"Bad Words" like "Mainstream Media"
Mainstream Media is not the Devil.
Though parts of it obviously work for him.
I kid...I kid... mostly.
This past year "Mainstream Media" has been a buzz word all around social media.
It's funny "liberals" blame right-wing conservative for being duped by Fox News (a claim that actually holds a lot of water (1)). particularly those bathed in the New Romney/Republican doctrine, that this year seems to be alluding that a baby resulting from rape just might be 'God's Will'(2), or a woman's body has a way of just "shutting that whole [system] down"(3), or, maybe woman who abort a fetus resulted from rape should be incarcerated(4). Let's not forget a woman might just want to leave it up to the government to make the decisions for her uterus and reproductive health(5), and that's not a breech of the constitution at all...
Once you start creating Constitutional amendments taking away the rights of select people...where does it stop.
Somehow denying a whole group of people rights to marry who they love by amending the Constitution and banning same-sex marriage (first attempted by George Bush in 2006(6)), and now on the Republican docket once again, isn't also a breech of the constitution, as if you let gays marry their same-sex partner that somehow means you are gay, or you might become gay, or your child might decide, as if it's a choice who you are attracted to, that they might want to try out the unpopular lifestyle of gay living, so they too can choose to be disowned by family, shunned by society and hated because of who they choose to love sexually, otherwise, why would it be any of their business.
Of course if you don't agree with any of these things, then you might be a "liberal". Eeekk! Quotations used because anybody who does not salute to the tactics of Republican rule and control, anybody who suggests something different wants something different, is accused of being a "liberal"...another "Bad Word";
So, "liberals" accuse conservatives of getting their (mis)information from Fox News, and everyone else accuses "liberals" of getting theirs from CNN...or so accused a woman in a conversation I read and took brief part in, this morning on Facebook, with a fellow Obama supporter, and a Gary Johnson (The Libertarian Presidential Candidate) supporter. And you can find similar claims across the internet...everybody thinks their preferred source of news and information is better than anybody else's. It's absurd.
People bitch about mainstream media, primarily because of the cooperation's who govern them via funding/advertising, and force heavily bias and controlling hands on how things are reported, which things are reported, and for how long they are reported. For instance, people like Rupert Murdoch, a political activist/media mogul, a naturalized American worth 8.3 Billion dollars (Hard-Right-Wing Republican), who owns Fox Broadcasting Corporation and News Corporation (assets list including film, television, internet, magazine, publishing companies and more: http://www.cjr.org/resources/?c=newscorp) with investments in news organizations all over the world. The heavy bias he demands for his media companies, and the kind of misleading information they provide has been reported over years(7)(8); and it's very clear to anyone with half a brain if you watch/read the "information" pumped from some of his top monsters of faux-journalism*.
But then the non-traditional/independent on-line news sources have very little authority to answer to, or be accountable to. On many levels this is true. In a country where lying isn't illegal, even for the news programs (FACT: It Is Not Illegal to Falsify News or Lie http://just-call-me-frank.blogspot.com/2012/06/fact-it-is-not-illegal-to-falsify-news.html), and much of what is put on television goes unchecked on a day-to-day basis, the only real risk is someone suing the news organization in the case of libel, or potentially some sort of civil court case. Sure, you could try to go up against a multi-million dollar organization citing them for being liars...or you could just let them lie, because you'll probably lose anyway. Not to mention it's their right lie, after all.
The legal right for media companies to be able to tell you what they want with no consequences actually builds a solid case for researching what you hear or read in the news; but if you do so without critical thinking skills, and a mindset with willingness to read news reports that may not "gel" with your preconceived notions...followed by logic to guide you to some sort of conclusion...well...you're fucked. And woolly.
It's hard to weed through the slosh of bullshit available on the internet, you can literally find information to back up almost any claim - from op-eds, blogs, and "underground media" - which can be misleading as any source, and sometimes outright propaganda lies and made-up news...what news sources am I to trust? A good start is news sources that use citations, reference official documents, use actual archived video and audio footage of what they are talking about, and while you may be able to detect a bias, it's hard sometimes and makes you think for yourself.
