Our News Media: Weapons of Mass Distraction

north-korea-missile-launchNorth Korea attempted to launch a missile, dangerously defying a nuclear weapons agreement with the U.S.

The jobs report showed a disturbing economic slowdown, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released an announcement concerning the re-vamping of rules in an effort to help homeowners manage their mortgages.

Mitt Romney lied and fearmongered in a speech he gave at the National Rifle Association (NRA) national convention.

Our student debt crisis is an open keg of gunpowder with live wires dancing around it.

These are just a few immediately concerning newsworthy events which took place in one week’s time, each with great potential impact on U.S. citizens.

Which issue saturated U.S. news media that week?

hillary-rosen-vs-ann-romneyHillary Rosen’s remarks about Ann Romney.

An important social issue, for sure. But far from the immediate potentially life-threatening issues of nuclear-capable North Korean defiance, demonstrated and unreported economic slowdown, new CFPB rules that could help us hang on to our homes, the threat of an impending explosion to our already-suffering economy…and the list on goes on – for just that week alone.

If not to inform us about vital information we absolutely need to know in order to maintain democracy, plan our lives accordingly, make intelligent decisions, and simply be well and correctly informed…what exactly is American news media really about?

Many American news journalists have and are coming forward in past and recent years to answer this question, and to speak openly about the dangerous slide into government and corporate-controlled censorship of U.S. news media.

danrather-cbs-newsOne of these journalists, Dan Rather - who became an icon of U.S. news media during his 45-year career as one of America’s most famous and respected news anchors – has now retired and is speaking out about the inherent danger to democracy, and rapid deterioration of American news media.

Says Rather, “[Our failing news media] comes down to this: In the current model of big, conglomerate corporate ownership, the incentive to produce good and valuable news is simply not there. What has changed most is the character of news ownership. For example, the pressure of the White House of the late President Richard Nixon during my coverage of the Watergate crimes…pressure to call me off that story. Back then, my bosses took the heat so that the story could get told…so that the public could be informed. But this [freedom to report on such high-level crimes] is rare, now.”

As well, Rather reveals that “America’s biggest, most important news organizations have fallen prey…to merger after merger, acquisition after acquisition, to the point where [news outlets] are now tiny parts of immeasurably large corporate entities…entities whose vast array of business interests have nothing to do with news. The overall reigning mandate [of these corporate entities] is to provide a return on shareholder value, and to increase profits.

corporate-newsRather implores Americans to take action in order to reverse the disintegration of our news media:

American news is in need of a spine transplant. Let the treatment begin today…take this message to your colleagues and your fellow citizens. Magnify it, multiply it, and spread it.

Make it something that cannot be ignored. Not by the political parties, not by our candidates, not by the owners and executives of media companies. You deserve a press that provides the raw material of democracy.

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Is American news media targeting us with weapons of mass distraction?

Do you feel genuinely informed by U.S. news media?

In light of the fact that American media is owned by corporations with special interest agendas, do you trust the information provided by U.S. news media?

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World News Wednesday

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17 thoughts on “Our News Media: Weapons of Mass Distraction

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    • I like those guys, too (minus the non-journalist Sharpton). But if anything goes wrong at Universal Studios, you won’t hear about it on MSNBC. You’ll get a fantastic spin report, though. Why? They own it!

      • Sharpton has to grow on you—it takes time. I grew up with his flamboyance popping up in the news every now and again. I like him, but I’ll admit that he does have a certain crazy brother or crazy old uncle quality about him. Again, he’s an acquired taste.

        And yes, you are right, MSNBC is going to put there spin on news and avoid certain issues, but I end up with less of a headache after watching them as compared with others.

  4. Not in the US, not in Greece, not… well, anywhere…?
    I only watch the news sometimes in order to know what they’re feeding the public, what’s the “official story” and the propaganda of the day.
    The internet (double-, triple-, x10- cross-checked) and real conversation with informed people are how I get the news.

    • You know, I always wonder the percentages of people who believe the news & those who don’t. In my experience, many more people believe what they hear in the news. Statements are backed up by saying, “It was on the news!” the belief being that if it’s on the news, it must be true because the news can’t broadcast lies without being publicly called on it, and why would news organizations risk their reputations by broadcasting misinformation? Sounds like a good, solid argument. But the thing is, it isn’t.

      What’s the news like in Greece? Do corporations own news outlets there? Do most Greeks trust their news?

      • Unfortunately, corporations, businessmen, politicians and the like control the media, especially tv.

        The majority of Greeks, esp. the older generations, used to trust their news presenters a lot, at least until recently. They deemed them “respectable,” serious persons to listen to.

        The latest developments with the economic crisis and social unrest have “forced” them to open their eyes a bit and to start questioning what they’re told by mass media — but they don’t know what to believe either.

        And there are also many issues that remain obscure, or that don’t attract people’s attention, so we have to dig out information — and, frankly, I don’t understand some analyses I read!

        • That’s so interesting. I know exactly what you mean about having to hunt down obscure info – I have to do this weekly, and sometimes it drives me crazy trying to get access to info our government would rather we didn’t see but can’t legally restrict access to, and so places layer upon layer of walls to scale in order to get to it. Maddening! And impossibly time-consuming, which I guess is the point because most people are much too busy to scale walls for info when they can just read/listen to/watch whatever’s quickly & easily available. But this fast-food, ideologically-slanted info is exactly what we’re meant to absorb, believe and accept as truth…

    • Apparently, not any more. We had an agreement with Pyongyang that stipulated they would halt their uranium enrichment program, and allow international monitoring of their nuclear sites in exchange for Washington providing 240,000 tons of food aid by Washington.

      Here’s the article: http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/04/the-diplomatic-breakdown-behind-north-koreas-missile-test/255851/

      Hopefully, the missile launch (which failed anyway), will be the end of it!

      • There is much valid criticism that may be laid at the feet of the media. But there is as much that can be laid at the feet of their audience. If I were delivering a speech to a group of classical musicians, my speech “On Rap and Crap” would probably get a tepid reception at best. It is obvious that most people are more interested in the box score of their favorite team or the latest indiscretion or gossip about a Hollywood celebrity than they are about issues that will change the world. And the media play to that lack of depth in an admirable way.

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