The World of Television News
Washington, DC June 1st, 2005 ----The whole news business is lumbering towards a crisis of confidence as consolidation, big business and government intervention cause the truth to be lost in the spin. The truth eventually comes out and the loss of confidence in leadership causes mighty Empires to crumble.
Today we see more and more people turning to the Internet for their news. Here thousands of Blogs dare report the truth, for they have no fear of big advertisers pulling their spots, or lobbying groups threatening their publishers.
The root of democracy is the ability to debate alternate points of view, to speak out against tyrants, and to stand on a soapbox and persuade anyone who will listen that you have a point. Sadly the flame of democracy and freedom of the Press is being extinguished in the perceived fight against an unknown enemy, terrorism. Leaders who categorically state that you are either with us, or against us and therefore a supporter of terrorism should cause alarm bells to ring in every voters ears. I remember when the bombs were devastating London, Birmingham and across Northern Ireland that these same voices were silent as money flowed from Boston, Chicago and New York to fund the Provisional IRA. When President Clinton threw open the White House to raise funds for the same IRA the media were silent for they dare not upset the powerful Irish lobby and the Kennedy's.
Today we see a compliant US media frightened to upset AIPAC for fear of being labeled anti-semitic and to be the recipient of a well orchestrated campaign of punishment. At the same time Al Jazeera is the target of media criticism for not following the party line on the Middle East. Al Jazeera may be right, or not, it doesn't matter for they have the right, in a free democracy to stand up and give their point of view.
We see politicians lie, and lie again, but the interviewers dare not flinch for fear of following Dan Rather, trapped by a carefully planted document. Uncooperative reporters are more likely to be killed in Iraq than Osama Bin Laden. We see politicians such as Rumsfeld and Cheney blast reporters who dare ask questions that haven't been "approved". We see the White House going one step further and appointing and paying its own reporters to ask "suitable" questions of a Great Leader! The questions of course framed in such away as to bring out the achievements of the Commander in Chief before asking how the Democrats could be so unpatriotic in questioning decisions of the Administration. This is not a Great democracy at work.
We need more mass channels of independent information to ensure this great democracy does not slide further into a State of Paranoia and Panic, frightened of an enemy that has no boundaries, no structure, cannot be found, and exists in peoples minds.
You may not agree with the many television and radio networks that comment on the war in Iraq, or the lies of politicians, but if democracy is to flourish you must respect their existence.
The sources of information pointing to abuses of power, even Treason, need to be protected by the Constitution, and not as happens today to become the subject of an FBI Witch hunt, persecution of whistle blowers, and jail for journalists who don't give the traitors the names of their confidential informants. That is the beginning of absolute rule, and Herr Hitler showed us where that leads.
Beware of our freedoms, they could soon be just a memory!