Are Mainstream Media Networks Biased?

 

The Daily Journalist Community.

 

 

Question introduction

When people ask me,”if I am a journalist” I reply, “I am no journalist, I am a neo-journalist.” To their surprise, I explain that I don’t want to take part in the endeavors and customs of ‘present day journalism.’ I am far, far removed from the journalistic culture observed today. I am proud that The Daily journalist supports neo-journalism and allows for everyone to express themselves freely without bias from our editorial team. 

My personal conviction and research tell me Donald Trump is an opportunist, a clown and a showman, and Hillary Clinton is a straight up liar with virtually no credibility left. Casting a vote for either one would seriously challenge my principles as a journalist. I also didn’t buy into Bernie Sanders or any republican candidate. Honestly, I don’t have a political affiliation, but I believe that unifying certain attributes from different forms of government would work miracles around the world if applied properly — but who cares what I think — lets get back to topic!    

As a traditional believer in journalism, its hard to watch the politicization of print, broadcast and radio networks. I’ve always despised the idea that media should play any fundamental role in deciding elections; institutional and political control over news is despicable because the idea is to report fairly without rendering a targeted agenda. News is balance, and its almost non existent today — but they are exceptions.      

From a purist media standpoint, the presidential race has presented tones of undesirable biased news and politicization rather than editorial balanced control. The fact that any news network would ‘publicly endorse’ a political candidate is basically stomping the credibility of journalism. From CNN, to the New York Times, Hillary Clinton is viewed the favorable choice to endorse. She also has the support of outside players like BBC.  

On the other hand, social media, independent news networks (I call them INN’s), and organizations like Wikileaks, DCleaks etc..have countered the endorsements of major networks and exposed the bias with much efficacy to the point that its an embarrassment to the very profession I support. Trump also looks favorable in the eyes of Al-Jeezera and Russia Today, which present totalitarian and biased views.  

The evident bias from both sides comes from the polls and surveys that took place after the first presidential debate, and I expect the same today. I researched all the survey’s in polls in the internet and they all give you different results — many of them seem gullible. Thompson Reuters, Hostfra, Politico, NJ, Real Clear Politics, Fortune, Slate among other gave Trump the lead, but CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times, Washington Post, Fox News among others gave Hillary the win. Social media overwhelmingly confirms the networks that gave Trump the lead, but changes might take place — I don’t know!    

The war is on, and it doesn’t look like journalism will endure much longer given the biased and mixed results presented in this election; with the rise of SM, INN’s and anti-gov Org’s. I think mainstream media is already on its last brick because it follows the prototype of the 90s, not the prototype of this generation.   

In your opinion: 

1) Is journalism less about news and investigative journalism, and more about playing political and corporate games?

2) What do mainstream media networks politically or financially gain by supporting either candidates?

3) Do you support mainstream media networks that endorse one candidate over another?  Do you think that fairness in the media is a thing of the past?

4) Do you think mainstream media is trustworthy?

5) Do you think a communications war between social media, INN’s and Anti-Gov Org’s is ravaging the internet to challenge mainstream media networks?

 

 

rsz_kama

Nake M. Kamrany.

(He  is an eminent Afghan-American development economist with superior experience in economic development who is held in high esteem by the international development community, Afghan leaders, scholars, the private sector and intellectuals. He has more than 20 publications on the political economy of Afghanistan)

“1) Is journalism less about news and investigative journalism, and more about playing political and corporate games?   

As we have observed the current campaign is about misbehavior of the candidates.  It is not about issues of public concern including national debt, health cost, global war, unemployment, poverty, and high tuition cost. Both campaigns are disgraceful

2) What do mainstream media networks politically or financially gain by supporting either candidates? 

The media has lost its credibility as each has taken sides and have lost their objectivity.  The media has lost its objectivity, it is supposed to inform the public honestly with utter objectivity.  Instead it is promoting its side however false and dishonest it may be and this applies to our top newspapers including the Washington Post, the NY Times, the Los Angeles Time and others.

3) Do you support mainstream media networks that endorse one candidate over another?  Do you think that fairness in the media is a thing of the past?  

The media should not co-opt the judgment and decision making process of the public.  They should inform but not endorse.

4) Do you think mainstream media is trustworthy? Absolutely not, major figures of the media go on TV and support their side and shamefully engage in denigration and mudslinging…

5) Do you think a communications war between social media, INN’s and Anti-Gov Org’s is ravaging the internet to challenge mainstream media networks? 

I hope it does.  Internet media is not monopolistic on – its way to dominate and propagate too many more people who also submit their own findings without creating coercion.  To better illustrate, currently two military superpowers, namely the U.S. and Russia are pounding on the third world countries initially forming coalition and then pursuing their own strategic interest.  What are the positions of the two campaign on these wars? Amazingly they are relatively quiet, it will not be politically correct to express their position.”

 

rsz_geeta

Geeta Madhavan.

(Specialization in International Law and a consultant to academic departments that feature International Relations programs. Visiting Faculty of Departments of Legal Studies of Defense and Strategic Studies,Madras University and Tamil Nadu Law University.  Founder Member of Chennai based think tank – Centre for Security Analysis)

1) Is journalism less about news and investigative journalism, and more about playing political and corporate games?

Indeed we see that the electronic media has converted journalism into hype and hoopla just to pander to the short attention span of the watchers. News print of serious editorials still report reliable news as they are not constrained by two major factors: Time and the need to create an immediate audience have proved more reliable.

2) What do mainstream media networks politically or financially gain by supporting either candidate?

The media houses are bought or held in proxy by a handful of major corporations whose purpose of supporting a particular candidate is dictated by personal  financial gain . Politically it helps them to urge,  push through and even formulate political decision that have economic impact.

In India the gain is definitely huge financial success in terms of favouritism and preference by the elected candidate backed by them.

3) Do you support mainstream media networks that endorse one candidate over another?  Do you think that fairness in the media is a thing of the past?

Expecting non partisan reporting is a thing of the past.  Most of the media houses go one way or the other entirely based on the consideration already mentioned above.

4) Do you think mainstream media is trustworthy?

No , not completely.  While some may strive to maintain a veneer of impartially, most are influenced by other considerations.

5) Do you think a communications war between social media, INN’s and Anti-Gov Org’s is ravaging the internet to challenge mainstream media networks?

Yes that is a welcome value up to a point, but the lack of accountability creates an entirely dangerous situation.  No one can and should believe everything that is posted unless backed by reliable and verifiable information and facts.”

 

Claude Forthomme.

( Senior Editor of Impakter Magazine. Passionate traveller (80 countries+) 25 years experience in United Nations: project evaluation specialist; FAO Director for Europe/Central Asia)

“A lot of journalism is unfortunately not objective – as if the meaning of “objective” got lost with the rise of social media…And maybe it did, since social media gives voice to anyone and everyone, giving the same weight to malevolent gossip and willful disinformation as to “real” unbiased news.

Is there no role anymore for journalists in our social-media battered world? I think there is. With the frightening rise of misinformation and disinformation, I think that journalists worth the name more than ever before have a sacrosanct DUTY to report and comment on the news OBJECTIVELY and as thoroughly as they can. And some in the mainstream media already do just that.

I won’t list them all, but many are entirely honest in their reporting and comments: That is the case of those who work for the New York Times, the UK Guardian, and many many more, including the magazine where I work as Senior Editor.”

 

rsz_steven-hansen

Steven Hansen.

(Publisher and Co-founder of Econintersect, is an international business and industrial consultant specializing in turning around troubled business units; consults to governments to optimize process flows; and provides economic indicator analysis based on unadjusted data and process limitations)

“Before I begin, here is where I am coming from:
  • I was born and raised in California – a baby boomer;
  • I was a Hearst Foundation Journalism Scholarship winner (which I declined as I really wanted to be an engineer), and was schooled for two summers at two different universities (complements of the Hearst Foundation) whilst in high school.
  • I have lived outside of the USA (Europe, Asia, Africa,and the Middle East) most of my life managing infrastructure projects.
  • I am writing this from Kolkata, India where I have been for the last two months.
  • I publish a daily financial and economics blog because I believed most of the analysis out there is superficial or complete garbage.
  • The USA media is not providing facts – whether international or domestic. They are repeating US government lines – or sensationalizing their own versions of events for ratings.

1) Is journalism less about news and investigative journalism, and more about playing political and corporate games?

A media network that does not play the game the way the government wants will not get access to tips or information. My opinion is that the USA government has turned the media into their puppets.

2) What do mainstream media networks politically or financially gain by supporting either candidates?

This election is different than past elections. We have been given a choice between one candidate who is funded by the 0.1% (who also own the media) and another candidate who seems to be shaking up the vested interests because he is a bull in the china shop. The 0.1% is happy with the current situation as they control the political process and the resulting laws and tax codes.

3) Do you support mainstream media networks that endorse one candidate over another?  Do you think that fairness in the media is a thing of the past?

It is interesting to me that the majority of Americans do not seem to care ENOUGH that media open bias is taking place. Real facts are boring, and the news media has turned into entertainment show. Maybe it is part of the master plan of the 0.1% to dumb down the population.

4) Do you think mainstream media is trustworthy?

Who is trustworthy right now? Surely not the politicians, nor the 0.1%.

5) Do you think a communications war between social media, INN’s and Anti-Gov Org’s is ravaging the internet to challenge mainstream media networks?

I see so much disinformation and unsupported “facts” coming from everywhere on the internet – not just the mainstream media. I can no longer pass on to my readers any “fact” without serious fact checking. I do not pass along many things because the “facts” cannot be validated.  I hate to say this – but thank God for al-Jazeera which broadcasts the most boring crap. I need a lot of coffee to listen to them but they should be commended for producing the most flat reporting of any media source.”

 

rsz_rosensteinweb

Peter D. Rosenstein.

(He is a non-profit executive, journalist and Democratic and community activist. His background includes teaching; serving as Coordinator of Local Government for the City of New York; working in the Carter Administration; and Vice-chair of the Board of Trustees of the University of the District of Columbia)

“1) Is journalism less about news and investigative journalism, and more about playing political and corporate games?

I think part of the problem exists when someone can say they are a neo-journalist.  I have yet to understand that. If a neo-journalist can say something like Hillary is a liar, without any real proof, then they aren’t a journalist at all.  It may be that a neo-journalist is simply what we used to call a columnist, writing opinion only. I am a columnist. I write opinion as I do here. But I do try to base my opinion on some kind of facts. I believe there  are still good journalists working today. They report the news without inserting their own opinion and do extensive investigative journalism.

