As regular readers of NewsBusters know, a fairly large number of leftists in this country are convinced that George W. Bush is hell-bent on destroying America and turning it into a dictatorship where mandatory worship of "neocons" is required and media outlets are censored. Liberal figures such as Al Gore, Keith Olbermann, and regulars at places like Democratic Underground and Daily Kos routinely make such statements.

While exposing leftist paranoia for public ridicule is amusing, I think it's also worth noting just how far from reality these claims really are. Last month, we saw how real media repression occurs every day in Fidel Castro's Cuba. But Cuba is far from the only place where this happens. Over at PBS's MediaShift, Mark Glaser and Zimbabwean journalist Frank Chikowore talk about how that country's government imprisons and censors reporters who dare criticize it:

The government shuts down independent newspapers. It jams radio signals from outside the country. Internet access is sporadic. Inflation is out of control. A bill is in Parliament that would allow the government to censor private email communications.

Welcome to Zimbabwe, the south African country born out of the former Rhodesia in 1980 and led by strongman President Robert Mugabe every day since its independence from British colonialism.

For all the false cries of censorship when the marketplace and not the government marginalizes a voice, or point of view, this is blatant censorship enacted by our government through McCain-Feingold. h/t Instapundit.

Bloggers should consider coming together from both sides to challenge this un-democratic law by developing a series of podcast or YouTube commercials pointing out what they see as negative points regarding incumbents. Not only would it bring attention to a bad law, it would force the very thing these career politicians don't want heard to be featured in any coverage - that being the actual criticism itself.

Something almost without precedent in America will happen Thursday. That’s the day when McCain-Feingold — aka the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 — will officially silence broadcast advertising that contains criticism of members of Congress seeking re-election in November. Before 2006, American election campaigns traditionally began in earnest after Labor Day. Unless McCain-Feingold is repealed, Labor Day will henceforth mark the point in the campaign when congressional incumbents can sit back and cruise, free of those pesky negative TV and radio spots. It is the most effective incumbent protection act possible, short of abolishing the elections themselves.

As you may or may not know, this coming weekend, ABC is presenting a movie about the events that led up to the attacks on the WTC in 2001, called "The Path to 9/11".

NY Times Nashville-based reporter Theo Emery has a story on those poor, persecuted Democratic country-music songwriters in Saturday's "In Nashville, Sounds of Political Uprising From the Left."

Keith Olbermann's regular media critic guest, Michael Musto of the Village Voice, called Ann Coulter a 'bastard' on last night's Countdown.

The topic was the news that Vanity Fair has picked celeb photographer Annie Liebovitz to snap the first pics of Suri, newborn daughter of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. There is controversy as to whether Suri actually exists, given that, months after her announced birth, there have been no photos or sightings of the child.

Musto is clearly a skeptic on the subject. When Olbermann asked him what we should expect from Liebovitz's images of Suri, Musto responded with this strained effort to draw a connection to the left's bête noire :

"We should expect an image of a pillow. An illegitimate pillow, mind you. A bastard pillow. What's the word for a female bastard? Ann Coulter! An Ann Coulter pillow!"

In a classic example of self-pity, Editor and Publisher writer David S. Hirschman's latest article is so full of whining, moaning, assumption and gnashing of teeth that one would think the world is about to end. All this wringing of hands is over the revamping of the White House Press Room.

Mega-blogger Markos Moulitsas Zúniga of the Daily Kos talking down the blogs' influence on the Connecticut Dem primary? John Fund of the good old Wall Street Journal talking it up?

From the AP:

TEHRAN, Iran -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has ordered government and cultural bodies to use modified Persian words to replace foreign words that have crept into the language, such as "pizzas" which will now be known as "elastic loaves," state media reported Saturday.

The presidential decree, issued earlier this week, orders all governmental agencies, newspapers and publications to use words deemed more appropriate by the official language watchdog, the Farhangestan Zaban e Farsi, or Persian Academy, the Irna official news agency reported.

You may recall the past items I've posted about journalists who think they are exempt from the same behavior that they inflict on the rest of us. CBS News anchor Diann Burns is suing her contractors for skimping on her $3 million house because she is black. Of course the contracter gave her $92,000 in free perks, but she's still upset that they aren't going to fix the rain gutters on the neighboring house so they don't spill water in her yard. Obviously the neighbors are also doing this because she is black.

The punch line is this request to the court:

The filing asks that all attorneys, experts and court personnel involved in the case sign a "secrecy agreement," which would last up to five years after the suit has ended, barring them from talking about aspects of the case publicly or peddling pictures of the interior of the home.

The filing, which will be the subject of a Thursday court hearing, says that the luxury home is Burns' and Watts' "castle and refuge from the daily pressures of life," and that they "will suffer unreasonable annoyance and embarrassment if pictorial or verbal descriptions of the interior of their home" are made public and "may attract curiosity seekers, depriving them of the privacy and peace of the home to which every human being is entitled."

The filing specifically asks a judge to prevent information from being given "to the general public or the media" about the inside of their home...

Next time you see a reporter doing a live stand-up in front of an innocent victim's house, remember how this hypocritical CBS anchor believes that every human being is entitled to privacy and peace in their home.

Don't the press in general and the New York Times in particular take pride in portraying themselves as ever-the vigilant defenders of the First Amendment?

Internet giants Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft have come under fire today from Amnesty International for actively complying with the authoritarian government of China's attempts to censor the internet in that country.

These companies came in for withering criticism as part of Amnesty's campaign to raise awareness of political censorship throughout the world by highlighting its impact in China where internet suppression is more widespread and effective largely because American tech companies are "particularly willing to cooperate with the Chinese government," the group said in a statement.

"The internet can be a great tool for the promotion of human rights -- activists can tell the world about abuses in their country at the click of a mouse. People have unprecedented access to information from the widest range of sources," the statement continued. "But the internet's potential for change is being undermined -- by governments unwilling to tolerate this free media outlet, and by companies willing to help them repress free speech."

An excerpt from the devastating report (PDF) is after the jump. For a look at web censorship in India, read this from Michelle Malkin.

President Bush is an even greater threat to our civil liberties than that bête noire of the left, Richard Nixon. That's Morton Halperin's conclusion in a Los Angeles Times op-ed of today, Bush: Worse Than Nixon.

Halperin was once a name in the news. In 1969, then-National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger named Halperin to the NSA. But soon thereafter Kissinger suspected it was the dovish Halperin who leaked to the NY Times the fact that the US was secretly bombing Cambodia. The FBI began tapping his phone, and Halperin was soon gone from NSA. Perhaps Halperin's biggest claim to fame is the fact that Pres. Nixon put him on his 'Enemies List.' A red badge of courage, no pun intended, off which a person can no doubt eat for a lifetime in liberal circles.

Halperin remains active politically, serving as a senior fellow at the 'Center for American Progress.' As detailed by the invaluable Discoverthenetworks, CAP is a George Soros-funded organization founded on the risible notion that American colleges and universities are dominated by . . . conservatives."

Writes Halperin:

"It's hard not to notice the clear similarities between then and now. Both the Nixon and Bush presidencies rely heavily on the use of national security as a pretext for the usurpation of unprecedented executive power.