1.17.2005

"something's gone wrong south of the border"

Kyle says:
Regardless of whatever bias the media itself has, usually they're always looking for the government to slip up. At least, that's how it works here. Even the Globe and Mail would go for the Liberal party jugular if it smelled blood. A flailing government is news, and the media is far more loyal to the dollar than it is to any political preference.

But somethings gone wrong south of the border. The media is now trying to defend and explain the government's actions, which seems opposite to what they're supposed to do. It seems wrong to have the media in bed with the government, regardless of what your political preferences are.
Exactly. Something has gone drastically wrong. The media is supposed to have an adversarial relationship to government. Yet these days mainstream media functions as government publicists.

This is what happens when giant multinational corporations gobble up media outlets, conglomerating them into fewer and fewer hands. And those hands are profit-driven, stockholder driven - not information-driven or (god forbid) truth-driven. They know which side their bread (and their access) is buttered on. Lately we've been finding out just how connected to government they are.

Some good people to read on this subject are Eric Alterman and Danny Schecter and his Media Channel. The Nation also publishes an annual (is it annual or occasional?) "media family tree" which clearly illustrates the danger. I haven't been able to find one to post, but maybe a helpful reader will. I'm sure there's a .pdf of one somewhere out there.

Before someone protests that the Internet makes up for mainstream media's failings, I think that's seriously disingenuous. Thank goodness for the Internet, it's an activist's dream. But when working people come home from their stressful, low-paying jobs and have to get dinner together before helping the kids with their homework, they can't be expected to hunt down alternative points of view among the kazillion websites out there. They should be able to flick on their TV and get some accurate reporting, which means media that questions government, not parrots it.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think "access" is the key word. America is hardly the only place where media consolidation is going on, but I think access to the government is more tightly controlled. The media has to march in lockstep if they want the story, and the story is the money.

Rob said something about how the Republicans demand loyalty these days, which is why things are the way they are. The media never had to march in step with Clinton, since there was always an insider ready to spill the beans. Bush however, seems to control his insiders in a way that would make Saddam Hussein blush.

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

That was me, by the way. I didn't mean to post anonymously.

L-girl said...

Yes, I agree. I also think that huge media corporations (Time Warner, Disney, Viacom) have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo, such as putting a friendly spin on economic news. The so-called wall between corporate and editorial is more like swiss cheese these days.

Doctor Marco said...

Will we be able to identify the moment in which democracy ceases to exist in order for the corporate state to take its place?

L-girl said...

I think it's an ongoing evolution. Perhaps devolution would be more apt.

Shar said...

how about some alternative news? http://signs-of-the-times.org/signs/signs.htm

L-girl said...

There's alternative news aplenty online. Signs Of The Times is a not one of my favorites, but there's a wealth of choices. But I don't think the presence of the internet should let mainstream media off the hook for being corporate whores. And lazy whores at that.