Monday, August 14, 2006

Which Is A Better Source Of News: The Mainstream Media Or The Blogosphere?


Which is a better source of news these days: the mainstream media or the blogosphere? Many people might say the MSM is a better, more accurate source of information. After all, they would argue, anyone can set up a blog.

By contrast, the people who work in the MSM have journalism degrees and highly specialized skills. At first glance, this appears to be a big plus for the MSM. However, it's important to note that the content that goes into the MSM has to be first approved by the giant, profit-hungry multinational corporations that own the MSM.

Although technically censorship is supposed to not exist in the U.S., in reality, the MSM has long been guilty of self-censorship. If you don't believe me, then click over to Project Censored to see a roundup of major, important stories that aren't reported by the MSM.

If you want the unvarnished truth these days, the blogosphere is the place to go. You may have to wade through a great deal of junk to find the nuggets of truth. But at least the truth exists in the blogosphere---that's more than can be said about the MSM on a lot of important issues facing America.

Don't believe me? Let's take a look at a number of major stories and see how they were presented by the MSM and the blogosphere:

1. Story: What really happened during the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001?

Mainstream media: The story of 9/11 as told to the American people by the U.S. government is the whole story and there's nothing else to report. Anyone who believes otherwise is a tin-foil hat fringe conspiracist.

The blogosphere: The U.S. government's account of 9/11 as told to the American people is a pack of lies and there has been a cover-up to conceal the truth.

2. Story: The Downing Street Memo

Mainstream media: The Downing Street What?

The blogosphere: The Downing Street Memo exposes the long-suppressed truth about how the Iraq War began. It's a blockbuster story that proves that U.S. intelligence on Iraq before the war was deliberately falsified, rather than merely mistaken.

3. Story: The 2004 election, in which George W. Bush was "re-elected" by defeating John Kerry

Mainstream media: It was a ordinary, honest election with no major irregularities or problems. Anyone who believes otherwise is a tin-foil hat fringe conspiracist.

The blogosphere: The 2004 election was riddled with problems, including voter suppression, purges of voter lists, serious problems with the accuracy of voting machines, etc. The evidence of massive election fraud cannot be ignored and is evidenced by the exit polls that projected that Kerry won by 3 million votes.


Anonymous said...

Speaking of the MSM and neglected stories, the 2000 election really presented a chance for the MSM to shine. Instead, the MSM pretty much missed the boat on the important issues (like the purging of likely Democratic voters) and had us believe that the real story was all about hanging chads.

Anonymous said...

The MSM has been accused of "not doing their job." This is an accusation that is patently false. The purpose of media IN A DEMOCRACY is to report the truth, thus enabling the electorate to make informed decisions. The purpose of media in an OLIGARCHIC PLUTOCRACY is to manufacture a consensus favorable to the ruling clique. The USA is NOT a democracy. There have been no free elections in at least ten years, i.e. "free of manipulation." The present ruling clique cannot afford to lose their power. A loss of power for this clique would subject them to account for their crimes against humanity, the environment and that Constitution of the United States of America they were sworn to uphold. The one that King George referred to as "that goddamned piece of paper."

Anonymous said...

the people who work in the MSM have journalism degrees and highly specialized skills

That is not entirely the truth. Unhinged righties like Rush, Vannity, Carlson, Beck, etc., etc., do not have college degrees. While unhinged righties who do have degrees like Coulter, O'Reilly, Savage, Barnes, etc., do have degrees in journalism or broadcasting. They specialize in hate and lies which feeds the base of the uneducated and poorly informed right.

Anonymous said...

Oops, correction:

"While unhinged righties who do have degrees like Coulter, O'Reilly, Savage, Barnes, etc., do NOT have degrees in journalism or broadcasting."

Anonymous said...

New York Times
Published: August 15, 2006

"The ruling that stopped the Florida recount and handed the presidency to George W. Bush is disappearing down the legal world’s version of the memory hole, the slot where, in George Orwell’s “1984,” government workers disposed of politically inconvenient records. The Supreme Court has not cited it once since it was decided, and when Justice Antonin Scalia, who loves to hold forth on court precedents, was asked about it at a forum earlier this year, he snapped, “Come on, get over it.”
There is a legal argument for pushing Bush v. Gore aside. The majority opinion announced that the ruling was “limited to the present circumstances” and could not be cited as precedent. But many legal scholars insisted at the time that this assertion was itself dictum — the part of a legal opinion that is nonbinding — and illegitimate, because under the doctrine of stare decisis, courts cannot make rulings whose reasoning applies only to a single case.
There are several problems with trying to airbrush Bush v. Gore from the law. It undermines the courts’ legitimacy when they depart sharply from the rules of precedent, and it gives support to those who have said that Bush v. Gore was not a legal decision but a raw assertion of power."

