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[P]
Do we need to disrupt the Media?

By HypoLuxa in Media
Sun Sep 24, 2000 at 07:05:05 PM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

Events and fiction over the past year or so have led me to ask this question. With every passing day, evidence that the Media is having a more and more profound effect on law, culture, and society is mounting. (For the record, when I refer to "the Media" I am talking about national and international television networks, news magazine publishing houses, radio stations, the recording industry, the motion picture industry, and all their attendent websites). As you read the list of the members of the "the Media," think about how many companies exist that have one of each of the components that I mention, such as News Corporation and AOL/Time Warner. As the Media becomes more of a driving economic and political force, does it become necessary for those who would feel co-opted and excluded from the choices their country is making to disrupt the Media?


It's probably better to show examples of what led me to this train of thought than to try to spout my personal opinion, so here are some things to look at or think about:

  • One of the most disturbing things that has come up in the 2600 vs. MPAA was something that the defendent, Eric Corley (aka Emmanuel Goldstein) said. During an interview he noted that there was no mainstream news source that you could turn to for coverage in the case that did not have a direct financial interest in the prosecution's victory.
  • The character of Avi in Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon. The fixation of the character is that you have to prepare youself for the tyranny of the state. Avi is obsessed with the Holocaust, and sets about to create the information resources for ordinary people to learn how to make weapons and bombs, train themselves, and fight the modern military. Avi's assumption is that it is still very possible for the state to turn against an undesirable portion of the population, and that portion will have no resources other than their own to prevent their elimination.
  • In the United States, you cannot get a license to broadcast any signal over 1 watt for less than $50,000, which has totally eliminated community broadcasting. Since the FCC relaxed restrictions for a single company to own multiple radio stations (in 1997, I think), there are 10% fewer owners of radio stations, signalling an "industry consolidation" and the slow elimination of independent radio stations.
  • I read the graphic novel Channel Zero by Brian Wood; a beautiful and scary book which I highly recommend to everyone. The premise is that the United States has followed its inexorable shift to the social right and eliminated free speach in the name of God and Country. In addtion to the haunting black and white line work and the carefully laid out subliminal and subversive nature of the art and story, it brings up some hard questions, such as who must fight for freedom, and how do you do it without becoming part of the problem.
Since, I can't avoid a good doomsday scenario when I see one, let me put something together here. There is a distinct possibility within the next 10 years that industry consolidation will provide you with a total of three different international conglomerations that will control all aspects of the Media. Print, web, television, radio. In the name of profit or politics they will completely control the information that 99% of our country uses to define reality. They will likely stop at nothing to continue their domination and increase their profits. Since any politician would be utterly devastated by making an enemy of the Media, they will encounter no resitance from the state.

So, is it time to start gathering and building the resources to fight the Media?

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Do we need to disrupt the Media? | 104 comments (103 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
Hrmmmm (3.64 / 14) (#1)
by Inoshiro on Sun Sep 24, 2000 at 04:47:30 PM EST

Well, of course "the media" has an affect on people. Since most people can't be bothered to run around talking to others all day for news, there has to be central agents which collect and filter them. I talked about this a bit in my "Linux and the Media" piece which was somewhat overshadowed by the flood of new people last Monday ;)

It comes down to education. Educate people, and the problem is solved. No need to disrupt.



--
[ イノシロ ]
Re: Hrmmmm (5.00 / 2) (#48)
by Dolphineus on Mon Sep 25, 2000 at 02:33:14 PM EST

It comes down to education. Educate people, and the problem is solved. No need to disrupt.

Yes, but how do you get them to stop watching Survivor long enough to educate them?

C ya Dolphineus

[ Parent ]
Public knowledge (3.05 / 18) (#2)
by qslack on Sun Sep 24, 2000 at 04:50:08 PM EST

Sure, we all know about the terrible wrong-doing the media is doing, but no one else does. When I try to explain about what the media is doing to my family and friends, I hear either "You've been reading too much Slashdot" (from the more technically-aware people) or "But the government wouldn't let this happen so therefore you're lying."

I pointed people to the fact the MPAA vs. 2600 case's judge had former ties with the MPAA. They said "Well then he would've stepped down." In fact I just told them what you listed and they used the typical answer--that the US's law system is good and doesn't let anything get past it.

Too many Americans (and possibly people from other countries) are living in a land where they have no idea of the control the government has. I say we all band together and follow the 2nd amendment. Get guns and take over the country by force just like people did in 1776. If that plan fails we just need to educate more people, asking them "In which amendment or part of the constitution does it give the country the right to screw our rights?" Tell people about the DMCA, COP[P]A, and these recent court cases.

Re: Public knowledge (4.00 / 9) (#4)
by Solaarius on Sun Sep 24, 2000 at 05:13:52 PM EST

I do hope you were kidding about the guns...

If not, take another look at the author's question:

who must fight for freedom, and how do you do it without becoming part of the problem?

The government would use people who mounted an open insurrection as "examples" of why a strong police force would be necessary: to keep the people safe from harm, of course.

I think that Inoshiro is right. Everyone needs to be as aware of these problems as people like those who read K5 are. Only then would the media and the government have to listen.

----
----

"The Age was called Dark not because there was no Light, but rather because the People refused to see It."
[ Parent ]

Re: Public knowledge (3.83 / 6) (#13)
by HypoLuxa on Sun Sep 24, 2000 at 07:28:46 PM EST

The "get guns and take over" option is taken away by controlling media. In addition to attacking the government (my second favorite target) vs. attacking the media (public enemy #1!!), no revolution will ever succeed without a sympathetic view from the populace. How can you possibly engender sympathy when you are assaulting the organization that controls public opinion on your cause?

--
I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons.
- Leonard Cohen
[ Parent ]
Re: Public knowledge (4.00 / 6) (#19)
by Wormwood on Sun Sep 24, 2000 at 09:50:52 PM EST

> When I try to explain about what the media is doing to my family and friends, I hear either "You've been reading too much Slashdot" (from the more technically-aware people) or "But the government wouldn't let this happen so therefore you're lying."

Don't focus your efforts on these people; they're lost. Only when it makes an impact on *them* will they begin to care. However, if they're rational people (from your comments, that doesn't appear to be the case) then if you confront them and *tell them that they're wrong*, then you might get a reaction. Whether it will be a good reaction depends on them.

I, too, have been talking about these things, to my friends, family, and teachers. If they give me enough time to explain it properly, *all* of them care, and *all* of them understand the issues and can see what could happen. Lucky for me.

More of you must do the same. Talk to anyone, friends, family, colleagues, your pastor, the guy in front of you at Safeway. But *spread the word*.

As a side note: both my parents are lawyers, each with years of experience in their respective sub-fields. It was immediately apparent to them that 1) Kaplan should have stepped down, and 2) that the DMCA is horrible and should declared unconstitional. I think that Kaplan should be dis-barred. In my opinion, (which is protected by constitional rights), he was biased.

Wormwood

[ Parent ]
Re: Public knowledge (3.80 / 5) (#26)
by skim123 on Mon Sep 25, 2000 at 04:18:26 AM EST

I say we all band together and follow the 2nd amendment. Get guns and take over the country by force just like people did in 1776

Uh, no. Why don't we just vote for those who promise to revoke the DMCA and other bills of that nature? That way, no one has to die.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
More references (3.83 / 12) (#3)
by sbeitzel on Sun Sep 24, 2000 at 05:00:21 PM EST

One of the classic books that addresses this topic is Benjamin Bagdikian's "Media Monopoly". Another, more focused on how the folks in power use the aforementioned monopoly, is Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky's "Manufacturing Consent".

I think the answer to the original question, "Should we disrupt the media," is an unequivocal, "Yes!" How can there be any doubt?

Regarding Chomsky (2.50 / 2) (#63)
by Simon Kinahan on Tue Sep 26, 2000 at 07:11:47 AM EST

I'd like to like Chomsky. Really, I would. I just cannot read his books sufficiently well to see what the core points are. He seems to spend an awful lot of space mixing quotes from the press into his own text to reinforce his points, but it results in a disjointed and incomprehensible style. He also takes a lot of things for granted, and a lot of his reasoning looks like ad hoc explanations. Look, for instance, at his old articles about Aristide in Haiti. Now look at what's happened recently. What went wrong ? Presumably some subtle Anglo-American intervention has caused "true democracy" to be derailed.

I'm not actually being critical here. I'm just saying "I don't get it". But, when I see people being flattering about Chomsky, I'm tempted to think there is a certain amount of "I don't understand this, so it must be really clever" type reasoning going on.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]
Re: Regarding Chomsky (3.00 / 2) (#74)
by pretzelgod on Tue Sep 26, 2000 at 04:20:12 PM EST

If you're having trouble understanding Chomsky (which i don't understand; i've always thought he had a clear, precise style), you might want to check out the fora at ZNet. ZNet is also a great source of news that you won't hear from the profit-hungry propanda machines.


-- 
Ever heard of the School of the Americas?


[ Parent ]
Stuff to Read (3.92 / 14) (#5)
by Eloquence on Sun Sep 24, 2000 at 05:14:56 PM EST

For examples of what the media are really doing you should read Toxic Sludge is Good For You (check out the reviews at Amazon) and the newsletters by the Center for Media and Democracy. You may also want to read alternative news sources like Mother Jones, the Covert Action Quarterly, ZNet, the Workers World News Service, or even Smokedot. If anyone wants to start a progressive/alternative Scoop news site I'll dig out some more links. (I'm trying to build an anti-mainstream site with infoAnarchy, which is focused on file sharing, anonymity, censorship etc. -- we're currently upgrading Scoop.)
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
Re: Stuff to Read (2.50 / 2) (#38)
by YellowBook on Mon Sep 25, 2000 at 11:06:08 AM EST

The Nation is another good print source. They're not on the whole the most knowledgable about tech issues, but they do have occasional columns by Eben Moglen. They cover an awful lot of things that are just plain ignored by the mainstream media.



[ Parent ]
This is what the internet is for =) (2.33 / 12) (#6)
by genisis on Sun Sep 24, 2000 at 05:23:01 PM EST

Isn't this what the internet is for? Allowing small busines and people to have the same advantage with the big ones. Look at this site, its not controlled by any big corporation, and it has news on it. Or take the slashdot, they are a news site. Though they are owned by VA Linux.

