Flogging the News Biz

September 26, 2011

Not only do politicians spew forth much bullshit, the organization that’s supposed to separate  shit from bull is itself full of crap.
US peoples don’t trust journalism:

Only one-quarter of those surveyed say news orgs get the facts right, a new low since 1985 when the question was first asked.
Two-thirds (66 percent) say stories are often inaccurate, a new high.
And nearly three-quarters of Americans believe that journalists try to cover up their mistakes, rather than admit them.

(Illustration found here).

Also in the Pew Research survey: …and 80 percent say news organizations are often influenced by powerful people and organizations.
And local news are trusted more than those national organizations — 69 percent vs 59 percent.
No wonder the US (and the world) is going to shit in a wire basket — much better information, and less biased information can be gathered from the foreign press, at least from what I’ve gathered.

In an example from The Daily Howler on the execution of Troy Davis last week — no real details on evidence were presented by anybody, including the fabled Gray Lady:

The headline on Wednesday’s editorial called the impending execution “a grievous wrong.”
Among other things, you read this:

NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL (9/21/11): Seven of nine witnesses against Mr. Davis recanted after trial.
Six said the police threatened them if they did not identify Mr. Davis.
The man who first told the police that Mr. Davis was the shooter later confessed to the crime.
There are other reasons to doubt Mr. Davis’s guilt: There was no physical evidence linking him to the crime introduced at trial, and new ballistics evidence broke the link between him and a previous shooting that provided the motive for his conviction.

Say what? The man who first told the police that Mr. Davis was the shooter later confessed to the crime? And Davis was executed anyway?
What happened to the guy who confessed? The editors didn’t say.

Some mess there.

A mega-major problem is media attention span.
Firedoglake on Sunday looked at the nearly-unreported dust-up on Wall Street last week via an interview with Paul Weiskel, a photographer who has been taking photos of the occupation.
Weiskel talks reality:

They had to continually bring in more people and towards the end I honestly felt like it was very close to a police state.
I’ve been very hesitant to say the phrase “police brutality” because we don’t live in Syria.
We don’t deal with that type of police repression but today the New York Police Department did violently crack down on peaceful protesters, who definitely have legitimate claims, and I was flat out disgusted.

And the media interest tends to be non-so-called professionals:

I think with the increase in technology the ability to exchange this news, what’s going on, is pretty much equal if you look at the quality of video coming out, if you look at the quality of pictures coming out—if I could say that.
The main difference is the audience that you have.
There were a lot of tweets saying that right now CNN is running a segment on have dating rules changed in the best decade while people are getting pepper sprayed and beaten by cops on street corners in New York. So, it is a very orchestrated blackout by the media but once we get the audience they’re going to see the images and they’re going to be very high quality and very thought-provoking images.

And black outs?
One must remember that if the national media don’t want you to know something, you won’t know it.
Case in big point: In 2008 the New York Times ran a massive expose on those TV “military analysts” who gave most-wonderful commentary in the opening days of the Iraqi war and how they were in fact on the payroll of the Pentagon in a campaign to generate favorable news coverage of the administration’s wartime performance.
The NYT even won a Pulitzer Prize for the story, but a vast, huge chunk of US peoples haven’t a clue — the TV news outlets, CNN, ABC, NBC, Fox, etc., all blacked out the story — and the only news report on the expose was a segment on PBS.

In the mid 1970s when I started at the Montgomery Advertiser in Montgomery, Alabama, right out of J-school into the entry-level slot of police reporter, journalism was in its golden age buzz.
On the strength of Watergate, us news room types were a proud bunch as we thought what were doing was not only the neatest job in the whole-wide world, but we were there for the public’s right to know and understand.

That was way-long ago and really far, far away.

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