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“The Failure of the 4th Estate”
POSTED: SUNDAY, 6/26/2011
are destroying American democracy!
Giant media corporations have altered the concept of a ‘Free Press.’ Their
failure to uphold the tenets of the 4th estate is contributing to the erosion of our precious democracy.
The problem lies
in ownership, or lack thereof.
We, ‘the people,’ no longer own the airwaves having allowed Congress to sell
that freedom to profit hungry media groups—inextricably obligated to their investors—creating a press that is
no longer free, and, in many cases, conspiratorial in the attempts to tear down democracy.
Both weakness and bias in the
media have been obvious for a considerable time but no one wants to attack it straight on!
Have we abandoned the search
for truth—bowing to the hunt for profits?
In an article by Bill Moyers in July, 2008, he portrayed the 4th estate
as the fifth column, essentially complicit in their failure to pursue the truth.
Our Forefathers understood the importance
of a free press as a check and balance to government when they established freedom of the press in the First Amendment. That
freedom was for the benefit ‘of the people’ and critical to the preservation of democracy.
Government has allowed
mergers and acquisitions which have created six corporate media giants. To our extreme detriment, the consolidation of media
sources has suppressed the public voice, essentially constricting freedom of speech.
What we now have, instead of news,
are corporate organizations posing as news providers, more interested in fluff and entertainment than the issues of vital
importance to an informed citizenry.
The divisiveness and deterioration in society can be correlated with the decline in
A result of this weakness, unforeseen by the architects of the Constitution, is possibly
the least knowledgeable electorate in the world—easily manipulated and controlled.
As big corporations gain media
power the access of information declines. Investigative staffs are cut limiting news gathering while improving the bottom
This has never been more evident than the rise of the Tea Party and their complete disconnect from the ‘real’
issues facing this nation.
Exaggerated coverage of Tea Party events has distorted and grossly skewed the political view
of the nation. Fox’s blatant promotion of the Tea Party, overemphasizes their significance, exaggerates their relevance,
and is destructive to the political discourse.
There are ‘real’ grass roots movements occurring throughout
the country that are receiving little coverage from legimate news agencies and none, or biased and targeted coverage from
These movements, besides being for good cause, are multi-times larger, more important, more relevant to the survival
of democracy and this country than any of the Tea Party gatherings.
Investigative journalism is nearly non-existent—and,
unfortunately—has been supplanted by the destructive slant of Fox Media. But is slant even a good definition for the
methods used by NewsCorp to obscure and misdirect their viewers from the truth?
There is massive evidence that Fox not
only distorts the news, but lies in the dissemination of important, newsworthy information. Some like to call it spin, but
it is much more than that, and dangerous to ‘the people’ in a free society.
A preponderance of evidence is
available, such that the Federal Communications Commission should pull NewsCorp’s license for violations of their responsibility
to ‘the people’ of this country.
In fact, Fox’s presentation and manipulation of the news borders on
one of the 14 characteristics of fascism: media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople
and executives. Fox also exercises selective censorship in its choices of news coverage. A limited, media-controlled flow
of information is never a desirable thing.
The rest of the news media, newspapers, radio, and television, with few exceptions,
are failing to meet their journalistic charge and far from living up to our forefather’s expectations.
rather spend more time, more column inches, more micro-waves, on Anthony’s weiner, Palin’s gaudy bus vacation,
the Casey Anthony murder case, and Bachmann’s gross misrepresentations, than troubled nuclear plants in flood swollen
Nebraska, the Republicans holding the middle-class hostage over raising the debt ceiling, the ‘real’ grass roots
movements and recalls in Wisconsin and other Midwest states, or the ‘real’ effects of the tax cuts for the wealthy.
instead of substance.
Pointless fluff is entertaining but, does not serve the needs of the nation at a time when so many
things are wrong in this country.
We’ve paid an extreme price for selling one of our greatest freedoms, one of democracies
greatest assets—freedom of the press—to the highest bidder.
It is time we reestablish a competitive news environment
by breaking up the big media agencies and return to the limited ownership of the past; return to the tenets established by
the Constitution for the 4th estate.
First and foremost would be the elimination of the NewsCorp propaganda machine. Then,
systematically move to dismantle the other five conglomerates, limiting their reach and encouraging honest news organizations
Maybe, with the proper regulatory scalpel, the 4th estate can again live up to its constitutional expectations
and reverse the downward political and economical spiral we’re battling.
And return to the greatness a healthy and
functioning democracy promises.