You Must Be Kidding (3.66 / 3) (#70)
by pretzelgod on Tue Sep 26, 2000 at 04:03:31 PM EST

What about the working class who can't afford computers? What about the homeless? What about sweatshop workers? The Internet is a toy for the middle-class, nothing more.

Despite a few flukes like the Zapatista web site, the Internet is not a viable alternative to the US media.


-- 
Ever heard of the School of the Americas?


[ Parent ]
Partial Disagreement (3.20 / 10) (#7)
by nuntius on Sun Sep 24, 2000 at 05:28:14 PM EST

You imply that politicians will shy away from this issue--seeking the support of _all_ the conglomerate news sources...

I disagree. First, time continually shows that you can't please everyone all the time. These media sources are in just as stiff of competition as any other form of business. A politician who did favor one feed would be torn apart by the others.

This competition protects politicians from appearing different than they are--that's one reason today's politicians appear so scummy. If one news source was found to favor someone more than the others, people would cry foul--that's our current national pastime.

The only thing which hurts is that major news sources tend to cover things from a popular perspective. This will continue until all the major feeds look and feel the same. Then a backlash comes as people scurry to the extremist sources (like /. and k5 ;-), and the cycle repeats.


Wash, rinse, repeat--a perpetual motion machine clearly described on the back of your shampoo!

Re: Partial Disagreement (4.85 / 7) (#10)
by Covariance on Sun Sep 24, 2000 at 06:00:54 PM EST

The danger isn't the politicians favoring any individual business. The problem is when the collective interests of all the media conglomerates conflicts with the interests of everyone else. In that situation it is very possible that the combined political power of the media will sway the political system.

Far more disturbing than that is, as you say, all news feeds will look and feel the same. When that happens (which I happen to think is now), all the people selecting what news to report and how to report it will be acting from the same economic and social perspective (generally affluent people interesting in maintaining the current political landscape). This gives a tremendous skew to what is probably the only news feed for many people, most of which are not in the same economic and social conditions as those reporting the news.

As an example, the media in the US has a large vested interest in seeing either a Democrat or Republican in power. If the Green party, for instance, were to gain a noticeable amount of influence it could curtail some of the media power. Now, in Oregon there is a large amount of support for Ralph Nader of the Green party. Most of those, however, are very intent to vote not-Bush. If Nader has no chance the best thing to do is vote for Gore, but if Nader can carry the State that would be a very strong victory for the Green party, and wouldn't hurt not-Bush's chances since Oregon's votes in the electoral college are pretty negligible. The problem is knowing whether Nader can carry the state or not, and more to the point, how easy that information is to find out. Most of the mainstream media, however, phrases the polls in terms of "Bush or Gore", and completely ignores all other parties. In this case it's entirely possible that this media influence could determine the outcome of the election.

I'm also unconvinced that people will go to alternative media sources. It takes effort to find them, some aren't of terribly good quality, and most aren't nearly as entertaining as the evening news. If the current distribution of sales of movie tickets, CDs, etc. (where almost all the sales are to the huge media conglomerates) is meaningful in this context, then people are pretty willing to let someone else tell them what to watch and what to like.

[ Parent ]

Well... (3.37 / 16) (#8)
by Zarniwoop on Sun Sep 24, 2000 at 05:45:46 PM EST

We *are* the new media.

Think about it. You just wrote an editorial. You're posting it to a news site.

The way things are going, it's no longer

Press Release --> Media --> People

Its more like

Press Release --> Person with info --> People

The media as a machine is being replaced with people on sites like this one. Hopefully this trend will continue- I like it.

Re: Well... (3.66 / 6) (#12)
by HypoLuxa on Sun Sep 24, 2000 at 07:24:53 PM EST

I think the movement to non-moderated media where people experiencing the events are posting news and commentary. This is why I threw out my arbitratry 99% figure in my original bit. How many people have internet access? How many of those people use the internet as their primary news source? And then how many of those people will beleive something they read on k5 vs. what they read on ABCNews.com?

I am very grateful for k5, /. and truly raw sites such as indymedia.org that allow anyone to get out there message. However, you could refer to them as the collective gnat on the back of the beast. It's not the way the vast majority is getting their news.

--
I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons.
- Leonard Cohen
[ Parent ]

Re: Well... (2.50 / 2) (#40)
by Alarmist on Mon Sep 25, 2000 at 11:23:03 AM EST

We *are* the new media.

Not quite.

To the technologically aware, and to those with Internet access who actually find this site and others like it, then we are the new media (or will be).

But how is your opinion (or anyone else's here) going to reach the two hundred or so million people in the United States who aren't aware of this site, its contents, or their contributors? Let us say, in round numbers, that kuro5hin.org reaches 100,000 people in the United States a day. That leaves something like 280 million that it doesn't reach every day. Now, those 100,000 people can have an incredible influence over the rest, if they're in the right places (e.g. the government or media conglomerates). But most of the 100,000 aren't in those places and have no ready means to distribute their message widely.

David had it easy against Goliath. The truth, friends and neighbors, is that it's going to be uphill, in a snowstorm, while being shot at all the way. There will be no easy victories. There will be no adoring crowds. There will be no governmental assistance. If you want things to change, you're going to have to take the long term--decades. It will be a long, hard fight, and you will be under incredible pressure to knuckle under, but if you think it's worthwhile (I know I do), then you'll do it.

Fight the Power.


[ Parent ]

How do you fight the media? (3.00 / 7) (#11)
by Dacta on Sun Sep 24, 2000 at 07:23:45 PM EST

So, is it time to start gathering and building the resources to fight the Media?

How do you propose to do that? Surely the only way to fight the Media is to become the Media yourself? That isn't nessecarily a bad thing, of course, but does have the potential to cause problems.

Personally, I believe in a semi-techinical solution: Easy to use and program syndication. I think this would allow smaller news website to carry news they wouldn't have the resources to gather in the first place, and it gives writers the opportunity to be read by more people than they conventially would be.

Of course, it's not "the solution". It's a partial solution - but arguably this is only a partial problem anyway.



Re: How do you fight the media? (3.00 / 4) (#14)
by HypoLuxa on Sun Sep 24, 2000 at 07:32:28 PM EST

How do you propose to do that? Surely the only way to fight the Media is to become the Media yourself? That isn't nessecarily a bad thing, of course, but does have the potential to cause problems.

Heh heh. You should REALLY read Channel Zero. The anti-hero, Jenny 2.5, takes over the airwaves with pirate broadcasts agains the media strangelhold. At some point, another character turns to her and tells her that the networks are trying to figure out how to sell advertising time during her broadcasts. By trying to fight the system, she became a tool of the system.

A very interesting dilemna, no?

--
I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons.
- Leonard Cohen
[ Parent ]

Who is "Channel Zero" by? (1.50 / 2) (#23)
by Dacta on Mon Sep 25, 2000 at 03:07:06 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Re: Who is "Channel Zero" by? (2.00 / 1) (#56)
by HypoLuxa on Mon Sep 25, 2000 at 08:00:49 PM EST

Brian Wood. They just released a compiled TP last week. Check out www.brianwood.com for more info.

--
I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons.
- Leonard Cohen
[ Parent ]
Re: How do you fight the media? (2.50 / 2) (#18)
by Luke Scharf on Sun Sep 24, 2000 at 09:36:06 PM EST

Personally, I believe in a semi-techinical solution: Easy to use and program syndication. I think this would allow smaller news website to carry news they wouldn't have the resources to gather in the first place, and it gives writers the opportunity to be read by more people than they conventially would be.

Sounds like K5, Advogato, Technocrat, and Slashdot, eh?

Link from several weblogs to an editorial on my own website is syndication, is it not?



[ Parent ]
Re: How do you fight the media? (3.50 / 2) (#21)
by Dacta on Sun Sep 24, 2000 at 10:06:16 PM EST

I'm really talking about automated syndication. Imagine RSS summaries of weblogs, but more content. There's a fair bit of work in this area, but it is difficult, not least because of the copyright issues.



[ Parent ]
Why AOL-Time Warner scares me. (3.81 / 11) (#15)
by Carnage4Life on Sun Sep 24, 2000 at 07:52:05 PM EST

I recently realized that online service with the largest amount of users in the western world, the news magazine with the largest amount of readers in the western world and the news channel with the largest amount of viewers in the western world are soon going to be owned by a single entity.

This means that AOL-Time Warner can easily manipulate public opinion any way it sees fit considering that a large segment of the informed populace consumes their news from AOL-Time Warner in form or the other. The example of DeCSS is just one example of how this has come to pass.

Unfortunately I don't see how this can be changed. Many people tout Slashdot as an example of an independent news site. Nothing is farther from the truth for a variety of reasons
    Slashdot does not have a smidgeon of the trustworthiness of real new sites like CNN or Time. It is more an unsubstantiated rumor mill than anything else.
    A majority of the stories on Slashdot are merely links to news on established sites that are under the control of the very media Slashdotters claim to despise. As an aside, hands up anyone who knows that ZDNet and C|net are owned by the same company.
What saddens me is that even though you'd expect that people would flock to various independent news sites once they get online, a majority of people still get their sanitized news from the same sources as they do offline.

Re: Why AOL-Time Warner scares me. (3.00 / 2) (#31)
by AndrewH on Mon Sep 25, 2000 at 09:23:54 AM EST

Unfortunately, Slashdot has its own tendency to squash dissenting voices. Some people are even worried that K5 risks doing the same thing.
John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr — where are you now that we need you?
[ Parent ]
Broadcast media (2.87 / 8) (#16)
by rongen on Sun Sep 24, 2000 at 08:04:47 PM EST

Soon there will be no need for broadcasting on a licensed broadcast frequency on the radio, etc. You will be able to stream multimedia over the Internet to just about anyone. I KNOW you can do that now, guys.. :) but the infrastructure really isn't there for John Q. Public to reach a huge audience at the same level of quaility as the major new media, etc. But that will change and many people who can afford luxuries like uncrowded safe housing, education, and a good diet will also be able to access and produce high quality media over the 'net.

Okay, so we have a chicken in every bit bucket. What now?

