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Journalism today: A haven for parasites and double-dealers

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Filed: Country: Philippines
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No matter how much this week's Pulitzer Prize triumphalism hides it, the fact remains that journalism these days is "a disaster," as Ted Koppel said recently. And unfortunately, retrospection dominates the news industry's self-analysis. Like dazed tornado victims, most media experts focus on what happened and why, oh Lord, why?

The queries are important, though just as critical are two prospective questions: 1) If, to butcher a Chinese aphorism, every crisis is an opportunity, then who is making an opportunity out of journalism's current crisis? and 2) Are those opportunity maximizers actually parasites destroying journalism for the long haul?

The answer to the initial question is three groups, starting with the Access Traders. These are reporters like the New Yorker's Ryan Lizza, Newsweek's Jonathan Alter and NBC's Chuck Todd, who, while covering politics for major media, are also signing separate contracts to write books chronicling White House gossip. Facing a crisis in audience share, these correspondents' employers encourage the double-dip opportunities, hoping book exposure will result in residual attention. But the simultaneity is problematic: As the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz notes, hard-hitting stories in these reporters' day jobs "might alienate potential [book] sources and flattering ones might loosen tongues."

The dynamic's deleterious effect on journalism is obvious.

"The oozing conflicts lead to things like a glowing New Yorker profile of [Obama aide] Rahm Emanuel followed by an even more one-sided love letter to [Obama aide] Larry Summers, both from Lizza," says Salon.com's Glenn Greenwald. "It's what causes Alter to proclaim one day — when Obama favored it — that real health reform 'depends on whether Obama gets approval for a public option' only to turn around — once Obama said [the public option] was unnecessary — and proclaim that the Left is foolishly obsessing on the unimportant public option. And it's what leads Todd, in the form of 'covering the White House' for NBC, to serve as an amplifying vessel and justifier for whatever the White House happens to be saying."

Add to this the Double Agents — those making opportunities out of journalism's revenue crisis. Knowing cash-strapped media outlets are providing platforms to corporate advocates rather than spending extra money to employ their own independent voices, various chameleons at once posture as journalists and get paid as business spokespeople.

Richard Wolffe, for instance, has appeared on MSNBC as a supposedly objective pundit while also being employed by a business advocacy firm. Likewise, Jeff Birnbaum heads a lobbying and P.R. company while writing a Washington Times column — and a recent one that attacked Democrats for defying industries that pay his company.

Birnbaum, of course, was previously the Washington Post correspondent covering the lobbying industry, and so his career shift also puts him in the last group: the Former Watchdogs.

To understand why these turncoats so threaten journalism, consider not only Birnbaum, but also Stephen Labaton. This New York Times financial reporter just announced he is taking a job with Goldman Sachs — a move that makes you wonder whether Labaton watered down his Times coverage in order to get his new gig.

As with similar revolving-door situations, it's a legitimate worry — after all, Labaton knew Goldman probably wouldn't hire a muckraker who had been aggressively exposing bank transgressions. Then again, maybe Labaton did nothing wrong. Either way, though, the damage is done, because the concern can — and must — be aired, which itself helps destroy the idea that traditional news is impartial and trustworthy.

In aggregate, this all ends up answering the original query: Are many of today's opportunity maximizers destroying journalism? Clearly, yes — and unless the media sachems institute some basic ethics rules, the parasites within their ranks could end up making sure there's no journalism industry left to save.

David Sirota is the author of the best-selling books "Hostile Takeover" and "The Uprising." He hosts the morning show on AM760 in Colorado and blogs at OpenLeft.com. E-mail him at ds@davidsirota.com or follow him on Twitter @davidsirota.

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Filed: Country: Philippines
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It seems that sensationalism never dies.

Sure, but journalism has traditionally been self monitored here in the states. Before the huge media conglomerates swallowed up nearly all independent media outlets, no one was immune to some good investigative journalism that would expose their conflicts of interests, or write a scathing review when a news outlet was guilty of yellow journalism. Now we have a corporate run media that dominates the airwaves.

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Filed: Country: England
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Sure, but journalism has traditionally been self monitored here in the states. Before the huge media conglomerates swallowed up nearly all independent media outlets, no one was immune to some good investigative journalism that would expose their conflicts of interests, or write a scathing review when a news outlet was guilty of yellow journalism. Now we have a corporate run media that dominates the airwaves.

Then the American media needs to go the way of the dodo at a slightly faster pace than it is already doing so. Left or Right, you can never trust the "news" from an American broadcaster, because you can never be sure that the news outlets owners' agenda isn't colouring the coverage.

How do you fill the hole that would leave? I don't know. Personally, I watch the BBC if I watch news at all, but that brings with it a different set of issues, in that it is news they try and tailor to an expat audience, whether knowingly or not.

Perhaps, given time swimming in the sea of narrow-focus, agenda-driven internet media news that is currently driving out the mainstream media, the American public will come to realise it needs plain, unfiltered news. Just the news, without the personality presenters, without the political agendas and without the saturation of opinion that riddles the news today.

Then again, we may be stuck with Jon Stewart as the best source of news. ;)


Don't interrupt me when I'm talking to myself

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Lesotho
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Sure, but journalism has traditionally been self monitored here in the states. Before the huge media conglomerates swallowed up nearly all independent media outlets, no one was immune to some good investigative journalism that would expose their conflicts of interests, or write a scathing review when a news outlet was guilty of yellow journalism. Now we have a corporate run media that dominates the airwaves.

Yellow journalism has been going on for over 100 years. Nothing new here, only the medium.

