So how do we get a *really* free press?
Free as in beer or free as in speech?
Pay for it may be the only way to get the latter. That is, the consumers pay for it, not the producers or advertizers.
Do you mean that some in the press have an agenda!?
August 18th, 2005
Free as in speech, but paid for by the public will pander to what the public wants to buy. We should try paid for by the government, cannot be revoked reporting like so many other countries have.
We're already forced to pay for government propaganda... do we really need more?
That's the nice thing about commercial news organizations (Fox, CNN, MSNBC, etc) as opposed to PBS, NPR, etc. If I don't want to support a commercial organization, I simply cease doing business with them... I actually have a choice.
August 18th, 2005
We subsidize commercial news (Fox, CNN, etc) because they use our airwaves for cheap, and their newspapers get postoffice discounts. So we don't have the choice to stop doing business with them, unless we use political power to tear off the leeches.
PBS and NPR are better than the commercial media, but the problem is they're still controlled by whomever controls the government. (Which isn't all that open to public participation.) Apparently FAIR did a detailed study showing that most guests on NPR were "elite" sources.
I'm not sure what exactly's wrong with "pandering" to the public. Perhaps I misunderstand, but that's pretty much what I want (assuming competition, low barriers to entry and audience-funded media). No matter how lurid and crappy our media is, at least there's good serious business news. Which means there's a sustainable demand for serious stuff.
It's interesting how newspapers have lots of business sections, but no labor sections... That's one problem with advertiser-driven models.
"I'm not sure what exactly's wrong with "pandering" to the public."
I just assume populous news will be about Paris Hilton and focus on John Kerry's waterskiing excursions rather than hard politics.
"...There is not one of you who dare to write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for keeping my
honest opinion out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things, and any of you who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the street looking for another job... The business of the journalist is to destroy the truth; to lie outright; to pervert; to vilify; to fawn at the feet
of mammon." – John Swinton (1880), Former New York Times Managing Editor
I do agree that people desire exciting stories and to learn about interesting people. I think that's healthy; I'm a sucker for it too. But there are filters in place, so celebs are limited to soundbites, and we don't easily get the "wrong" kind of rebel giving us news.
The film "The Corporation" used skill to produce a visually interesting documentary. I don't think news needs to be tedious or deadpan.
Unusual TV shows like "The Wire" and Brazil's "City of Men" portray things more realistically than normal TV shows, and I think there's a big demand for scenery that looks like people's neighborhoods. Where people often work all day and have real problems.
Incidentally I'm like falling-dead tired right now, so I hope that came out not too braindead-ly.
Yeah, but how does the distribution for The Corporation compare with distribution for that movie where people hit themselves in the crotch repeatedly. What was it called, Jackass?
In posting that link, all I expected to point out is that a free press is not guaranteed by the constitution or even a government that keeps it's filthy hands off the press (not bloody likely, of course)...
It's never guaranteed. But it would help if the journalists and publishers weren't bought and paid for.
Amy Goodman claims to be the only independent press in the US of A; she may have a point. The advertising business model as well as the ownership of media by corporate giants pretty much guarantee a LACK of a free press.
That's all I'm sayin'. Maybe the internet blogs will save us from total ignorance--but I wouldn't bet hard cash on it.
Amy Goodman ROCKS. I met her once, around a decade ago at the WBAI holiday crafts fair, well before Democracy Now. I said
"Oh, you're Amy Goodman, you do the morning show."
"And the evening news."
"Yes, but you're also on the morning show."
"And the evening news."
Aside from the other pleasantries, that's basically how the conversation went.
"You cannot hope to bribe or twist thank God! The British journalist. But, seeing what the man will do unbribed, there's no occasion to."
> Maybe the internet blogs will save us from total ignorance
If that's how you feel about the US media then, as well as individuals' blogs, there's also the mainstream media of other countries: which you could subscribe to, or read on the web.
Blogs comment on the news, they very, VERY rarely ever break it. Blogs are awful.
Wikis are the future.
August 19th, 2005
Christopher has a good point ... the other day I watched the BBC World News, which went into great depth about that day's deaths in Iraq followed by a long story about the settlers being evicted in the Gaza Strip. There were film clips, interviews with people on the scene, and insightful commentary; it reminded me of how our news used to be before it degenerated into the pap it is today.
Afterwards I turned on CNN Headline News just to get a sense of comparison. They gave Iraq and the Gaza strip each about 15-20 seconds - about as superficial as it could be, giving me the sense that they're getting their news secondhand from someone else; why even have reporters on the scene when they don't do any reporting?
And Fox ("Faux News") spent five mind-numbing minutes on the nonexistent Natalie Holloway story (teenage hottie missing in Aruba since the end of May ... hey, she's still missing!) and the "story" was still going when I got disgusted and turned off the set. So much for my tour of the mass media.
Forget TV and the local newspapers. I get my news from the New York Times (sometimes with a grain of salt), Washington Post, commondreams.org, alternet.org, Mother Jones, dailyhowler.com, occasionally the BBC.
"Yeah, but how does the distribution for The Corporation compare with distribution for that movie where people hit themselves in the crotch repeatedly. What was it called, Jackass?"
Very bad. Why?
Even in a perfect world, I'd imagine entertainments surpassing news. But there's still a huge demand for good informative media that just isn't being satisfied by the "free market."
Why do many download The Daily Show at universities? Journalists like Woodward & Bernstein get on his show and praise him for "alluding to the truth." (PBS's Bill Moyers said that.) When plugging his last book, he spent time begging journalists to use their gravitas to do real news. Because all he can do is fake news.
But The Corporation vs. Jackass? Maybe Jackass should get a bigger audience.
I was just trying to prove my point that a media driven by sales would be media the equivelant of Jackass. Unless the people who did the news were extremely altruistic and didn't care at all about profits.
In which case, they can do the news today using the model you described. A modest subscription podcast, or weekly rag.
August 19th, 2005
A lot of journalists ARE altruistic and they don't particularly care about the profits their company makes.
However, they're answerable to people who do.
I believe that the people who do the media *are* very liberal (the profession attracts them in the same way business attracts hardcore capitalists). However, the journalists aren't allowed to set the agenda or the tone, it's their masters who do so.
August 19th, 2005
Mark, I do think you have a good point in that people should be able to participate strongly in the media they use. Just as Wal-Mart knows it must put its fingers in its suppliers' businesses.
Yes, I think the one-dollar-one-vote approach to media participation will have its problems. But I think today's media situation is good in the sense that there's so many problems, that any incremental reform can improve things. ;)
But I think there are areas where people pour a lot of intelligence, like with sports. They know all these statistics and sports commentators expend lots of brainpower... but when it comes to politicians, the media sucks. They don't talk about the interesting political tactics, which I find a lot more interesting than the tactics used by some car going around in circles.
I think Jackass has a LOT to teach political newspeople. On the Daily Show, the news commentators sometimes rub their nipples -- and they're among the best journalism on the airwaves. Maybe the solution is to get Dan Rather running into poles. Now, I'm kind of joking, but kind of not.