You run into all kinds of problems with credibility and branding. I could sit here all day and stream video editorials about the evils of the IMF but if one CNN panelist comes on saying "they're not so bad" he will be believed before me and heard by many, many more people (probably this is a good thing because I am not very knowledgeable about the IMF, it's just an example). Having said that I think there is a lot of room for micro-media to move in and deliver really good, solid, and credible information. This will especially be true for local events. If I am watching news about a protest rally being attacked and disrupted by police I definitely want more than one side to that story. If I can watch a video made by a protestor on the scene I will definitely want to see it in conjunction with whatever CNN decides to show us.

We are living in an exciting time, we are watching media go from being a proprietary and tightly controlled resource to a raw material that is available for free...
read/write http://www.prosebush.com

Re: Broadcast media (4.00 / 2) (#36)
by Precious Roy on Mon Sep 25, 2000 at 10:50:34 AM EST

You run into all kinds of problems with credibility and branding. I could sit here all day and stream video editorials about the evils of the IMF but if one CNN panelist comes on saying "they're not so bad" he will be believed before me and heard by many, many more people (probably this is a good thing because I am not very knowledgeable about the IMF, it's just an example).

Given a 20+ year history of reputable journalism (much more reputable than a lot of other international news orgs) this is going to happen. It's conceivable, but less likely, that "micro-media" could achive such a reputation given time.

This will especially be true for local events. If I am watching news about a protest rally being attacked and disrupted by police I definitely want more than one side to that story. If I can watch a video made by a protestor on the scene I will definitely want to see it in conjunction with whatever CNN decides to show us.

This is one of the primary reasons local TV stations state for their continued survival in a CNN world: they can cover local events a hell of a lot better than CNN could ever dream of. (Ever notice how when something major happens in LA, NY, etc., CNN just shows a local station's coverage?)

With the Internet, the means of delivery may change, but the local station's "specialization" in local coverage will still be there.

[ Parent ]

Re: Broadcast media (3.50 / 2) (#37)
by rongen on Mon Sep 25, 2000 at 11:02:01 AM EST

Yeah, I definitely think that micro-media presenters will attain credibilty. Often just the willingness to do the work and post the story will be enough to get people to listen to what you are saying (look at this site, where the quality of a story submission presentation-wise often plays a major role in how well received it is).

There are many factors for determining credibility also. For instance a person doing media may have academic credentials in the area, or have been an organizer of a "real life" action group on an issue. These things bleed over into the on-line presence and add to a person's credibilty.

I used to get worried about mob-rule in cyberspace (i.e. noise drownding out signal) but I am starting to think that the sheer volume of choice for where you get your info will help combat that. Sites that dispense and allow discussion of media events are popping up everywhere. I have no doubt that this is a trend that will continue.
read/write http://www.prosebush.com
[ Parent ]

A few thoughts (3.71 / 14) (#17)
by Wah on Sun Sep 24, 2000 at 09:03:11 PM EST

First off .. Radio.

I know this one rather personally as I recently lost my job as a result of a major radio merger. We did a lot of work for the smaller company (the third largest owner of radio in the US) that was bought by a bigger company (the largest owner of radio in the US) who had a company that did what we did. I'm not really worried about finding work or that aspect of it, but while I was there I was privy to a lot of information about how the radio industry works.

Radio has been segmented in various genres, a playlist is created for that genre, and it is propogated throughout the country. Programming wizards (the other kind) come up with "formats" and that's who you hear. Recently the "Jammin Oldies" (tm, seriously) format took the nation by storm, as it were. This is part of why radio sucks.

The other part is that with such little competition on the local market (a company can now own 8 entities with a maximum of two tv station is any one metro area, and a certain limit of total ad revenue) major companies are able to charge what they want for advertising, cutting out smaller niche stations from ad dollars, and increase the number of units (minutes spelled differently) of ads. That's the other part.

But even given that example, I am able through the Internet to access a wide variety of music from tons of artists. I usually listen to mp3 streams, with crazy programming choice(!), and NO commercials. The potential for Internet bitcasting for music is just starting to be realized. It takes broadband, and will tax the infrastructure, but it works wonderfully for my needs.

I also think the Net can largely supplant other media outlets, given a few more years. Yes, there will always be major players, but sites like k5 and /. (and many, many, others) can compete hand in hand with the majors.

As far as fighting the media goes. You do that by simply spending your entertainment time elsewhere. If you're reading this, you are practicing. It's a war for attention and voice. So simply place yours on the side you are fighting for, and keep a close eye on the lawmakers, 'cause they can change the rules.


--
Fail to Obey?
Public Radio? (3.83 / 12) (#20)
by Luke Scharf on Sun Sep 24, 2000 at 09:55:11 PM EST

How 'bout we start e-mailing links about our issues to NPR? They pride themselved on examining issues in depth and being less biased than other network news organizations.

  • NPR Main Website
  • All Things Considered letters to the editor
  • Normal people get themselves heard this way when they have issues. This is a fundamental part of the democratic process, and the newspeople know it.

    It's just too bad that we're so arrogant and stuck on weblogs, usenet, and e-mail that we don't ever consider the methods that the soccer-mom down the sreet uses to make sure everyone knows her interests.

    At the risk of being redundant, write letters to the editor, hand out flyers and bumper stickers, talk to people on the street -- just like all of the other memebers of this democracy. If you make enough noise, you are a sensational news story and people hear you.

    The modern media is all about sensation and many newspeople don't seem to take the time to understand the issues. Especially obscure issues raised by strange minorities like the people who call themselves geeks. We must make it easy for them -- we need to break it down into sound bytes (ha!) and the like.

    Didn't you all go to school?



    NPR (4.25 / 4) (#34)
    by mattc on Mon Sep 25, 2000 at 10:32:49 AM EST

    NPR isn't any better than any of the others, except maybe there are fewer commercials. My biggest complaint with NPR is they are so "politically correct" it makes me want to throw up. Really, the only thing they have that is bearable to listen to is Talk of the Nation...

    Another disgusting thing about NPR is their strong opposition to LPFM. They are trying their hardest to block competition in the non-profit radio area.

    Note that our tax dollars pay 50% of NPR's budget -- why doesn't anyone refer to them as "state run news agency" like we do when reporting on foreign news agencies?

    [ Parent ]

    Re: NPR (none / 0) (#93)
    by Luke Scharf on Sun Oct 01, 2000 at 12:56:34 AM EST

    NPR isn't any better than any of the others, except maybe there are fewer commercials.

    I said that they pride themselves on being less biased. This means that it may be easier to get them to pay attention to an to an unpopular issue -- "the rest of the media is biased against us, so we came to y'all." They might be able to be manipulated through their pride. {shudder - I pride myself on doing business straight}



    [ Parent ]
    Re: Public Radio? (4.20 / 5) (#35)
    by joeyo on Mon Sep 25, 2000 at 10:49:02 AM EST

    I used to think NPR was better, but if you pay attention you'll see that they are just as biased as the rest of the media. As always with issues like this the more interesting questions isn't "what news is being reported" but "what news is _not_ being reported". If it's available in your area, check out the Christian Science Monitor. I think it tends to be a little better. Or even try the BBC world news headlines just so you can see what is being ignored by the US media.

    --
    "Give me enough variables to work with, and I can probably do away with the notion of human free will." -- demi
    [ Parent ]

    Public radio less biased? (3.00 / 3) (#41)
    by marlowe on Mon Sep 25, 2000 at 11:55:41 AM EST

    Maybe. But not by much.

    I remember when Bill Clinton was elected for the first time. There was an interview on NPR with some woman who was so fawning and giggly I thought she was about to give him a blowjob on air. Come to think of it, this was radio. Well, there weren't any slurping sounds. At least not while I was tuned in. But it wouldn't have surprised me.


    -- The Americans are the Jews of the 21st century. Only we won't go as quietly to the gas chambers. --
    [ Parent ]
    Some points (4.10 / 10) (#22)
    by Spider Tap on Mon Sep 25, 2000 at 02:15:03 AM EST

    The Center for Public Integretity has a report on the media's influence on politics and legislation in the US. If the lengthy (88 page) report is too much to get through some of the points are covered in this far shorter article. The lengthier report has an appendix with a summary of the "Major Media Mergers and Acquisitions" over the last 15 years.

    A lot of people seem to be commenting that the internet provides an alternative method for distribution outside of the media corps. Three quick points:

    1.Currently this is only true for the relatively small number of people who know about these sites. Radio and newspapers used to also provide views outside the mainstream media. They still do if you know where to look but the problem is that the information for finding these alternative sources is not readily available.

    2.The mainstream media does a wonderful job of making all views outside of the standard view seem ridiculous. Why would people look for alternative media sources if people believe that they are all filled with crack pots?

    3.I don't think people should assume that the internet is safe from these corporate media methods of marginalizing dissenting views. The internet is still pretty young. If you go to countries where freedom of the press is still a new thing (Romania is the only of these I personally have been to) the press contains a lot more views than are represented in our press. I think corporate entities will attempt to control information in these cases. The market for corporate media is information (actually the market is advertising but to sell to advertisers you need to have control of information, information is a space in which media corps compete). Media corporations will attempt to control information in all these new markets.



    Government:Democracy = Media:What? (3.42 / 7) (#24)
    by jack_doe on Mon Sep 25, 2000 at 04:05:31 AM EST

    Note that we once had this problem with government as well (and still do to some extent, but far less fiercely) - a government not answerable to its people will mistreat those people.

    You could generalize this to say, any concentration of power not answerable to those it affects will harm them.

    The media clearly are, and have been for over a century, a concentration of power.

    So the question is: how can the media be made answerable to those their powers affect?



    Re: Government:Democracy = Media:What? (3.00 / 4) (#25)
    by skim123 on Mon Sep 25, 2000 at 04:13:52 AM EST

    The media clearly are, and have been for over a century, a concentration of power. So the question is: how can the media be made answerable to those their powers affect

    Well, define whose power the media affects. If you answer, "the people," then I would contend that the people have a huge influence on the media (hence the media is answerable to the people). Think about it, how long would Time Magazine stay in business if no one subscribed to it? How long would Dateline be on the air if no one watched it? I find it funny that people say the media is corrupting them, is too powerful, that they are able to instruct us what to think... It's like sitting their staring at the sun and bitching, "The Goddamn sun, it's awful, it blinds people. Something must be done." Well... stop staring at the sun!

    Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
    PT Barnum


    [ Parent ]
    Re: Government:Democracy = Media:What? (2.50 / 2) (#43)
    by Fanb0y on Mon Sep 25, 2000 at 12:17:06 PM EST

    Stop staring at the sun? That sounds an awful lot like say "if you don't like what the're saying, go stick your head in the sand. I agree sitting around whining about how corrupting the media industry is, isn't the right approach, but If we don't stare at the subject of our discussion, how can we know how to affect a change in that we want to see changed? As for needing viewers, your right. but the flipside is true. The media industry is also concerned with what the advertisers think, they are the one that pay for the broadcast time. if the industy boycotted a show, the show would fold, if all the designers pulled their advertising from a fashion magazine, how long would it continue....
    That's it everyone outta' the Gene pool, we need to do some serious cleaning.
    [ Parent ]
    Re: Government:Democracy = Media:What? (none / 0) (#91)
    by skim123 on Thu Sep 28, 2000 at 03:07:33 AM EST

    The media industry is also concerned with what the advertisers think...

    Right, but what do advertisers care about? What their consumers think. It all comes back to the public! So... the reason the media shows what it shows, the reason advertisers pay for what they pay, is because the public eats it up!

    Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
    PT Barnum


    [ Parent ]
    My slant on the issue (3.00 / 7) (#27)
    by skim123 on Mon Sep 25, 2000 at 04:32:06 AM EST

    I have to admit that I don't really understand the general attitude toward "Media" that most people who visit sites like K5 and Slashdot express. I assume that people worry that those who control the media control public opinion. I wonder why this is so? If all of the network news channels came on the air tomorrow and said the sky is green, would you believe it? Man has the ability to be rational, to think for himself. Just because Tom Brokaw said something was so, doesn't mean it was, I can think about it myself and arrive at my own conclusion, independent of Brokaw's views.

    Of course there are those who choose not to think rationally, those who will believe whatever they are told, or base their beliefs on faith. Why pander to these people, though? Why protect them from their own ignorance? They can think rationally, but choose not to.

    In any case, I view the conglomoration of the media just like the conglomoration of non-Media businesses. That brings up a great point - Media == business. Media != knowledge; Media != information. Media == entertainment == business == profits.

    Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
    PT Barnum


    Re: My slant on the issue (4.33 / 3) (#33)
    by Precious Roy on Mon Sep 25, 2000 at 10:24:17 AM EST

    If all of the network news channels came on the air tomorrow and said the sky is green, would you believe it? Man has the ability to be rational, to think for himself. Just because Tom Brokaw said something was so, doesn't mean it was, I can think about it myself and arrive at my own conclusion, independent of Brokaw's views.

    I don't think the example you're using here is viable. Sure, people aren't going to believe the news if they say something that is obviously completely incorrect. The problem comes in everything that's hard for people to independently verify... especially government.

    One of our state's guys in the House of Representatives recently admitted he doesn't understand how the budget process works. How, then, can the news be expected to understand it and pass that on to the public? We (I use we because I work for a newspaper) DON'T fully understand most of government, but do our best because people DO expect us to report on these kinds of things.

    [ Parent ]

    Re: My slant on the issue (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by Dolphineus on Mon Sep 25, 2000 at 01:43:12 PM EST

    Of course there are those who choose not to think rationally, those who will believe whatever they are told, or base their beliefs on faith. Why pander to these people, though? Why protect them from their own ignorance? They can think rationally, but choose not to.

    Maybe because they are the majority? They are the people who will elect our next president based on the ad campaigns the big two run. We have to remember that the media is not interested in reporting the truth, or in reflecting reality. Any media corporation, at least in America, is interested in one thing and one thing only, profit. How does a media corporation produce profits? By selling advertising. What makes the available ad space more valuable? More viewers/readers/listeners. (I will use viewers for lack of a more comprehensive term)

    So how does a media corporation secure themselves more viewers? By reporting the truth? Not likely. By sensationalizing everything that happens. For example, by spending more time reporting how ugly and nasty all the protesters were at the Rebublocratic Conventions. Did anyone see any significant coverage of what was being protested? Neither did I. All I saw were accounts of how the protesters disrupted traffic or clashed with police. No attempt was made to inform viewers of the issues that people were attempting to raise. The same thing happened in Seattle with the WTO protests. No major media devoted any significant time to the issues. They covered the chaos and little else.

    How are the viewers supposed to get any information when the news they are being presented with is biased? Most people are way to lazy to do any investigating themselves. People who use the internet for news, especially those who take part in discussions like this, or use alternative news sites, are the few who have a clue. The majority doesn't. And that scares me.

    But then again, thats just me.
    Dolphineus

    [ Parent ]
    Re: My slant on the issue (2.00 / 1) (#60)
    by skim123 on Mon Sep 25, 2000 at 11:54:04 PM EST

    So how does a media corporation secure themselves more viewers? By reporting the truth? Not likely

    Agreed, just like Pepsi wouldn't sell more beverages by saying Coke tastes better (which may very well be the truth). Media is a business, just like selling carbonated beverages.

    How are the viewers supposed to get any information when the news they are being presented with is biased

    But that's the thing, it's not news, it's entertainment. Tom Brokaw is an entertainer. Dan Rather is an entertainer. There are many groups, organizations, scientists, etc. that do unbiased research. Finding the info is not always easy, but it's out there.

    Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
    PT Barnum


    [ Parent ]
    Re: My slant on the issue (none / 0) (#86)
    by Dolphineus on Wed Sep 27, 2000 at 01:22:41 PM EST

    How are the viewers supposed to get any information when the news they are being presented with is biased But that's the thing, it's not news, it's entertainment. Tom Brokaw is an entertainer. Dan Rather is an entertainer. There are many groups, organizations, scientists, etc. that do unbiased research. Finding the info is not always easy, but it's out there.

    Good point. But does the general public understand that it is not news? The information is being presented in such a way that the public is led to believe it is factual news information. Someone said it elsewhere, either in this discussion or the one on the war on drugs, but what we really need is an independent, non-commercial media outlet (and don't even suggest PBS or NPR as unbiased or non-commercial). The question is, how do we do that?

    C ya
    Dolphineus

    [ Parent ]
    Re: My slant on the issue (none / 0) (#87)
    by Dolphineus on Wed Sep 27, 2000 at 01:22:45 PM EST

    How are the viewers supposed to get any information when the news they are being presented with is biased But that's the thing, it's not news, it's entertainment. Tom Brokaw is an entertainer. Dan Rather is an entertainer. There are many groups, organizations, scientists, etc. that do unbiased research. Finding the info is not always easy, but it's out there.

    Good point. But does the general public understand that it is not news? The information is being presented in such a way that the public is led to believe it is factual news information. Someone said it elsewhere, either in this discussion or the one on the war on drugs, but what we really need is an independent, non-commercial media outlet (and don't even suggest PBS or NPR as unbiased or non-commercial). The question is, how do we do that?

    C ya
    Dolphineus

    [ Parent ]
    Re: My slant on the issue (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by speek on Mon Sep 25, 2000 at 02:12:07 PM EST

    Maybe you need an example:

    How many people here, after seeing news about the West Nile Virus thought it was a very dangerous and fatal illness? I am not dumb, but I was totally ignorant of this West Nile Virus thing. Having seen the reports, I was under the distinct impression that getting the virus was a death sentence unless you got medical treatment - a scary prospect given that the symptoms look just like the flu.

    The reality is, if you're in reasonable health (ie, you're under 70 years old and over 5), you'll never know you had it because it will be just like a mild flu, and nothing bad will happen to you. But, I didn't find that out from NBC :-)

    --
    al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
    [ Parent ]

    Re: My slant on the issue (3.00 / 1) (#59)
    by skim123 on Mon Sep 25, 2000 at 11:50:58 PM EST

    The reality is, if you're in reasonable health (ie, you're under 70 years old and over 5), you'll never know you had it because it will be just like a mild flu, and nothing bad will happen to you. But, I didn't find that out from NBC

    Right, because like I said, media is business. More eyeballs glued to the set if they spell out armagedon. Of course you could have found this fact out by going down to the local library and researching a medical encyclopedia. My point is, if you are interested in finding facts, don't turn to the media, just like if you were interested in receiving an unbiased report on what soft drink tasted best, you wouldn't go to CocaCola.

    Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
    PT Barnum


    [ Parent ]
    Re: My slant on the issue (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by speek on Tue Sep 26, 2000 at 03:07:36 PM EST

    I wasn't interested in an unbiased report. I wasn't interested at all. I had never heard of West Nile virus! And I don't watch much news or read the newspaper, but I talk to people, I catch glimpses on TV, etc. I wasn't looking for anything - the point is, the information got into my brain anyway, and there it was. I was mislead and in reality, there wasn't much I could do about it. If your argument is, go research everything you *think* you know to make sure, then I can't agree. The fact is, your brain is a programmable instrument, and they are busy programming it. Your defenses are critical thinking and wariness, but your resources fall way short of "the media's", and you will be fooled on many things no matter how hard you try. To deny this is delusional, IMHO.

    --
    al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
    [ Parent ]

    Re: My slant on the issue (2.00 / 1) (#73)
    by skim123 on Tue Sep 26, 2000 at 04:13:13 PM EST

    And I don't watch much news or read the newspaper, but I talk to people, I catch glimpses on TV, etc. I wasn't looking for anything - the point is, the information got into my brain anyway, and there it was.

    Yeah, a lot of information gets into your brain this way, it's just human nature, it's not the Media that is to blame. Throughout your life you will be told many things, some true, some false, some both true and false. It's your call what to put your belief in and what to reject as false. To turn to the government, to beg, "Please help me, I'm uncapable or unwilling to exercise my own brain, to make up my own mind what is true and what is false," that is scary.

    Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
    PT Barnum


    [ Parent ]
    Re: My slant on the issue (none / 0) (#90)
    by speek on Wed Sep 27, 2000 at 09:13:39 PM EST

    Hmmm, apparently the "information" has gotten into your brain that I'm suggesting the government is the place to turn to for help on this. I suggest you rethink that belief. This started with a question - do we need to disrupt the media. Ie, do we need to take action, for ourselves, to combat the disinformation the media bombards us with. Not legislative action, but something much more direct and subversive.

    I say yes resoundingly. Personally, I think Slashdot and Kuro5hin are excellent examples of things we can do to disrupt the media, but more needs doing. I'd get into it further with details, but its late and it'll come out poorly if I try here. I'm sure you can think of ways yourself - go download freenet and run a node for starters.

    --
    al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
    [ Parent ]

    Re: My slant on the issue (none / 0) (#99)
    by krisjohn.net on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 03:36:38 AM EST

    information got into my brain anyway, and there it was. I was mislead and in reality, there wasn't much I could do about it.
    There is a difference between remembering something someone said and believing it. You recalled that an untrusted source -- commercial news -- ran a scary story about a disease you knew little or nothing about. Obviously later you qualified that knowledge, reading that it was not as bad as the original source stated.

    So long as you are able to recall the source of the information when recalling the information you're well on your way to never being seriously mislead. I go one step further, when I'm speaking to someone, passing on this information, I always try to quote the source. Eg: "Hey Fred, I heard on the ABC news last night that..." As such, I present the information I have with the original source, letting "Fred" decided not only if he trusts me, but also if he trusts ABC.

    It's a web of trust thing, and I happen to believe it's the next logical step for sites such as /. and K5. It's already running at Epinions.

    Chris (Kris) Johnson.
    Chris (Kris) Johnson

    If you like this, try my Editorial -- updated Monday and Thursday.
    [ Parent ]

    Re: My slant on the issue (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by HypoLuxa on Mon Sep 25, 2000 at 06:26:36 PM EST

    If all of the network news channels came on the air tomorrow and said the sky is green, would you believe it?

    Of course not. I can look out my window and see that they are wrong.

    On the other hand, if the network news channels come on the air tonight and tell you that 15 people in Abu Dhabai were killed by terrorists, would you beleive it?

    If that news story was just as factually wrong as saying the sky was green, would you still beleive it?

    --
    I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons.
    - Leonard Cohen
    [ Parent ]

    The Society of the Spectacle (3.00 / 6) (#28)
    by Paul Dunne on Mon Sep 25, 2000 at 05:28:00 AM EST

    This story confuses surface effects, symptoms, with the real problem. A bit of reading:
    http://dunne.home.dhs.org/
    Re: The Society of the Spectacle (1.00 / 1) (#39)
    by YellowBook on Mon Sep 25, 2000 at 11:09:13 AM EST

    Would you care to summarize?



    [ Parent ]
    Re: The Society of the Spectacle (2.00 / 1) (#42)
    by Paul Dunne on Mon Sep 25, 2000 at 12:00:56 PM EST

    I would if I had the time (deadlines, deadlines, as ever). You might find this review useful.
    http://dunne.home.dhs.org/
    [ Parent ]
    Conspiracy or ignorance? (3.62 / 8) (#29)
    by Beorn on Mon Sep 25, 2000 at 07:32:57 AM EST

    Be careful not to confuse ignorance with conspiracy. The problem with traditional media is not that they're tools in the hands of multinational corporations, a ridiculous idea. Journalists are incredibly untrustworthy servants.

    Journalists write silly things because a) they believe in them, or b) it sells better. Which means that journalists are stupid, greedy bastards, which shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone.

    I'm also skeptical to the idea that media tells everyone what to believe. To some extent this is true, but so is the opposite: The media reflects what everyone already believes or suspects. Really, if you haven't practically grown up with BBS's and the Internet, some of these viewpoints are difficult to grasp.

    The good news is that this should solve itself in a generation or two. Hopefully humanity hasn't damaged the net too much by then.

    - Beorn

    [ Threepwood '01 ]
    Re: Conspiracy or ignorance? (3.33 / 3) (#32)
    by Precious Roy on Mon Sep 25, 2000 at 10:18:07 AM EST

    Which means that journalists are stupid, greedy bastards, which shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone.

    Actually, the "greedy" part is most definitely a surprise to me. Greedy people don't go into journalism. It doesn't pay enough.

    The average reporter/copy editor with an internship and a four-year degree from a reputable university will make LESS than people with virtually any other degree. (I should know, I work at a newspaper and barely make anything.) If reporters are "greedy," it's because their pay is only barely above the poverty line.

    [ Parent ]

    shades of greed (1.00 / 1) (#69)
    by Anonymous 242 on Tue Sep 26, 2000 at 03:12:03 PM EST

    Greedy people don't go into journalism. It doesn't pay enough.

    Of course, most monetarily rich people don't get their names printed by their work that is distributed to tens or hundreds of thousands of people, either. There are more forms of compensation than simply money.

    [ Parent ]

    Re: shades of greed (none / 0) (#83)
    by Precious Roy on Wed Sep 27, 2000 at 09:43:14 AM EST

    Of course, most monetarily rich people don't get their names printed by their work that is distributed to tens or hundreds of thousands of people, either. There are more forms of compensation than simply money.

    Your (somewhat false) assumption here is that people will actually remember the names of said reporters.

    This is true with TV reporters, but not with newspaper writers.

    Quick, without looking at a newspaper or television: Name as many reporters and anchors on national/international news broadcasts as you can. Now name as many reporters who regularly have bylines in Associated Press stories as you can.

    I'll take a wild guess and say the second list is much shorter.

    Having one's name widely distributed doesn't equal fame if people don't pay attention to it.



    [ Parent ]

    I think you missed my point. (none / 0) (#85)
    by Anonymous 242 on Wed Sep 27, 2000 at 11:04:33 AM EST

    Hey Roy,

    Yeah, most people will not remember most journalists' names. But that wasn't entirely my point. My point is that there are forms of compensation beyond money. Getting your name in print provides a kick of a certain sort whether or not people remember your name. Seeing your words in print provides a kick whether or not your name is on the byline.

    Yes? No? If not, why do so many talented people go into journalism if the cash flows so poorly?

    [ Parent ]

    Re: Conspiracy or ignorance? (2.00 / 1) (#44)
    by Spider Tap on Mon Sep 25, 2000 at 12:45:55 PM EST

    Be careful not to confuse ignorance with conspiracy. The problem with traditional media is not that they're tools in the hands of multinational corporations, a ridiculous idea.

    You are ignoring the system that leads to poor journalism. Why do the ignorant journalists get hired and get their articles published?

    The issue isn't whether they are tools, the issue is what type of people are allowed to work as journalists. How likely do you think that an article that criticizes the newspaper will be published in the newspaper? critical of the parent company? critical of a subsidary? critical of a system that allows media corps to maximize profit?

    I'm also skeptical to the idea that media tells everyone what to believe. To some extent this is true, but so is the opposite: The media reflects what everyone already believes or suspects.

    Where do people's knowledge of international politics, local politics and the world in general (outside of your own life experiences) come from, if not the media? What ideas do you think are going to be expressed in the corporate media?

    What you believe is going to be based on what ideas you are exposed to, and the discussion of those ideas. In the corporate media I see a lack of ideas and a lack of discussion of ideas.



    [ Parent ]
    Re: Conspiracy or ignorance? (3.00 / 1) (#51)
    by Beorn on Mon Sep 25, 2000 at 03:30:36 PM EST

    Spider Tap wrote: You are ignoring the system that leads to poor journalism. Why do the ignorant journalists get hired and get their articles published?

    It makes more business sense to hire journalists who are good at pretending expert knowledge than hiring actual experts.

    The issue isn't whether they are tools, the issue is what type of people are allowed to work as journalists. How likely do you think that an article that criticizes the newspaper will be published in the newspaper?

    There's propably a great deal of self-cencorship in news media, which is why I strongly oppose news monopolies. But we're not talking about Time printing sex photos of AOL's CEO here, we're talking about general news coverage, which would require a huge, powerful, inefficient hierarchy for any news corp to control directly.

    Where do people's knowledge of international politics, local politics and the world in general (outside of your own life experiences) come from, if not the media?

    Nobody uncritically swallows everything they read. It's a question of attitude, personality and previous knowledge. I make my choice of which norwegian newspapers to trust based on how much I've agreed with them in the past.

    News media, on the other hand, make their choice of what to print based on what kind of readers they want. It's a very complex two-way relationship. There is definitely a lack of ideas and discussion in traditional news media, which leads to less ideas and discussion in the population -- but if a newspaper radically changes its editorial profile, will the readers change opinion - or change newspaper?

    Anyway, I'm not saying any of this to defend traditional news media. On the contrary, I think they're doing a shitty job and I despise them. What I'm opposing is the paranoid and arrogant idea that megacorps tell people what to believe.

    - Beorn

    [ Threepwood '01 ]
    [ Parent ]

    Re: Conspiracy or ignorance? (4.00 / 1) (#61)
    by Spider Tap on Tue Sep 26, 2000 at 05:42:19 AM EST

    which would require a huge, powerful, inefficient hierarchy for any news corp to control directly.

    Editors shape a newspaper; they select what gets published, what gets cut from an article, and what changes are made to an article. It is not difficult for a large corpration's board of directors to pick editors that will serve the corporations interests (simply by which editors have beliefs that are acceptable to the corporation).

    Besides it is not a completely a matter of hierachies. It is also matter of self interest. Corporations have a shared set of interests.

    Nobody uncritically swallows everything they read. It's a question of attitude, personality and previous knowledge.

    Where does this previous knowledge come from? Is it a priori? Your attitude and personality are at least somewhat shaped by your knowledge.

    News media, on the other hand, make their choice of what to print based on what kind of readers they want. It's a very complex two-way relationship.

    You are ignoring advertisers. Newspapers do not make their money from the people who read their papers, the cost of newspaper is normally below the cost of printing it. The way newspapers make money is by selling to advertisers.

    There is definitely a lack of ideas and discussion in traditional news media, which leads to less ideas and discussion in the population -- but if a newspaper radically changes its editorial profile, will the readers change opinion - or change newspaper?

    The editors will act in their self interests. They want to stay employed and keep the board of directors happy. A newspaper will not overnight change it's opinion. The major change that happens within a newspaper is not a change in opinion about the facts, just simply a change on what the facts are and what facts are worthy of publication.



    [ Parent ]
    Re: Conspiracy or ignorance? (2.00 / 1) (#66)
    by Beorn on Tue Sep 26, 2000 at 10:19:19 AM EST

    It is not difficult for a large corpration's board of directors to pick editors that will serve the corporations interests (simply by which editors have beliefs that are acceptable to the corporation).

    Yes, this is called having an editorial profile. If I owned a newspaper, I might very well want it to reflect my views and interests -- there's nothing wrong about this.

    On the other hand, if I owned ten newspapers, and primarily cared about money, I'd simply fire unprofitable editors, and hire profitable ones, regardless of my personal opinion of them. I might, for instance, own one newspaper that targets the political right, another one that targets the political left, and a third one that targets computer nerds. In all cases, I'd be pretty stupid to hire editors based on *my* personal views and interests.

    Where does this previous knowledge come from? Is it a priori? Your attitude and personality are at least somewhat shaped by your knowledge.

    Hard to say. Why *do* people have different opinions and beliefs? I don't know. Everybody has their own story. Mine certainly disproves your theory.

    The way newspapers make money is by selling to advertisers.

    And the advertisers make money from the readers -- and a trusted newspaper has more readers than an obedient one.

    - Beorn

    [ Threepwood '01 ]
    [ Parent ]

    Re: Conspiracy or ignorance? (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by pretzelgod on Tue Sep 26, 2000 at 04:10:05 PM EST

    On the other hand, if I owned ten newspapers, and primarily cared about money, I'd simply fire unprofitable editors, and hire profitable ones, regardless of my personal opinion of them. I might, for instance, own one newspaper that targets the political right, another one that targets the political left, and a third one that targets computer nerds. In all cases, I'd be pretty stupid to hire editors based on *my* personal views and interests.

    It is not profitable to allow your newspaper to print articles about that reveal flaws in the system upon which your power depends.


    -- 
    Ever heard of the School of the Americas?


    [ Parent ]
    Re: Conspiracy or ignorance? (none / 0) (#82)
    by Beorn on Wed Sep 27, 2000 at 07:53:15 AM EST

    It is not profitable to allow your newspaper to print articles about that reveal flaws in the system upon which your power depends.

    Oh *come* on. Yes, I'm sure editors and owners have that in mind all the time. 'Oh dear, better not tell the commoners the truth about those annoying protests in Prague, or there'll be a revolution and I'll lose all my money.'

    Capitalism in western democracies is so secure and obviously beneficial that preserving it is the least of an editors concerns.

    - Beorn

    [ Threepwood '01 ]
    [ Parent ]

    Re: Conspiracy or ignorance? (none / 0) (#84)
    by pretzelgod on Wed Sep 27, 2000 at 10:15:30 AM EST

    Capitalism in western democracies is so secure and obviously beneficial that preserving it is the least of an editors concerns.

    You're missing the point so badly i find it hard to believe. Capitalism is not beneficial. Not to the majority of the population of this country, and certainly not to the third-world countries are society depends on. People cannot be allowed to find this out, because as soon as they do, they're in the streets demanding justice.


    -- 
    Ever heard of the School of the Americas?


    [ Parent ]
    Re: Conspiracy or ignorance? (none / 0) (#88)
    by Beorn on Wed Sep 27, 2000 at 02:39:17 PM EST

    You're missing the point so badly i find it hard to believe.

    We could discuss the inner workings of capitalism forever, (and I'd be quite willing to if we weren't buried deep in a sub-thread already -- anyone wants to submit an article?) -- but let's take a quick look at the facts here:

    People who live in capitalist democracies are much better off than people who don't. They rarely starve, or lack other basic human needs, and quite a lot of them have a very high standard of living.

    Very poor countries are rarely free market economies, and even rarer democracies. From this I conclude that capitalism and democracy is a good combination, (although hard to achieve.)

    Third world exploitation is only part of the picture, and it's certainly not a motivation to keep countries poor. Capitalism is not a zero-sum game, the richer the third world is, the better for all of us.

    - Beorn

    [ Threepwood '01 ]
    [ Parent ]

    Re: Conspiracy or ignorance? (2.00 / 1) (#77)
    by Spider Tap on Tue Sep 26, 2000 at 08:04:48 PM EST

    Hard to say. Why *do* people have different opinions and beliefs? I don't know. Everybody has their own story. Mine certainly disproves your theory.

    So your opinions and beliefs are not affected by what you know of the world? Is your story typical or is it exceptional? A huge number of people only experience the larger world through the media (especially in the US). Are you saying what the media gives as information has no influence on peoples opinions and beliefs?



    [ Parent ]
    Re: Conspiracy or ignorance? (none / 0) (#81)
    by Beorn on Wed Sep 27, 2000 at 07:32:38 AM EST

    So your opinions and beliefs are not affected by what you know of the world?

    Yes, they are. But I don't swallow information uncritically, I select it based on a complex, partly unconscious formula based on genetic dispositions, personal experiences, learned values and methods, and previously accepted knowledge.

    So, I believe, does everyone else.

    Is your story typical or is it exceptional?

    Most stories are exceptional. I grew up a christian, with christian parents, reading christian newspapers, listening to christian music, attending christian meetings. Then I started discussing religion on BBS's, and for some reason, I ended up throwing away 90% of everything I knew, believed and valued, and became an atheist.

    Explain that with your theory. You can't, (without making an exception and saying 'yes, but, it applies to everyone *else*'). Does it apply to *you*? The human mind is complex and unpredictable. God save us from simplified ideological explanations.

    -Beorn

    [ Threepwood '01 ]
    [ Parent ]

    Re: Conspiracy or ignorance? (1.00 / 1) (#71)
    by pretzelgod on Tue Sep 26, 2000 at 04:09:49 PM EST

    Nobody uncritically swallows everything they read.

    Maybe that's true in Norway, but not in the US.


    -- 
    Ever heard of the School of the Americas?


    [ Parent ]
    Re: Conspiracy or ignorance? (none / 0) (#92)
    by Beorn on Thu Sep 28, 2000 at 07:39:28 AM EST

    Maybe that's true in Norway, but not in the US.

    I find that hard to believe. Culturally, as far as I know, Norway is very similar to the american middle class, with the major differences being political.

    In any case, I find it ironic that you seem to despise the very people you want to save from capitalism.

    - Beorn

    [ Threepwood '01 ]
    [ Parent ]

    Re: Conspiracy or ignorance? (none / 0) (#96)
    by krisjohn.net on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 01:44:40 AM EST

    All of Europe is vastly different to the US. A society that evolves within close proximity to a large number of other cultures is typically more open-minded, more tolerant (and more robust, and more confident) -- except when squabbling over limited resources turns into a problem.

    The US, however, has been able to go off in very unsociable directions for a long time now and has yet to grasp the concept of "The rest of the world".

    (I live in Australia, where we know the rest of the world exists, we'd just like it to but out of our affairs a little more often)

    To address that second sentence, it's a "if it could happen to them, it could happen to me" problem. I think that most of the people I work with on a daily basis are morons, but I'll "fight" on their behalf every so often just to make sure that my own foundations don't get eroded.

    Chris (Kris) Johnson.

    Chris (Kris) Johnson

    If you like this, try my Editorial -- updated Monday and Thursday.
    [ Parent ]

    Re: Conspiracy or ignorance? (none / 0) (#100)
    by Beorn on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 07:01:17 AM EST

    All of Europe is vastly different to the US. A society that evolves within close proximity to a large number of other cultures is typically more open-minded, more tolerant (and more robust, and more confident) -- except when squabbling over limited resources turns into a problem.

    On the other side, the US is ethnically and culturally much less homogenic than European countries. It has been claimed that many americans are actually more tolerant of other opinions than for instance norwegians, precisely for this reason, but I don't know if this is true.

    But I do know that prejudice, conformity and stupidity are not exclusive US qualities, and that large parts of american, european and propably australian culture are very similar.

    - Beorn

    [ Threepwood '01 ]
    [ Parent ]

    Re: Conspiracy or ignorance? (3.00 / 1) (#49)
    by pretzelgod on Mon Sep 25, 2000 at 02:46:14 PM EST

    <blockquote type="cite"> The problem with traditional media is not that they're tools in the hands of multinational corporations, a ridiculous idea.

    Just what do you think News Corporation is, if not a multinational corporation? Time Warner? Disney? The media aren't just in the hands of multinational corporations. They are multinational corporations.


    -- 
    Ever heard of the School of the Americas?


    [ Parent ]
    Formatting Bug? (1.00 / 1) (#50)
    by pretzelgod on Mon Sep 25, 2000 at 02:49:08 PM EST

    Test.

    That's the second time that's happened to me. A comment looks fine in preview, but after i post it it comes out wrong. Is there a problem with blockquotes? It's in the list of allowed tags.


    -- 
    Ever heard of the School of the Americas?


    [ Parent ]
    Re: Formatting Bug? [SOLVED] (1.00 / 1) (#58)
    by pretzelgod on Mon Sep 25, 2000 at 09:28:55 PM EST

    Turns out it was a Mozilla bug, not Scoop. After previewing, it escaped the quotation marks ('&quot;' instead of '"').

    -- 
    Ever heard of the School of the Americas?


    [ Parent ]
    Re: Conspiracy or ignorance? (2.00 / 1) (#53)
    by Beorn on Mon Sep 25, 2000 at 03:45:56 PM EST

    pretzelgod wrote: The media aren't just in the hands of multinational corporations. They are multinational corporations.

    Obviously, but are they *tools*? Does every newspaper owned by AOL/Time receive a list of opinions it should have? "Support Gore!" "Lie about DeCSS!" "Ignore our competitors!"

    Why bother? AOL/Time are in it for the money. As long as their property is profitable, they couldn't care less.

    - Beorn

    [ Threepwood '01 ]
    [ Parent ]

    Re: Conspiracy or ignorance? (3.00 / 1) (#57)
    by pretzelgod on Mon Sep 25, 2000 at 09:17:13 PM EST

    Does every newspaper owned by AOL/Time receive a list of opinions it should have? "Support Gore!" "Lie about DeCSS!" "Ignore our competitors!"