Yellow Journalism

Yellow journalism, in short, is biased opinion masquerading as objective fact. Moreover, the practice of yellow journalism involved sensationalism, distorted stories, and misleading images for the sole purpose of boosting newspaper sales and exciting public opinion. It was particularly indicative of two papers founded and popularized in the late 19th century- The New York World, run by Joseph Pulitzer and The New York Journal, run by William Randolph Hearst.

It all started, some historians believe, with the onset of the rapid industrialization that was happening all around the world. The Industrial Revolution eventually affected the newspaper industry, allowing newspapers access to machines that could easily print thousands of papers in a single night. This is believed to have brought into play one of the most important characteristics of yellow journalism - the endless drive for circulation. And unfortunately, the publisher's greed was very often put before ethics.

Although the actual practice of what would later become known as yellow journalism came into being during a more extended time period (between 1880-1890), the term was first coined based on a series of occurrences in and following the year of 1895. This was the year in which Hearst purchased the New York Journal, quickly becoming a key rival of Pulitzer's. The term was derived, through a series of peculiar circumstances, from a cartoon by the famous 19th century cartoonist, Robert Outcault called "The Yellow Kid" (see second from top). The cartoon was first published in The World, until Hearst hired him away to produce the strip in his newspaper. Pulitzer then hired another artist to produce the same strip in his newspaper. This comic strip happened to use a new special, non-smear yellow ink, and because of the significance of the comic strip, the term "yellow journalism" was coined by critics.

Sadly though, this period of sensationalist news delivery (where the so-called yellow press routinely outsold the more honest, truthful, unbiased newspapers) does stand out as a particularly dark era in journalistic history. The demand of the United States people for absolutely free press allowed such aforementioned newspapers, which often appealed to the shorter attention spans and interests of the lower class, to print whatever they so desired. This means that they could easily steal a headline and story directly from another paper, or simply fabricate a story to fit their particular agenda.

One of the more disturbing features involved with the former practice of yellow journalism, and the period in which it was most active in is that there is no definite line between this period of yellow journalism and the period afterwards. There only exists evidence that such practices were frowned upon by the general public - by 1910, circulation had dropped off very rapidly for such papers. But regardless, does this mean that yellow journalism simply faded away, never to return? Or did it absorb itself into the very heart of our newspapers, where it will remain forever? One thing is for certain - after the late 1800s, newspapers changed drastically, and still show no sign of changing back. The modernly present newspaper appearances of catchy headlines, humorous comic strips, special interest sections, intrusive investigative reporting, et cetera serve as a constant reminder that one must always stay skeptical when examining our news sources.

http://library.thinkquest.org/C0111500/spanamer/yellow.htm

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Filed: Country: Philippines
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Yellow journalism has been going on for over 100 years. Nothing new here, only the medium.

Yes, but never before has the media been so largely taken over by a handful of corporate conglomerates who use their vast network of media outlets for their own benefit. There are few, truly independent investigative journalists who have the resources and the platform to expose such conflicts of interest and yellow journalism that now dominates the media.

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Filed: Lift. Cond. (apr) Country: Egypt
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Do people actually believe everything they read? :unsure:


Don't just open your mouth and prove yourself a fool....put it in writing.

It gets harder the more you know. Because the more you find out, the uglier everything seems.

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Do people actually believe everything they read? :unsure:

I'm not sure if it is gullibility as it is that the number of truly independent sources has been severely compromised. We were taught in school to not just listen or read one source for information. If you can read about a particular issue or event from several independent sources, you have a much better chance of finding the truth.

Edited by El Buscador

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Exactly.


Don't just open your mouth and prove yourself a fool....put it in writing.

It gets harder the more you know. Because the more you find out, the uglier everything seems.

kodasmall3.jpg

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Philippines
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independent news sources? where are they? who are they? i honestly don't know any. the dependents are dying... who can afford to be independent? or do you simply mean "multiple" "dependent" sources?




Life..... Nobody gets out alive.

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independent news sources? where are they? who are they? i honestly don't know any. the dependents are dying... who can afford to be independent? or do you simply mean "multiple" "dependent" sources?

There aren't that many left. Have you noticed that even with a non-political story such a plane crash, every source you find or listen is the same summary of the events. Maybe some of that is just done for efficiency, Reuters doesn't want to pay a reporter to go to the source when they can just reference it from the Associated Press, but in some cases when I want to know more about the story, I can't find anyone saying anything but the same report, verbatim.

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I don't watch U.S. news channels nor do I read newspapers although I used to enjoy the dailies when I was in the PH. I never faltered to read editorials back then.

"When a dog bites a man, that is not news, because it happens so often. But if a man bites a dog, that is news."

It seems that news nowadays isn't really news anyway.

Have you noticed that even with a non-political story such a plane crash, every source you find or listen is the same summary of the events.

Have you watched NatGeo's "Seconds from Disaster"? You should.


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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Philippines
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There aren't that many left. Have you noticed that even with a non-political story such a plane crash, every source you find or listen is the same summary of the events. Maybe some of that is just done for efficiency, Reuters doesn't want to pay a reporter to go to the source when they can just reference it from the Associated Press, but in some cases when I want to know more about the story, I can't find anyone saying anything but the same report, verbatim.

this is my experience.




Life..... Nobody gets out alive.

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Philippines
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I don't watch U.S. news channels nor do I read newspapers although I used to enjoy the dailies when I was in the PH. I never faltered to read editorials back then.

newspaper staff in the RP, on the staff of the pols as well the newspaper.




Life..... Nobody gets out alive.

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