On the other hand there is corporate interest in making money. We are seeing this in the morphing of print journalism to online journalism with the need to write headlines and put out copy that will attract ‘hits’ to the site. Now television news is even more about corporate games and getting viewers.

In the world of 24 hour cable news they have to find things to talk about for twenty-four hours a day which will attract viewers so they can attract advertisers and make money. In the case of the American election for President it was in their interest to make it appear that it was a close election. Today’s younger generations and millennials are being brought up thinking it is news when what they are so often getting is opinion.  But yes the owners of the networks do have opinions and often pick sides.

2) What do mainstream media networks politically or financially gain by supporting either candidates?

They can gain viewers and if there are enough of them they make money. That is the case with FOX news.  But the main networks like ABC, CBS and NBC in the United States don’t endorse candidates and try to maintain a semblance of reporting the news.

3) Do you support mainstream media networks that endorse one candidate over another?  Do you think that fairness in the media is a thing of the past?

I think there is still some fairness in the major networks  even if it is deteriorating. I think Cable networks like CNN, FOX, MSNBC are less fair even though they don’t yet endorse officially. Their shows and the guests they invite on their news shows are usually surrogates for candidates or issues but they still identify them that way.  Print media in the United States often does endorse candidates, or take positions on issues  and that is important. It is their editorial boards and they are entitled to do so.  The good newspapers keep a strong line/firewall between their editorial and news departments.

4) Do you think mainstream media is trustworthy?

I think we need to view mainstream media with a jaundiced eye.  There are some outlets that are more  trustworthy than others.

5) Do you think a communications war between social media, INN’s and Anti-Gov Org’s is ravaging the internet to challenge mainstream media networks?

I would hope not, but it may be the case – in the long run what you get on social media is generally pure opinion not news. What is sad is that the younger generation brought up on social media doesn’t always know the difference. They often get only one side of the story on the site they visit. While social media can be great in many instances – it can bring people together and spread the word on issues or candidates – in some cases as in the United States it seems to be assisting in the dumbing down of the population.”

 

Halyna Mokrushyna.

(Holds a doctorate in linguistics and MA degree in communication. She publishes in Counterpunch, Truthout, and  New Cold War on Ukrainian politics, history, and culture. She is also a contributing editor to the New Cold War: Ukraine and beyond and a founder of the Civic group for democracy in Ukraine)

“Unfortunately, we live in a world where there are less and less independent media. I do not know if there have been any independent media in a true sense of this word. The only way to ensure media’s independence is to support it through public funding.

I learned in a hard way how difficult it is to try to break through with an alternative point of view if you do not have an already established reputation or somebody who will invite you to the studio. There are alternative media who strive to be fair and trustworthy, such as Truth-out, Truth-dig, Counterpunch, and others. The investigative journalism is alive, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to find it in the mainstream media. An example of high-quality investigative journalism, unbiased and objective, for me, is Robert Parry and his Consortium News.

In the US the mainstream media are owned by five gigantic conglomerates. Concentration and control of the flow of information in the hands of few are very dangerous because it deprives us, readers, of diverse points of view and of facts, which the powerful few deliberately conceal. In a democratic country, there should be a variety of sources of information and a large panoply of opinions.

I am against mainstream media overtly supporting a specific candidate because it eschews objectiveness of the coverage of candidates. I do not know whether journalists of mainstream media networks gain directly from supporting a certain candidate, but owners of the media certainly enjoy political support from that candidate.

I do not believe in a complete objectiveness of journalists because we all bring our own lived experience and our own ideology. But we should be aware of this bias and control it as much as we can to ensure impartiality.

Journalists of mainstream media are not free because they have to follow editorial policy, which is defined in the offices of transnational media conglomerates. Political elite controls media discourse and as a result we get a distorted, one-sided picture of reality which fits into elite’s ideology.

To obtain a more complex picture, one has to read in several languages and use different sources. Social media are doing a great job of countering the official propaganda, but one has to be careful and critical. Unfortunately, we are losing serious, thoughtful journalism which in fact is a must in our age of information. It takes many years of education and experience to form a journalist, capable of sorting out facts and pursuing the truth. I think nothing can replace a good journalist who has a vast knowledge of history and economy and an in-depth understanding of the complexity and interdependence of our world. It is hard to overestimate the role of journalists as providers of first-hand truthful and unbiased information about what is happening on the ground. There are many good journalists out there risking their lives to inform us.

I do not see fairness in mainstream media. What I see, is big money. I do not think these two are compatible. That is why it is very important for me to read alternative sources to get as many angles at a situation as I can. Alternative media are great but they are struggling financially, and they rely on people’s donations, making it difficult for them to compete against mainstream media. To me, the alternative media represent the future because they are free from the corrosive influence of political and financial powers. It is much better and healthier for the democracy to have many sources of information reflecting a variety of opinions instead of several mouthpieces of neoliberal or neocon elites.”

 

rsz_z--rspor--small4

Robert A. Slayton. 

(Professor of History, Chapman University. Research Specialist in Housing, Chicago Urban League Author of seven books, including Empire Statesman: The Rise and Redemption of Al Smith)

“–much of tv news is driven by ratings, print much less so.  Note the fuller coverage of Trump’s campaign because of its entertainment value and ratings potential.

–another indication is how intelligent, measured conversation has been left behind, in favor of a higher rated food fight.  Moderators on tv news permit (and even encourage) repeated interruptions, yelling, and irrelevant digressions.

–one of the bane’s of tv news is the roundtable with campaign spokespersons going to each other.  Both sides are hacks, with no critical analysis.

–media’s official support/endorsement for candidates is no longer an influential factor.  There was a time when editorial were widely read and a paper’s endorsement quite important.  No longer; I doubt it matters much at all these days.  I remember when the announcement of a major paper’s choice was a newsworthy event unto itself.  Now it is not covered at all.

–I read the print media (paper copy, not online), and use digital and tv for updates.  I still get papers delivered to the door every morning.”

 

prp8

Paul Pillar.

(He is a Non-resident Senior Fellow at the Center for Security Studies of Georgetown University and the Brookings Institution and an Associate Fellow of the Geneva Center for Security Policy. He retired in 2005 from a 28-year career in the U.S. intelligence community)

“It is impossible to generalize fairly about “journalism” as a whole with regard to motives or objectivity.  Those calling themselves journalists run the gamut from professionals committed to doing the best possible job of informing the public to polemicists who are journalists in name only.

One distinctive aspect of this year’s election is that Trump has provided more entertainment value than most candidates.  Trump has gotten the benefit of a lot of free coverage from the media for that reason.  In this sense media may have in some respects helped Trump’s candidacy, which in turn benefits the media financially because the entertainment aspect brings more viewers and readers, even if the media outlets themselves do not favor Trump politically.  But this benefit to Trump may have gotten canceled out by the fact that there is entertainment value as well in outrageous things he says or does that result in his losing votes.

Mainstream newspapers generally uphold the tradition of keeping the editorial page separate from the news pages.  There is nothing wrong with explicit editorial endorsements of specific candidates.  That is much better than non-explicit favoritism creeping into the news pages.”

 

rsz_download_1

Adil F. Raja.

(He is an independent Political and Security analyst from Pakistan with a diverse background in Governance, International Relations, Special Ops and International Security/Political Consultancy)

“1) Is journalism less about news and investigative journalism, and more about playing political and corporate games?

A. My answer would be YES, for mainstream professional journalism. The journalist are tasked to investigate and report specific angle about specific stories by their bosses. On top of that his work is scrutinized by the editors who publish what suits best to the owner’s policies or directives. They are all employees and in this,day and age, exactly know the kind of agenda they are working for.

What kind of stories are published about which subjects are decided by the corporate bosses to make and break public opinions which have direct impact on political and financial institutions.

Information is the most precious commodity in global business, and controlling this information is the key to the global corporate systems.

2) What do mainstream media networks politically or financially gain by supporting either candidates?

A. Ownership of mainstream media is either shared by states or corporate conglomerates. The issue and control of news provides political and financial leverage to various other functions/ interests of the state/ corporate world. It’s like a department of a big store whose profits are calculated in totality.

3) Do you support mainstream media networks that endorse one candidate over another?  Do you think that fairness in the media is a thing of the past?

A. Any individual with a decent thinking mind won’t ever support this hypocrisy called the mainstream media running for the political interests of their bosses.

Media can only be fair if their bosses have some sort of benefit in exposing the truth or the truth really doesn’t effect their interest at all.

4) Do you think mainstream media is trustworthy?

A. NO. To an extent, all of mainstream media is compromised due to the influences / preferences and agendas of their owners.

5) Do you think a communications war between social media, INN’s and Anti-Gov Org’s is ravaging the internet to challenge mainstream media networks?

A. This,war you talk about is compounded by the digital age. Mainstream media is finding it hard to prove their narratives. But mainstream media still possess a major imprint on the web. However, every controversial perspective of mainstream media is being challenged by INN’s and other individuals who have the ability to call the bluffs of mainstream media.

Social media trends can’t be ignored by mainstream media and these trends are mostly based on the true reflection of people’s mindset and ground realities.”

 

rsz_ron

Ron Aledo. 

(He is a retired U.S Army officer, former senior analyst for the CIA (ctr), former senior analyst for the DIA (ctr), operations and intelligence officer for the Joint Staff- The Pentagon, advisor to the Chief of Analysis of the Afghan National Police in Kabul and former International Business Developer for L3 Communications)

“Is journalism less about news and investigative journalism, and more about playing political and corporate games?

It is  95% about political activism. There are the puppet/ideological journalism and then there is the smart one. It is about 95% to 5%.

The puppet journalist is the mainstream ideological, both from the right and left.  They lack thinking. They are just parrots that follow the official line already decided by their ideological masters. In the US Army JFK Special Warfare School (Civil Affairs, Pysops, Public Affairs) I learned how the system work: Psyops is when the Government uses propaganda in the enemy, and Public Affairs is when the Government uses propaganda in its own population.

The mainstream media is just a player or pawn of this system: the Government or the ideological Masters “ plant” a narrative, a term, or a character, and then the mainstream media just parrot it without thinking or question it.

It happens with the left with the narrative of the Police on black violence. It happens when Donald Trump gives a 3 hours long policy speech but the headline of the newspaper or the press is just about the 15 seconds sentence where the Press can make Trump look bad, it happens when Fox news uses ¨homicide¨ bomber and not suicide bomber, or when the media does not questions the nonsense of the imaginary weapons of mass destructions in the starving Iraq Hussein.

The other 5 percent is the good journalism. People that for the most part stays away from being ideological activists and either reports the news or the facts or think about them before writing. Journalist who take a ¨neutral¨ or semi neutral stand and analyze the facts, the consequences, the perspectives without being activists.

