Censorship in the United States has taken several forms over the centuries since the republic's founding in 1776.
The U.S. military has always censored news on war.
There have been rare examples the government exercising "prior restraint" of sensitive material, for instance the Pentagon Papers' publication in the New York Times and the Washington Post, but these exercises have generally been ruled unconstitutional.
Courts censor "obscene" materials. School libraries, in a way, have occasionally censored a book by refusing to shelve it -- although the public library in the same town might carry it.
Although the First Amendment to the fledgling nation's constitution was intended to guarantee the free expression of political and religious ideas, many writers have charged that political parties and corporate interests have found ways to suppress ideas which are so effective as to be tantamount to censorship itself.
Political parties and corporate interests hire public relations firms, who use spin (a form of propaganda) and media manipulation to direct people's attention away from issues they prefer not to be discussed, or towards others. The techniques are not, however, universally successful. Political scandals, in particular, such as the Monica Lewinsky incident, have a tendency to leak out, in particular if there is sordid or ribald interest.
Moreover, the book Manufacturing Consent argues that economic pressure on media corporations enforces a pro-government slant on news reporting. Similarly, the book Bias argues that a prevailing liberal viewpoint among TV journalists results in the suppression of conservative views. See the media bias page for further discussion of allegations of conservative vs. liberal biases in the American media.
Censorship efforts directed towards musicians have occurred several times in American history. This began at least as far back as jazz in the 1920s, when observers expressed fear that the music was corrupting the minds of young Americans. This has been a common accusation throughout the years, and has been applied to the blues, swing, hip hop, punk rock, rock and roll, heavy metal, psychedelic rock and rockabilly. Artists like 2 Live Crew, Marilyn Manson, Elvis Presley, The Doors and Eminem have been subjects of censorship efforts.
Censorship in real life: