40 years from now, will Fox and other corporate
media admit to their distortions?
July 10, 2004
By Dan Gougherty
the Lexington Herald-Leader, this year’s July Fourth edition
was historic. The Kentucky newspaper used the 40th anniversary of
the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to issue a front-page clarification
and story on its complicity and negligence in its local coverage
of what it said was one of the century’s biggest stories, the American
civil rights struggle.
read “It has come to the editor's attention that the Herald-Leader
neglected to cover the civil rights movement. We regret the omission.”
The story went on to note that while it gave occasional front-page
coverage to major national civil rights events, local stories concerning
the movement were frequently buried deep in the paper, often without
a reporters byline.
In admitting it negligence the story went on to say “The omissions
by the city's two newspapers, the Lexington Herald and the
Lexington Leader, weren't simply mistakes or oversights,
according to local civil rights leaders and former employees of
the newspapers. The papers' management actively sought to play down
At the time Lexington, Kentucky was not unlike other cities in
that it had two major newspapers. While both of the then-independent
newspapers were negligent in local coverage of the civil rights
movement, there were literally thousands of other independently
owned newspapers, radio and television station that adequately covered
This of course begs the question – if the civil rights struggle
were happening today would the Herald-Leader take the same
editorial stance? While it is hard to say how one publication in
a medium sized market would cover it, given the consolidation of
media and its overwhelming influence our question should be how
are the big media outlets covering the major story of our day, the
war in Iraq, for a possible answer. Are they accurately covering
In short, the answer is no.
You don’t have to look too far to see the failings, if not outright
distortions, the media has committed in its coverage of the war
in Iraq. The most egregious and well documented example is of course
While Fox’s coverage of the war has been nothing short of a noise
machine for the neo-conservatives, corporate-backed think tanks
and the Bush administration in general, they are not alone. The
standard bearer of American, if not global journalism, the New
York Times has admitted in a front page story that is was less
than thorough in its coverage of the events leading to Bush’s war
Painful as it is to mention the Times and Fox in the same
sentence, both are nonetheless guilty of complicity. The only difference
between the two is the degree of complicity and the fact the Times
has admitted their guilt.
In 40 years, how likely is it that Fox, or any other major corporate
owned media outlets, will admit to its failure in covering the war
in Iraq as the Herald-Leader recently did with civil rights?
Given the speed of media consolidation and their increasingly cozy
relationship with the government, that answer would have to be no.
While the domination of the major media is almost all encompassing,
there are signs of hope. Throughout the world a new breed of media,
specifically bloggers, has sprung to life giving voice to those
who refuse to conform to the spoon fed news spewing from the major
corporations. Along with the blogger movement, there is a small
but rapidly growing movement of low-power community-owned radio
While we cannot realistically expect media outlets such as Fox
to admit to their guilt now, much less 40 years into the future,
history might well judge the growth of internet new sources, bloggers
and community owned radio stations as the rebirth of the media and
Visit Dan Gougherty's blog at www.ltobs.blogspot.com.