    No, that's usually not necessary. Usually there are people much lower on the ladder who know what's acceptable and what isn't. It's not good for anyone if capitalism is discredited.

    AOL/Time are in it for the money. As long as their property is profitable, they couldn't care less.

    You're exactly right, and that's why a newspaper is not going to publish a story their advertisers don't like. They depend on their advertisers for money. That's why it took so long to break the news about smoking being linked to cancer. The tobacco companies (who were of course allowed to advertise without limitat back then, as opposed to within restrictions now) put pressure on the news agencies not to publish the story.


    -- 
    Ever heard of the School of the Americas?


    [ Parent ]
    Re: Conspiracy or ignorance? (1.50 / 2) (#64)
    by Beorn on Tue Sep 26, 2000 at 09:50:35 AM EST

    No, that's usually not necessary. Usually there are people much lower on the ladder who know what's acceptable and what isn't. It's not good for anyone if capitalism is discredited.

    In the US, certainly not. Here in Norway, which has a strong social democratic tradition, attacks on capitalism are much more common in the media, including those owned by large corporations. As I said, it's really about what kind of readers you're targetting.

    They depend on their advertisers for money. That's why it took so long to break the news about smoking being linked to cancer.

    While a newspaper may earn some money on obeying its advertisers, they will lose far more money from lost trust if the scam is revealed. Lying or withholding information is a risk -- and a much larger risk today than it was 50 years ago.

    If a major news source tried to withhold a story on the scale of tobacco/cancer today, the story would propably end up with Matt Drudge the next day. Of course the media *lies*, and far too often, but obedient tools in the hands of capitalists they're not.

    - Beorn

    [ Threepwood '01 ]
    [ Parent ]

    Re: Conspiracy or ignorance? (4.00 / 1) (#67)
    by pretzelgod on Tue Sep 26, 2000 at 02:00:20 PM EST

    In the US, certainly not. Here in Norway, which has a strong social democratic tradition, attacks on capitalism are much more common in the media, including those owned by large corporations.

    Maybe i should have mentined that i live in the US. I can't speak for Norway, but this is how it is here.

    If a major news source tried to withhold a story on the scale of tobacco/cancer today, the story would propably end up with Matt Drudge the next day. Of course the media *lies*, and far too often, but obedient tools in the hands of capitalists they're not.

    Since i don't really follow what the propganda machines have to say, i'm not familiar with Matt Drudge, but i'm sure he is part of the problem, otherwise we would not be having this disucssion.

    There are things going on today that the US media won't cover. The US has been supplying weapons to Indonesia so that it could murder and terrorize the people of East Timor. After years of struggle, we were finally able to make enough noise (both here and in Australia) that Clinton told Indonesia to back off and the UN intervened. Where were the media during all this? When the story finally did break, the US was portrayed as the hero coming to the rescue. Nowhere was it mentioned that the US was an accomplice to this 25-year atrocity.

    Even now, there are still problems in East Timor. See the East Timor Action Network for more information.

    East Timor, is of course, only one example among many. Where are the reports on the US's supplying of weapons to Colombia in aid of its war against its population? What about the UN's illegal and immoral sanctions against Iraq? To learn more about what i've said and much more, check out Z Magazine's web site.

    The US media are not "obedient tools in the hands of capitalists". They are capitalists themselves, doing their part to uphold the system.


    -- 
    Ever heard of the School of the Americas?


    [ Parent ]
    Re: Conspiracy or ignorance? (2.50 / 2) (#80)
    by Beorn on Wed Sep 27, 2000 at 07:15:21 AM EST

    Maybe i should have mentined that i live in the US. I can't speak for Norway, but this is how it is here.

    What I meant is, since americans are strong supporters of capitalism, a major newspaper there couldn't attack capitalism and remain major. And the reason I mentioned Norway, was that if you were right, norwegian newspapers (which also are owned by relatively large corporations), would be strong supporters of capitalism. They're not.

    Since i don't really follow what the propganda machines have to say, i'm not familiar with Matt Drudge, but i'm sure he is part of the problem, otherwise we would not be having this disucssion.

    *lol* -- Matt Drudge represents precisely the kind of independent, honest journalism that is the solution to media self censorship. You may *disagree* with his views, obviously, but are everyone who disagrees with you part of the conspiracy?

    When the story finally did break, the US was portrayed as the hero coming to the rescue. Nowhere was it mentioned that the US was an accomplice to this 25-year atrocity.

    Is ignorance and hypocrisy proof of conspiracy, .. or perhaps of stupidity? Norwegians have a bloated national self-image similar to americans, (but less justified), so I can relate to your complaint. Certain ideas about norwegian culture are almost *never* challenged by the general media, neither big corp owned or government owned.

    However, everything I've seen indicates that these things are written because a) the media believes it, and b) the people believes it.

    I've read Z Magazine and Noam Chomsky, and while it's praiseworthy of them to direct attention at situations that are usually ignored by western media, their self-rightousness, and their predictable, intellectually fashionable opinions impresses me about as much as a cover of Time Magazine.

    They are capitalists themselves, doing their part to uphold the system.

    Capitalism doesn't need media henchmen to propagandize its superiority. It does that very well by itself, thank you.

    - Beorn

    [ Threepwood '01 ]
    [ Parent ]

    Re: Conspiracy or ignorance? (4.00 / 1) (#94)
    by Tadhg on Wed Oct 04, 2000 at 07:06:03 PM EST

    I've read Z Magazine and Noam Chomsky, and while it's praiseworthy of them to direct attention at situations that are usually ignored by western media, their self-rightousness, and their predictable, intellectually fashionable opinions impresses me about as much as a cover of Time Magazine.

    I've read Z, but not extensively, so I won't comment on them here. However, your characterization of Chomsky's opinion is definitely off. 'Self-righteous' is largely in the eye of the beholder, I suppose, but to imply that he holds his beliefs because they are 'fashionable' is simply ridiculous. As for 'predictable', I'm not sure what you mean - do you mean that whe you read his stuff you can predict in advance that he will attempt to attention at situations that are usually ignored by western media?

    I note, incidentally, that you don't question the validity of any of his/their assertions or opinions, instead making ad hominem attacks.



    [ Parent ]
    Re: Conspiracy or ignorance? (none / 0) (#104)
    by Beorn on Thu Oct 12, 2000 at 08:50:35 AM EST

    'Self-righteous' is largely in the eye of the beholder, I suppose, but to imply that he holds his beliefs because they are 'fashionable' is simply ridiculous.

    The "my country really, really sucks"-attitude seems to be fashionable in some subcultures, just like "my country totally, totally rules" is in others. But I didn't intend to question Chomsky's motives. My main quarrel with him is that he's wrong. He lacks perspective beyond a very traditional, polarized left-leaning viewpoint. Big corps are evil, the US government is evil, the media is a propaganda tool, and so on.

    It's not that I disagree that big corps do bad things, that USA does bad things, or that the media lies to you, but he doesn't really *understand* the issues he's talking about. And he *is* predictable, like so many on the american left (and right, for that matter.) I've chosen the ideas of his I want to adopt, and he has nothing more to offer me.

    I note, incidentally, that you don't question the validity of any of his/their assertions or opinions, instead making ad hominem attacks.

    I was kinda hoping for someone like you to reply, so I could justify writing several paragraphs on him. ;)

    - Beorn

    [ Threepwood '01 ]
    [ Parent ]

    Re: Conspiracy or ignorance? (4.00 / 1) (#95)
    by krisjohn.net on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 01:36:02 AM EST

    Your strongly positive views on the Drudge Report and the spirit of this discussion made me finally decide to visit the site you'd linked to.

    Why does anyone find this anything? All I found was a bunch of headlines that were links to stories on other news sites, links directly to the top of other news sites and news feeds and a list of names, all but the first of which sent you to other news sites. Where is the content?

    Kris J.

    Chris (Kris) Johnson

    If you like this, try my Editorial -- updated Monday and Thursday.
    [ Parent ]

    Drudge (1.00 / 1) (#103)
    by Beorn on Thu Oct 12, 2000 at 08:27:40 AM EST

    All I found was a bunch of headlines that were links to stories on other news sites, links directly to the top of other news sites and news feeds and a list of names, all but the first of which sent you to other news sites. Where is the content?

    He also publishes his own articles, which doesn't make up much of the content, but because they're occasionally shocking and ahead of other media, (such as the Lewinsky story), that's what he's famous for.

    Personally I read Drudge because I find his selection of links interesting. American trench war politics can be tedious, but outside of election season his front page is a fairly good mix of political, international and cultural events I want to hear about. Besides, *if* some big scandal or disaster occurs, I want to be the first to know. As simple as that.

    - Beorn

    [ Threepwood '01 ]
    [ Parent ]

    Aphorisms (1.00 / 1) (#62)
    by Simon Kinahan on Tue Sep 26, 2000 at 07:01:44 AM EST

    "Never put down to conspiracy what can be accounted for with incompetence" (Who said that ? I forget)

    "In any other field of life, a man must be able to observe accurately and repor what he has seen. Journalists just have to write stories that sell newspapers." Mark Twain

    Simon

    If you disagree, post, don't moderate
    [ Parent ]
    Media should be disrupted; commercial that is (1.77 / 9) (#30)
    by slimy_snake on Mon Sep 25, 2000 at 07:33:56 AM EST

    AOL, CNN and the lot - that have been described as media here should actually not be described thus, if the premise is that they bring reality to you. For most of the mainstream media in the west, news or opinion is nothing short of extensions of the coroporate empires that run them. Otherwise why would there be the 'oh so fashionable' instances of 'genocide and other henious crimes' in selective pockets of the world. Yes, we have heard this and a lot more through the years, but with the advent of mega corps like AOL-Time Warner you are living on virtually what the signals tell you with content and delivery originating form one point. where is the future is going to be, its up to you to choose... caio
    I'm so tired, of playing
    Playing with this bow and arrow - Portishead


    FAIR - Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (3.66 / 6) (#45)
    by Dolphineus on Mon Sep 25, 2000 at 01:09:14 PM EST

    There is an organization that feels the same way a lot of us do, FAIR - Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting. Check out their website to find out how they are trying to combat big media.