An example. I followed a link on Twitter awhile back reporting about how Michigan was becoming a "Muslim State" and were lead to a blog with no real affiliation, which worked to highlight just that premise...that because allegedly when you call automated phone systems in Michigan you get the option for a Muslim language of some sort, along with English and Spanish. The piece went on the cite a recent event where local Muslim were allegedly throwing urine and rocks at Christians who were protesting on the street, and then linked to a video of that day.
What nobody mentioned (it took research to find out) was that the group being "attacked" were protesting an ethnic festival, much like a German, or Hispanic, or Indian festival. And that a group of large white Christian males congregated at it, yelled derogatory remarks over a bullhorn, wearing t-shirts I can only imagine said derogatory things in a Muslim script. They were there to incite violence at a peaceful festival. They made a big deal about the local police trying to control them, even though they were interfering with an otherwise peaceful event, and breaking a city law with use of the bullhorn. There was part of a clip where it was clear the person holding the camera reached out and tried to grab at a young woman dressed in Middle Eastern garb, and by young, I mean under the age of 18. She pulled away and told the person behind the camera to "get the fuck off of her". In addition most of the camera work was quick moving at best, so you were not able to view clearly who was all involved in throwing things. By the time I got to the video and checked out what other sources they used, which turned out to be nothing from an actual verifiable source, just going from blog, to blog, to blog...I discredited the whole thing as being propaganda by someone who hated Muslims and wanted to paint them in a poor light. I call that misleading hate-inciting propaganda, because believe it are not, all Muslims are not terrorists, and they are not all violent, anymore than you are.
This kind of stuff is literally ALL over the internet.
Another example, an independent/liberal news source, on the day of the first presidential debate, apparently claimed that all of the questions for debate were submitted by the Romney and Obama (or their teams) and were agreed on days in advance. I heard this piece of information second-hand, and were never able to local the referenced source; something leads us to believe it was claimed to have come from Democratic Underground, a liberal news source that I find generally questionable. Even if it had been true, it didn't seem to accomplish anything other than Jim Lehrer (the moderator) having to make a statement about when the questions were formed, saying "Thousands of people offered suggestions on segment subjects or questions via the Internet and other means, but I made the final selections. And for the record, they were not submitted for approval to the commission or the candidates."(9)
It really wouldn't have mattered either way, Romney would have just had different lies or the same lies, who knows, and President Obama would have looked just as exhausted by being proverbially blown by a windbag of hot air
Even when the truth comes out people are okay with supporting lies, and the liars who tell them, if they think it's in their best interest. Perfect example, even though they say his campaign may be suffering from his big Chrysler Lie(10), flocks will be out in droves supporting him. Mitt Romney has been lying for months, if not longer. His flip-flopping, and out-right lying is well documented, all over the internet, by countless sources, and you can even see videos of him saying one thing, and the next day claiming another. "Flip-flopping" is just another word for liar. Americans voting for Romney want to support a liar. That's not bias, that's a fact. If you are okay with Romney, you are okay with a smug liar. That's your business though, not mine.
In any case, most mainstream media outlets start by getting their news prompts from people like the Associated Press, a place where a high volume of news organizations get their news. Then each organization expands on it by doing research, sending a reporter out into the field, gathering first-hand reports, compiling sources to back of what they want to say (if they are a news source worth their salt, anyway) and then on occasion they interject personal bias. A quality news source will provide far more tangible information, and far less leading questions...if they want you to make up your own mind about what you are reading. Those news sources are out there...they really are.
"Reliable" mainstream media, or "traditional" media, has it's place in the life of the busy person on the go, who doesn't have much time to research, cross reference and dig deeper. Mainstream media is a good way to get blurbs on what's happening, and in most cases are accurate, do not offer "over the top" bias talking points, or create outright lies. The only exception is the "popular" Fox News (dubbed Faux News by people who are no stranger to research and reference and reality). Faux News is term more notably used for the cable TV Fox News channel, though local syndicates are heavy with bias if you put it into terms of equal coverage across, say, political candidates. For instance, last night they covered political news, and in the short time they mentioned the State Senator race, the Republican candidate got 30 seconds, at least, of talking time in the clip, whereas the Democratic candidate got less than 15 seconds and the clip was cut-off mid sentence. Paul Ryan's jaunts of the day were mentioned, with full clips of his speech in in some Midwestern state. Bill Clinton did an apparent appearance somewhere, with no clip of him talking. Apparently I didn't need to hear what he has to say. A small, but noticeable, difference. It was probably my mistake for tuning into the local news anyway.
