Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Media's 'Sacred' Role In Democracy

“A democracy ceases to be a democracy if its citizens do not participate in its governance. To participate intelligently, they must know what their government has done, is doing and plans to do in their name. Whenever any hindrance, no matter what its name, is placed in the way of this information, a democracy is weakened, and its future endangered. This is the meaning of freedom of press. It is not just important to democracy, it is democracy.”
Walter Cronkite
The Media or "Free Press" should be skeptical, vigorous, free, independent, un-biased and investigative in their role. Not only do we need an "informed electorate" but "informed" applies doubly to the Media itself--as they are in a position to influence a large number of people on powerful media such as television. So add well-educated and competent to their important and necessary qualities.

Sadly I don't think we have so much of this now. There is no shortage of vigor in the media, but often it's vigor based in emotional and partisan reactions rather than dispassionate and logical reporting.

Everyone knows now that the Media has been generally biased against the Republicans (even back in 1979 election season) and often slavishly subservient to the current President and Democrats. It is acutely obvious in this election season.  When I say that "everyone knows," it's an observation that some media outlets such as the New York Times and MSNBC have even dropped all pretense of even trying to be politically neutral.

The Recent September Jobs Report Brouhaha 
The skeptical reaction of certain opinion leaders to the 2012 September job report, that it might have been manipulated to influence the election, then the emotional reaction by the Media is telling in a number of ways, as I reported several days ago.

Regarding the Jobs Report, whose headline unemployment number was a boost to the Obama campaign:
  • There were some real "red flags" in the report that justified the suspicion, but rather than rational investigation of the BLS's methodology and reports on it, there were just barrages of opinions and hearsay in The Media to try to discredit their fellow citizens. Where was the vigorous investigation of the facts? Their response was strictly along the line of "how can you question the integrity of vast and wonderful government bureaucracy at the BLS?"   How many of those same people believe the government's inflation numbers??  Huh? 
  • Second, it was the public that was skeptical, NOT the Media.   In fact, the Media, once again, showed it's true colors by attacking their fellow citizens who had the temerity to question the government. Maybe comfortable members of our media should go to Russia to report on events there to get a renewed appreciation of their important role?
Educated and Competent
There doesn't even appear to be sufficient intellectual capacity and integrity in The Media to handle complex issues of our day.  It's also clear that a journalism degree is simply not enough to become a Media teleprompter reader or writer. Maybe we need something other than just Journalism degrees in that business?  They need some serious intellectual diversity including experts in history, economics, and scientists.

Free and Independent
A Free and Independent press is not a 'mouthpeice' for either political side. But the Media today clearly supports Obama and Democrats against the Republicans and are continually guilty of  "fawning" over Obama--even when the weight of evidence (often suppressed) that this is the worst administration in since Carter.  During this election season, the media has tried to create a narrative against Romney in their reporting and create an impression of an inevitable election win by Obama by clever massaging of polling information. Funny thing though, the public awakened from this haze upon viewing this recent presidential debate to see both candidates "unfiltered" by media bias. And what a revelation that has been!

On Air Bias
Not a scientific study but I have often tuned into CNN and counted the racial makeup of "presenters" and "guests."  Very often, there is an over-representation of African Americans and Latino Americans on air. I'm referring mostly to MSNBC and CNN coverage.  A good example is where there is a panel of three, there is usually at least one African American.  Since African Americans are only 16% of the population, one-in-three is 33% and is therefore an over-representation. I've seen this so many times!  Since Polls indicate that 93 percent of African Americans are committed Democrats and slavishly support Obama, naturally a bias is introduced.  This biased is additive to the existing bias of the other "journalists" (if you can call them that).

The disastrous Obama administration continues----enabled by a non-independent, not-vigorous, and not-skeptical media.

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