF PREVIEW]

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