The U.S. corporate, Neoliberal media gets more sickening, reprehensible and vile by the day. Their latest news blasts (aimed at dolts and gullibles) - strangely timed not long after Russia granted Edward Snowden temporary asylum - is to paint Russia as so lacking civil liberties they will go after a 'Murican Band (Blood Hound Gang) and two pop stars - Lady Gaga and Madonna. Usually left out, or given four seconds of short shrift, is what they did to deserve the sanctions.
In fact, Blood Hound Gang, performing in the Ukraine, saw one of its members take the Russian flag and stuff it down his pants to the cheers of the gathered, drunken twits. For that they were banned from Russia, and that is the Russians' right to do - never mind U.S. corporate nabobs who can't even get their basic facts right (or don't want to) on the Kennedy assassination.
Make no mistake though. had this unwashed bunch of troglodytes tried that stunt in Barbados, say using the flag of Bim (broken Trident) they'd not only have been banned but have spent about a year in Glendairy Prison, keeping company with the rats. Had they tried the stunt in a neighboring island, and the news reached Bim, they'd also be banned - just like the Russians did.
Believe it or not, many other nations don't distort "free speech" rights like the hypocrites in the U.S. do.In Germany and Austria, for example, if you're so fucking stupid as to deny the holocaust and go about writing or speechifying on it, you will spend time in the clink. This isn't being "tyrannical" but it is a sober and practical recognition that the past of these nations, if not managed stringently, could come back to bite them in unseemly ways, see e.g. http://brane-space.blogspot.com/2013/06/what-are-new-german-nazis-really-up-to.html
Thus, there are practical limits imposed on speech if it doesn't redound to the common welfare of the countries involved. And please, the U.S. has such checks as well though they may not be formal or under the aegis of gov't! Recall the fate of one former Univ. of Colorado prof, Ward Churchill, who lost his job after some little termite with nothing better to do dug up an old essay of his written in the aftermath of 9/11 ('"On the Justice of Roosting Chickens") then circulated (fax-blasted) it to dozens of news sources.
When it came to the attention of the President and regents at the Univ. of Colorado, they immediately instigated an academic witch hunt, on HIM - no one else, and investigated all his past research ultimately arriving at a finding of "plagiarism" for which he was officially fired. (Unofficially, "plagiarism" was the cover employed to fire him for his provocative essay.) Churchill's lawyers claimed the university violated the provision of equal rights under the law, since their investigations focused only on him and no one else. Hence, it was clearly designed to operate like a fishing expedition to expel Churchill. Other serious academics also protested, because of course they were smart enough to recognize an attack on free speech when they saw it, and found it violated university tenure protections as well. They feared, with good reason, the same could be done to them if a reason was found and as one prof put it: "Hell, if they looked hard and long enough they'd find plagiarism in just about everyone's portfolios of past papers, research - or what might be perceived by some as such."
So, the U.S. does impose limits on speech, it just doesn't always do it formally - though the recent attacks on whistle blowers could be viewed as formal gov't proscriptions. But my point is that with so many hypocrites in this country, it's easy to depict double standards, or ...that we are the goody two shoes nation while the others are baddies because they won't do what we do.
As for Madonna and Lady Gaga, most corporate news media sources just portray the ladies as victims of Russian heavy -handedness because they appeared on stage in Russia to defend the band 'Pussy Riot' and to plump for gay rights. The subtext conveyed is embodied in the question: "How can anyone seriously defend Snowden going to Russia for asylum after this?"
In fact, only one media outlet I've seen - on CBS this morning - noted that neither Gaga nor Madonna had visas to enter the country. DUH! Don't these ladies know that entry without visas is illegal in any country that demands them? If they pulled that stunt in B'dos they'd also spend time - in the women's sector of Glendairy- keeping company with somewhat smaller rats.
Instead of wasting their time and "talents" on the "persecution" of U.S. rock stars, the corporate Neoliberal media would do better to focus on substantial matters such as the actual cabal of gangsters and national security forces that killed John F. Kennedy and how our medical system is so distorted that people needing surgery have to travel to India, Mexico or Belgium to get it - saving vast sums of money even when air fare is factored in.
But see, the job of the U.S. media isn't to be invested in keeping citizens properly informed but to keep them brainwashed, or terrified....i.e. from the latest "terror alert" warnings. And after all, we have 9/11 coming up so it's time to keep that meme alive! Can't have the NSA losing its funding after all, or for congress critters to finally grow a pair and place limits on surveillance. Oh no. Better to cut Social Security and Medicare - as well as Medicaid for the poor- so the rich can live high off the hog while we blow more trillions on military and security BS.
See also: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/08/04/3542743/embassy-closings-travel-warning.html