At the end of the day Mainstream Media is just as much bullshit as any other media if you want it to be, and if you don't want it to be, then it's as irrefutable as...the Bible, probably. There's probably a correlation.
Anybody who doesn't agree with what the news is saying, even if it's true unbiased, will be inclined to label it "liberal" and claw for any hint of bias. The point is, you should seek out "the rest of the story", and think critically, work your way around the idea in your head, look at it from different angles, stretch your limits. Or, just be told how to think. It's none of our business.
For expanding on your news sources, if you are interested, I recommend checking out the following: (List update May 2021)
Center for Media and Democracy http://www.prwatch.org/cmd
'Media Matters' http://mediamatters.org/
'Talking Points Memo' http://talkingpointsmemo.com/
'Think Progress' http://thinkprogress.org
Al Jazeera https://www.aljazeera.com/
In the end, the biggest controversy, the thing people have a problem with, is large media conglomerates controlling the news, like having big GMO companies controlling the food source, Big Business and SuperPac's buying elections, and Corporations having the same rights as a person(11), as the road to corporate fascism is paved right over the country they love, before their very eyes. It's going to become the America I don't know, and the one I don't want to know.
The corporate mainstream media lies to you, and so does everyone else.
The corporate mainstream media has bias, and so does everyone else.
You have a brain, use it.
Resources and Citation:
1. Yet Another Survey: Fox News Viewers Worst-Informed, NPR Listeners Best-Informed, Andrew Kirell, Mediaite, LLC, May 23, 2012 http://www.mediaite.com/online/yet-another-survey-fox-news-viewers-worst-informed-npr-listeners-best-informed/
2. Richard Mourdock: God at Work if Rape Causes Pregnancy, Associated Press, Washington Post, October 24, 2012 http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/richard-mourdock-god-at-work-if-rape-causes-pregnancy/2012/10/24/dc81932f-480d-468d-bae5-5c8dea35e97c_video.html
3. Rep. Todd Akin: The Statement and the Reaction, Lori Moore, New York Times, August 20, 2012 http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/21/us/politics/rep-todd-akin-legitimate-rape-statement-and-reaction.html?_r=0 and Akin on "Legitimate Rape, Fox News Clip via YouTube, August 19, 2012 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKa5CY-KOHc
4. GOP Senate Candidate Supports Life Sentences For Rape Victims Who Obtain Abortions, Annie-Rose Strasser, Think Progress, September 4, 2012
5. Obama and Romney on Women's Issues, Janel Davis, PolitiFact, October 30, 2012 http://www.politifact.com/georgia/article/2012/oct/30/obama-and-romney-womens-issues/
6. The Battle Over Same-Sex Marriage: Amending The Constitution, PBS Newshour Online, June 20, 2006 http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/law/gay_marriage/amending.html
7. The Most Biased Name in News: Fox News Channel's extraordinary right-wing tilt, Seth Ackerman, FAIR: Fair Accuracy In Reporting. July/August 2001 http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=1067'
8. Rupert Murdoch Has Gamed American Politics Every Bit as Thoroughly as Britain's, John Nichols, The Nation, July 16, 2011 http://www.thenation.com/blog/162083/rupert-murdoch-has-gamed-american-politics-every-bit-thoroughly-britains#
9. October 3, 2012 Debate Transcript, Commission On Presidential Debates http://debates.org/index.php?page=october-3-2012-debate-transcript
10. Mitt Romney Has Been Telling A Huge Whopper About The Auto Industry, And His Campaign Is Finally Paying For It, Grace Wyler, Business Insider, October 29, 2012 http://www.businessinsider.com/romney-lies-auto-chrysler-jobs-2012-10
11. Romney in Iowa: 'Corporations are people' too, James Oliphant, LA Times, August 11, 2011 http://articles.latimes.com/2011/aug/11/news/la-pn-romney-state-fair-20110811 and
Mitt Romney- Corporations Are People!, C-Span News Clip via YouTube, September 11, 2011 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2h8ujX6T0A