America’s news organizations are failing the people!
Journalism in America has become as big a problem for the country as Congress. Media conglomerates’ fail to meet their obligations under the Constitution of the United States. It’s almost impossible to escape their control of the news content. And it’s getting worse.
Their failure has left the nation vulnerable to an historical decline.
Freedom of the press was included in the 1st Amendment by the founders as a check on government to insure the preservation of our democracy.
Is our precious democracy at risk?
It is definitely under siege as a result of limited media ownership and if not for the advent and open forum of the internet our democracy may have already succumbed to the perils of media corporatocracy.
Media consolidation undermines the flow of information and has reduced the public’s access to vital information necessary to maintain an educated electorate and a vibrant democracy.
What media does exist has prescribed to a policy of false equivalency; a policy which further divides our nation. But, what is really false, is the appearance of equivalence. There is, unfortunately, no equivalence in today’s political environment yet it’s reported as if there is.
What, exactly, is the function of the media? Why was freedom of the press included in our Constitution?
The press: newspapers, eventually radio, and later extended to television news, was expected to be a check on government, an element that would insure the transparency of government actions, abuses, corruption, miscarriages, and inadequacies. A vigilant watchdog for the people, to keep government honest and accountable to the people.
What constitutes false equivalency and how does it interfere with the dissemination of news and a healthy democracy?
False equivalency is the attempt to make something sound like both parties are equally at fault or equally responsible for a particular action or inaction, particularly in politics. Reporting it that way is not only wrong, but is damaging to the discourse of a democratic society. In recent politics, fraught with lies, misinformation, disinformation, and omission, the onus is on the media to properly report the facts.
And facts show that the Republican Party is wholly responsible for the dysfunction and grid lock in Washington. They are also mostly responsible for the recession, our deficit, the housing crisis, and the banking crisis as well as many other fiascos.
The failure of the media, of individual journalists, of entire networks to point out the imbalance is a collapse of the 4th Estate and a dereliction of duty under the Constitution.
When discussing media failure, lies, and false equivalency, the worst offenders are Fox News, it’s ownership, and hosts. NewsCorp, and all media under the leadership of Murdoch, whether it be television, radio, or print, violate the sacred tenet and spirit of a free press.
Fox fails on all levels and has become a purveyor of right-wing propaganda serving no other purpose than to promote their extreme — and at times undemocratic — agenda. Their utter disregard for truth and the intent of the 1st Amendment is appalling.
What’s even more egregious is how many people in the Fox cabal: administrators, hosts, contributors, and guests buy into their subterfuge, the networks willingness to convey misinformation — information absent facts — and to forfeit their integrity for a paycheck. To promote an ideology for which there is little truth. Most appear to be lacking a moral compass. As a result they have the least informed viewers in the country.
Additionally Fox tends to engage in combative journalism. Their shows are often incendiary and frequently contentious, designed to incite their audience rather than present valuable and honest information.
Though Fox is the worst, nearly all of the mainstream media is weak and cowers to political pressure either out of fear of being called liberal or of the inability to get guests to appear on their innocuous shows. Shows like Meet the Press on NBC, The Situation Room on CNN, Morning Joe on MSNBC, and This Week, on ABC would rather entertain than inform.
Continually maligned by conservatives and right-wingnuts the shows on MSNBC present the most factual information from which to draw intelligent and informed conclusions. There is, frankly, no comparison between the dweebs on Fox — Hannity, O’Reilly, Kelly, and Cavuto and the informed presentations of Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz, Lawrence O’Donnell, and the Rev, Al Sharpton. And one of the strongest voices of factual information and informed outrage, Cenk Uygur, of The Young Turks has been temporarily muted.
Our media is so weak that some of the best sources of honest reporting come from comedians, John Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and Bill Maher. Though comedic in their approach all three bring the lies, misinformation, hypocrisy, and craziness to light. Their comedy clearly exposes what a joke our media has become.
But, if our media continues to fail the American people, if we don’t demand honesty from then, the joke could be on us.
The threat of a weak media is more dangerous than that of Al Qaeda or any terrorists organization — more important to our survival than Homeland Security or the NSA.
Entertainment disguised as news is not only an insult to our integrity but also to the wisdom of our forefathers.
A free press is vital to our individual freedoms and to our survival as a democracy. Limited ownership is a threat to those freedoms and weak journalists, fearful of doing their job, only add to the problem.
Wake up America! As journalism falters information dies.
The result? Millions of American citizens are isolated from the truth, blind and unable to see America’s unfortunate decline.
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