2015/08/20

FREE NEWS!

The role of the media in modern politics is a rather important one. A free and well-informed populace is important for a democracy, and the media should play its role as, if not a direct controller of those in power, a device for informing the public about more devious goings on.

It is generally accepted that an entirely state-run media is rather unhealthy, opening itself up to propaganda all too easily (not that a corporate run media channel can't). It seems at the moment a mix of both is what has evolved over time, though deliberate design is not what occurred.

I have a problem with the sheer amount of choice with respect to content at the moment. The current mainstream view is that people should have choice with regards to what news outlets they watch.

However, this has a number of problems with it. Firstly, it opens up journalism to fierce marketing. Being beholden to advertising (as some news outlets are) is unhealthy for the journalism to be entirely honest (if not correct). This can be generalised to include government advertising (which could be public service announcements to propaganda).

Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, it divides the community by where they get their news from (and their political goals). People will tend to watch media that agrees with them. That's perfectly natural. People want to feel validated and included. However, this results in very lopsided reporting (or "reporting"). One particularly egregious example would be Fox News, the Republican/conservative values based news show.

In that case, the producers recognise that even though they are blatantly pandering to their base, they cannot admit that they are only telling one side of the story. They have constructed a narrative that is very addictive for their viewers.

Such news does not an informed public make.

Alas, having your funding controlled by the government is also frustrating if you need to say anything bad about the government.

Anyway, I'm not really sure if there is a good solution that keeps journalistic integrity without being obnoxiously complex. But this all feeds into the whole partisan politics thing that I dislike a lot.

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