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I was reading the latest article over at Daring Fireball, which is called "Hackass". It is written about Leander Kahney, the guy who does most, if not all, of Wired's Apple coverage.

What it basically talks about (besides Mr. Kahney) is the state of journalism these days, and I was wondering what all of your thoughts are on the subject.

Not so much with Canadian newscasts, but American ones, I find that there is less and less substance in most stories, less effort is put into getting good information, and a lot of journalists are content to find one man or woman with an opinion and present him or her as an "Expert".

Here is the main passage that interested me in the topic:

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>From DaringFireball:

There is a disconcerting trend in the modern media which holds that all opinions are equally valid, and that it is not appropriate for ostensibly unbiased journalists to declare which opinions are right, and which are wrong. It is thanks to this trend that we have CNN presenting Jerry Falwell as an informed expert on global warming, a man who used this opportunity to declare that “global warming is a myth,” that “top scientists” do not believe in it, and at the conclusion, offered this advice: “I urge everyone to go out and buy an SUV today.”

Calling bullshit “bullshit” is not bias. It is journalism.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Have a look at the article, and post back with your thoughts/opinions.

--PB
 

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Journalism isn't objective now, and never has been. I think it's our expectation of objectivity that is as much to blame for the "equal time" we see on public media as the media themselves.

When you have a story like Global Warming, where most of the people have made up their own minds on a position, it makes news in general appear more objective if they offer a contrary opinion.

Perhaps the dangerous part is that, armed with the "fairness" of CNN as clearly demonstrated, we actually believe that there could be open debate on any issue we choose.

The media choose what, how and from whom we get our news. There's no need to present two sides if you don't bother to present one. It's far easier to determine a media's bias by noticing what they don't publish. There's no lack of news stories out there; actually there are too many. Media have no choice but to choose one over many others. If all the US TV networks are owned by Entertainment conglomerates and Defence contractors, should I believe they are objective?

Generally we are bound by the prejudices of our own media; the same "facts" aren't even reported the same way here in Canada. Any ehMac reader who reads both French and English could attest to that.

There's not anything "wrong" about taking a positon and supporting it, even if you do own a TV station. It happens all the time. Every time StatsCan releases a document, I read different facts from the report in my local paper, the Globe & Mail and the National Post. They all publish those details that support their position on jobs, family, the economy, whatever, and often ignore the others that may weaken their stand. Read 'em all and you get the big picture.

Our only imperfect recourse is to try and get our news from a variety of sources. The centralization of media is a real concern, as it makes this much more difficult. It remains to be seen exactly how the Internet will affect our ability to inform ourselves; it's still evolving and could probably go either way.
 

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Great thread PB. :cool: I would like to add some thoughts. The problem with journalism is truth and the control of it. There is so little truth in what is being reported in major storys. And when journalists get close to the truth, whether by accedent or not, they get shut down. The story that is. I have no url to add but if we remember the Anthrax situation after 911 some might remember how that story went away once it was reported the strain was traced back to the CIA. There is no freedoms anymore with journalism in the western hemisphere. Asking questions will soon be criminal. Just take a look at the new anti-terrorist laws the U.S. is keen to pass. It goes deeper, and I am not sure taking the time to go into it here really matters. All that matters is there are people like us who ask questions. We are a generation who will challenge the powers that be which is an absolute must!! It is key to the survival of our way of life. I would go deeper but hey, I'm not sure you've seen the revisions to the U.S. patriot act but this thread could end up as evidence. :eek: :(
Talk to you again some time and happy holidays to all in ehMac land!!!! :cool:
 

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>When you have a story like Global Warming, where most of the people have made up their own minds on a position, it makes news in general appear more objective if they offer a contrary opinion.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Hello,

I don't think most people have made up their minds, but have had their minds made up by the media. This is partially what Jerry Falwell may have been getting at, although I think he's a bit of a nut.

Most people have their opinions developed by the media outlets that they trust and are comfortable with. Very few individuals do their own research into a topic to further develop a coherent and logial argument in favour (or against) a particular line of thinking.

James
 

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There has always been a battle in journalism between the "reporting" function which is ideally neutral but in practice rarely so and the "editorial" function which interprets events.
I do like CBC for program like Pros and Kahn and some in the Star where dissenting views are aired.
I think we need both, it's when it slips into 1984 style subtle manipulation towards a hidden goal or mindset that a clear danger to society arises.

I think we all rankle at "editorial" when it takes the guise of reporting and at "reporting:" when it becomes selective to the point of swaying opinion.
Both subverted approaches make the consuming public wary and uncomfortable.
"A group homeless organized by the Coalition for Public Housing blocked the entrance to Queens Park today and the protest devovled into a violent confrontation with police sent to keep the traffic lanes open".......that's a report.

