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Response to jsmirman (Reply #73)

Wed Feb 8, 2012, 01:16 AM

79. I think the news wire in general, the dry, classic reporting, is still decent.

Don't get me wrong, it still requires analysis and is itself biased by access (if they don't have access to all sides of a given story or conflict then that side will not be shared). I find it to be OK, though. In contrast to "infotainment" whereby corporate media outlets just plaster you with 90% nonsense 10% substance (and that's being kind).

To parse news though you have to really get into details. If you find a story that seems circumspect, the onus is still on you to figure out if it's true or not.

You mention Saif Gaddafi, a good example, but I liked the Mexico escape story (not sure if that's the one you're talking about). The news wire basically said "some guy said such and such," and the infotainment, corporate, pundit filled media ran with it and spent hours covering the possibility, speculating, rambling on and on with no facts. If you watched the infotainment only you would find yourself thinking it actually happened, or was about to happen, or could've happened, or maybe almost happened, and such. The dry, boring, news wire story basically said someone said something and that nothing came of it (the story in fact did not come out until Saif was captured and there was video and photographic evidence showing he was captured, alive, and in good condition).

Looking at Libya, again, you saw that a lot of mainstream / infotainment reporters were stuck in the Rixos Hotel, and that the Libyan government at the time was tightly controlling the narrative. For weeks reports were extremely bizarre, verging on psychosis. Amanpour, for example, was parroting regime language until the end (and other "independent sources" which one might consider "more credible" were claiming nonsense right until they were evacuated from the Rixos). Meanwhile Sky News (an infotainment company) and Al Jazeera (who I consider more in line with independent media) were on the ground, and had a dramatically different story to tell. Totally and completely different story.

Then, you get reports from those who were forced to be in Rixos and when they actually sneak out to get stories from local people, it's parroted as pro-war propaganda or something, despite that, as human beings, these people self-admittedly felt imprisoned and just wanted to know what was real, from their point of view. They probably got it wrong in both instances, while being trapped they played along and regurgitated the states line, and when they got free they went overboard in a sort of resentful way. But, if you sit there and then bring together the sources, you will find yourself sitting somewhere close to the truth.

In that vein I don't think the media has ever been truly balanced. The "infotainment" industry has only emphasized just how out of wack the media can be. It's one reason I don't have cable or watch cable news, because it's just, highly irrational when you get down to it.

This, btw, also applies to the Iraq War. There were a handful, if that, of reporters living in and around Iraq when the invasion happened (Robert Fisk most notably). A mere handful. Either people didn't want the job, or the media companies didn't want to send anyone in there. Meanwhile the US government allowed the embedding of 50+ reporters in the invasion forces. Imagine that! Whichever side is going to have the best stories, and images, right? Talk about profit motive!

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LineLineLineLineLineLineLineLineReply I think the news wire in general, the dry, classic reporting, is still decent.
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