2
   

The trouble with your press

 
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Dec, 2004 09:37 am
Liberals are stupid, throw rocks at them.
usually followed by
Conservatives are stupid, throw rocks at them.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Dec, 2004 09:39 am
Weren't there talks going on to stop the kindergarden battle over christmas?
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kickycan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Dec, 2004 09:58 am
JustWonders wrote:
Top Underreported/Buried Stories for 2004

December 14, 2004

1. How CBS and the Kerry campaign allegedly broke federal election law in trying to defeat President Bush. This is the subject of a Federal Election Commission complaint.

2. How liberals tried to use federal agencies to delay or censor Sinclair Broadcasting's airing of Stolen Honor, showing how John Kerry's anti-war testimony led to the torture of our Vietnam POWs.

3. The lies and inaccuracies in Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, including the claim that the FBI didn't screen the Saudis who were in the U.S. and left shortly after 9/11 for terrorist connections. Also, Moore's claim on his web site that Iraqi terrorists were comparable to America's Revolutionary War heroes.

4. How the Senate Intelligence Committee report and the Lord Butler Report in England discredited Joe Wilson's charges against the Bush administration regarding Iraq seeking uranium from Africa.

5. How and why MIT's Dr. Richard Lindzen, perhaps the country's leading climatologist, doesn't accept the man-made global warming theory.

6. Revelations of John Kerry's documented presence at a meeting in which the assassination of pro-Vietnam War senators was discussed, and which he failed to report.

7. The accuracy of the claims of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, such as that John Kerry didn't spend Christmas in Cambodia, as he had claimed.

8. The financial affairs and sources of income of billionaire George Soros and his grants and contributions to press organizations.

9. How Senator John Edwards used "junk science" in some of the cerebral palsy lawsuits that made him rich.

10. The New York Times' refusal to return a Pulitzer Prize awarded to a Times correspondent, Walter Duranty, whose dispatches lied about the Soviet Union and the Ukrainian famine.

11. How AIM's film, Confronting Iraq, makes a persuasive case for war with Iraq after 9/11.

12: How USA Today ran a story based on the same discredited documents used by CBS News in its story questioning President Bush's service in the National Guard.

13. The questionable background and qualifications of Michael Scheuer, the former CIA analyst who gave interviews as "anonymous" and criticized the war in Iraq and the war on Islamic terrorism.

14. The U.N.'s use of questionable and changing statistics on the nature and spread of AIDS.

15. The media's growing embrace of the "gay rights" movement by running wedding announcements for homosexual couples.

16. The physical attack on and hospitalization of anti-drug activist Steven Steiner after he tried to speak to the National Press Club about George Soros' pro-drug policies.

17. John Kerry's failure to release all of his military and medical records.

18. How terrorists are inaccurately described as militants or insurgents, rather than as terrorists.

19. How the International Association of Firefighters endorsed John Kerry for president without a vote of its members.

20. Anti-Serb and anti-Christian violence in U.N.-controlled Kosovo.


Haha! That is hilarious. A great example of just what Nimh was talking about.

Censored 2004: The Top 25 Censored
Media Stories of 2002-2003

#1: The Neoconservative Plan for Global Dominance

#2: Homeland Security Threatens Civil Liberty

#3: US Illegally Removes Pages from Iraq U.N. Report

#4: Rumsfeld's Plan to Provoke Terrorists

#5: The Effort to Make Unions Disappear

#6: Closing Access to Information Technology

#7: Treaty Busting by the United States

#8: US/British Forces Continue Use of Depleted Uranium Weapons Despite Massive Evidence of Negative Health Effects

#9: In Afghanistan: Poverty, Women's Rights,
and Civil Disruption Worse than Ever