"A ragged and weapon toting gang of homeless ruffians organized by the.........."
You get the idea - editorial under the guise of reporting.
The importance of a free press to a democracy cannot be overstated - it is considered the Fourth Estate for good reason as it wields enormous power in the world ( Watergate :eek: a good example)
Keeping that freedom is difficult - the movie The Insider" laid that out clearly.
Strict division of advertising staff and reporting staff is enforced at large newspapers and magazines to keep bias low.

An interesting phenomena of the internet are the "epinion" sites which give everyone a voice and in which balanced useful articles are rewarded with votes of confidence by the readers.
This was part and parcel of the same "voice of the people" that kept the Russian coupe attempt out in world view and away from "spin". Multiple real time eyewitness accounts provided a better view than any "official source " could or would.
:cool:
 

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"The Media" is not a monolithic instrument of the state or capital. It is, howerver, usually a business. And as a business it needs to sell its product. And that product is whatever gets people to tune in.

There is, and can be no such thing as "unbiased" reporting. A reporter knows what his editor will/will not accept, what his/her publisher will/will not tolerate. Hence, we have a "liberal" Toronto Star, and a "conservative" Globe and Mail.

Television reporting requires more flash and less substance. The MTV generation wants cool graphics, but nothing difficult to think about.

That being said, one can be an "educated consumer" of the media. And it usually starts by reading or watching more than one outlet. And by realizing that what you are consuming is a corporate product, not a heck of a lot different than MacDonalds.
 

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Again...I am amazed and impressed by Britnell's reply to this thread. The media is, indeed, a business. It provides interesting and(hopefully) informative news articles in order to get the viewer to stay tuned long enough to watch the commercials (which pay for it all, after all).


Chealion as well...my GOD! Where the heck did you come from??!!? You are far more perceptive than I was at your age. In fact, you are far more perceptive than most of my friends are....at TWICE your age. You are one to watch...for SURE! Outstanding!

As for the rest of the thread, I am with Timmer on this....the media is not one monolithic organ that is controlled by the Government. At least not in this country. Cuba, North Korea and the Old Soviet Union are another thing altogether. In those countries the news is what the high command decides it is.

Here is an example, from my own experience:
While I was in Cuba, the news began reporting the Elian event as a boy who was being held against his will, behind bars, in the USA. During this same period, the hotels stopped the feed from CNN in the hotel rooms. It was replaced by six-hour speeches by Fidel about how poor people didn't exist in Cuba. Anyone who has ever been there knows that EVERYONE in Cuba is poor. So do the Cubans. Virtually everyone who followed this also knows that young Elian was NOT held prisoner in the USA.

But Fidel and his government certainly portrayed him as being a prisoner of the USA.

One more thing here....my girlfriend, who is a Doctor of Medicine in Cuba...was not aware of the AIDS crisis in Africa. She had no knowledge of it at all!

She challenged me when I told her about it. When I showed her a Time magazine article that was discussing the AIDS problem in Africa she became very defensive. She pointed out that several of her Doctor friends had gone to Africa, and NONE of them had commented on this problem. Therefore, it must be American propaganda. Cuba provides hundreds of Doctors to outside countries, including South Africa, in return for real dollars. And NONE of them knew about this rampant disease.

That's what happens when the Government controls all of the media in a country.

This is one more reason that I think that people should get their news from a LOT of different sources!

I heartily agree with everyone here who says "Check out a LOT of other News sorces!" before you make a decision.

It is very unlikely that news from several different countries are controlled from a single source. If they are all in agreement...especially after a certain amount of time has passed...then it's probably real. If not, then ask a LOT of questions. It never hurts to question everything, anyway.

Just my thoughts on this.
 

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Britnell, I am unsure I agree with everything you state.

"The Media" is not a monolithic instrument of the state or capital. It is, howerver, usually a business. And as a business it needs to sell its product. And that product is whatever gets people to tune in."

