Friday, February 6, 2009

Mainstream Media Biased Propaganda Machine

Well, it looks like China does not have a monopoly on complaints of Mainstream Media, MSM, biased reports spreading propaganda. This past week there is a host of stories about that problem. Today John Hanna writing for AP followed up on their video with a news report "AP CEO urges better press access to military ops" stating...

{The Bush administration turned the U.S. military into a global propaganda machine while imposing tough restrictions on journalists seeking to give the public truthful reports about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Associated Press chief executive Tom Curley said Friday.

Curley, speaking to journalists at the University of Kansas, said the news industry must immediately negotiate a new set of rules for covering war because "we are the only force out there to keep the government in check and to hold it accountable."

Much like in Vietnam, "civilian policymakers and soldiers alike have cracked down on independent reporting from the battlefield" when the news has been unflattering, Curley said. "Top commanders have told me that if I stood and the AP stood by its journalistic principles, the AP and I would be ruined."}

Those are strong words. But it is not just AP and China that is raising concerns. Ordinary citizens are now taking issue with the US version of MSM, and in this letter Natalie Parke points out what the real problem is when we do not know what is writen is "propaganda."

Xinhua Is Influenced by Politics, But So Are Other News Outlets

{Nicholas Bequelin's warning of the pending international expansion of China's state-run news agency, ("China's New Propaganda Machine," op-ed, Jan. 30) might've had a more startling impact if he hadn't made the overstated contrast between Chinese state-run media and other, "free, unbiased media that informs rather than misleads." This naïvely mischaracterizes other media as being uninfluenced by political -- and, more significantly, commercial -- factors.

Interestingly, I find that agencies like Xinhua have some of the most reliable, timely information about poorly covered regions like Sub-Saharan Africa, even while I concur that their presented image of China is skewed. In his critique of state-owned media's depiction of China, Mr. Bequelin fails to acknowledge their contribution as an alternative source of international news.

As we saw recently with the BBC's controversial stance on coverage of Gaza, even media content that isn't state-controlled is subject to the views of its readers and patrons. Perhaps the greatest difference between Chinese state-owned media and other media is that the former openly acknowledge their bias while the latter claim to be "fair and balanced."}

Natalie Parke

And the Center For Media and Democracy , PR posted this on Monday,

Debating the Ban on Domestic Propaganda

{In the United States, public diplomacy's legislative history also involves propaganda. The Smith-Mundt Act of 1948, which provided a legal framework for public diplomacy activities, forbids the government from disseminating within the United States information intended for foreign audiences. Other legislation, such as appropriation bills, theoretically reinforces the ban on using taxpayer money for "publicity or propaganda purposes." (The ban on domestic propaganda can't be considered more than theoretical, unfortunately, because there's no mechanism to enforce it, as Sheldon Rampton and I noted previously.)}

For most people, though, what they read in the newspapers, or hear on "CNN" they believe. This becomes a problem when those who have been properly informed, and have done their homework, are subjected to name calling. In fact, that is why I started this blog, because I am sick and tired of being called a "pinky commie fink," or being accused of being braineashed by "The Chinese Government." So, bullying, threats, as noted in the AP article, and censure, all become part of the "cover-up." But why do we need a cover-up? If no one was killed in Tiananmen, what harm is their to US security to say so? If Israel is violating UN orders, what harm is there in reporting that> If Georgia struck first, and not Russia, don't I, as a US Citizen, have a right to know that? After all, who runs this country, anyway?

So, it's not just the Bush bashers who complain, here is a view from the right....

Mainstream Media Becomes Pure Propaganda, Is Bias, Dishonest

{The news is no longer news. It’s propaganda. It’s cheerleading for the new administration. It’s bull-roar. It’s false, fraudulent and biased. I’m talking about the major purveyors of news, the so-called mainstream media. I’m talking about The New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Washington Post, ABC, CBS, MSNC, NBC, CNN, NPR, PBS, Time, Newsweek and all the rest.

The mainstream media has descended to the level of Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler’s propaganda minister and Pravda, best known as the propaganda organ of the Communist Party. But this development in the mainstream media has critically important implications not only for the mainstream media, but also for the nation and its citizens.

The mainstream media has not only defrauded and cheated its customers by its biased, dishonest and unprincipled advocacy journalism designed to elect Barack Obama and promote his administration but also have severely undermined our Constitution and our country. That’s one of the key conclusions of Bernard Goldberg’s new book A Slobbering Love Affair: The True (and Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media.

Then we have this from the U of Wisconsin-Oshkosh...

Israeli propaganda, media lobbies and the problem of fair reporting

{Seven public relations strategies have been described by the documentary, “Peace Propaganda and the Promised Land” on how the media is influenced by Israeli lobbyists and public relations firms. The seven strategies briefly stated are: hidden occupation; invisible colonization; violence as a vacuum; defining who is newsworthy; myth of U.S. neutrality; myth of the generous offer; marginalized voices.

The strategies in the documentary describe how the U.S. media gets influenced to omit, skew, and overlook reporting on the Palestinian side of the ongoing Israel-Palestinian conflicts. As a journalist, I wondered how much this sort of lobbying might affect me as an editor, especially as the three-week war unfolded over our winter break.)

What we are seeing here is a pattern. It is not just the lies the media made up about Tiananmen, and the violent riots in Lahsa, it is not just the skewed info about the nature of the Israli/Palestinian conflict, it is not just the US Pentagon turning our "free press" into a lurid propaganda machine, it is our willingness to turn a blind eye, and a deaf ear to the true facts. We just seem to swallow it whole, without chewing it over. No consideration, no questioning, just lapping it up as though it were not mind poison.

Now, I have said it before, and I will say it again, I am all for a "free press," but what about the "People's Right to Know?"

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