2) What do mainstream media networks politically or financially gain by supporting either candidates?

As far as politics in the USA, about 90% of the writers, journalists, reporters, must follow the ideological line of their senior editors or they get fired or their careers destroyed. Now the senior editors and producers are a combination of true believers and under pay contractors. For one they are 90% left wing secularists hardcore followers of the Frankfurt School and their precursors  (Antonio Gramsci, Herbert Marcuse , Theodor Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Erich Fromm, etc.), in the other hand there are contractors under pay as they follow orders (punch lines, talking points, narratives) from the White House (when it is under Democratic control), BLM, Planned Parenthood, homosexual activists, local left wing politicians and community activists, etc.

The ideology and business/political connections and contacts of the senior editors and owners set very straight forward the ideological and editorial line of the media. Poor reporters, with or without ideological conviction, must follow it or else: their will get fired, never be promoted, mocked by co-workers, etc.

Finally when the media, both the 90% that supports Hillary Clinton, or the lonely 10% that supports Donald Trump do their job they consider themselves ¨heroes¨ and must be awarded by their patrons, local political activists, praised by the associations, praised by Academics, and receive good treatment from ideological readers, the major, the local congressman, and if you are important enough receive privileges from the White House (when you are leftist enough).

3) Do you support mainstream media networks that endorse one candidate over another?  Do you think that fairness in the media is a thing of the past?

I don’t support mainstream media, I tolerate some more than others. You need to know the ideology of a network to figure out who they support or who they attack: MSNBC extreme left, all others (CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, etc.) center left, Fox News center right, WSJ neocon center-right, WND right. Fairness is 95% dead in mainstream media. It only follows ideological editorial lines and perform activism, not reporting nor serious analysis.

4) Do you think mainstream media is trustworthy?

Absolutely not. It will spin the facts to fit their narrative and ideology. Since 2014 I have read well over a 1000 articles about the Ukrainian political crisis and Crimea. About 10 have been good ones as far they are neutral, they don’t parrot the narrative or terms ¨planted¨ by the government or senior editors. All the rest are terrible.

The same happens in the US electoral campaign with the Donald Trump example I already gave you: 3 hours important policy speech with very strong and significant point, and all the media cares is the 15 second sentences where he ¨insulted¨ someone according to their narrative.

Another historic example: In May 2015 the Russian Army was parading for the first time the new Armata battle tank. In the rehearsal of the parade, a few Armatas were following the route of the parade and stopped in a designed place. After some minutes they continue their way. About 95% of the hundreds of headlines from all kind of English language newspapers were about how the Armata tank ¨broke down¨ in the rehearsal. Being absolutely desperate trying Putin to look bad the mainstream media invents and spins beyond imagination into the ridicule. They go well below kindergarten level in their desperate attempts.

5) Do you think a communications war between social media, INN’s and Anti-Gov Org’s is ravaging the internet to challenge mainstream media networks?

Yes. The few places where you can find accurate analysis of news use social media to gain a voice. Some anti govt. organization, despite having a lot of trouble very often with their own narratives, also give a voice and a space for serious analysis. At least the social media is used to inject some thinking element in to the other way ¨zombie¨ parrot like narrative: No Iraq did not and could not have WMDs, Aleppo is not controlled by the opposition but by ISIS and other radical Islamic terrorists, no you cannot impose a no fly zone in Syria because it would mean Nuclear Holocaust War, the German man with mental problems who killed 10 people was not a German with mental problems but a Syrian Muslim with a German passport who was screaming ¨Allahu Akbar¨, 70% of the refugees are not refugees, and No, the Western financed Coup in Ukraine was not a Revolution but a Western financed illegal Coup.”

 

rsz_mark-chapman-kremlin-stooge

Mark Chapman. 

(A ripening cynic opposed to irresponsible corporatism and journalistic toadying. Focused mostly on Eastern Europe and the relationship between Russia and North America. Frequent columnist at Russia Insider)

“The entire weight of the American mainstream media and that of both political establishments is being brought to bear against Trump. He may be a buffoon and mountebank, but that is not the point; the people who intend to vote for him are being told that heaven and earth will be moved to prevent them having their choice, with each day bringing some new hysterical attack against Trump and some new endorsement of Hillary Clinton, who is indeed a serial liar. The message is that Clinton’s continuous lawbreaking, and determination to interpret the rules her own way in her pursuit of ultimate power, are a price the establishment is willing to pay in order to keep politics the province of the political class.

The illusion that anyone in America can rise to the country’s highest office has been just that – an illusion – for many years. These days you have to be not only a member of the political class, but an extraordinarily wealthy one. Trump only meets half the prerequisite; he is wealthy.

No matter which way the vote goes, the United States is going to wind up with a terrible president who is despised by something like half the electorate. That should be the story. But it isn’t; the country is caught up in the delirium of election time just as it always is, just as if things were normal.

Journalism failed the nation, in that it looked the other way when Clinton lied and lied about sending classified messages through her private server, and essentially rubber-stamped her running the job of Secretary of State off the books. The FBI failed the nation by entering into deals which allowed Clinton to get away with deleting tens of thousands of emails that no investigator now has any opportunity to rule upon, just on her word that they were personal, and agreeing not only to not depose certain key staff members, but to leave their personal computers untouched.

Journalism continues to fail the country by screaming daily about the latest horrible thing Trump has said or done, while ignoring new leaks of information damaging to Clinton. The establishment failed the country by not holding Clinton to account. And now that whole establishment is allied against Trump. And with the playing field tilted almost perpendicular in Clinton’s favor, it’s all she can do to stay a couple of points ahead in the polls.

That tells its own story.”

 

rsz_img_2156

Syed Qamar Afzal Rizvi.

(His research interests focus on the international relations, particularly with reference to the EU’s affairs, the United Nations affairs, the US foreign policy and prevention of conflict-studies. He contributed to the publications to the Daily Dawn (a leading English newspaper) and the Pakistan Observer (an Islamabad-based English daily)

“Answer 1: Reflections on today’s journalism

The investigative journalism finds its ideological moorings via two approaches: critical and thorough. Critical means that journalism is not merely passing on ‘news’ that already exist. It implies news, which would not be available without any journalistic intervention. This can be done by creating new facts, but also through re-interpretation or correlation of facts already at hand. Thorough means that one makes an own substantial effort, either in quantitative terms – much time spent in research, many sources consulted, etc. – in qualitative terms – sharp questions formulated, new approaches used, etc., or a combination of both. Currently, the world wide main stream media focus less on the real news and investigative journalism rather than the obsession about the political news coverage led by corporate news, has been the trend of the day.

Mainstream media plays a dominant role in shaping the opinions and changing the mindsets of the people. On the other hand the alternative media rivet the maverick thoughts of the people in general. Some of the countries , mostly the developed countries have succeeded in regulating their media to bring the thoughts of the people and the policy of the government in harmony with each other. In this way, the media has been weighted and restrained while the corporate organization keep their hold on the mainstream media, by literally owning the media houses.

Simultaneously, upright amalgamation provides giant tycoons to play more efficiently to market their products and services which in turn increases their economic and political power. In all this scenario, one most vital thing that is usually forgotten is that a well informed population guarantees the smooth functioning of the democratic institutions. This concentration of media ownership has raised concerns of a homogenization of viewpoints presented to news consumers. As a result, the mainstream media is also being utilized in diverging,  disparaging, derogatory and decrying manner which in turn brings the prejudicial views all over. This whole process has largely caused to damage the credibility of news reporting.

According to philosopher Noam Chomsky, media organizations with an elite audience such as CBS News and The New York Times, successful corporations with the assets necessary to engage in original reporting, set the tone for other smaller news organizations which lack resources by creating conversations that cascade down to smaller news organizations using the Associated Press and other means of aggregation.

Answer 2: The political and financial gains of mainstream media

The mainstream media helps in formulating the policies and distinguishing the benefits while penetrating its influence in the domestic and foreign spheres through the US Congress and other government institutions. Here, one can’t help borrowing the thoughts indoctrinated by Barry Sussman, the editor of Nieman Watchdog in 2012.Here it reads:

“There just isn’t enough good journalism, and there is too much forfeiting when it comes to seeking out important news. War coverage is a dismal case in point. As John Hanrahan wrote on this site, at any given time only handfuls of American reporters have covered the news from Afghanistan these last 11 years; as Sig Christenson reported in 2007, aside from the big, elite media only three regional news organizations consistently sent reporting teams to Iraq during the war there. Imagine: two terrible, lengthy wars with hardly any coverage. In surveys we did, Nieman Fellows around the world lambasted the American press – gave it a grade of D – for its coverage of the run-up to the Iraq war, and implored American reporters to get out of their “he said, she said” political mode, a lament that still applies.

As a group, the traditional U.S. press has badly failed at reporting dissent in America – there’s abundant newsworthy protest but you can seldom tell it from the news media – and has failed at reporting on poverty, failed at follow-up reporting on the Bush administration torture policies and other actions, and failed to sufficiently report the Obama administration’s high-handed refusal to deal with those issues. Instead of ridiculing the obstructionist Republican party leadership in Washington and the states, as it should, the mainstream press treats them as if they have goals other than serving large corporations and the rich and suppressing the vote. Not to defend Democrats, but if the press did decent, steady reporting on politics, made fun of GOP fantasies, and if the Democrats behaved, as Paul Wellstone once put it, more like the “Democratic wing of the Democratic party,” then it would be hard to imagine more than a few Republicans winning national office. The press ignores climate change, a world crisis, for weeks at a time. Corporate influence on America and the remnants of a labor movement are seldom reported on at all.” It is no secret that by installing its influence in the governmental functionaries and multinational corporations, the mainstream media gets its financial and political interests.

Answer 3: The practicing proclivity of mainstream media to support the presidential nominee

I can’t endorse the role of media including the corporate influence regarding the pampering of Republican or Democrat Presidential candidate. The seemingly reflected trend– in the US print and electronic media to make a divide line about their respective choice regarding the future president of the United States not only paves the way for vertical and horizontal polarization in the media walls, but also largely reflects on their unfair, unjust and unilateral thinking.  Yet, unfortunately given the US presidential campaign history,  looks to be a wishful thinking. But in this is the age of information and technological advancement where people in general would long for remaining more informed, it looks that the mainstream media cannot be isolated from the coverage of  the events like the Presidential elections are in the run. Apart from the print media or the electronic media there numerous slots available on the social media to make people aware of one’s opinion which is marked by the speed of information and interactivity.