#10: Africa Faces Threat of New Colonialism

#11: U.S. Implicated in Taliban Massacre

#12: Bush Administration Behind Failed Military Coup in Venezuela

#13: Corporate Personhood Challenged

#14: Unwanted Refugees a Global Problem

#15: U.S. Military's War on the Earth

#16: Plan Puebla-Panama and the FTAA

#17: Clear Channel Monopoly Draws Criticism

#18: Charter Forest Proposal Threatens Access to Public Lands

#19: U.S. Dollar vs. the Euro: Another Reason for the Invasion of Iraq

#20: Pentagon Increases Private Military Contracts

#21: Third World Austerity Policies: Coming Soon to a City Near You

#22: Welfare Reform Up For Reauthorization, but Still No Safety Net

#23: Argentina Crisis Sparks Cooperative Growth

#24: Aid to Israel Fuels Repressive Occupation in Palestine

#25: Convicted Corporations Receive Perks Instead of Punishment
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Dec, 2004 10:05 am
BBB
In the United States, we are all aware of the right wing conservative's 40 year successful campaign to take over radio, television, and the print media and to use this dominance to achieve political power at the local and national level.

I would be interested to learn if A2K members in other countries have observed a similar organized movement by right wing conservatives, especially right wing religious parties. If so, are the tactics the same? How successful have they been?

I'm curious to learn whether their efforts are largely confined to the US or if it is a world-wide movement. We can see the obvious religious right movement in Muslim countries. But how widespread is the revolution?

BBB
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Dec, 2004 01:18 pm
georgeob1 wrote:
There are, however, a few fairly clear differences, which may at least get close to the heart of this. In no particular order -

Our TV journalists are entertainers, not "news readers" as they are often styled in (say) the BBC. The commercial values of the entertainment aspect of what they do appears to be much greater than what I have seen in other countries.

Very few of these people are well educated or were in any substantial way selected for their roles based on understanding of history, economics, or often journalism, for that matter. Therefore they often resort to theatrical devices to create the illusion of competence and superior understanding. This leads to an emphasis on the superficial aspects of what was said or done. The creation of the illusion of objectivity often leads to dueling spokesmen from the warring camps and in some cases perpetually dueling news commentators themselves, each spewing out his stuff from stylized viewpoints that are a caricature of the polar political extremes.

The fact that we have a two-party system makes this process all the easier for the media's theatrical practitioners. Their methods in turn make it fairly easy for the politicians and their handlers to package what they put out to deflect serious inquiry or confuse an issue on which they are vulnerable. So we have a self-reinforcing dynamic that finds stability only at a very superficial level, one in which posturing too often replaces statements of position on issues and the difficult tradeoffs and side effects involved in any serious decision making are almost never addressed.


Excellent post, George, couldn't have articulated these points better myself. Thank you.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Dec, 2004 06:00 pm
Re: BBB
BumbleBeeBoogie wrote:
I would be interested to learn if A2K members in other countries have observed a similar organized movement by right wing conservatives, especially right wing religious parties.

A movement by right wing religious parties to take over the media? No, don' think I've seen anything like that. The most read newspaper, The Telegraaf, still is the scandalmongering, populist rag it always was, to Dutch standards anyway (it was already "wrong in the war", the ultimate litmus test here), and all the other papers are timidly centrist or centre-left. I posted an overview of our newspapers the other day. One of the smaller ones is Christian, but it leans left.

Additionally the "small right", as the parties of the orthodox "black-stocking" Protestants used to be called (having hovered between 5 and 8 seats in parliament, out of 150, since 1981) also have their own newspapers, the Dutch Daily and the Reformed Daily, with limited but stable printruns.

If anything, the rightwing parties - or any parties, rather - have much less of a stranglehold on the media than they did in the past. Up till the late sixties or so, most every national newspaper represented the "voice" of a specific political party. Trouw spoke for the protestants, de Tijd and de Volkskrant for the catholics, the NRC for the right-wing liberals, het Vrije Volk and het Parool for the social-democrats and de Waarheid for the communists.
Only some of them, like de Waarheid, were party organs outright, but they were all kept on a pretty tight rein by their respective socio-political "pillar". After the war, for example, Catholic People's Party leader Romme was also an editor-in-chief of de Volkskrant, and Bruins Slot, the parliamentary leader of the protestant Anti-Revolutionary Party, was also editor-in-chief of Trouw. Their position highlighted a tradition that went back to 1869, when liberal statesman Thorbecke, one of the fathers of modern Dutch democracy, stated that all daily newspapers should be party organs, and that the party leaders should determine in this what would serve party interest.

