There is a simple rule that is followed scrupulously by most U.S. commentators of every stripe on world affairs and war.
This rule allows strong criticism of the US But major official adversaries of the US, Iran, Russia and China, must never, ever be presented as better than the US in any significant way. The US may be depicted as equally bad (or better) than these enemies, but never worse.
- Major Adversaries: Never better than the US
- US (and the rest of West): Never worse than the Major Adversaries
Of course this is a recipe for demonization and war. In essence the US must be presented at worst as the lesser evil.
That is the Rule for Respectable Commentary.
Who or what is the enforcer? I have written to other writers who admit that they avoid speaking well of Major Adversaries even when it is warranted. They know that they will come under attack and their credibility will be questioned. They know that editors, ever conscious of their credibility (as they should be) and of their donors (as they should not be) will turn down the writing of one who violates The Rule for Respectable Commentary, hereafter known as The Rule.
So it is censorship that enforces The Rule, but largely self-censorship of the very kind which runs rampant in the Main Stream Media and which is so often bemoaned in the alternative press. "We have met the enemy and they are us."