Friday, June 02, 2006

Free Press? Whatever!

A new analysis by the Committee to Protect Journalists has found that North Korea is the worlds deepest information void with not a single independent journalist and all radio and TV receivers locked to government specified frequencies - the country gets the number one spot in the committees Top Ten report.

But that’s not the story. What would you prefer – to know your enemy or not? To know that you are censored or pretend that you’re not?

Let's look deeper at the promoted 'free speech' in the western world. Even the most reluctant of the Fox News crew would agree that all mainstream journalists work for a corporation and if you're not towing the company line - it's on the street with ya.

All mainstream journalism IS censored – partly attributed to government policies (USA, Germany and France amongst others) but mostly by the corporations that employ them. Corporate hand-outs don’t come easy when your employees are biting the hand that feeds them. Journalism, like news, is a consumer product that is branded (Fox News, BBC World Service, CNN). News and newspapers are businesses that need rating to sell advertising

Look at the way that Bush and Co. run the media - it's THAT form of censorship that is more dangerous to an open society than North Korea. Better an honest policy of 'No Free Speech' that a watered down media that claims to be telling it all - fair and balanced. Only the most sheepish of the sheep believe that story.

News anchors, like athletes and celebrities, are branded and made up to sell the network - not the news. News is treated like a commodity that is shaped into a product, wrapped in the 'latest color' and sold to consumers. You are only, and treated as, a consumer of a product. Used to sell advertizing slots to the highest bidder.

Feel that warm and cuddly feeling?

Media companies are no different than Tobbacco and Pharmaceutical companies - no different than Harley Davidson and Levi Strauss - marketing companies.

But the real story is how technology is cleaning up the 5th Estate. Big name journalists are loosing credibility.

I live in a country where I have free access to several news sources including BBC, CNN and Al Jazeera. One story told three different ways but I get to make up my own mind based on different versions or biases.

I feel sorry for those that are stuck to one media source - I feel sorry that they actually believe what they get. Stars & Stripes syndrome at it's worse.

Bloggers know this.

Believe me when I say that lots of bloggers are not believable but at least we have the options can get opinions - weigh them - and make our own minds up.

Blogger Carlo Longino, a veteran technology journalist, wrote an insightful essay on his personal blog about why journalism is broken and what could be done to fix it. Carlo's rant was a response to Mark Cuban's post titled 'Why Journalism Matters.'

From Carlo's essay:

The biggest problem facing the journalism world is its ongoing ignorance of opinion. Facts are often meaningless without interpretation. To act like bias and subjectivity in that interpretation don’t exist is not only naïve, it’s short-sighted. For all that people talk about wanting 'just the facts', that isn’t true, they want them interpreted and presented in some particular way - witness the popularity of Fox News, or the interest in things like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. It’s this embrace of subjectivity that tends to separate old and new media, and is holding back journalism

Read On


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