[Marxism] The quest for truth when the media becomes a "special-interest lobbying group"

Jurriaan Bendien andromeda246 at hetnet.nl
Fri Jul 16 05:03:44 MDT 2004

Orville Schell, dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University
of California, Berkeley writes in the Asia Times:

"As reporting on the lead-up to war, the [Iraq] war itself, and its
aftermath vividly demonstrated, the US is now divided into a two-tiered
media structure. The lower tier - niche publications, alternative media and
Internet sites - hosts the broadest spectrum of viewpoints. Until the war
effort began to unravel this spring, the upper tier - a relatively small
number of major broadcast outlets, newspapers and magazines - had a far more
limited bandwidth of critical views, regularly deferring to the Bush
administration's vision of the world. Contrarian views below rarely bled
upward. (...) The Bush administration had little esteem for the watchdog
role of the press, in part because its own quest for "truth" has been based
on something other than empiricism. In fact, it enthroned a new criterion
for veracity, "faith-based" truth, sometimes corroborated by "faith-based"
intelligence. For officials of this administration (and not just the
religious ones, either), truth seemed to descend from on high, a kind of
divine revelation begging no further earthly scrutiny. For the president
this was evidently literally the case. The Israeli paper Ha'aretz reported
him saying to Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian prime minister of the moment,
"God told me to strike al-Qaeda and I struck, and then he instructed me to
strike Saddam [Hussein], which I did." (...) Reading, facts, history, logic
and the complex interaction among the electorate, the media, and the
government have all been relegated to subsidiary roles in what might be
called "fundamentalist" policy formation. (...) Karl Rove, the president's
chief political adviser, bluntly declared to New Yorker writer Ken Auletta
that members of the press "don't represent the public any more than other
people do. I don't believe you have a check-and-balance function." Auletta
concluded that, in the eyes of the Bush administration, the press corps had
become little more than another special-interest lobbying group."

John Pilger comments:

"In survey after survey, when people are asked what they would like more of
on television; they say documentaries. I don't believe they mean
cod-documentaries about airports and estate agents. Nor do they mean a type
of "current affairs" that is a platform for politicians and establishment
"experts" and merely gestures at the truth, striking a specious balance
between great power and its victims, between oppressors and the oppressed.
They mean what James Cameron called "truth telling journalism captured on
film": documentaries that are the antithesis of news: that strip away the
facades of "official truth" and rescue unpalatable facts and historical
context from the memory hole to which "impartial" news has consigned them."

Michael Moore is with the trend...


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