    Independent Media Centers www.indymedia.org (4.20 / 5) (#52)
    by akb on Mon Sep 25, 2000 at 03:38:38 PM EST

    Independent Media Centers (IMCs) are popping up all over the world. They started to provide coverage for the Seattle and DC protests and are now taking on a life of their own as a movement for independent, democratic media. Each IMC is autonomous but all share the goal of providing coverage of the stories the mainstream corporate media won't cover. Resources are pooled for web hosting, there's a international collective of volunteer geeks developing code to run the site, do tech support for the media makers, and sysadmining.

    Check out www.indymedia.org and look up an IMC in your city. Become the media.

    Collaborative Video Blog demandmedia.net

    Re: Independent Media Centers www.indymedia.org (none / 0) (#101)
    by Derek Moeller on Sun Oct 08, 2000 at 04:43:31 PM EST

    I took a look at the IMC, hoping for a semiprofessional media job done by volunteers free of corporate interests, covering the issues that didn't want to be covered. Instead, I found a site that for a startingly large porportion of content had classic zany nit-brained leftist propaganda that is ten times worse than any corporate/government propaganda. For example, angry diatribes against George W. Bush are common on the site, and while I don't see him as fit for the presidency, that is no excuse to distribute outright lies - one article claiming that Bush suffered a horrendous defeat, which was not true. (I watched the debates, and I didn't feel that either one did particularly well, although Bush did seem a bit more primordial.)

    Is it really impossible to form an institution free of corporate interests that still has some semblance of an idea about what true journalism is? In other words, fairly correct grammar, review of stories before they're published, balanced view of both sides, these are all factors involved in semiprofessional journalism, and while there were some good articles at the IMC, the majority of them had clearly not witnessed any of these factors. This leaves me with two choices, either to listen to the biased corporate interest media or listen to the 10x biased leftist radical media, which far too often follows pure idealogue crap with no balanced view, similar to how PETA operates.

    Please point out any organization that fits my idea of a good, independent, balanced shop that knows the fundamentals of journalism and follows them. I'd finally find a source I like to read.
    -- Derek Moeller
    [ Parent ]

    Re: Independent Media Centers www.indymedia.org (none / 0) (#102)
    by akb on Mon Oct 09, 2000 at 11:05:15 PM EST

    Thanks for your reply. While I think you are a bit harsh, I do share many of the concerns that you have expressed. The amount of editorial oversight excersised in the IMC process is pretty low, by design in order not to be exclusive. Some IMC's have adopted moderation systems (philly uses slash), more will be doing so as they've run into the problems of quality that you describe. Its unedited nature makes it somewhat unsuitable for consumption by a wide audience, but there are a few mainstream journalists that use the content on IMC websites as leads. Think of it more like a newswire. Media consumers don't read everything on AP, they get their news downstream of the newsfeeds at media outlets that do digesting for them. Upstream you want to be inclusive so that you'd don't leave anything good out from potentially being picked up downsteam.

    I would note that these are the kinds of problems that every unedited forum on the Internet has experienced. Forums such as this one have created an emergent democratic, collaborative culture. IMC's are attempting to bring the same kind of collaborative benefits realized by the free software community to news and journalism. The user base is wider and inexperienced and the logistics are not as clear as for software, there's lots to be done, IMCs have a lot of growing to do yet. There's a lot of work to do, IMC's need geeks, technically as well as culturally.

    Collaborative Video Blog demandmedia.net
    [ Parent ]

    Coersion and reinforcement (3.50 / 4) (#54)
    by Erf on Mon Sep 25, 2000 at 04:02:04 PM EST

    I see The Media as having two roles: First of all, to some (large) extent, it tells us what to think -- or more precisely, what to buy. It reinforces things like "thin is good" and "you shouldn't miss work for little things like influenza" and other general consumer-oriented attitudes, then tells us what products (like diets and medication) we can buy to fulfill these Media-generated desires.

    The other role The Media has is to tell people what we want to hear. We want to know that all is right in the world, or at least that the stuff that's wrong is happening to someone else. It's rare for The Media to portray ideas strongly different from the status quo. I probably won't hear details about the 2600 trials on the nightly news, for example, because people want their DVD's without moral baggage and hackers are Evil Pirates. I don't think I even heard the trials mentioned outside of online coverage. (Granted, this is Canada, so people might think the trial is too far away in addition to being too esoteric to cover. Any soundbites in the US or elsewhere?)

    I think the second role stems largely from the first -- if you want to tell people what to buy, you have to make sure not to turn them off, and since people don't like to be challenged, you have to feed their opinions back to them.

    As for the question of "fighting the Media", I would say that's an obvious yes. I mean, if those of us who (mostly) think for ourselves (or at least think differently than a lot of other people) don't start telling other people what's going on and what we think about it, who will?

    -Erf.
    ...doin' the things a particle can...

    Re: Coersion and reinforcement (none / 0) (#98)
    by krisjohn.net on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 02:06:05 AM EST

    Commerical media have but a single role -- to make money. They may wish to inject themselves into the social history of the country (as Channel 7 in Australia have been), but when you use an advertising-funded business model you become just a money making machine.

    Only subscription-based revnue models, free from advertising influence can even claim to provide a real, valuable, service to the audience. Follow the money...

    It is up to you, dear viewer, to make up your own mind what you get from the media. Do you want Big Brother-esq unreality TV, or do you want real coverage of issues affecting you and the world? It's all out there, all you have to do is look.

    Chris (Kris) Johnson.
    Chris (Kris) Johnson

    If you like this, try my Editorial -- updated Monday and Thursday.
    [ Parent ]

    Media owned by the goverment (3.50 / 2) (#65)
    by Nickus on Tue Sep 26, 2000 at 10:13:07 AM EST

    How about media that is owned by the goverment. Here in Finland we have two tv-stations that are owned by the state. They don't have any commercial interests since they are completely funded by the state. That means that they are on the opposite side of commercial media like CNN. Who can you trust more when you live in a democratic country?

    Due to budget cuts, light at end of tunnel will be out. --Unknown
    Re: Media owned by the goverment (3.50 / 2) (#75)
    by Dolphineus on Tue Sep 26, 2000 at 05:07:33 PM EST

    How about media that is owned by the goverment. Here in Finland we have two tv-stations that are owned by the state. They don't have any commercial interests since they are completely funded by the state. That means that they are on the opposite side of commercial media like CNN. Who can you trust more when you live in a democratic country?

    Important question. In a country like Finland where the media is state run, you would trust the media as much as you trust your government. In a country like America, the media is supposedly independent. Most people in America are unaware of the amount of control the goverment exercises over the media, be it direct or discrete. Since most Americans are ignorant of how the media, and the government, really work, I think they place an inordinate amount of trust in that media.

    [ Parent ]
    Re: Media owned by the goverment (3.50 / 2) (#79)
    by Nickus on Wed Sep 27, 2000 at 04:13:48 AM EST

    Just to clarify, we have independent media too ofcourse. But IMHO the goverment channels give a better coverage of events. The commercial channels works more like tabloid news. But I suppose they have to be different from each other otherwise we wouldn't have any need for multiple channels.

    Due to budget cuts, light at end of tunnel will be out. --Unknown
    [ Parent ]
    Re: Media owned by the goverment (none / 0) (#89)
    by bmetzler on Wed Sep 27, 2000 at 02:59:08 PM EST

    Most people in America are unaware of the amount of control the goverment exercises over the media, be it direct or discrete.

    Or how much control the media has over goverment. The media was able to sway public opinion to keep Clinton from receiving due justice, and the media also has strong influnce in swaying elections to get people elected who are favourable to them.

    -Brent
    www.bmetzler.org - it's not just a personal weblog, it's so much more.
    [ Parent ]
    Re: Media owned by the goverment (none / 0) (#97)
    by krisjohn.net on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 01:59:42 AM EST

    In a country like Finland where the media is state run, you would trust the media as much as you trust your government
    I think, perhaps, a distinction needs to be made here between goverment run and goverment funded. In Australia we have on totally goverment funded TV station (ABC) and one subsidised, I think, (SBS). We also have several goverment funded radio stations - news, classical music and youth oriented. The ABC has very specific guidelines about independance governing, basically rulling out, influence by both politions and corporations. I trust the ABC far more than I trust the free-to-air commerical stations. And I trust the cable news channels somewhere in between.

    Chris (Kris) Johnson.

    Chris (Kris) Johnson

    If you like this, try my Editorial -- updated Monday and Thursday.
    [ Parent ]

    The insides... (3.00 / 1) (#76)
    by SwampGas on Tue Sep 26, 2000 at 06:04:24 PM EST

    I work for a CHR radio station...our Arbitron numbers are the highest in the area (by a long shot), so I can safely say we have the majority of people listening. With that comes certain responsibilities.

    They told us the following:

    • If you say it enough, people will blindly believe it
    I definitely agree with what is said here...it's time to put a stop to all these media agents who put 2 and 2 together and get 5, and then all related decisions rely on the "5" the media came up with.

    The problem is, everyone can complain about the control the media has, but until people actually DO something, it's not worth arguing over. Actions speak louder than words.

    Plan for the future now (1.50 / 2) (#78)
    by andrewmuck on Wed Sep 27, 2000 at 01:50:48 AM EST

    Global Resistance of Underground Networked Technologists.

    There does seem to be an upwelling of people who are slowly noticing that corporations are turning into governments. We can ascribe ignorance to Gov. not to corporate, they *must* maximise profit.

    I have heard words like revolution, civil war and bloodshed. I pray that will not happen.

    I do think it would be prudent to form safe and secure communication between those who care as all public forums (even here! will be (are) scrutinised and can be harrassed with lawsuits (eventually guns?).

    The bulk population will believe what they are told, do what they are told and wont do a thing to stop it because they are told its 'for their good' or 'it is not happening'

    We are at the border between governments that represent their people and governments that do as their corporations advise is best for their countries.

    No actions should be taken that go against the good of countries/citizens/counstitutions or other ethicaly correct ideals. If you do anything you should check the laws, maybe its not allowed now. Alternatives need to be sought.

    cya, andrew...



    Do we need to disrupt the Media? | 104 comments (103 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
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