“The Failure of the 4th Estate”

Media conglomerates are destroying American democracy!

Giant media corporations have altered the concept of a ‘Free Press.’ Their failure to uphold the tenets of the 4th estate is contributing to the erosion of our precious democracy.

The problem lies in ownership, or lack thereof.

We, ‘the people,’ no longer own the airwaves having allowed Congress to sell that freedom to profit hungry media groups—inextricably obligated to their investors—creating a press that is no longer free, and, in many cases, conspiratorial in the attempts to tear down democracy.

Both weakness and bias in the media have been obvious for a considerable time but no one wants to attack it straight on!

Have we abandoned the search for truth—bowing to the hunt for profits?

In an article by Bill Moyers in July, 2008, he portrayed the 4th estate as the fifth column, essentially complicit in their failure to pursue the truth.

Our Forefathers understood the importance of a free press as a check and balance to government when they established freedom of the press in the First Amendment. That freedom was for the benefit ‘of the people’ and critical to the preservation of democracy.

Government has allowed mergers and acquisitions which have created six corporate media giants. To our extreme detriment, the consolidation of media sources has suppressed the public voice, essentially constricting freedom of speech.

What we now have, instead of news, are corporate organizations posing as news providers, more interested in fluff and entertainment than the issues of vital importance to an informed citizenry.

The divisiveness and deterioration in society can be correlated with the decline in ‘real’ journalism.

A result of this weakness, unforeseen by the architects of the Constitution, is possibly the least knowledgeable electorate in the world—easily manipulated and controlled.

As big corporations gain media power the access of information declines. Investigative staffs are cut limiting news gathering while improving the bottom line.

This has never been more evident than the rise of the Tea Party and their complete disconnect from the ‘real’ issues facing this nation.

Exaggerated coverage of Tea Party events has distorted and grossly skewed the political view of the nation. Fox’s blatant promotion of the Tea Party, overemphasizes their significance, exaggerates their relevance, and is destructive to the political discourse.

There are ‘real’ grass roots movements occurring throughout the country that are receiving little coverage from legimate news agencies and none, or biased and targeted coverage from Fox.

These movements, besides being for good cause, are multi-times larger, more important, more relevant to the survival of democracy and this country than any of the Tea Party gatherings.

Investigative journalism is nearly non-existent—and, unfortunately—has been supplanted by the destructive slant of Fox Media. But is slant even a good definition for the methods used by NewsCorp to obscure and misdirect their viewers from the truth?

There is massive evidence that Fox not only distorts the news, but lies in the dissemination of important, newsworthy information. Some like to call it spin, but it is much more than that, and dangerous to ‘the people’ in a free society.

A preponderance of evidence is available, such that the Federal Communications Commission should pull NewsCorp’s license for violations of their responsibility to ‘the people’ of this country.

In fact, Fox’s presentation and manipulation of the news borders on one of the 14 characteristics of fascism: media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Fox also exercises selective censorship in its choices of news coverage. A limited, media-controlled flow of information is never a desirable thing.

The rest of the news media, newspapers, radio, and television, with few exceptions, are failing to meet their journalistic charge and far from living up to our forefather’s expectations.

They’d rather spend more time, more column inches, more micro-waves, on Anthony’s weiner, Palin’s gaudy bus vacation, the Casey Anthony murder case, and Bachmann’s gross misrepresentations, than troubled nuclear plants in flood swollen Nebraska, the Republicans holding the middle-class hostage over raising the debt ceiling, the ‘real’ grass roots movements and recalls in Wisconsin and other Midwest states, or the ‘real’ effects of the tax cuts for the wealthy.

Fluff instead of substance.

Pointless fluff is entertaining but, does not serve the needs of the nation at a time when so many things are wrong in this country.

We’ve paid an extreme price for selling one of our greatest freedoms, one of democracies greatest assets—freedom of the press—to the highest bidder.

It is time we reestablish a competitive news environment by breaking up the big media agencies and return to the limited ownership of the past; return to the tenets established by the Constitution for the 4th estate.

First and foremost would be the elimination of the NewsCorp propaganda machine. Then, systematically move to dismantle the other five conglomerates, limiting their reach and encouraging honest news organizations to grow.

Maybe, with the proper regulatory scalpel, the 4th estate can again live up to its constitutional expectations and reverse the downward political and economical spiral we’re battling.

And return to the greatness a healthy and functioning democracy promises.

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3 Responses to ““The Failure of the 4th Estate””

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