Answer 4:The question about the trustworthy role of mainstream media

The role of the mainstream media is far more than just reporting ;  framing the opinion, changing the trends, transforming the ideological directions and sometimes constituting the policies. Nevertheless, there remains a dire need to maintain the intricate distinction between information, entertainment, and advertising in the age of “infotainment” as well as the distinction between facts and opinions; the right of reply on the Internet; the ‘right to be forgotten’ on the net; the limitation period for press offends online.

There are two fundamental ways of thinking about the state of journalism across the globe. The first is reflected in headlines and stories describing violence against any particular community, caste or creed or group of persons. This tragic trend is typically found in countries that have little or no tradition of democracy and, consequently, no appreciation for the watchdog role of a vigorous press. The second view finds newspapers remaining a thriving industry, growing in some regions and shrinking in others, although less dramatically than newspapers in the United States. In many countries where freedom of expression is constitutionally guaranteed, brutal censorship abounds while journalists are targets of government repression.

The birth of the Internet and the spread of communication technologies that evolved with it have led to new forms of written mass media and brought to light new communication habits. Two major changes are the renaissance of opinion expression and the increase in author-reader interactivity. But – besides shifts in information processing and velocity, the inclusion of multimedia applications and the increased opportunity for writer-reader-interaction – provide and open new modes of journalistic writing different from the past, redefined with new vistas of thinking and responsibilities in journalistic career.

The Doctrine of News says the facts come before the story-which is a fait accompli. It behaves as though news merely expresses or reflects previously existing facts – facts which would have arisen, in the same form, instead of being truly covered or thought by the journalists. But undeniably so many facts are subsequently created for journalists to cover. Not only by spin-doctors and PR firms but also by everyone who realises that anyone could be famous for fifteen minutes.

And consequently, these newsmakers only know what facts to create, in order to get coverage, from a study of existing coverage. Different coverage would lead to the occurrence of different facts. A whole structure has evolved, in order to provide journalists with facts to report. This is what an Official Sources Industry, with news resources–already deployed in clusters around it.

In this way of creating facts before the news/story comes, the Doctrine of News obscures the process by which the facts arise. Telling it how it is excludes– telling how it comes to be– Journalism therefore connives in its own manipulation, with Official Sources automatically validated by the existence of client corps of correspondents and the rest. And it is also observed that in many cases the range of change discussed within Official Sources excludes a real challenge to the forces active in shaping the lives of audience members. This has resultantly and gradually declined the credentials of news as a monitor and register of significant change thereby leading to the vanished readers.

Answer 5:The communication war, emergence of neo-journalism & internet

Yes of course there is communication war– between different pivots of media centres—reflected by the ongoing parallel competition between the print media, electronic media, social media and internet or online journalism. Given this scenario of conflict and competition of media war, the role of neo-journalism once again, seems to be more pertinent and befitting. The diversity of neo-journalism lies in the fact that it gathers its strength from its relevance to describe a kind of horizontal communication where traditional walls separating genres and roles played by protagonists disappear (the journalist is no longer the master of the sources)” (Murhula et al. 2008, p. 86). Today, participatory technologies (blogs, micro-blogging, social networks) allow a series of actors scattered throughout places and institutions that do not correspond with the traditional journalistic field to have access to public discourse .But it would not be wrong to say that such a growing informational and technological convergence is turning the Internet into a centralizing media that easily integrates written, visual, and audiovisual information formats.”

 

John Mariotti.

(He as spoken to thousands of people in the business, professional and university audiences in the US and Europe; he hosted a one-hour talk-radio show on the North American Broadcasting Network, (The Life of Business & the Business of Life); founded & moderated, The Reunion Conference, an annual round table/think-tank for 16 years)

“1) Is journalism less about news and investigative journalism, and more about playing political and corporate games?

Certainly yes, but more than political and corporate games; sensationalism reigns. Investigative journalism has become “gotcha” journalism and no level of snooping is off limits. Fewer and fewer forms of media actually report news in an unbiased way. Why? Because writing news in an unbiased way is hard. Human nature comes into play. Everyone has biases and no matter how hard they try, the biases sneak into their writing. Thus, what they do, is just write what they think, not what actually happened. Publications gain readers like political parties—by “playing to their base”—and thus they entrench the biased perspective of their readers. This is what has polarized America politics almost beyond repair.

2) What do mainstream media networks politically or financially gain by supporting either candidates?

The principle motivation of mainstream media is not per se that they gain financially—although they do—by “playing to their base” because it increases the readership/viewership by their base. Most of the issue is that at least 75-80% and sometimes as high as 90% of those who are the reporters and writers on mainstream media are Democrats and lean heavily liberal in their beliefs—so that’s how they report things. Some do it for ulterior motives; some just do it because it is what they believe. Many actually gather information to reinforce their leanings—but such data gathering is similarly slanted—as they gravitate toward the information that reinforces what they already believe. Considering that their “bosses,” who control their jobs and futures, lean in the same direction, if they try to become objective or contrarian, they jeopardize their jobs. When fired, they move to a place that is aligned with what they believe, thus deepening the entrenched bias.

3) Do you support mainstream media networks that endorse one candidate over another?  Do you think that fairness in the media is a thing of the past?

There is no doubt that “fairness” in the media, if interpreted to mean objectivity, is dead. Everyone has opinions and leanings. Media attracts those who reinforce their already existent leanings. Of course media will continue to endorse candidates who reflect what they believe and agree with. Ironically, in races like the Trump vs. Clinton, where both choices are flawed, the most objective media can choose to endorse neither—leaving readers to gather information and vote based on their own perception—and equally flawed, but easily adopted form of abdication.

4) Do you think mainstream media is trustworthy?

No. Some are more honest and objective than others, but most are prone to go with the prevailing pressures, from readers, editors, publishers, owners or party campaign staff, feeding them information and motivation to support the “party line,” whatever that happens to be. The INNs are “potentially” more honest (that’s different from objective), since they have few or no “bosses” per se. Social media is not trustworthy.. It is like a mob or crowd where whoever yells loudest and longest gets heard most. Social media is nothing but messages biased by those most adept at and aggressive with using it to shape opinion (they hope) to fit their idea of what’s right.

5) Do you think a communications war between social media, INN’s and Anti-Gov Org’s is ravaging the internet to challenge mainstream media networks?

Since half of the American population is either apathetic, uninformed, misinformed or too intellectually challenged to digest more than 7-second sound bites, the mainstream TV and cable media have more influence than deserved. Newspapers influence traditional readers, but totally miss the millennials and many other groups who seldom look at newspapers (other than the sports or entertainment sections). INNs have a chance to grow in stature—if, and only if, they behave more responsibly than the current mainstream media. That’s a big IF.

6) The question you failed to ask: About the election just 30 days away:

A wise person once said, “Believe half of what you see, and none of what you read.” That may be unduly cynical, but with the growth of the Internet and its ability to broadcast lies and distortions so far, so fast, and in such quantity to so many people, the liars are thriving. How else could Barack Obama be at over 50% approval rating, and Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have such broad followings? Ironically, this election is about maintaining Obama’s legacies of big government,  tax and spend, secular-socialist welfare state, with the US running ever greater deficits, managed by a terrible leader (Hillary) who is a proven congenital liar, and untrustworthy to the max.—Versus Donald Trump, a “greedy capitalist,” strong, free enterprise advocate, who is wanting a revolution, and a return to American First in trade and foreign policy, but his past record of lax morals, narcissism (that rivals Obama’s), outrageous/tasteless statements and oversized ego leads him to say deplorable things, do stupid things and make up things that defy even his most ardent supporters credibility.  What a terrible choice to make, and one that is worsened by media bias.

I, for one, am fed up with the status quo, therefore I am anti-HIllary to the max. I am also very concerned about what Trump’s ego might cause him to do, BUT we need change in how America is governed, AND if HE is the price of doing that, it may be worth that risk—as scary as it is.

Either one will be a massive challenge for a Congress that has been marginalized by Obama and its own inability to come together and get past the polarization. The media is no help at all, sensationalizing every utterance, every email and every action, to generate readership, but not advance the cause of finding the balance of truth and reasonable thought.

The best voting strategy is to “hold your nose to vote” for President and VP (Pence is clearly better than Kaine—he’s the first tie-breaker), and concentrate on keeping the best possible people in Congress, especially the Senate—hoping that those 500+ elected officials will steer our country on the right course, no matter who occupies the White House.

That leaves us to the second “tie-breaker”—SCOTUS— which a Clinton presidency will tilt so far left, that America will be unrecognizable in a decade or two. That’s why I am an entrenched NEVER HILLARY voter. “

 

rsz_jon

Jon Kofas.

(Retired Indiana University university professor academic writing. International political economy — fiction)

“INTRODUCTION: Journalism and the Open Society

In contemporary US, and in most countries, the media presents itself as a sentinel of the ‘public interest’. This implies that ‘public interest’ is universally encompassing and equally distributed in its benefits for all classes. The implication is that there is no difference for a pauper than a billionaire when it comes to the media reporting on fiscal policy, health care, minimum wage, or corporate welfare vs. social welfare. When delivering news, analysis, and opinion, the media operates under the self-ascribed assumption that it works in the name of the nebulous ‘public interest’, deliberately sidelining the reality of a class-based structure and an institutional system rooted in elitism and inequality.

In this brief essay, I examine the degree to which the media as a guardian and promoter of the status quo hinders the broader public interest in favor of the elites. Although this ought to be self evident because the very rich own media corporations, it is far from the case. The media’s self-ascribed role as the ‘Fourth Estate’, guardian of truth and public welfare, presents the image of neutrality. This essay examines whether the media undermines social justice in its incessant effort to sustain the bourgeois social order and institutional structure of which it is an integral part. In this respect, the media’s goal the question is whether the media attempts to inform and educate or create robo-citizens and keep them in a zombie-like state.

Some believe that the media is a catalyst to freedom and democracy as it claims. Others claim it reflects a system of authoritarianism operating under the cloak of freedom and democracy invariably equated with consumerism. Is the media the catalyst to social progress or sociopolitical conformity? Do corporate media organizations protect the ‘public interest’, as they likes audience/readers/listeners to believe, or is their goal maintain the hierarchical social order by manufacturing consent and forging consensus among a broad spectrum of the population? (Edward S. Herman, (Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy and the Mass Media, 1988.)

In the age of universal education and technology that permits users to access all kinds of information instantly from around the world, molding public opinion is seemingly more difficult than it was in the pre-internet era. It is especially challenging in the political domain because a segment of the population rejects the idea that it has a choice in electing public officials who have been pre-selected by the party apparatus and financed by the wealthy with the finalists presented to the public for their approval. Similarly, it is becoming challenging for the corporate media to mold public opinion that individuals lacking in good character traits are to blame for structural problems in society not the system rooted in absence of social justice.