It was an approach that guaranteed diversity in the media landscape, but, needless to say, hampered journalistic independence. And since catholics were told by their priests that they would go to hell if they read a socialist newspaper, and socialists could not afford their neighbour to see that a liberal newspaper was delivered, the ideological diversity of the media landscape as a whole did nothing to detract from the jealously guarded narrow info spaces in which each of the religious-ideological communities was constrained (with the possible exception of the slightly more free-minded liberals).

But since the so-called de-pillarisation of the sixties and seventies, all that is gone now. The papers have long since wrestled themselves out of any political control, and those that didn't, perished. Each newspaper now has become much more of a varied container of opinions, its slant evidenced only by a more diffuse, less homogenous general thrust of reporting. Journalistic independence has increased a lot compared to those bad old days - even if, in return, it has (ironically) made the newspapers resemble each other all the more. They're all now more or less in the same broad, "standard" centrist or centre-left playing field.

Television

The same pretty much goes for our highly complicated public broadcasting system, now consisting of three TV channels divided up between eight large and a host of smaller broadcasting organisations. Those broadcasting organisations were originally founded on the basis of political and religious persuasion. The idea was that each religious and political persuasion should have access to its own broadcasting time, and thus catholic, protestant, liberal, socialist and free-thinking broadcasting associations were founded. Each is assigned broadcasting time proportionally to the number of members they have.

A few things happened after the war, notably from the 60s onwards, to undermine the system. For one, as "depillarisation" set in and audiences became more fleeting, less delineated, broadcasters started to compete with each other for the same groups. They started member drives based on their TV guides: all the way up till this year, it was the broadcasting associations that collectively held the right to programming info, and so the only way to get a detailed overview of what's on the tube was by becoming a member of one or the other association (or, more expensively, buying their TV guide). One's guide was cheaper, the other more colourful, and thus conviction and membership started to diverge.

Then came the "pirate" stations, Veronica broadcasting from a ship in the North Sea. Eventually, such wholly non-political newcomers were incorporated into the system, even though they did not represent, as the law prescribed, any political or religious persuasion. Timeslots for commercials were expanded and became an ever more important source of income for the broadcasters and that, too, stimulated them to let audience ratings rather than ideological principles drive their programming decisions. The resulting liberation from ideological constraints yielded newly independent news and background reporting, but also ever more bland commercialised programming.

The emergence of commercial Dutch-language television in the late eighties, initially broadcast from Luxemburg to avert the legislation banning it, heralded a second wave of the same sort of development. By now, the three public channels are left with about 30-40% of the audience, with some five or six mainstream commercial stations taking another 40-50% and specialised and foreign stations taking the rest.

What this has lead to is, on the one hand, a range of commercial stations that do not seem to represent any specific or divergent political orientation. The main differences are between those that cater to Joe Average with the regular game shows and soap series, and those that push the envelope ever further, pioneering ever more daring shows. Note that Big Brother was originally invented in Holland - for which my apologies - and that we've since moved on to shows in which couples are separated and tempted to cheat on their partner and shows in which teens are taken to Mediterranean beach resorts and encouraged to get pissed and misbehave. Nothing all too pleasant, but no political slant to be detected, or it would have to be the hedonist, materialist, egoist neo-liberal one, in a subtext kind of way.

On the other hand, there's a range of public broadcasters that in name are still "political", but in practice work ever more together as simply three different stations; Netherlands 3 (where the erstwhile socialists and free-thinkers went, along with a host of tiny broadcasters like the Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Humanist associations), for news, culture, alternative and in-depth programming and multicultural programmes; Netherlands 1 (where the erstwhile protestants, catholics and liberals went), for the somewhat more sedate programming that appeals to a mostly older audience; and Netherlands 2, an awkward mix of broadcasters trying to outcommercialise the commercial stations and the Evangelical Broadcaster.

