Sunday, 1 April 2012

Corporate Media, Journalists constrained...yes. no

Robert Jensen wrote: "These days, there's one political point on which one can usually get consensus: Mainstream journalists are failing. In common parlance, most everyone 'hates the media.' But there is little agreement on why journalism might be inadequate to the task of engaging the public in a democratic society. More than ever, it's important to understand the forces that constrain good journalism."

Robert Jensen wrote those words about the US corporate media, [Fox News and Rupert Murdock style journalism] but they could equally apply to the New Zealand Media. This is especially true because our news media in the most part is owned overseas by two corporations.

Our present political elite have close connections to various media outlets and it could be said have used those connections to push their political objectives. Steven Joyce’s arranged loan [gift] of public funds to Media Works was one clear example, John Keys hour long advertising stint on talk back radio was also a clear example of the misuse of the media.

Journalists these days are in many respects not those who go out and investigate news stories but those who simply print propaganda contained in press releases after correcting the grammar. This means that journalist need to be less skilled in getting at the truth but more skilled at where the full-stops are placed. This in turn means they can pay lower wages and therefore increase their bottom line.

And this is the major reason why corporates are buying into news media because it gives them control over what is printed. Of course editors and others will claim that they actually control what news is worth printing. And this doesn’t mean that editors are dishonest although after seeing what has happened in the Murdock media empire one must begin to wonder.

Of course we live in Palmerston North NZ and we like to believe that we are exempt from this trend towards disproportionate, sensationalist, commercialism and profits rather than sound journalism practice. But we are not and we should never cease to remain alert to the manipulative practices used by the media to influence our political or social beliefs.      

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