While there are difficult challenges for the corporate media, which is also interested in turning a profit by presenting the news and analysis it chooses to publish both entertaining and substantive, sensational and empirical, there is no doubt that even people who are very skeptical of the media’s role in society are profoundly influenced by it. In fact, despite the emergence of social media representing many voices from around the world, the mainstream media rapidly intertwined with social media remains dominant in shaping peoples’ world-view. This is because of its vast access and because it accords itself a sense of legitimacy that small social media lacks especially considering its ‘unfiltered nature’.

Corporate media journalists would have the robo-citizens, which they are helping to manufacture, believe that the process of reporting and analysis is carried out by ‘objective’ reporters and analysts who transcend their contemporary setting and are somehow above earthly affairs. On 8 August 2016, the New York Times published an article entitled “Trump is Testing the Norms of Objectivity in Journalism”, an article that clearly accepts as reality ‘objectivity in journalism’. This is the same newspaper that has a long history of biased reporting and analysis in every area from foreign affairs to domestic politics. The paper was openly biased against Senator Bernie Sanders and always favored Hillary Clinton with reports intended to mold public opinion; yet, it considers itself ‘objective’. Claiming that there is such a thing as journalistic objectivity not just by the New York Times but all corporate media organizations is essential to maintain a sense of legitimacy and authority in the domain of serving the public interest. lhttp://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/08/business/balance-fairness-and-a-proudly-provocative-presidential-candidate.html?_r=0

A couple of years after 9/11, an Argentine colleague mentioned to me that a journalist from the university where he was teaching in Buenos Aires attended an international conference on journalism. An American journalist making a presentation insisted that American journalism rested on the foundations of objectivity. The irony was that conference was underwritten by corporate sponsors, including think tanks with a very clear ideological and political orientation and corporate-owned media organizations where reporting and analysis must always fall within the prescribed corporate ideological and sociopolitical perimeters. Despite this reality evident to any journalism undergraduate of a journalism school usually named after a corporation or a millionaire donor, mainstream  journalists and analysts insist on presenting themselves and their profession as ‘objective’; this even as they find themselves in a self-censorship mode because they know there is no other way to keep their job.

One reason for the claim to objectivity is that many countries have tightly controlled media, while newspapers and media outlets in many countries are linked to political parties. The assumption that corporate media is not state or party affiliated affords journalists and media organizations the illusion that they are indeed ‘objective’. This implies that they are no different than nuclear physicists conducting research and writing for scholarly peer reviewed journals. Needless to point out, humanities and social science under whose domain journalism rests is not physical science. There is a methodological difference as well as differences in the objectives and goals between the scientific endeavors of a geneticist and a journalist.

Presumably, all journalists have a sense of the profession’s methodology and history as well as how the profession is practiced in other countries despite the homogenized nature of the field in the age of corporate media consolidation. Of course, historically, bourgeois liberals have accorded themselves the privilege of ideological objectivity to distance themselves from both leftists and rightists. The temptation to make subjective reality into an objective science governed by natural laws of the physical universe is a never ending quest of the corporate media precisely because it serves narrow class interests rather than the illusory ‘public interest’. A central reason that the corporate media insists on projecting the image of a field as objective as astrophysics is that its goal is mass ideological, political, social, cultural conformity; creating and maintaining robo-citizens, rather than the quest to overthrow the unjust institutional structure.

Just as the church in Western Christendom, the Byzantium and Islamic Middle East once represented themselves as the infallible representatives of God’s Truth in all domains of life, in our contemporary world the media accords to itself a similar lofty role to maintain credibility by its very structure. Of course, there are many more dissenting voices in our time in comparison to Medieval Europe, Byzantium and the Middle East when the vast majority of the population remained docile and superstitious. However, like the church was an institution helping to preserve the status quo by engendering conformity among the faithful, the media has assumed such a role in our secular pluralistic world. 

A History Synopsis of the Press and in Bourgeois Society

Coinciding with the rise of nation states during the nascent stage of capitalism in the 16th century, the advent of the printing press accounted for the first newspapers in Europe. As early as 1400 European merchants printed stories about business conditions, while governments issued news bulletins around the beginning of the 17th century. Although News Letters and gazettes existed in the 17th century sporadically, England’s Daily Courant was the first daily paper in 1702 with limited circulation considering the very low number of literate individuals.

The first Industrial Revolution in England, which coincided with the Age of Reason (Enlightenment) centered in 18th century France, laid the foundations for universal education to prepare people for the changing workforce. The foundations of journalism as we know it were established in that transitional period as much for Europe as for America. Because Western journalism has its ideological foundations in the Age of Reason when the bourgeois value system replaced that of the church identified with the landowning nobility since the era of Frankish Emperor Charlemagne, it is hardly an enigma that journalism mirrors the bourgeois social order and institutions that also have their origins in the 18th century. The ideological foundations of journalism rest in the pluralism of the Enlightenment that coincided with the American and French revolutions thrusting the bourgeois elites into the forefront of society.

The socioeconomic hegemony of the bourgeoisie by the 19th century throughout the Western World, in European colonies, and spheres of influences around the world entailed that the bourgeois model of journalism would become prevalent and remain so until this day. Part of journalism’s role was to publicize ‘bourgeois democracy’ as the ‘natural’ system of government best suited for the ‘natural’ economic system of capitalism; a theme on which that Adam Smith dwelled in An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes Wealth of the Nations (1776).  A theme of the Enlightenment, it was widely accepted that man is able to apply the laws of nature to society and create a more rational institutional structure that would better serve mankind. However, Enlightenment thinkers reflected the rise of the bourgeoisie who believed the old aristocratic social order was anachronistic. The goal was to replace the old elites in society with the bourgeoisie that reflected far reaching and rapid changes in the evolving capitalist economy and claimed to embody the welfare of all people.

Bourgeois journalism necessarily promoted the distinct awareness in the public debate of the private sector (merchant capitalists, industrialists, bankers and landowners) vs. public sector realm with the former fighting to mold public policy that would further strengthen capitalist interests. In 1962, Jurgen Habemas’  Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere described the development of how bourgeois society evolved during the Industrial Revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries and how the increasing role of the public sphere entailed the weaving of ideological, political, cultural and socioeconomic developments inculcated into the public dialogue.

Amid increasing public awareness of the private sector-public sector dichotomy, which journalism helped to promote, public opinion became an integral part of the bourgeois political landscape. By the second half of the 19th century with the vast expansion of the middle class in Western countries, especially the US, capitalists and politicians, academics and journalists began to take more seriously the citizen as a consumer. Considering the expansion of the educated lower middle class developing self-conscious as a political force, this meant that journalists had the task of presenting the bourgeois political economy as all-inclusive and participatory. Therein rested the challenge of apologists who needed to explain the contradictions of a system rooted in inequality as democratic or equal merely because it afforded ‘the opportunity’ to all for upward social mobility.

Hardly was an issue before the French Revolution, public opinion redefined the concept of the ‘national interest’, identifying it with ‘the people’, presumably all people – all people outside the realm of aristocratic privilege, as the Abbe Sieyes argued in “What is the Third Estate?” In reality, the political economy marginalized not just the working class, but women, immigrants and minorities, while insisting on embodying the ‘public interest’.

Dichotomous thinking about state power versus civil society, which theoretically represents all people but in fact the elites, was imbedded in liberal bourgeois thought since the early 19th century. This remains prevalent in our times even more so than in the past. Journalism has always reflected this dichotomous thinking, and as an integral part of the bourgeois institutional structure. Never questioning its own ideological assumptions, journalism cannot engage in self-criticism beyond the confines of its ideological assumptions, as the hypocritical New York Times claim of objectivity illustrates. Instead, it accepts as gospel truth its ideological assumptions and self-righteous and self-anointed role as public interest sentinel.

Nationalism and patriotism have been catalytic for journalism in molding robo-citizens and defending the status quo. Wars from the Napoleonic era down to the regional conflicts of the early 21st century only strengthen the fervor of nationalism as a secular religion considering individual identity with the nation-state. Across Europe and the US since American War of Independence, nationalism has been the opium of the people, largely because journalism helps to promote it as such. The political and socioeconomic elites use war to rally support around the flag despite the fact that military policies serve the very narrow interests of defense-related industries, banks and business sectors linked to defense. Rarely questioning the elites they serve, journalists enthusiastically fall in line operating under the illusion that they are serving the public.

As  Habermas argued, the public sphere’ which journalism proclaims to represent and reflect is an imaginary community. More significant, there are inherent contradictions in the liberal-bourgeois constructs of journalism’s assertions as the political economy is in a constant state of evolution. Mass politics and consumerism capitalism by the turn of the 20th century obviated the bourgeois public sphere that was a reality when Alexis de Tocqueville was writing Democracy in America in the 1830s. The challenge for bourgeois journalism is how to project the image – the illusion – of the elitist bourgeois social order as representative of all of society in the age of mass politics. Right-wing populism made famous in the mid-19thcentury in Western Europe was one answer to the puzzle, though by no means the only one.

With the creation of trade unions and working-class based political parties, class consciousness became more ubiquitous, realizing that corporate journalism did not embody working class interests. Anti-establishment journalism representing workers was inevitable. However, government and business adamantly fought against it because it challenged the orthodoxy of mainstream journalism’s legitimacy as representative of the social contract and public interest. At the same time that moguls like William Randolph Hearst. Joseph Pulitzer, and Lincoln Steffens dominated the mainstream press, dissenting voices such as Upton Sinclair, Ray Stannard Baker, and John Reed presented the world from the viewpoint of the masses rather than elites at the turn of the 20th century.

The age of mass politics forced mainstream journalism to adopt ‘reformist’ positions in order to avoid revolutionary solutions that some among the leftist intelligentsia and radical trade unions demanded. By the 1930s when the social welfare state became a necessary means to preserve the bourgeois social order and the Axis Powers were posing a serious threat to Western bourgeois democracy, journalism once again had the challenge of reflecting on the contradictions of its methodology and claims as an objective mechanism of information in society.  

Historically, bourgeois journalism defended the social order and economic system that the state served, while castigating politicians as the enemy. This strategy by mainstream journalism diverted focus from capitalism as the root cause of social problems, placing blame on politicians, although politicians served capitalist interests. This was as much in the Great Depression as after WWII. Once the social welfare era of the New Deal ended with Truman launching a Cold War, the corporate media reflected the new political reality with the goal of engendering mass conformity to the regime of anti-communism and loyalty to the capitalist system and bourgeois society at home and around the world.  