The Evangelical Broadcaster (EO) is indeed the only thing I can think of here that approaches your question about the religious right taking over. It's a relatively young broadcaster, but its emergence and heyday still dates back to a decade or two ago. It started broadcasting in 1970 with a modest "C-status", but achieved "B-status" in 1983. Unlike the already depillarised catholic and 'regular' protestant broadcasters, it still held (and holds) stringently to its religious identity. With its membership quickly outpacing those of the "regular" broadcasters as the 1980s came round, the EO sure caught a lot of attention back then, organising huge National Days full of gospel and other entertainment for its fast-growing youth club.

Nevertheless, it too eventually was relatively co-opted by the broadcasting system, as its further growth (eventually achieving "A-status" in 1992) coincided with the convergence of broadcasters within the three stations. Its programming is still markedly religious, but it now co-produces its current affairs, for example, with the secular TROS. Furthermore, the massive emergence of commercial TV in the 90s has reduced the impact of any public broadcaster significantly, in any case. Last year, the EO had to actually shrink its operation for the first time ever.

BumbleBeeBoogie wrote:
I'm curious to learn whether their efforts are largely confined to the US or if it is a world-wide movement. We can see the obvious religious right movement in Muslim countries. But how widespread is the revolution?

<nods, liking and agreeing with the "religious right" definition for Muslim fundamentalists>
0 Replies
 
Einherjar
 
  1  
Reply Sat 18 Dec, 2004 08:57 pm
I'm always captivated when nimh delves into political history. Great post nimh.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Dec, 2004 09:17 am
Thanks Einherjar. It sure was a long post, but I guess, if anyone was interested, somehow, in the Dutch media landscape and its history, he now got a one-stop summary ... ;-) Glad you appreciated it.
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Dec, 2004 10:53 am
Nimh
Nimh, ash a question and you get the most marvelous answer. Thank you for taking the time to post such a definitive example of the media in the Netherlands. I learned much and enjoyed it.

I've had several Dutch immigrant good friends in the US, which has caused me to think well of the Hollanders as enlightened people. In the 1980s, I spent five days in Amsterdam and loved the land and its people.

BBB
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Dec, 2004 11:12 am
so whats the latest going down with Thiijs van Leer?
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georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Sun 19 Dec, 2004 09:01 pm
I believe the notion that there is a substantial right wing conspiracy in the United States (or any other developed country) to take over the media establishment is quite inconsistent with the facts and absurd in its underpinnings. There is no doubt that there have arisen a few commercially successful media forces (Rush Limbach, Fox News, and two or three newspapers) that have had a substantial impact on the public mind. These new elements in the media are generally dwarfed by opposing voices, Whether this is a cause of something or merely the result of a lack of dissenting voices, I will leave to others to explain.

The more or less equivalent bias of other media institutions, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the Broadcast Networks - and many others is different in that most of them adopt the pretense (or act from the conviction) that they have no bias at all - they merely deal objectively with the facts. Unfortunately their record over many decades confirms beyond doubt that in their selection of stories and in the context in which they put their descriptions of events, they have a decidedly left wing (in the American sense of that term) bias and viewpoint.

I believe that all of them, left and right share more or less equally in the defects that we have been discussing here. Though I suspect that BBB will focus more on the faults of (say) Fox news and I, perhaps, on the establishment papers and the broadcast networks. We would both be equally right and equally selective in such a recitiation.

My knowledge of the European media is less, but I suspect the bias there is more or less equivalent that what occurs here - the differences are more stylistic than substantial. Like most things American, ours are bold, brassy and often overplayed. Europeans manifest less of these qualities, and reveal their biases more in the context in which they present things and the topics they choose to discuss. However lies and distortion remain lies and distortion whether they come with loud talk and hype or are delivered in a polite monotone. The stakes in political discourse are often high, and few people , given a role in its expression, can resist the opportunity to advance their views - as is demonstrated by those of us on these threads. Some journalists would have us believe theirs is a priesthood that has exceeded all others known to man in maintaining integrity and dispassionate objectivity. A very credulous and inexperienced mind is required to accept that proposition.
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Dec, 2004 10:08 am
Tuned Out: Why Americans Under 40 Don't Follow the News
Tuned Out: Why Americans Under 40 Don't Follow the News
David Mindich

Description: David Mindich talks about his book, "Tuned Out: Why Americans Under 40 Don't Follow the News," at the Overseas Press Club of America in New York City. The author interviewed young Americans from different parts of the country regarding how they receive their news and concluded that in general, they know, care, and vote less than older generations. He cites the root of the problem as entertainment, specifically music videos and sports programs. In order to start a new trend, he is urging every channel to carry news as part of its children's programming. After the discussion, the author answers questions from the audience.

