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journalism, capitalism and the death of democracy

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welshTerrier2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 01:25 PM
Original message
journalism, capitalism and the death of democracy
for democracy (OK ... or even a republic) to exist, one thing's for sure ... we must have an informed electorate ... what good are elections, even "fair" elections, if nobody don't know nothin ... as alternative media outlets, the internet and other "underground" sources can help ... but most people get their "news" from the mainstream media ... that's why they call it "mainstream" ...

not only has the trend been towards greater centralization of the mass media with its resultant narrowing of divergent views, not only have the media bent to the prevailing political will to protect their access to key newsmakers, but perhaps worst of all the mass media have increasingly transitioned from their important traditional role of educating the electorate to providing infotainment for commercial purposes ... news "programmed by the government" and news dumbed down and filled with opinion rather than information is nothing less than the poisoning of the lifeblood of democracy ...

in today's NY Times, there's the following headline:
Murdoch Will Buy Rest of Fox Shares in $7 Billion Deal
... among other things, the article talks about how Rupert Murdoch's multi-billion dollar media empire will one day be inherited by his son Lachlan ... a little googling on "Lachlan" turned up the following quote from a speech he made back in 2002:

"The idea that owners of media organisations regard the practice of journalism as a public service is as outdated as the idea that businesses operate in the interests of a better world. . . If you want to apportion guilt, blame a system that demands growth and profits and lower costs from every public organisation."

your first reaction might be one of horror that someone who holds a view like this will someday inherit so much power and control over our mass media and sources of news and information ... but the truth of the matter is, he's right ... sitting at the root of the problem is not just a bunch of anti-democratic, un-American greedy corporate bastards ... sure, they contribute to the problem ... but Murdoch's son is 100% right ... the problem we have is that our system, our system of capitalism, does not provide a vehicle to protect the lifeblood of our democracy from commercialization ...

we're quick to blame media tyrants like Murdoch and the failure of the right-wing to limit the centralizing of media ownership ... we're right to do so ... but the problem still remains ... if news organizations do not maintain commercial viability, they fail ... the quality and the ideology don't really matter; only making a buck matters ... without real controls on "serving the public's interests", the amount of real news and real information provided is left up to the whim's of corporate news management ... this is hardly a solid foundation needed for the protection of democracy ...

so, I'm looking for ideas ... let's not worry about their practicality at first ... let's get all ideas out on the table ... media change will not happen overnight or even anytime soon ... it will take a long process of educating the public to make our case ...

but something better start changing because an ill-informed electorate is the achilles heal of democracy and our society is rapidly becoming unable to meet the ideals embodied in our Constitution ...

the one simple question i ask is: how can we fix this ??
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Harry S Truman Donating Member (300 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 01:37 PM
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1. History's lesson
When Stonewall Jackson was asked by one of his staff officers how they were going to stop these all-powerful Yankees from inflicting any more damage, Gen. Jackson had a simple quote for the officer.
He said, simply, "Kill 'em. Kill 'em all."

Let's hope, my dear media, that for your sake, we members of your dear public have other means left at our disposal.
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Norquist Nemesis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 01:40 PM
Response to Original message
2. We need a Blue Letter Society
posting and passing out grassroots info/newsletters, incessantly writing to the editors, handbills in public places (bathroom stall doors are a great place to start! ;) ), etc.

Learn from history and repeat what works...like the Patriots during the Revolution.
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