Reporting, news analysis, and editorial opinions centered on ‘the present danger’ of Communism at home and world-wide, while subordinating civil rights, human rights, women’s rights, workers’ rights or any issue pertaining to social justice. Journalists never questioned the assumptions of the Cold War. They did not even question allegations made by Senator Joseph McCarthy against citizens accused of Communist sympathizing, and they never bothered to investigate if those allegations and list of names existed. If they wanted a job, they needed to worship at the same temple as the state and corporations. The same type of journalistic practice prevailed during the George W. Bush administration that declared war on Iraq based on fake claims of weapons of mass destruction.

The global anti-Communist crusade during the Cold War and counter-terrorism crusade in the early 21st century were convenient excuses to engender conformity in a society that set aside democratic principles and practices, including First Amendment rights. Silencing dissent of any kind that questioned anything from the corporate world to the defense establishment has been the norm. Amid such propagandistic quest by mainstream journalism, the challenge for journalism has been to present its goal as defending the public interest, freedom and democratic principles, while in essence the goal was to suppress all they claimed to defend.

Because dissent was thoroughly crushed by the state in very subtle ways, the corporate media’s task has not been as daunting as it may appear. After all, every institution from churches to schools works toward the same goal of helping to create robo-citizens whose identity and values rest in a consumerist culture. Public opinion matters only within the narrow perimeters of the corporate neoliberal ideology. The result has been creating ‘robo-citizens’ ‘zombified’ because journalism is reduced to propaganda and an extension of government and business public relations departments. (Jacques Ellul, Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes (1962) and Herbert Marcuse, One Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society (1964) 

Because journalism is necessarily reduced to propaganda and conformity to the bourgeois social order necessitates it, the blurring lines between advertising and news become so evident that they are hardly distinguishable. Adding to this framework the advent of tabloid journalism that exploded since the 1980s, we have a cult of the rich and famous media focused on the personal lives of the elites and celebrities rather than reporting and analyzing problems in the lives of the average citizen.

This does not mean that there has not been popular reaction to the corporate media’s incessant endeavors to manufacture robo-citizens. The evolution of American society in the 1950s and 1960s toward a civil rights and anti-war mode by large segments of the American middle class forced yet another shift in public policy. Forging bourgeois consensus that entailed the media’s goal was to help bring along the robo-citizens became necessary to maintain public confidence in the social order and political economy. Toward that goal, the media helped to drive across to the American public that consumerism was equated with democracy.

As Herbert Marcuse argues, consumerism as a form of social control is at the core of the corporate media that molds the perception of freedom; equating subjugation with freedom, as long as one has the ability to purchase it in the form of consumer goods. In short, the media constantly projects the bourgeois materialist value system as universal that must be embraced by all people; something that resembles more a Fascist corporatist goal than a democratic one. The media defines the illusory public sphere within the consumerist confines and all programing on TV from news broadcasts to situation comedies presented from such a prism to reinforce the value system.

Since the Civil Rights movement, which addressed legal issues for minorities and women, society has shifted more theoretically than in practice to reflect that class transcends gender and race. To make sure that the masses are convinced there is indeed equality and social justice, the ubiquitous drug of political correctness emerged to provide the cloak of democracy. No institution has been better in delivering the political correctness pill to the masses than the corporate media.

Beneath the thin veil of political correctness rest the ugly realities of institutional racism as we have seen with the treatment of minorities by the criminal justice system and police killings of black youth; sexism as statistics regarding wage inequalities and job promotion; xenophobia and Islamophobia that is in fact openly celebrated within the Republican Party and covertly practiced by liberals hiding behind political correctness. Political correctness has become a substitute for social justice and even those castigating it realize its usefulness to protect the image of the pluralistic society. As long as one speaks/writes politically correct words, what’s the point of addressing deep-seated institutional racism, sexism and xenophobia through public policy?

Political correctness along with consumerist values have resulted in more conforming robo-citizens in the age of the internet that theoretically permits greater pluralism. Subjugated by consumerism and technology that become substitutes for human freedom and creativity, the one-dimensional human more readily accepts political correctness only as long as the political economy is perceived to offer the faint hope of realizing the American Dream. People are eager to be robo-citizens because they know that is the way to survive in the workplace and in society demanding conformity.

But what if hope to realize the American Dream becomes distant, as it did by 2016 amid the presidential race, no matter how conforming the robo-citizen has become? A large segment of the population turns either to right wing populist solutions that borders on neo-Fascism, or a more left-oriented one that resembles a New Deal society that FDR built in the 1930s to save capitalism from self-inflicted wounds. In such scenarios, the corporate media is faced with contradictions in the political economy so glaring that it has no choice but to strip away the mask of objectivity, especially as it must weigh in its own financial and strategic interests. (Justin Lewis, Beyond Consumer Capitalism: Media and the Limits of Imagination, 2013)

 1) Does Journalism Solely Advance a Political and Corporate Agenda? 

From the early 1980s until the present, there have been a number of bestselling books arguing that the media is ‘left-leaning’. Upon a closer examination of the term ‘left’, one discovers that critics are referring to a liberal ideology with a multicultural slant that reflects a pluralistic society, deliberately stigmatizing it for advocating ‘big government’. In other words, left for rightwing critics means any favorable of issues that many in the Democratic Party espouse, ranging from abortion, to racial profiling by police, women’s right to equal wages, gay rights and other lifestyle issues, from a fairer tax system and an environment policy based on science not profit.  

Needless to point out, the ‘left-leaning’ media that the extreme right wingers so label does not address social justice issues, income inequality, mass illegal surveillance of citizens, human rights abuses, war crimes the US commits against innocent civilians as recorded by international human rights organizations. In fact, anyone covering Keynesian economics favorably would be a Communist, although Keynesianism was the salvation of capitalism in the 1930s.

The result of right wing criticism against the ‘left-leaning’ media has meant the increasing right wing orientation of all media to the degree that political and business consensus is a universally shared goal by the corporate-owned media. This is regardless of whether journalists favor Republican or Democrat candidates whose goal is after all to carve policy intended to strengthen the wealthiest Americans at the expense of the dwindling middle class and workers. After all, the media is a business and it relies on ad revenue sources for its survival. Journalists know they cannot pursue a career unless they fall in line with the corporate ideological and political position of the corporate media mogul employer.

The media cannot offend its corporate sponsor by covering a labor strike from the perspective of labor, or covering equal pay for equal work from the perspective of immigrants, blacks and women. At most, the media will mention such grievances but always tilt reporting to favor business in the name of ‘jobs creation’, even if that means the employers are paying below poverty level wages, oppose unionization, collective bargaining, worker benefits, health and safety. Pro-business reporting is invariably backed by politicians siding with business. Therefore, the political establishment lends to media a sense of legitimacy, while dismissing the grievances of workers, women and minorities as contrary to the economic national interest.

The multi-billion dollar corruption scandals involving big banks and investment firms such as Wells-Fargo and Goldman Sachs are news-worthy only in-so far as Justice Department fines are causing stock market instability rather than reflecting systemic corruption symptomatic of capitalism. Popular protests against police killings of unarmed black youth, which protests may cause several hundred of several thousand dollars damage to property, are newsworthy as indicative of a segment of society that breaks the law. In short, the media treats the hundreds of billions defrauded by Wall Street investment firms as part of doing business and refuses to condemn it as a major crime against society. Wells Fargo CEO retired under pressure because of his bank’s corrupt practices, but instead of going to prison, he received more than $100 million in severance pay. At the same time that the media reports this as normal business practice, it has no problem denouncing as criminals popular protesters against police racist violence. Such reporting by the media is a very clear reflection of the corporate agenda with political undertones.

Although some have argued that former General Electric CEO Jack Welch was the first to introduce the concept of corporate agenda through NBC network, this practice is as old as TV that always relied on corporate sponsors and government in order to survive and thrive. The combined pressure on journalists from both their corporate employers and government simply prevents any kind of reporting and analysis that deviates from prescribed perimeters. The trick is to appear genuinely critical when in fact the goal must remain to eulogize the status quo. Mostly through the use of populist rhetoric, journalists are able to accomplish as much while in essence remaining faithful to the corporate goals and political objectives of the employer.

In theory, the First Amendment guaranteed free speech as much in the 19th century as in the early 21st century. However, in practice corporate journalism practices what the political and business climate wants both in domestic and foreign affairs. In case reporters deviate, both government and corporations have all the leverage at their disposal to remove them. For example, in extreme cases ever since the Espionage Act of 1917, which was intended against enemies and traitors, government has given itself the right to go after journalists.  Ironically, the ‘liberal’ Obama administration has used the Espionage Act more liberally to make sure there is conformity to US policy in all matters from illegal surveillance to overt and covert military and intelligence operations. At the same time, journalists are often subject to covert surveillance just in case they try to circumvent official positions of corporate media and government.

2) What Does Media Networks Gain Politically or Financially by Supporting either Candidate?

The obvious media favoritism to Clinton and opposition to Trump stems not just from the financial gain that Wall Street envisions under her pro-business administration, but also from Trump’s neo-isolationist rhetoric that would have the US abandon its traditional role as the world’s policeman. The combination of Trump’s economic nationalism that US multinationals detest, his pro-Russia overtures and protectionist tilt directed at Mexico and China where US corporations have substantial investments made him unacceptable for most corporations. 

It is hardly a secret that from George Washington to the present there have always been capitalists behind politicians pushing their agendas. Both Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt had corporations that backed them and others that adamantly opposed them. The press simply reflects the division in political support among the elites that agree on the merits of capitalism but disagree on how capitalism must operate and under what political system. The problem comes when the media organizations fail to disclose conflicts of interest, campaign contributions, or other entanglements between the corporate media and government or political parties.

Absence of full disclosure and transparency regarding financial interest and/or influence by media organizations has always been an issue when it comes to the relationship between media and political parties. Political analysts are invariably paid by the corporate network, think tank, government or business. Lobbyists, political consulting firms and certain corporations have political affiliations with either or both parties. It is no secret that a number of billionaires, including the Koch Brothers, are contributors to right wing politicians and causes. Others, like Warren Buffet and George Soros have sided with the Democrat Party. In other words, billionaires are not of one mind about how capitalism ought to function, any more than they are of one mind about how government ought to function.

The socioeconomic elites have no illusions that the state exists not as an arbiter for all social classes equally and fairly, but to maintain the social order. Nevertheless, there are ideological and political divisions among the elites that invariably link themselves to one or the other party while at the same time trying to influence party platform. For example, the Democrat Party of the Clintons and Obama operating under a neoliberal economic agenda hardly resembles that of FDR in the 1930s. Wall Street in collaboration with the entrenched leadership within the Democrat party made sure that it turned toward a rightist course from Truman to the present. Similarly, the Republican Party of Donald Trump has no resemblance to that of Eisenhower largely because the Republican elites moved farther to the right ideologically to the degree that they are not far off a European neo-Fascist party. The media mirrors these shifts accordingly, as it is an integral part of the socioeconomic elites that own it and support it through advertising.