4th Estate, checks and balances, fair and balanced, Fox News, Free Press, journalism, Lame
Stream Media, Media, NewsCorp, Right Wing Media
This entry was posted
on Sunday, June 26th, 2011 at 11:43 pm
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“Isolated From the Truth”
America’s news organizations are failing the people!
in America has become as big a problem for the country as Congress. Media conglomerates’ fail to meet their obligations
under the Constitution of the United States. It’s almost impossible to escape their control of the news content. And
it’s getting worse.
Their failure has left the nation vulnerable to an historical decline.
Freedom of the press
was included in the 1st Amendment by the founders as a check on government to insure the preservation of our democracy.
our precious democracy at risk?
It is definitely under siege as a result of limited media ownership and if not for the
advent and open forum of the internet our democracy may have already succumbed to the perils of media corporatocracy.
consolidation undermines the flow of information and has reduced the public’s access to vital imformation necessary
to maintain an educated electorate and a vibrant democracy.
What media does exist has prescribed to a policy of false equivalency;
a policy which further divides our nation. But, what is really false, is the appearance of equivalence. There is, unfortunately,
no equivalence in today’s political environment yet it’s reported as if there is.
What, exactly, is the function
of the media? Why was freedom of the press included in our Constitution?
The press: newspapers, eventually radio, and later
extended to television news, was expected to be a check on government, an element that would insure the transparency of government
actions, abuses, corruption, miscarriages, and inadequacies. A vigilant watchdog for the people, to keep government honest
and accountable to the people.
What constitutes false equivalency and how does it interfere with the dissemination of news
and a healthy democracy?
False equivalency is the attempt to make something sound like both parties are equally at fault
or equally responsible for a particular action or inaction, particularly in politics. Reporting it that way is not only wrong,
but is damaging to the discourse of a democratic society. In recent politics, fraught with lies, misinformation, disinformation,
and omission, the onus is on the media to properly report the facts.
And facts show that the Republican Party is wholly
responsible for the dysfunction and grid lock in Washington. They are also mostly responsible for the recession, our deficit,
the housing crisis, and the banking crisis as well as many other fiascos.
The failure of the media, of individual journalists,
of entire networks to point out the imbalance is a collapse of the 4th Estate and a dereliction of duty under the Constitution.
discussing media failure, lies, and false equivalency, the worst offenders are Fox News, it’s ownership, and hosts.
NewsCorp, and all media under the leadership of Murdoch, whether it be television, radio, or print, violate the sacred tenet
and spirit of a free press.
Fox fails on all levels and has become a purveyor of right-wing propaganda serving no other
purpose than to promote their extreme — and at times undemocratic — agenda. Their utter disregard for truth and
the intent of the 1st Amendment is appalling.
What’s even more egregious is how many people in the Fox cabal: administrators,
hosts, contributors, and guests buy into their subterfuge, the networks willingness to convey misinformation — information
absent facts — and to forfeit their integrity for a paycheck. To promote an ideology for which there is little truth.
Most appear to be lacking a moral compass. As a result they have the least informed viewers in the country.
Fox tends to engage in combative journalism. Their shows are often incendiary and frequently contentious, designed to incite
their audience rather than present valuable and honest information.
Though Fox is the worst, nearly all of the mainstream
media is weak and cowers to political pressure either out of fear of being called liberal or of the inability to get guests
to appear on their innocuous shows. Shows like Meet the Press on NBC, The Situation Room on CNN, Morning Joe on MSNBC, and
This Week, on ABC would rather entertain than inform.
Continually maligned by conservatives and right-wingnuts the shows
on MSNBC present the most factual information from which to draw intelligent and informed conclusions. There is, frankly,
no comparison between the dweebs on Fox — Hannity, O’Reilly, Kelly, and Cavuto and the informed presentations
of Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz, Lawrence O’Donnell, and the Rev, Al Sharpton. And one of the strongest voices of factual
information and informed outrage, Cenk Uygur, of The Young Turks has been temporarily muted.
Our media is so weak that
some of the best sources of honest reporting come from comedians, John Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and Bill Maher. Though comedic
in their approach all three bring the lies, misinformation, hypocrisy, and craziness to light. Their comedy clearly exposes
what a joke our media has become.
But the joke could be on us if our media continues to fail the American people.
threat of a weak media is more dangerous than that of Al Qaeda or any terrorists organization — more important to our
survival than Homeland Security or the NSA.
Entertainment disguised as news is not only an insult to our integrity but
also to the wisdom of our forefathers.
A free press is vital to our individual freedoms and to our survival as a democracy.
Limited ownership is a threat to those freedoms and weak journalists, fearful of doing their job, only add to the problem.
up America! As journalism falters information dies.
The result? Millions of American citizens are isolated from the truth,
blind and unable to see America’s unfortunate decline.