“Journalists should be free of obligation to any interest other than the public’s right to know.”
“Journalists are accountable to their readers, listeners, viewers and each other.”
The face, the very nature and character of journalism has undergone radical change over the least several decades, more so in the last two.
News, the truth of it, has become secondary to the celebrity figure that mouths the words and opinions a staff of writers has written for them-it’s no longer about reality and the even handed presentation of it-it’s about Rush, Maddow, or any number of talking heads-Max Headrooms in the flesh, a construct based on opinion polls-who and what resonates with the audience.
Sixty Minutes was the first news program to make a profit, and in doing so ushered in an age where news is viewed as a commodity, a revenue source.
To understand this one must acknowledge the rules of Capitalism-that profit is the priority and obscene profit taking is even better.
The essence of Capitalism is what is referred to as “growth”-that translates to a lack of desire not to merely maintain a reasonable and healthy profit margin but to always “grow” and increase it.
An axiom that almost always leads to a decline in the product or services being offered-just as we see in the product the media is producing.
The hope, the salvation, of journalism lays in small independent outlets. And the public understanding the need to move beyond the cult of personality the modern day media celebrities are awash in,to demystify them and their employers.
The mainstream media, the major purveyors of the “news”, need a Howard Beale, a real one, not the faux variety many are adopting as a persona.
Someone who will stand up, say they’re mad as hell, and not going to play the game anymore, and mean it.
A few of those exist in the small independent media outlets I mentioned, but also some notable crackpots.
I would like to think some of these stalwart individuals exist in the mainstream media as well-and admit I have at one time or another believed actually they might.
But that brings me to the second part of this rant, and it has to do with Democracy Now and the love fest they recently aired regarding Leonard Peltier.
An AIM/Peltier centric presentation if ever there was one-shameless in my opinion.
Shameless in the sense that during an October of 2012 book promotion appearance in Boulder, Colorado an indigenous journalist by the name of Richard Two Elk had the opportunity to present contradictory material to both Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan, yet inspite of this the hard questions were never asked-instead Peltier was given what amounted to a carte blanche platform to promote the lies and propaganda that have been his and AIM’s forte.
In presenting Democracy Now and it’s anchors as being both democratic and liberal one would think it reasonable to assume that an entity that honored and subscribed to the core principles of a democratic and free press would have presented both sides-they would have taken a position of abject neutrality evidenced by allowing those who hold an opposing view equal time.
Another point to consider is that Two Elk was an AIM member who actually participated in the WK2 takeover-held a security position, and would have some insights to offer.
One would think as well Goodman would have afforded the opportunity to a family member of either agents Williams or Coler’s family, or to Annie’s daughter Denise whose mother was interrogated at gunpoint and had the option to take herout if he didn’t like the answers.
I submit that Democracy Now-it’s staff, and in particular Goodman and Moynihan spend a few moments to read and ponder the definitions of words like democracy, journalism, and journalistic integrity-perhaps while doing so they might ask themselves how much they want to grow their product and at what price?
There is no place in journalism for Che style berets, AIM posters, or free Peltier bumper stickers whether they are deemed to be evidence of a liberal support of dime store revolutionaries or not-nor for the pettyfoggery displayed in this so called investigative report
Neither Rush, Maddow, or Goodman are entitled to assume they constitute a beneficent filter through which the truth must pass to then be relayed to the audience as pristine, unbiased, and above all else pure.
The mainstream media from WK2 forward has presented AIM and Peltier in the context of some B grade Hollywood movie of cowboys and indians and have deliberately made both the poster boys-it’s time they do what journalists are supposed to do-present the facts, all of them, and forget about audience and market shares.
Truth of the matter is I don’t much care what media celebrities think, what scripted editorial they want to intone, or where they want to lead me as they count audience shares,the revenue that accompanies it, and sip their pumpkin spiced latte while considering how it all translates to their personal celebrity and one percenter status.
As indigenous people we have our own journalists, our own media sources-some we will agree with and some we wont. But I think in the end we are better served by them than the cowboys and indians variety.
Democracy Now has a history of providing air time to everyone from Banks to Peltier and as yet to provide equal time to their victims, I say there is something dramatically wrong with that. I say they should do a little investigative journalism on the other side of the fence, they should ask LPDOC for a look at the books among other things.