Marc McDonald said...

Hi Rabblerowzer,
Thanks for the N.Y. Times article; good story.

Marc McDonald

Anonymous said...

Big Media Interlocks
with Corporate America
By Peter Phillips

Mainstream media is the term often used to describe the collective group of big TV, radio and newspapers in the United States. Mainstream implies that the news being produced is for the benefit and enlightenment of the mainstream population—the majority of people living in the US. Mainstream media include a number of communication mediums that carry almost all the news and information on world affairs that most Americans receive. The word media is plural, implying a diversity of news sources.
However, mainstream media no longer produce news for the mainstream population—nor should we consider the media as plural. Instead it is more accurate to speak of big media in the US today as the corporate media and to use the term in the singular tense—as it refers to the singular monolithic top-down power structure of self-interested news giants.
A research team at Sonoma State University has recently finished conducting a network analysis of the boards of directors of the ten big media organizations in the US. The team determined that only 118 people comprise the membership on the boards of director of the ten big media giants. This is a small enough group to fit in a moderate size university classroom. These 118 individuals in turn sit on the corporate boards of 288 national and international corporations. In fact, eight out of ten big media giants share common memberships on boards of directors with each other. NBC and the Washington Post both have board members who sit on Coca Cola and J. P. Morgan, while the Tribune Company, The New York Times and Gannett all have members who share a seat on Pepsi. It is kind of like one big happy family of interlocks and shared interests.

The following are but a few of the corporate board interlocks for the big ten media giants in the US:
New York Times: Caryle Group, Eli Lilly, Ford, Johnson and Johnson, Hallmark,
Lehman Brothers, Staples, Pepsi

Washington Post: Lockheed Martin, Coca-Cola, Dun & Bradstreet, Gillette,
G.E. Investments, J.P. Morgan, Moody's

Knight-Ridder: Adobe Systems, Echelon, H&R Block, Kimberly-Clark, Starwood Hotels
The Tribune (Chicago & LA Times): 3M, Allstate, Caterpillar, Conoco Phillips, Kraft,
McDonalds, Pepsi, Quaker Oats, Shering Plough, Wells Fargo

News Corp (Fox): British Airways, Rothschild Investments

GE (NBC): Anheuser-Busch, Avon, Bechtel, Chevron/Texaco, Coca-Cola, Dell, GM,
Home Depot, Kellogg, J.P. Morgan, Microsoft, Motorola, Procter & Gamble,
Disney (ABC): Boeing, Northwest Airlines, Clorox, Estee Lauder, FedEx, Gillette,
Halliburton, Kmart, McKesson, Staples, Yahoo,
Viacom (CBS): American Express, Consolidated Edison, Oracle, Lafarge North America
Gannett: AP, Lockheed-Martin, Continental Airlines, Goldman Sachs, Prudential, Target,
AOL-Time Warner (CNN): Citigroup, Estee Lauder, Colgate-Palmolive, Hilton

Can we trust the news editors at the Washington Post to be fair and objective regarding news stories about Lockheed-Martin defense contract over-runs? Or can we assuredly believe that ABC will conduct critical investigative reporting on Halliburton's sole-source contracts in Iraq? If we believe the corporate media give us the full un-censored truth about key issues inside the special interests of American capitalism, then we might feel that they are meeting the democratic needs of mainstream America. However if we believe — as increasingly more Americans do— that corporate media serves its own self-interests instead of those of the people, than we can no longer call it mainstream or refer to it as plural. Instead we need to say that corporate media is corporate America, and that we the mainstream people need to be looking at alternative independent sources for our news and information.
Peter Phillips is a Professor of Sociology at Sonoma State University and Director of Project Censored. For a listing of current censored news stories see Sonoma State University students Bridget Thornton and Brit Walters conducted the research on the media interlocks.