Major American News Media: Fair and Balanced?
Novelist Jeffrey Archer in his work The Fourth Estate made this observation:
"In May 1789, Louis XVI summoned to Versailles a full meeting of the ‘Estate General’. The First Estate consisted of three hundred clergy. The Second Estate, three hundred nobles. The Third Estate, six hundred commoners. Some years later, after the French Revolution, Edmund Burke, looking up at the Press Gallery of the House of Commons, said, 'Yonder sits the Fourth Estate, and they are more important than them all."
Archer recognized the importance of the media to a functional government. It is what separates free societies from all others. It is very important that we do not always just accept at face value the news media, whether or not we think the media has an agenda to support. If we look at our own news media we can see that there is much to be desired and this demands we call into question their motives.
What should we expect of the news media? They should report the news. They should also be willing to ask important questions of those in key positions and be willing to help hold them accountable.
Post 9/11 we heard Bush’s war cries by reason of Hussein’s ‘weapons of mass destruction' and the alleged Hussein connection with 9/11. If Wolf Blitzer and company had asked the questions that are only being asked now in hindsight, might the last few years appear much differently? Unfortunately this is not what happened and people like filmmaker Michael Moore were blackballed for their efforts to ask the questions that mainstream media then refused to ask but are slowly starting to ask now.
True in-depth news coverage would have been to ask those questions then. The questions were not asked then, so the logical next step would be to consider why those questions were not asked. Whether one senses foul play or not, it does stand to reason that the questions need to be asked, and they need to be asked over and over again until we have satisfactory answers.
This document http://disclosureproject.org/PDF-Documents/CIAMemo.pdf is an authenticated document that states on page 6 that the CIA Public Affairs Office
"now has relationships with reporters from every major wire service, newspaper, news weekly, and television network in the nation. This has helped us turn some intelligence failure stories into intelligence success stories, and it has contributed to the accuracy of countless others. In many instances, we have persuaded reporters to postpone, change, hold, or even scrap stories that could have adversely affected national security interests or jeopardized sources and methods."
Do we still think now that we have a free press? If we don't have a free press, we don't have Democracy.
Mainstream media is far more effective at making us think that our news is fair and balanced when in reality it is not. For example, is it really news that Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan has to go to jail/rehabilitation for drunken driving? Is it really news that Britney Spears shaved her head? Is what OJ is doing paramount to the future of our nation?
This is not news. That is what rags like National Enquirer are for.
I want to know why no major news media has ever reported that President Bush signed an executive order that allows him to be dictator in case of national disaster, even allowing him without the oversight of Congress to decide what is or is not a national disaster. Nor that President Bush signed another executive order stating anyone that protests the war can have property and other assets taken away? This is not conspiracy theory, this is not off of some kook’s website, this is from the webpage of the White House. This is news, yet we never found out about this through CNN or Fox or NPR. It was word of mouth through the internet, which is the most effective tool against the secrecy that is surrounding our government these days.
I called our local affiliate Fox station asking them why they didn’t report that on their show. The guy that answered the phone said that he probably wasn’t the Executive Producer of the show that day!
The saving grace that may save Democracy is the internet, which allows free-flowing news from a wider body of sources. And we must realize the government's interest in limiting this too! Now we must also apply the same caution no matter the source. But we must recognize that there are some very intelligent people asking important questions that mainstream media is not asking.I don't know anyone that I completely agree with 100%. If we were to apply the same criteria to news media that we apply to those around us we would all have a different opinion of the validity of our news media.
The bottom line is that we have a right to investigative news and readily available evidence shows that we do not have that in this country