Author Bio: David Mindich is the chair of the Journalism and Mass Communications Department at Saint Michael's College in Vermont. He is the author of "Just the Facts: How 'Objectivity' Came to Define American Journalism" and a former assignment editor for CNN.

Publisher: Oxford University Press 198 Madison Avenue New York, NY 10016
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BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Dec, 2004 10:15 am
The Right Nation: Conservative Power in America
The Right Nation: Conservative Power in America
Adrian Wooldridge

Description: Adrian Wooldridge is the co-author, along with John Micklethwait, of "The Right Nation: Conservative Power in America," and he spoke about it recently at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC. It takes a look at the conservative movement in the United States and compares it to the conservative movements in other countries. The authors write that conservatism in the United States is far more conservative than conservatism in other countries, namely European. The book also takes a look at the history of conservatism in America, from its roots to speculation about the future of conservatism.

Author Bio: Adrian Wooldridge is an editor for The Economist in Washington, D.C. He co-wrote "The Company" and "Right Nation" with John Micklethwait. Wooldridge and Micklethwait are also the co-authors of "A Future Perfect: The Challenge and Promise of Globalization" and "The Witch Doctors: Making Sense of the Management Gurus."

Publisher: Penguin Press 375 Hudson Street New York, NY 10014
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Dec, 2004 10:32 am
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Dec, 2004 11:29 pm
Does anyone read these incredibly long cut and pastes?
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Dec, 2004 02:26 am
Finn d'Abuzz wrote:
Does anyone read these incredibly long cut and pastes?


Compared to the few that follow the url's/links: yes, a lot more, I think.
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Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Dec, 2004 02:15 pm
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Dec, 2004 04:08 pm
Perhaps a lot has changed in journalism today compared with ... let's say, 25 years ago.
(And perhaps and additionally, there are the differences between here and there.)

When I studied journalism (actually "Communication Sciences") at university in the 70's and worked at a regional paper, we made reports. Our analysis were printed -if- at a different page/column.
(It was a 'mortal sin', when you mixed up both - as well at university as "in real life".)
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Dec, 2004 04:24 pm
Well me too Walter as I have stated elsewhere. The reporter was to report the facts and give direct quotes. Only in the more extreme circumstances would an 'anonymous source' be quoted and I do mean extreme. These days it is common place. And woe be to the reporter who used a quote to create a particular slant. It just wasn't done. Quotes were to present the facts only.

But, in the op-ed world, with a by-line identifying us as the writer, we had a bit more leeway to mix analysis with facts, but again we darn sure better be able to back up our conclusions or you received a severe tongue lashing at best or a pink slip from the city desk.
0 Replies
 
fishin
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Dec, 2004 05:04 pm
Walter Hinteler wrote:
When I studied journalism (actually "Communication Sciences") at university in the 70's and worked at a regional paper, we made reports. Our analysis were printed -if- at a different page/column. (It was a 'mortal sin', when you mixed up both - as well at university as "in real life".)


In the print media at least, this touches on a complaint that has been being voiced here for some time now. Many of the major papers have gone to a format where they include both "news" and opinion pieces on the same pages.

After tons of complaints the Boston Globe changed to adding a picture of the writer at the heading of all opinion pieces to try and distinguish them from actual news stories. After finding that doing that didn't really work they added "By Columnist ________" as a byline. I still hear people referring to these columns as "fact" though. Their own ombudsman has put out columns mentioning all the things they have been trying to correct the misperceptions but for some reason it hasn't occurred to them to go back to putting opinion pieces in the Opinions section. For teh last few months it's been even more confusing because they've started attributing most of their stories on the 1st few pages with "By REPORTER's NAME; Boston Globe Staff" so now you can't tell if it's supposed to be "news" or a columinist piece again.
0 Replies
 
 

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