A disturbing trend of course is rapid media consolidation permitting fewer voices of expression while continuing to perpetuate the illusion of choice. In 1983, fifty companies owned 90% of US media, whereas in 2016 six companies owned 90% of the media. The media corporate giants are GE, Viacom, Disney, CBS, Time Warner, and News-Corp. In 2010 media revenue was about $275 billion. Whereas in 1995 it was illegal by FCC rules for any company to own more than 40 radio stations, in 2016 Clear Channel (iHeartCommunications) owns more than 1200 stations. It is an enigma that anyone can claim that this kind of media concentration is reflective of all people and the ‘public interest’.  

http://www.businessinsider.com/these-6-corporations-control-90-of-the-media-in-america-2012-6

 Tax policy is one area where government has leverage over the media and is able to use it. It is no secret that the Bush administration used the tax leverage with the media to secure more favorable coverage of its militarist foreign policy toward Iraq where it claimed there were weapons of mass destruction and an enclave of terrorism posing a threat to the Western World and Israel. VIACOM, parent company of CBS, caved to administration pressure because it had a financial and political incentive at a time that all other media had fallen in line. This does not mean that the sole incentive of the media is a financial one, although it is an important one because at the end of the day the media exists to make a profit while struggling to keep the citizenry docile and in conformity mode to the institutional structure.

http://www.multinationalmonitor.org/mm2004/05012004/may-june04corp1.html

3) Is There Fairness in Media?

As we have seen already by briefly examining the history of bourgeois journalism, there has never been ‘fairness’ in media because that implies it is a scientific endeavor rather than a political one and it represents all classes rather than the capitalists. Naturally, there are journalists who verify stories better than others for accuracy and try to present more than just one viewpoint. However, in cases where there is even be an attempt to condemn the capitalist system and the political structure under which it operates the journalist will be out of work.

This does not mean that is all cases there ought to be two sides of the story. For example, should journalists writing about the Third Reich’s “Jewish Question” have been presenting the pro-Nazi position as morally equivalent to that of the Holocaust victims? Should journalists writing about the Ku Klux Klan’s lynching activities have been presenting the story from the perspective of the black victims as well as their executioners justifying their activities? Clearly, this is where the question of values, morality and journalistic principles enters into the picture. The editorial policy embraces a set of values and principles based on its ideological and political position, thus the stories presented to the public are ipso facto a perspective reflecting editorial policy.

Even media watchdog groups are as biased if not more than the media. For example, the conservative Accuracy in Media (AIM) organization insists that the media has a liberal bias. Considering the funding historically comes from large corporations such as oil companies, it comes as no surprise that AIM adamantly opposes Democrats with an environmental and socially progressive agenda, blaming the Black Lives Matter movement rather than analyzing how the media covers the police favorably and how unfavorably it portrays minorities. The liberal Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) claims that there is a conservative bias in news reporting and analysis.

If we go beyond the US and look at the media around the world, it is eye-opening how the exact same story, let us say the war in Afghanistan or the inner city police shootings of black youth are reported so strikingly different. The American audience relying on the mainstream media is left with a completely different impression than its counterparts around the world, although the headline news stories are on the same subject.

What is not reported at all, or reported but glossed over or sensationalized is just as important as what is covered in depth. Editorial decisions are made on the basis of a set of criteria that have nothing to do with ethics rooted in the welfare of the public, but rather the profit motive, serving a political and business agenda. Media reporting on foreign affairs, economy, social issues and culture are all focused on the corporate/national security model and always to the deliberate exclusion of social justice at home and human rights abroad.

The most recent example of manipulation rather than fairness is media involves the Trump sex tapes and Clinton emails. On 7 October 2016, the Trump sex tape revelations coincided with a US announcement formally accusing Moscow of hacking in US computers, namely of the Democrat Party, to steal information and make it available through WIKILEAKS.  The government and the Clinton campaign focused on the hacking of John Podesta’s computer by Moscow but never denied the substance of the contents in the emails that are indeed proof that Clinton is beholden to Wall Street.

The US government and media would have a great deal more credibility on this issue if they could present the evidence that Russia was indeed behind the computer hacking, but also if the US did not have a history since the Spanish-American War of overthrowing governments or interfering in the free elections of other countries. Just as the US was accusing Russia of interfering in the US election, Washington is actively trying to overthrow Assad and refuses to permit elections even if Assad agrees to step down as long as he or anyone linked to him is a candidate. Perhaps the hypocrisy here is lost on the public because no media organization would dare ask by what moral authority is the US condemning another country of interfering in its elections when it has been doing the same thing in Russia and around the world for more than century.  

It is true that Russia prefers Trump who wants cordial relations with Moscow, whereas Clinton will definitely continue the policy of containment and confrontation. Although Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov dismissed the idea, even if true, does it invalidate the reality of the candidate’s campaign promises to the public versus her promises to contributors? The issue for the pro-Clinton media is not that she privately opposed the $15-dollar federally-mandated minimum wage because it would be an anathema to her corporate campaign contributors but that Russia was behind the leaks. Does the process of delivery invalidate the content and exonerate Clinton and her staff? These are issues on which the media is divided depending on which candidate they favor.

In manufacturing consent, the media manufactures robo-voters who follow the vast political machines of the two parties stretching from the local level to the highest office. The robo-voter operates within the confines of the existing political system, never questioning the system that she/he deems as natural as the change of seasons. The key to the success of molding robo-voters is for the media to project the illusion of freedom of choice. So entrenched is this illusion of choice in the American institutional structure that during the Cold War the CIA encouraged a two party system in a number of countries around the world, as long as both parties operated within the confines of the capitalist economy and accepted economic integration with the West.

This is not to suggest that there are no differences or disagreements about specific policies, political parties and individual personalities on which media organizations fight over. Conservative media organization FOX News bitterly disagrees with the New York Times ideologically and politically; the former attracting religious and social conservatives and mostly whites, while the latter attracts a more educated readership from the largely urban professional class across racial and ethnic lines. Media demographics play a role and it is evident by the types of advertisements that they attract.

Opposing views are within the context of the two-party system that determines policy because there are billions of dollars at stake in government contracts and subsidies for corporations depending on whether their favorite candidates is elected from the local level all the way to the presidency. Inter-sector competition for political influence has been intense because political parties tend to favor certain sectors over others, something that has been evident through the republic’s history. Naturally, the media reflects this inter-sector competition – non-renewable energy sector industries vs. renewable (solar and wind) energy sector, more regulation on pharmaceutical companies vs. less regulation on agrichemical industries. The task of the media is to convince the public that regulation is bad, although public opinion polls indicate that 56% favor more health insurance regulation, 55% more pharmaceutical regulation, and 48% more energy regulation. It is the media’s job to convince people they are wrong about their own self-interest. http://ehstoday.com/news/ehs_imp_36921

Because the media presents the issues in the context of ‘jobs to be gained or lost’ although the issue is profits for specific sectors from defense to agribusiness, the rob-voter is left with the impression that the politician running for office is either a facilitator or an obstacle to jobs creation while the corporation’s fate rests with government. In fact, the politician’s fate rests with the corporations whose agenda government must advance. While the role of lobbyists is well known in policy making and even drafting entire pieces of legislation, the media will never go so far as to condemn the system that allows for such practices to the detriment of the majority.   

4) Is the Media Trustworthy? 

Historically, the press can ruin or promote a presidential candidate; drive him to move toward war as was the case with Woodrow Wilson in WWI, or drive him to withdraw reluctantly from conflict as was the case with Nixon during the Vietnam War amid the Watergate scandal. As an instrument of forging popular consensus and keeping a robo-citizenry preoccupied with issues ranging from petty inner city crime to the drug addiction problem, from entertainment news to human interest stories, the media largely defines the agenda for society rather that accurately reflecting it. Because of its role of prioritizing news and deciding what to eulogize and what to condemn, a large segment of the public does not trust it. 

Public opinion polls clearly indicate that the level of public trust in the media is very low. Conservatives and extreme right wing elements see the media as an instrument of the liberal establishment that opposes gun control and supports abortion, homosexuality, and open borders. Progressives see the media as a corporate-controlled instrument catering to a political and economic agenda that further strengthens business and political elites whose only goal is to maintain the existing social structure and institutional order to the detriment of the majority.  Such dichotomous public perception of the media is not confined to the US but it is a global phenomenon considering that globalization has meant the media transcends national borders.

The people that the media calls upon for commentary and analysis, the people they interview, the way editorial decisions are made to present a story are all elements indicative of what it wishes to project to its audience. For example, a story on US drones killing an innocent families in Afghanistan focuses on the technical flaw of the operation with a military officer arguing that drone warfare is designed to deliver strategic hits at the lowest possible cost while sparing the lives of US soldiers. Dismissed as collateral damage, the victims are not the focus of US media coverage.

However, when a Russian plane hits a civilian target in Syria, there is in-depth coverage of the victims and strong condemnation of Russia’s war crimes vs. the mere accident in which US drones are involved in killing civilians. The American public on the receiving end of such media coverage naturally concludes what the media and government want about these two cases. When one bothers to go into the web for more critical coverage of such issues within the US and around the world it becomes clear that the US corporate media lacks as much credibility as the media in Russia or China. Just as nationalism works in favor of Russian media’s credibility so is the case for the American media. In other words, the robo-citizen’s identity with the nation-state – Russia or US – makes it easier to accept one-sided media versions.   

Despite factors working in its favor, the media has an image problem, according to all public opinion polls. According to Gallup, only 32% of the American public trusts the mass media “to report the news fully, accurately and fairly”. This percentage is the lowest since 1972, reflecting a trend that is actually broader across the entire Western World. There are other polling organizations that have the public trust of media in the single digits, but all polling must be taken with some measure of skepticism because the respondents decrying the media’s credibility rely on it for their news and their views are shaped by it.

As younger people receive their news through social media outlets, and the mainstream media is identified with people over thirty, the future looks brighter for social media than for the mainstream that will eventually absorb or have a working relationship with the major social media outlets delivering news. Interestingly, older people express much greater confidence in the media than young people, and Democrats more so than Republicans. http://www.gallup.com/poll/195542/americans-trust-mass-media-sinks-new-low.aspx

5) Is There a Communications War between Mainstream Media and Social media and anti-Gov Organizations?