Monolithic, meaning huge instrument of the state or capital, I think it is. Yes you are absolutely right, it's a business as well. We can look at Ted Turner as an excellent example. Keeping in mind what I am saying, it is a tool or as you commented, an instrument. As I stated above, CNN is reporting things about the war overseas that are being reported in order to sway public opinion on the situation. Is that not enough to see it is in fact an instrument of the state? Here's something else to think about. One of the first targets of attack in Afghanistan were their media towers. Rendering anyone in the country unable to communicate anything media wise. Another example, Egyptian news, I have watched a news cast with english sub titles and what is actually said is completely false when compared to the sub titles. (I did not know what was being said, I was with a friend who grew up there and thus a translator.) Someone made that dicision to alter the info. Who? If not high ranking gov officials then who? Maybe I am wrong, perhaps it is the media making these choices but if that is so, I would be lead to think the decision to alter anything from the truth is a direct example of careerism and nothing more. And if that is the case, someone would only act in this regard from pressures to do so from above. Basically, print the truth and your boss receives pressure from someone in office to move you or lose you.

Awesome thread. Good on ya Posterboy!

Talk to you again. :D :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Wow, this is getting inteesting guys! (like I expect anything else..!)

One thing that just sprung to mind is in with the editorials and actual news in the world, where are the spin doctors?

has anyone here seen the film "Wag The Dog"? This movie is all about the government using a spin doctor to use the media to divert attention from a rewing contriversy in the white house. They go so far as to create a fake war and a fake war hero to go along with it to take the peoples focus off a certain incident with the president and a visitor to the white house (set in the Clinton Administration, or around that time anyway).

So I guess what I am asking is, if even 1/4th of what they did in the movie is possible, how do we know what is even real or not?

--PB
 

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'So I guess what I am asking is, if even 1/4th of what they did in the movie is possible, how do we know what is even real or not?"

Great question PB, your answer is in Macnuts post, or some of it.

"I heartily agree with everyone here who says "Check out a LOT of other News sorces!" before you make a decision."

Keep looking, I don't think all your answers are achievable but it won't take long to see there is certainly enough to start questioning. :cool:
 

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Good thoughts all of you! ALWAYS question EVERYTHING you hear. From EVERY source! If you hear the same stuff from several different countries, over a long period of time...then it probably has some validity. If you have a question...and you can afford the trip...then go there for yourself, and see for yourself. It's the only real way to tell. Note here: You WON'T be able to tell what's going on in a country from the safety of a resort. You need to go out and really live with the people of the country to really find out what's actually going on. I sh*t you not!

Cuba is a good example

I have spent some serious time in Cuba. But I have never spent one single day in a Cuban resort. The people you will meet in a resort (especially in Cuba) are hand-picked by the Government and will NOT give you a real idea of how the country works, as a whole.

If any of you are contemplating a trip to Cuba, and want to find out how the country ACTUALLY WORKS, then I suggest that you head out on your own. Canadians are allowed to go places that even Cubans are not allowed to go. There is almost NO crime. The best hotel in each city will cost you no more than twenty or thirty dollars per night. We Canadians are considered priviledged people...especially when compared to Cubans. My girlfriend, who is a Doctor, is not allowed on many beaches and must explain why she is travelling to distant states...unless she is with me!

Cuba is a real treat for us Canadians.There are some hardships, but visiting is a life-changing experience. Especially if you are a leftist.

If you are a committed socialist then you will find that Cuba is a classic example of what you "don't want to do". Because it ISN'T WORKING!

Go have a look for yourself. But don't go to a Cuban Resort, and then think that you have seen the real Cuba.

Explore the country...talk to the people...then come back here and tell us what you've learned.

It should be quite illuminating!

Just my thoughts on this.....
 

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MacNutt while Cuba may be a large issue in your mind it's not a microcosm for the rest of the planet - there are lots of viewpoints we don't get to seee and we get faor far too much of American views which have an equally distorted view of the world


This is indeed a good thread and Apple is one of the biggest "spin" doctor proponents on the planet. They DON"T like negative publicity and can get as heavy handed as any government - just ask some of the "Rumours" sites.

PBS has been a thorn in the side of a number of governments for providing alternative viewpoints and speak as the voice of many of the NGOs like Doctors without Borders that are having increasingly large and important roles in world conduct.
Reporters do indeed have a number of masters to serve The Insider was fascinating from that standpoint as was the issue with the "moron" comment form the PMO publicist. The media issues in that became a larger story than the actual event.
The internet is a wonderful resource but also needs a good dose of "salt" when digesting it all.
 

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Alright, I'll keep the Cuba part of this short for the sake of everyone beyond MacNutt ;)

With all due respect to your girlfriend, I have to wonder what's up with her not knowing about the AIDS crisis in Africa. Whenever I'm in Cuba I pick up the daily paper, and when I'm away I read the online texts (not just the International publication, but the national version as well en español). AIDS and Africa have been frequent topics for as long as I can remember.

