Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Free Press And Their Responsibility To Be Fair

  brucewilds.blogspot.hk / By: Bruce Wilds

The So-called Free Press Includes Most Media
The idea of having a press that is free to cover the news is generally linked to the idea they will be fair because such a freedom generally comes with a degree of responsibility. A common example is how freedom of speech should give someone the right to speak their mind but not scream fire in a crowded theater. This is where discussions concerning the press and President Trump get sticky. Somewhere in what often slips into an argument is the role of the media in presenting an unbiased view of events. This is complicated by the fact many news outlets have moved more towards an entertainment format rather than presenting the cold hard facts and in that regard, sensationalism draws viewers.

It is clear that over the years how we get our news has changed but it seems this is not the chief reason for declining trust. Today many people get the majority of their news over the internet. This has made a huge difference in how news is distributed allowing people more choice in how they receive their news, however, much of the content remains controlled by some rather strong players that often are driven by an agenda of self-interest. This proved to be very apparent during the presidential election where many in the media put their strong bias towards candidates front and center. It became clear to many of us that a greater force was comprised of those insiders currently in control and yearning to extend their run. Another name for this group is the establishment. Many times supporters of both non-establishment candidates Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders were miffed and less than overwhelmed to see how poorly their candidates were treated by the press. 

In many ways, the media has become viewed more as a tool of the establishment than the protector of the people and defender of our rights. This could explain why the press is often held in such low esteem by the very public that relies on them for information. Coverage filled with subtle digs or comments and even subliminal messages taint the premise media is fair. As things unfold and we move forward the relationship between the Trump administration and the media will clarify itself. In reaction to Trump dressing down certain news agencies or groups for bias coverage, we immediately see the fear card thrown down on the table and warnings about how dictatorships are formed. I'm a bit tired already of this charade rolled out by the press, however, a bigger concern is the cultural damage it will cause by widening the social divide we already have in our heavily polarized country.

In September of 2016 according to a new Gallup poll. the American public’s trust in the media had fallen to its lowest point since they began asking respondents whether they had trust and confidence in the media. Only thirty-two percent of the respondents in Gallup’s recent national poll said that they have “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of trust in the mass media. This is an eight percentage-point drop compared to 2015 and it marks the lowest point in Gallup’s polling history, which began asking respondents this question back in 1972. Public trust in the media fell among respondents across the political spectrum, it did not matter if they were Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, but the decline in trust in the media was most pronounced among Republicans, whose confidence in the media dropped from 32 percent in 2015 to 14 percent in 2016.

Brian Williams The Poster Child Of Untrustworthy Media
It is during interviews we often get an opportunity to witness examples of just how badly you can treat a guest invited to answer questions. Over the top efforts to put words in someone's mouth and take statements out of context then spin them in the most harmful ways is shocking. If the guest represents views differing from the interviewer what we often see is an ambush. If a guest is favored or their views are endorsed it is often as though they had written the softball questions asked of them or as if she had seen the questions in advance or controlled the interview. This can be backed up by a series of scripted statements that all loop back around to support a hard or subliminal message. With such coverage being very common it is little wonder that Americans question the honesty of the media whose ranks appear to have become filled with opportunist and bums dressed as journalist.

A fair amount of attention has been spent on "fake news" but just as important is the amount of media coverage that falls into the category of hype. Highlighted by a banner proclaiming "Breaking News" that stays on the screen for hours as we watch the same news clips and footage we have already seen several times. This is generally accompanied by rampant speculation geared to tantalize the viewer. The Sunday morning talk shows that claim to focus on the nation and the news that affects all of us have also suffered. Rather than addressing important issues, they continue dishing out a heavy dose of Trump bashing. Tricks such as taking comments out of context, straight-out misstating his position then putting it in an unpleasant light. This blatant bias coverage leaves many people wondering if the so-called "free press" is working for us or under the directive of greater forces seeking to control events.

The bottom-line is that we out here beyond the beltway in the backwaters and wilds of America should remember the media has a casual relationship with the truth. Just because the media or a politician says something does not make it true. It is interesting to note that many of the major media websites do not offer a comment area, or if they do they are restrictive in the comments they accept. This could be considered a form of censorship because it appears they would rather not show the views of those who disagree. It is becoming more obvious each day that the mainstream media has taken upon themselves the job of controlling our discourse. News heavily skewed to disparage Trump and comprised of an unrelentless barrage of attacks do little to inform, bring us together or create calm between Nations. With such coverage, the media risk a growing backlash and losing the little credibility they have.



Footnote;  A while back I wrote a piece that looked at the definition of propaganda. It is a form of communication that is aimed towards influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position by presenting only one side of an argument. Propaganda is usually repeated and dispersed over a wide variety of media in order to create the chosen result in audience attitudes. It explored how the White House during Obama's time in office took this to a whole new level where it creates a message by spinning, scrubbing, molding, and shaping it, they then send it out to the public. More on this subject in the article below.
http://brucewilds.blogspot.com/2013/04/white-house-propaganda-machine.html

1 comment:

  1. Agree that MSM is increasingly been recognised as establishment and agenda driven.
    This, and growth of the internet, are changing reading habits from hard copy to on-line, and fragmenting audiences to the blogosphere as people seek information they trust.
    It will be difficult for the establishment to maintain control over this shift: for example the US President for the first time in history can now bypass the existing media and go straight to his constituency via social media to air his views.

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