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Comment: The Whole Truth?

US Media: Responsible Reporting or Ministry of Propaganda?
Ben Jonjak

It’s no secret. The US media doesn’t get the facts right. I mean that’s been documented, not by the media itself but by the bragging idiots who admitted that they just made up the stories they published. I hope that history forgets these vile, selfish pinheads. Jayson Blair (ex NY Times, Janet Cooke (ex Washington Post) , Stephen Glass (ex New Republic), Patrica Smith (ex Boston Globe) and Jay Forman (ex Slate.)

But Jason Blair was working for the New York Times! ( 'The Jayson Blair Project' being made by Showtime will air in 2004.) Even if he was only relegated to small stories on the back page, he was still being more widely read than half the writers of the known universe! He was in a position to do good if he could have managed to extend his perception of the world beyond himself for five minutes, but of course he was too ego-centric to do that. To hell with him.

But even beyond these jokers, I have no faith in the modern news media. It isn’t hard to read between the lines. I think there are enough people in this world who have seen enough movies to start to recognize the symptoms of manipulation. You know you’re being set up when the music gets all quiet and tense and when the heroine’s hand starts slowly reaching to open a mysterious door. Is anybody surprised when either a monster or a cat jumps out anymore? Well the media is taking us down that same ugly pathway. They have grown high on their power to make us jump when they say “boo!,” but this is an exploitation of their power and they are setting our whole civilization up for failure.

Would it really have been so hard to have one or two stories of investigative reporting to determine whether or not the Bush brothers really rigged the election? Doesn’t that seem newsworthy? Even if it didn’t prove to be true, doesn’t there seem to be enough evidence that the story should be followed up? I mean, they backed away from that faster than they would a nuclear meltdown. It was almost as if they were afraid they were going to uncover an ugly truth that nobody wanted to see.

THAT’S THE WHOLE POINT OF THE NEWS MEDIA! And why did Al Gore stop his investigation into the same thing? Because he was probably guilty of the same damn election rigging the Bush‘s were doing! Why else? But did the media look into this? NO! They gave us this big line of propaganda that we were supposed to swallow that said the nation needed to heal.

If people are rigging our election system and the only way to get elected is to cheat, then I want to know about it. It’s the media’s responsibility to look into this stuff. If they don’t, who will? And if nobody does then what entity is going to preserve our freedoms?

Lately, the media seems to think it is their responsibility to divert the attention from the American Public away from anything real, and distract them with fluff like Ben and Jen gossip. Is this just because the tabloid fare regarding celebrity movie stars sells more papers? I suppose stories that are completely made up would probably be more appealing too. But the problem is that the media has gained its power by claiming to be an unbiased (which is never true, but at least they used to try) factual account of what happened. People have a kind of faith in what a newspaper, by definition, is supposed to present.
By cashing in on this faith and leading people down a road of lies, the modern media has revealed itself to be nothing less than what Dante referred to as a “false councilor” the sin for which he reserved the ninth, and most horrible, level of hell.

Is the media afraid to make the public angry by telling the truth? Are they afraid of losing their readership? Well, newsflash, sometimes you have to make people confront the ugly reality. You have to do this for their own good. And if you lose readers in the moment, they’ll come flocking back to you later once the crisis has passed and they see the evil you saved them from. If you think it is appropriate to let people skip and jump down a path to destruction while maintaining the illusion that they are living in a marvelous fantasyland, then I deny your understanding of goodness. What we need is a media that is unafraid to tell us the hard facts and to enforce a system of accountability, in all cases, not just for the poor and weak.

This is one of those issues that doesn’t seem like a big deal because most people can’t perceive how dangerous it is. But the thing is, the media is so powerful that it can make a villain out of anybody overnight. I remember a case a few years ago when a man diffused a bomb at the Atlanta Olympics only to be accused of having set the bomb in the first place. It turned out, about three months later, that the guy, Richard Jewell had done no such thing and that he actually was a hero, but did the media make up for their mistake and restore the guy’s reputation? Of course not! (The actual fugative Eric Robert Rudolph is still at large.) But even in a situation less dramatic, what could be the effect on you if the media, for some reason, took an interest in your life? Sure, it may work out in your favor and the lies the media tells might make you a superstar. But at the same time, they could just as easily turn you into an undeserving villain. Wouldn’t you rather be judged on the truth of the achievements and errors of your life than some crude falsification designed only to sell papers?

And what about the very sanctity of the foundation of America? We’re the most powerful nation on Earth. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to know for sure that the causes to which we are applying our strength are actually just? We have the capacity to radically alter billions of lives overnight. Wouldn’t it be nice to know that we could actually trust the facts upon which these world-altering decisions were being made?

Wouldn’t it be nice to know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that the brothers, sisters, and sons that we have sent to die in far off, arid lands, were irrefutably fighting to preserve freedom, liberty, and truth? Wouldn’t it be nice to erase the suspicion that these brave, young souls were not being sacrificed so that some rich American oil baron could further line his already stuffed pockets? Isn’t that one of our rights? Not just as Americans, but as human beings?

© Ben Jonjak November 2003
About the Author:
Ben Jonjak is an American writer living in Lima, Peru. His writing has appeared in various print and electronic media.

Comment and Lifestyles


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