One can even do a Google search http://www.google.ca/search?q=Cuba+SIDA+Africa+site%3Awww.granma.cubaweb.cu&ie=ISO-8859-1&hl=en&meta= to see that at least as long as two years ago, Africa and AIDS were getting frequent coverage. Even those who are not great fans of Fidel read the daily newspaper....

Today's edition (Wednesday) has an article on new partnerships between Cuba and Namibia in the areas of Health and Education http://www.granma.cubaweb.cu/2002/12/11/nacional/articulo02.html

In addition, as a doctor she has access to the national medical website Project InfoMed http://www.infomed.sld.cu

She also has access to InfoMed in the local Node http://www.cmw.sld.cu ("Nodo Finlay"). (The site 'times out" before it loads... there are many such internal Cuban websites which are available only to medical personnel within the country... not uncommon for web-surfers outside Cuba to not have access).

A search of InfoMed's online database lists articles available to Cuban doctors as far back as 1996.

Fidel, as a last note, has also frequently mentioned the AIDS crisis in Africa in his many speeches denouncing the profiteering undertaken by global pharmaceutical companies who refused to sell AIDS drugs 'at cost' to third-world nations.

As for Elián, I was in Cuba at the time, attended the street demonstrations, lived with Cubans who felt extremely upset that the U.S. would keep this boy from his Father. If preventing a child from being with his natural parent, who is known to be a good and caring father, for six months is not "imprisonment", then I would suggest a visit to Webster's. That poor kid was stuck with a bunch of loonies who thought he was the second coming of Christ http://www.flahum.org/forum_feature/images/elian_mural.jpg

NOW, back to the discussion on the Media...

I spent ten years working as a radio reporter / announcer at the market-leading station in Halifax (CHFX-FM / CHNS-AM). And prior to that, two years working in broadcast at MITV, which was to later become the Global affiliate in Halifax.

Oh yeah... there are manipulations, distortions, omissions, and outright lies put out there on the airwaves for passive audiences to soak up like the couch sponges that we are. I've been censored, criticized, subjected to diatribes from those who felt that the audience had no need to know the other side of the story, because "our side is the right side".

Although he can be long-winded, I suggest those who have not seen or read "Manufacturing Consent" by Noam Chomsky to check it out. It's a little dated now, but does an excellent job of showing how the populace is conditioned to believe the unbelievable.

My beef, apart from the general lack of depth of our nightly newscasts, is the dearth of good investigative journalism. The Fifth Estate isn't bad (though it's gotten itself in hot water a couple of times for misrepresenting the facts)... in fact, I recall one episode in particular which was beyond excellent. It was the exposé of the first Gulf War. The program broke the story one week before 60 Minutes repeated the same info. There was a Kuwaiti girl, brought before the congressional hearings in the U.S., who claimed to have been a nurse in a Kuwaiti hospital when Iraqi troops burst in, ripped babies from the incubators, put the machinery on trucks, and hightailed it back to Iraq. Tearful, emotional, powerful testimony.

Then we find out the real story.

She was in fact the daughter of the Kuwaiti Ambassador to the U.S. She was not in a hospital working as the equivalent of a "candy striper" at all. She did not witness the incubator theft and baby murder. Amnesty eventually retracted its support for this particular incident. But it was enough... the vote to declare war was held two days later, and the bombing began in earnest.

How could this happen? The Kuwaiti government had hired a NY-based public relations firm to "sell" the war to America... and they certainly got their money's worth. Details: http://www.mindfully.org/Reform/Nayira-Witness-Incubator-Kuwait6jan92.htm

And to the original point by PosterBoy about 'experts'.... I watch CNN because they, undoubtedly, have the broadest reach globally right now, and the infrastructure to bring the story to us the fastest. But that's about it. Believability? Please. In the space of a single day, we were subjected to both Falwell's amazingly ignorant rant about global warming and Kissinger's observations on global crises. Any credibility that had ever existed at CNN went out the window on that day.

(Don't even get me started on Kissinger heading up the investigation into 9/11 intelligence failures)

M.
 

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Anyone remember Benito Mussolini? He got his skills from working at a newspaper. He said (paraphrased) Make a story in order to give your points, so turn fiction into reality.

The Media, is biased, but overall a very good source for news. (in Canada)
 

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Hey Macdoc, how are ya? Good I hope. I always look forward to what you have to say in these threads.

your quote. "I think we need both, it's when it slips into 1984 style subtle manipulation towards a hidden goal or mindset that a clear danger to society arises."

