Archive for July 26th, 2010

Some Things Never Change

I have started avoiding the news as of late.  It’s not that I simply find the news of the day too grim or upsetting.  It’s more of a reaction to the way the news is meted out to the public and the manner in which the  media is manipulated by those with self-serving interests.  It has become painfully obvious that there is no segment of the newsmedia that seeks to protect the public, the common man,  from the wealthy and powerful. Even populist movements, like the Tea Party, that have grown through news coverage are, when examined closely, the products of rich and powerful men.  They appear to represent the best interests of the wider population but at heart serve the interests of the very groups that created the conditions that gave birth to these groups.  The common man and the groups to which he belongs are often the product of the news and information he receives from the newsmedia.

   I came across this some time ago and have had it rolling around in my head since then.  It was written in the early 1920’s by newspaper publisher Edward Scripps, founder of the Scripps Company and the news service that transformed over the years into UPI, United Press International.  He knew as well as anyone the power and influence of the press in furthering and protecting the agenda of the wealthy and powerful few.

The press of this country is now and always has been so thoroughly dominated by the wealthy few of the country that it cannot be depended upon to give the great mass of the people that correct information concerning political, economical, and social subjects which is necessary that the mass of people shall have, in order that they shall vote and in all ways act in the best way to protect themselves from the brutal force and the chicanery of the ruling and employing class.

It was disheartening to read this clip from almost 90 years back.  The domination of the press by the wealthy and powerful certainly hasn’t diminished.  If anything, it’s become more pervasive and more impenetrable to those who seek the real truth or question this unholy alliance between the wealthy, powerful few and the press.  There is a thought out there that with the rise of the internet there is a democratization of information, that the truths that they need will get out to the people through smaller, more agile outlets.  Nice thought.  But realistically, while it may be effective for smaller movements among people in certain niches, it seldom reaches out to the wide spectrum of the population that is needed to affect real change or action in our society.  If anything it has created clouds of information that hamper people from seeing anything in a clear and palatable way.   Or fractured potential movements into ever smaller, narrower groups of interest that will never reach a wider audience.

As with many things, I don’t know why I bring this up today.  The press certainly won’t change today.  The wealthy won’t suddenly decide to stop using their power to influence the media.  I guess I just needed to vent and hope that somewhere out there someone will figure out a way to bring light to the masses.

Another snippet from Edward Scripps–

A newspaper fairly and honestly conducted in the interests of the great masses of the public must at all times antagonize the selfish interests of that very class [the advertisers] which furnishes the larger part of a newspaper’s income. It must occasionally so antagonize this class as to cause it not only to cease patronage, to a greater or lesser extent, but to make actually offensive warfare against the newspaper.

Wells said, Ed.  Too bad there’s nobody around today willing to take up your sword…

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