Media: Enemy Of Democracy

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(Columnist says corporate media deserves much blame for State-of-Disunion).

“Democracy� is dying in “the land of the free.�

Truly, illegality masquerading as legitimacy has hijacked the institutions of power in America. In addition, those who now control the reins are truly vicious, heartless people.

When Hugo Chavez called our would-be King George a “devil�, it created a firestorm of controversy. In the media, many were outraged that Chavez denounced Bush at the U.N. The corporate media with its superficial, shallow, rapid-fire regurgitation of the “devil� sound bite did what it always seems to do best: obfuscate truth by murdering context.

Information is vital to the efficiency of any democracy. The media’s primary responsibility should be educating the citizenry, especially of the workings of the government. For without insightful citizens democracy cannot reach its full potential.
Sadly, that’s the case we now face today, and much of the blame needs to be placed at the feet of the news media. The first problem with today’s media is that it has lost its connection to the people. There was a time when media understood that keeping the masses up to speed was their main priority.

Now, media consolidation has led to the monopolistic framing of “news� by people whose only concern is making money. To make matters worse, we are now plagued with celebrity wannabes who seem only interested in gaining publicity for themselves. Because of this, many are much too accommodating and unquestioning of tales told to them by government officials. This has led to the proliferation and dissemination of government propaganda passing as “news.�

Currently, those occupying the White House are embroiled in a plethora of scandals. However, the biggest scandal of all is the complicity of the media in facilitating these crooks. The other day, the New York Times in an editorial chastised “this irresponsible Congress� for allowing the White House to water-down Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.     

However, the New York Times itself has a lot to answer for. In fact, the Times helped sell the disastrous Iraq war by unsubstantiated stories written by the likes of Judith Miller, once one of their top writers. By being, an uncritical amplifier for the Administration’s viewpoint Miller’s reports helped to shape the distorted perceptions of the people, who made connections between Iraq and 9-11 that never existed.    

Another problem in today’s journalism is the nonsensical notion of being “balanced.� Consequently, truth is often lost to facilitate this hypocritical notion of “balance.� Seeking truth to empower the people should be media’s main goal in a democracy. Unfortunately, “democracy� in America is dying because our media doesn’t embrace that ideal.

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