Do you not think this is happening as we speak today? With the war on terror or the war in Iraq? Most everything on CNN is construed and there to manipulate it's observer. :rolleyes: These storys are there to control a populations opinion on whether to or to not go to war against a country that never once threatened the national security of the USA. They did however threaten their money, which is another thread. This war is a resource war and now is the time to act. Instead of telling the American public they need to invade Iraq in order to control the area and its resources or face the consiquences in the future they are fed lines about Iraqs weapons! What?! Frankly it's no one's business don't you agree? And really I must ask, what other country on earth would comply? No one, not a potential enemy anyway. Could you just see the Chinese (not to imply them as a potential enemy) laughing their butts of if george W asked them for a list of all their stuff. It would never happen. Which reminds me of something I heard on CNN some time ago about China. They stated that the CIA "speculates" China has over 100 nukes pointed at America. That's double what Russia had during the hight of the cold war. Furthermore, on a lighter note, I think it's fair to point out Mr. Bush's popularity is dropping. ;) So they say :D I write that in irony since we are after all talking about the media and I am making reference to them and the info they have given me regarding Bush's popularity. Kinda funny actually.
Take care :cool:
 

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Another of Chomsky's work that would fit the bill here is Necesary illusions. No doubt long winded, and for the first timer it can be a real mind @#$% if you know what I mean. He can blow your perception of reality out the window in a line or two.

As for the Cuba thing. Since arriving here you two guys have been like social tour guilds to me. Its great to hear you two chat about it. Like you said earlier Macnutt, staying at the resports will learn you nothing. (something along those lines)


Cubamark, you are not the first I have heard, who has worked in the field, to share the fact that thing get twisted. Good for you. And yeah, Kinssinger, pardon? :eek: My exact sentiments when the news came my way, that followed by a cynical laugh and a "sure, who else?"
:D :cool:
 

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As a sometimes working journalist, CubaMark and Noah Chomsky do a pretty good job summing up my opinions.

I think the public should look upon the news media, ie newspapers, magazines, radio and TV etc..., as gatekeepers. They offer the convenience of giving consumers news that broadly fits the interest, desires and outlook of their market. Most have broadly defined markets, some finely defined markets. Nonetheless, they filter and form the stories that reach their consumers so that they will appeal to their consumers.

So as others have said already, consumers need to informed from a range of sources if they are to come to a real understanding of an issue. Just watching CNN or reading The Globe and Mail won't do it.
 

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It's true that the media is a business. But it's no ordinary business.

I don't think anybody ever bought a newspaper to make money, you own newspapers so that you can influence others.

Now, over the long term, things like revenue are important; but publishers have been known to hang on to papers for a very long time after the red ink becomes chronic.

When you hear or read that a media provider is a business like any other, you can be sure it's followed by a proposed merger, or some form of foreign control, or media consolidation. It's an arguement that is only dragged out when they need the public to buy it in order to expand the influence. The most significant thing about consolidation is that it does offer opportunities to make profits, as it's a form of monopoly-building.

Once that deed is done, they go back to the real business of influencing the public.

One newspaper is a sea of red ink; twenty newspapers is means to profits.

Chomsky is probably mandatory for anyone interested in this subject, I recommend Manufacturing Consent. He's written a number of books, but you only need to read one to get the message, unless you are studying the actual events surrounding each book.
 

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"I don't think anybody ever bought a newspaper to make money, you own newspapers so that you can influence others."

ummm Ken Thomson, Conrad Black, William Randolph Hearst and many others made fortunes in the newspaper biz. Influence is an outcome not a initial goal....altho once you are rich enough there are other currencies you deal in.

Newspapers as a business, media as a business are vehicles for the 4th estate to exercise it's role in the social fabric of society.
In many cases there are conflicts between the journalists, owners and even the advertising division who may frown on an investigative report that nails a big advertiser for some nefarious dealings.
There have been a few conflicts in the Mac mags along those lines.

So a journalist may be employed by the media but his responsibility as a journalist should be to the goals of his profession not the enrichment of his boss. If the two conicide fine, if they confict......then he or she has to make a decision.
Same with a doctor in a privately owned hospital.
Then there is reality
 

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"I don't think anybody ever bought a newspaper to make money, you own newspapers so that you can influence others."
ummm Ken Thomson, Conrad Black, William Randolph Hearst and many others made fortunes in the newspaper biz.
AAa you beat me to it macdoc :( Conrad Black was the first thing I thought when I read that. Although I know little about the others I think we could easily stop at Mr. Black. Didn't he denounce his Canadian citizenship becuse he didn't like the way Canada does business? I could be way off there. I hope there is something in his biography on that since I have it in my "things to read pile."

As for Chomsky, if anyone is interested in some of his work you should check out his latest. "911". Really really interesting book. A short read as well.

later :cool:
 
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