 Social media largely reflects what is already in the corporate media, but it is to an extent grassroots, unfiltered and far more representative of society in its raw form than the mainstream media. Much has been written about how social media is taking over, and statistics indicate that in the US at least it has a dominant role. After all, the market capitalization of the three social media sites amounts to more than $400 billion, making it as powerful as any corporate media organization.

 It stands to reason that social media is invariably influenced by the corporate institutional content and reporting/analysis methodology. Moreover, its users rely on the mainstream media for content, though not exclusively. YOUTUBE video of events around the globe have revolutionized the media because it is simply impossible for the BBC, CNN, New York Times or any mainstream media organization to compete with that kind of instant raw news coverage. One might be amazed to discover that 62% of adults rely on social media for their news information. However, it is from the top ten sites that have a massive market capitalization, reflecting the kind concentration we see in the corporate media. http://www.journalism.org/2016/05/26/news-use-across-social-media-platforms-2016/

Of course there is a vast difference between the mega social media sites such as FACEBOOK and TWITTER and smaller ones struggling for an audience in a highly competitive environment. Mainstream media apologists argue therein rests the problem. To increase visits to the site, social media will post just about anything no matter how offensive, how fictitious, how useless to the edification of the public. Small social media have no resources to compete with the corporate media, while the larger social media are slowly evolving into the new mainstream media. Not only does the larger social media follow a corporate business model, but in fact commercializes its users’ information for profit and cooperates with government agencies to track their activities. In this sense, social media could be seen as a tool serving the surveillance state and making a profit in the process.

Social media represents just about every ideological, political, religious, and cultural perspective that exists in the world. In the absence of any quality or any other control filters, social media often provides the raw ideas and sentiments of people who may be strong advocates of a socially just society or one of racial purity based on male hegemony and hierarchy. Invariably, small social media is up against both corporate media that defines the ‘news-worthy’ issues and the manner they are covered, and they ms compete with the large social media outlets that operate profitably and at the same serve as surveillance vehicles on behalf of business and government.

Only large organizations such as TWITTER and FACEBOOK enjoy broad influence, but they are used as much by the elites as the ordinary person. And an anti-government and anti-establishment vehicle, WIKILEAKS has influence in the world of non-traditional media. This is because they secure material that the mainstream media cannot obtain and will never do so in the manner that WIKILEAKS does. Unlike WIKILEAKS, the mainstream media’s mission is to preserve the status quo rather than undermine it with embarrassing leaks. This is not the case with the other large social media organizations that are as conformist to the bourgeois social order and political economy as the mainstream media, but with an “Open Door” policy to dissent.

Media outlets outside the perimeters of the mainstream media have played a role in society, as evidence in grass roots movements like Arab Spring or Occupy Wall Street. However, social media already reflects not just grassroots rebel elements, but reactionary ones as well. In fact, there are hate groups, neo-Nazis and just about every element imaginable on social media, a few with very creative and educational content and style, others merely intended to capture the unsuspecting reader’s attention with sensationalism unrivaled by the filtered mainstream media.

In-so far as the mainstream media’s goal is to create robo-citizens and forge bourgeois consensus that serves the elites, it is fairly homogenized in that respect. By contrast, social media is as diverse as the population and its various ideological, political, religious, cultural orientations. In other words, even without the garbage filtered out of social media, it is actually far more representative of society than the elitist corporate or state-owned media. While the large social media organizations are an integral part of Wall Street and as cooperative with US intelligence and national security agencies as the corporate media, the goal is to reflect the pluralistic nature of society rather than to engender sociopolitical conformity as the corporate media aims regardless of liberal or conservative ideological position of the specific news organization.

The top stories on social media fall in the category of ‘human interest’, fashion and lifestyle. In other words, the type of material that the mainstream media covers as well, considering that network morning news is indeed not much different. Not a single one of the top 25 news stories on social media in 2015 dealt with political, economic or social issues, reflecting the tastes of readers. However, this reflects the conditioning of the robo-consumer that the mainstream media has already molded; social media simply represents continuity.

The underlying assumption about social media vs. corporate media is that the former tends to be more liberal than the latter despite open access for just about anything on social media. Just as the New York Times and CNN had a news reporting and analysis bias in favor of the Democrat Party, so do some of the large social media organizations. However, both large social media and mainstream media news organizations are corporate owned and have a stake in the market economy and the two-party system that sustains it. Neither would advocate the overthrow of the social order and institutional structure that accounts for America lacking in social justice, human rights, and a quasi-police state – minorities gunned down merely because of racial profiling and  mass secret surveillance of the public as we now know after Snowden and WIKILEAKS.

Just as the radio came along to compete with newspapers and then television, social media has fallen within the bourgeois mold because it is an integral part of an existing system that it did not invent simply because the technology is different than a newspaper. Although mass communications are significant in society, radio and TV were not responsible for social change and neither is social media in our time. Technological innovations have an impact in the delivery of news, but this does not mean anything when it comes to the social order and institutional structure that remains unchanged. The success of social media rests on the existing system as much as it does for the corporate media.    

Conclusions

Contrary to the manner that it presents itself, the media is not above the existing political system; not above the existing social order; not above the economic system; not above the cultural milieu as though it is observing events on earth from a giant spaceship without any self-interest in earthly affairs. The media is in fact a reflection of the bourgeois institutional structure and value system and guardian of the status quo. In so far as it serves it and benefits from it, its role is to perpetuate not change or alter it for the sake of creating a more just society. On the contrary, the media is the catalyst to keeping the masses indoctrinated so they remain in conformity robo-citizen mode to the existing social order and political economy.

Because the media is an instrument of preserving the status quo, it is and always has been the vehicle of the political and socioeconomic elites. As society evolves and objective realities in the lives of people have moved beyond the illusions that the media perpetuates about what constitutes a just society, social change will necessarily entail that the media will obviate its own usefulness because it will be a marginalized instrument of the elites exposed as merely that and nothing more. Modern technology will obviously have an impact on how public opinion is molded, but it will be on the margins because we have seen already how new technology is used as part of police state surveillance methods and more thorough commercialization of personal information.

Because of corporate control of media, with government on its side, the class war is now more intense than ever. However, it is not a class war in the traditional Marxian sense where workers are struggling for their rights against capitalists. There is a new type of class war, one launched by corporations with government and media in all its forms on their side against society that they wish to keep subjugated for the sake of greater profits. In this new class war, the army is made up of journalists, analysts, well-paid experts from academia, think tanks, corporations and government all working toward the same goal of strengthening the capital, the defense establishment and edging ever so closer toward a police state. “

 

Jaime Ortega-Simo.

(The Daily Journalist president and founder)

I’ve read tons of different polls and most –except for mainstream media networks –have clearly Trump ahead of Hillary. I know how surveys and polls work very well, but I don’t understand how mainstream media networks have conducted such numbers that set Hillary well over Trump by a significant lead. It just doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.

The editorial board is not really responsible for the decisions that take place inside the upper management rooms behind close doors. I know tons of journalist, who profoundly detest the fact that they can’t fish for serious investigative stories on the bureaucratic networks they represent. They’re told how to write, and what to write; they are told the deadlines and the limitations that preclude evidence. I know inside-out the whole game and routine. They’re many great journalist that get paid ‘pigeon bread’, and not so qualified journalist who work for mainstream media networks that get paid generously — Its a sad outcome!

The media has inflicted an irreparable self-wound on their credibility as a whole. The fact that media pick sides to endorse a politician is an evident sign of editorial whoredom taking place on many news desk across the country.    

One of the main reasons why I started The Daily Journalist, was based upon the lack of serious journalism produced in most mainstream media networks. It is almost comical what some of these networks report, and its even more comical the biased agenda they try to represent. 

Unlike the past when news networks were family based businesses, journalism today has been infiltrated by corporations that exploit the credibility of the media with an uncanny appetite for financial growth.  

The basis of neo-journalism is that all information can flow freely under a news platform without imposing bias or ban from the editorial board. If a contributor writes a story that reflects pro-capitalism, another can write a story promoting socialism, communism or even anarchism and not worry about censorship.  The editorial might agree or disagree with the opinion of the contributor, but it is not the editorial’s responsibility to deny and reject any article based exclusively on dogmatic preference —I think such act is ethically wrong and self-destructive. What does anyone gain banning people’s opinions or well research stories? Those that promote political agendas will clearly answer such question — I just can’t.   

Social media has taken the spotlight and thwarted the manipulative agenda driven by most mainstream media networks. I’m somewhat happy that social media today has the ability to mirror the lies mainstream media networks promote, and poses a seriously challenge to the status quo with counter-arguments difficult to censor outside the media radar.  

INN’s have also grown larger in numbers, and have and are taking away millions of viewers who traditionally support mainstream media networks. INN’s can also be biased, if they represent a certain political faction or ideology, but they tend to produce greater investigative efforts than many journalist working for mainstream channels because they’re not influenced by huge financial benefactors that would careless about news credibility only focused on collecting green stacks.   

Social media has not shown signs of regulation from government yet, but I highly suspect that if it can change the outcome of elections, censorship will inevitably become a malevolent reality.   

Journalism is under siege, and the elections have shown a rigged system where editorials are clearly under the influence of donors that support the politicization of media. I speculate, that many mainstream media networks have truce with Hillary Clinton’s campaign in exchange of favors and large sums of money.

The Clinton machine has raised over $500 Million in campaign contributions, and well over 28 percent come from super-pac’s and other organizations –some undisclosed — which include foreign donors as her emails show. How does she spent $500 Million only on TV, Radio and Social Media ads? She has probably paid mainstream media networks to support her campaign, and as the inform reader knows, George Soros and the Clinton Foundation are active partners with CNN, and the New York Times.

The journalist might view Donald Trump as a buffoon, but corporate America see Trump as revolutionary that could possibly end and inflict a serious challenge to their investments worldwide. He is an elitist, who understands how trade works at a transnational level. What kills Donald Trump’s campaign is his own ego and big mouth, but he does represent to an extent the values of millions of Americans who are sick and tired of Wall Street. If Trump doesn’t win, its going to be rise of the Quakers all over again!

The US is divided as it is. But its the media responsibility to fairly report and balance the issues that surround controversial political disclosure without imposing editorial politicization to the public sphere. The media is going to inspire a civil revolution in the near future. At this point, I really believe that politicians, bureaucrats, elitist and media networks are unstoppable, but there is one caveat and that is the military. In my opinion under a severe financial collapse, the military will retake the country and we can all say ‘adios’ to global corporatism and enter a neo-totalitarian system.”

Comments

What Next?

Recent Articles