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Blown to Bits: Your Life, Liberty, and Happiness After the Digital Explosion, First Edition by Harry Lewis, Ken Ledeen, Hal Abelson

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Chapter 8Bits in the Air

Old Metaphors, New Technologies, and Free Speech

Censoring the President

On July 17, 2006, U.S. President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair were chatting at the G-8 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia. The event was a photo opportunity, but the two leaders did not realize that a microphone was on. They were discussing what the UN might do to quell the conflict between Israel and militant forces in Lebanon. "See the irony is," said Bush, "what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit and it's over."

The cable network CNN carried the clip in full and posted it on the Web, but most broadcast stations bleeped out the expletive. They were aware of the fines, as much as $325,000, that ...

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