The news has worsened from evenhanded twaddle to polarized propaganda
I’m an activist—call me old-fashioned. When I read a bad news report, it was a waste of my time. Unless … I could leave a comment pointing out the truth. Yet, many outlets don’t let me criticize their ‘perfect’ reporting more than twice. That just means I’ll read them less. Far less.
The Internet paper that I like best has the most tolerance for my remarks. It also has, hands-down, the most nonsense articles and headlines. But, that is largely neutralized when I get to point out the (medical) mistakes. And for them: There is no such thing as a bad press. It makes them money.
I also like it when I can comment on comments of others. Not to make them change their minds. To teach how to do hasbara when something Antisemitic, Anti-Zionistic, racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, ultra-nationalistic, or otherwise bigoted or supremacist is written.
When I read news that is incorrect, some publishers let you give them feedback. Some take it seriously and amend their reporting. Some do neither. Guess which ones I’ll continue to give feedback and take seriously.
I don’t read reports that write the obvious. ‘The opposition leader sharply panned the PM.’ It’s his job, no? ‘calling him evil.’ I don’t need the slander.
When a right-wing outlet admits a left-wing talking point (or vice versa), I’m interested. But when they just spew their one-sided view on the situation, I find reading the propaganda a waste of my time.
And then, much of the free press prostitutes itself to a number of rich or influential organizations that pay to get their opinions published as facts. No protest will help because we talk as the one who feeds us.
I know of a famous news desk that enforces certain ways of reporting on honest journalists, terrified to lose their jobs. When they sneak in truths that don’t fit their bosses’ narratives, their writing is always ‘edited.’
When I was young, serious news came from newspapers only, written by intellectuals mostly. They also controlled the Letters section. The way they feigned objectivity was by always writing about the two sides of the coin. What they really did was blurring any issue into a fuzzy picture, unsuitable as a basis for activism. My father, of proud working-class extraction, could not stand the wishy-washy: “On one side …” immediately interrupting it with: “On the other side, rain enters through the open window.” I know someone who interrupts “On the one hand” with: “Five fingers.”
Much national and international news often depends on a national or international press agency. It only takes one dedicated Antisemite to guarantee that the whole bureau spreads Jew-hatred. This may be done together with neutral or loving pieces on Jews to ‘prove’ impartiality.
Now we have a lot of outlets who cater to and pamper their own public. Not only won’t they break their mantras. They also will keep everything politically correct or woke, or on the other side, capitalist and ‘common sense.’ A variety of them is essential for democracy, but individually, they are a threat to it because they create and maintain information bubbles.
And then there are the journals that write to keep the readers entertained and busy. Yet another trick to prevent activism.
Who was it who said: “When you notice something broken, it is your job to (help) repair it”? And, we need all-hands-on-deck.