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Jefferson23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 10:08 PM
Original message
New study documents media's servitude to government
Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010 05:31 ET

(updated below)

A newly released study from students at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government provides the latest evidence of how thoroughly devoted the American establishment media is to amplifying and serving (rather than checking) government officials. This new study examines how waterboarding has been discussed by America's four largest newspapers over the past 100 years, and finds that the technique, almost invariably, was unequivocally referred to as "torture" -- until the U.S. Government began openly using it and insisting that it was not torture, at which time these newspapers obediently ceased describing it that way:

"The current debate over waterboarding has spawned hundreds of newspaper articles in the last two years alone. However, waterboarding
has been the subject of press attention for over a century. Examining the four newspapers with the highest daily circulation in the
country, we found a significant and sudden shift in how newspapers characterized waterboarding. From the early 1930's until the modern
story broke in 2004, the newspapers that covered waterboarding almost uniformly called the practice torture or implied it was torture:
The New York Times charcterized it thus in 81.5%(44of 54) of articles on the subject and The Los Angeles Times did so in 96.3 of articles
(26 of 27). By contrast, from 2003-2008, the studied newspapers almost never referred to waterboarding as torture or implied it was torture
in just 2 of 143 articles(3 of 63). The Wall Street Journal characterized the practice as torture in just 1 of 63 articles( 1.6%). USA Today
never called waterboarding torture or implied it was torture."

Similarly, American newspapers are highly inclined to refer to waterboarding as "torture" when practiced by other nations, but will suddenly refuse to use the term when it's the U.S. employing that technique: ( more at link)


SNIP* As always, the American establishment media is simply following in the path of the U.S. Government (which is why it's the "establishment media"): the U.S. itself long condemned waterboarding as "torture" and even prosecuted it as such, only to suddenly turn around and declare it not to be so once it began using the tactic. That's exactly when there occurred, as the study puts it, "a significant and sudden shift in how newspapers characterized waterboading." As the U.S. Government goes, so goes our establishment media.

remainder in full: http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/...


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RandomThoughts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 10:18 PM
Response to Original message
1. The sequencing is wrong there.
They are not following the government. It is more symbiotic following of a larger structure, that many in government and media are part of.

It is not the government, nor media, but some ideologies that are part of both those systems. There is also the same effects in much of the larger private sector institutions, and even some military/intelligence groups.

It is to create anger at government, without looking at what ideologies and factors they work for to say that.
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Jefferson23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 10:21 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. You're saying the study has the sequence wrong? n/t
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Doctor_J Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 12:54 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. He's that Big Media is PART OF the government
Trying to say that one follows the other is absurd. They're one and the same.
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Jefferson23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 08:41 AM
Response to Reply #4
8. I'm not sure what you think is absurd, this particular study does
reveal a sequence which is supported by their research. I'm not arguing that their is no part played with each faction but I do
believe it is a matter for further discussion regarding the history on the subject.

This book, although there are others, gives a great deal of background:

Robert W. McChesney and John Nichols in The Death and Life of American Journalism argue correctly that the old models for delivering the news are dead. They see the government as the savior of last resort. The authors cite the massive postal and printing subsidies that lasted into the 19th century as a precedent for government intervention. And they propose building a new generation of journalists and publications from new government subsidies and from programs such as their suggested News AmeriCorps, which would train the next generation of journalists.

The authors offer a series of innovations including citizen news vouchers and low-cost, low-profit newsrooms. They write: The government will pay half the salary of every reporter and editor up to $45,000 each. Assuming most daily and weekly newspapers go post-corporate and employment returns to the high-water mark of two decades agothe latter is a very big assumption, we knowthis would cost the state $3.5 billion annually. If employment stayed at current levels it would run half that total. Newspapers that benefit from these subsidies would also be prime candidates for News AmeriCorps rookie journalists.







The Death and Life of American Journalism: The Media Revolution that Will Begin the World Again


By Robert W. McChesney and John Nichols



Nation Books, 352 pages




As utopian fantasies go, this is pretty good. But it ignores the critical shift within American society from a print-based culture to an image-based culture. It assumes, incorrectly, that people still value and want traditional news. They do not. We have become unmoored from a world of print, from complexity and nuance, and with it information systems built on the primacy of verifiable fact. Newspapers, which engage rather than entertain, can no longer compete with the emotional battles that hyperventilating hosts on trash talk shows mount daily. The public, which has walked away from newspapers, has embraced the emotional carnival that has turned news into another form of mindless entertainment. And the authors, with whom I have a great deal of sympathy, mistakenly believe that the general public values what they value. Their cri de coeur for a return to reason, logic and truth is the last cry raised by the forlorn representatives of a dying civilization. Cicero did the same in ancient Rome. And when his severed head and hands were mounted on the podium in the Colosseum and his executioner, Mark Anthony, announced that Cicero would speak and write no more, the crowd roared its approval. The plan proposed by the authors would work only if the public, and our corporate state, recognized and cared about journalism as a vital public good. But without public outcry and visionary political leaders, neither of which we have in abundance, there is little hope that the government or anyone will save us.

