Sunday, March 20, 2005

The New Face of News

In Friday's Christian Science Monitor, the staff has penned an editorial entitled, "What is a Journalist?" That is a salient question, particularly in an age when the government is producing "news", party hacks are being credentialed by the White House and a great deal of the mainstream media is shilling for Corporate America.

The Monitor begins their diatribe as follows:
The answer to that question was once easy. Until the Internet, journalists were typically attached to an established organization that could afford to own and run a newspaper, magazine, radio or TV station, TV network, or cable news outlet. Their credibility was both individual and institutional.

For all of its flaws, and despite often high entry costs, this marketplace of ideas has flourished. Journalists know that transparency and fairness in how they cover the news are critical.
While the Monitor admits that traditional journalism often involves "high entry costs", it seems as if they fail to grasp what it is they are actually asserting -- News and the reporting of such should be reserved for the rich and well-to-do. I mean, we can't expect average Jane's and Joe's to understand this complex world we live in, right?

There's a bumpersticker I really like, "The liberal media are as liberal as the conservative corporations that own them". This slogan points to the obvious fact that the idea of a liberal media is more myth than reality. I'm sure the idea of liberal media bias sprung forth from the far right-wing power brokers who believe that anything that don't control absolutely -- though it is certainly becoming true that they control the media to a great extent -- must have a bias against them.

One point made by the Monitor certainly is accurate: Just because information appears on a blog (like this one) doesn't mean it's necessarily news and it certainly doesn't mean it's necessarily trustworthy. Unfortunately, this is also true of information that appears in print or on the airwaves from mainstream media sources!

In my humble opinion, the great advantage of blogs is that through a variety of means -- description, profile, blog rolls and mottos -- the reader can easily discern the perspective of the author[s]. I'm fairly sure that anyone who reads The Rambling Taoist would not come to the false conclusion that I'm a steadfast member of the Republican Party or that this blog is owned by Time-Warner.

In other words, there is a certain level of transparency in the blogosphere that does not exist in the mainstream media.

The venerable New York Times wants you to think that they only print the news that's fit to print. But who decides the fitness of news and what biases color such decisions? At a quick glance, this might be hard to determine. However, if you look at the corporations that advertise in the Times, this will certainly provide an important clue.

You don't need to uncover clues to figure out my biases. I make it easy for you; my biases are in black-and-white at the top of this blog. And, knowing my biases and perspective from the get-go, makes it far easier for you, the reader, to decide if what I write each day is news or is pertinent or is something that makes any difference to you.

1 comment:

  1. Good post and you make some good points. The "Liberal Media" is a creation of the conservatives. It is any outlet that says something they don't like. It's like "activist judges", those are judges that make decisions they don't agree with.


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