We are shedding, with the decline and death of many newspapers, thousands of reporters and editors, based in the culture of researched and verifiable fact, who monitored city councils, police departments, mayors offices, courts and state legislators to prevent egregious abuse and corruption. And we are also, even more ominously, losing the meticulous skills of reporting, editing, fact-checking and investigating that make daily information trustworthy. The decline of print has severed a connection with a reality-based culture, one in which we attempt to make fact the foundation for opinion and debate, and replaced it with a culture in which facts, opinions, lies and fantasy are interchangeable. As news has been overtaken by gossip, the hollowness of celebrity culture and carefully staged pseudo-events, along with the hysteria and drama that dominate much of the airwaves, our civil and political discourse has been contaminated by propaganda and entertainment masquerading as news. And the ratings of high-octane propaganda outlets such as Fox News, as well as the collapse of the newspaper industry, prove it.

more here with links to book excerpts as well: Robert W. McChesney and John Nichols in The Death and Life of American Journalism argue correctly that the old models for delivering the news are dead. They see the government as the savior of last resort. The authors cite the massive postal and printing subsidies that lasted into the 19th century as a precedent for government intervention. And they propose building a new generation of journalists and publications from new government subsidies and from programs such as their suggested News AmeriCorps, which would train the next generation of journalists.

The authors offer a series of innovations including citizen news vouchers and low-cost, low-profit newsrooms. They write: The government will pay half the salary of every reporter and editor up to $45,000 each. Assuming most daily and weekly newspapers go post-corporate and employment returns to the high-water mark of two decades agothe latter is a very big assumption, we knowthis would cost the state $3.5 billion annually. If employment stayed at current levels it would run half that total. Newspapers that benefit from these subsidies would also be prime candidates for News AmeriCorps rookie journalists.









more here and links to book excerpts as well: http://www.truthdig.com/arts_culture/item/chris_hedges_...
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bertman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 11:02 PM
Response to Original message
3. Good post, Jefferson23. This shouldn't even be a debatable point in the year
2010. We've been seeing this type of "journalism" for decades. The runup to the first Gulf War was the perfect example when every major news outlet in the U.S. dutifully broadcast the story of babies being taken from incubators.

The takeover of the media was effected back in the early 60's when the CIA enlisted the owners of the largest media groups to become their partners in securing America from the Communists. It's been downhill ever since.

Rec.
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fasttense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 07:15 AM
Response to Reply #3
7. Perhaps, but I think the deregulation of media monopolies that manage and administer
most of what we hear and see as news, allowed for such complete control by a few people. The CIA may have been catapulting the propaganda but the media monopolies ensure it's distribution.
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bertman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 09:05 AM
Response to Reply #7
9. the media consolidation was just the most recent evidence that a few
groups control our media. The broadcast media (TeeVee and radio) and print media have always been dominated by a relatively few very wealthy families. Over the last thirty years those groups were bought out by corporate interests. Before that the families who ran the media were in bed with the CIA.

This cancer was metastasizing well before the media deregulation.

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bbgrunt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 03:10 AM
Response to Original message
5. check wikipedia for operation Mockingbird
Operation Mockingbird
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

(February 2009)

Operation Mockingbird was a secret Central Intelligence Agency campaign to influence domestic and foreign media beginning in the 1950s.

The activities, extent and even the existence of the CIA project remain in dispute: the operation was first called Mockingbird in Deborah Davis' 1979 book, Katharine the Great: Katharine Graham and her Washington Post Empire. But Davis' book, alleging that the media had been recruited (and infiltrated) by the CIA for propaganda purposes, was itself controversial and has since been shown to have had a number of erroneous assertions.<1> More evidence of Mockingbird's existence emerged in the 2007 memoir American Spy: My Secret History in the CIA, Watergate and Beyond, by convicted Watergate "plumber" E. Howard Hunt and The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America by Hugh Wilford (2008)
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fasttense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-01-10 07:09 AM
Response to Original message
6. Servitude to the government????
More like servitude to the RepubliCONS and the facist state. They should study how efficiently and totally the corporate media bashes President Obama.

The uber wealthy, corporate CEOs, and corporate politicians all love torture. Not because it gets any truthful information. It doesn't. It never has. But because it allows for expedient and immediate silencing of anyone who dares speak out. So, now they can openly approve of it.

The journalists and news readers went along with NOT calling water-boarding torture because they like the idea of using it on their enemies, even if those enemies be American citizens.

The corporate media is just one arm of our American fascist state.

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