Wednesday, February 28, 2007


News--the few minutes of information on the hour on our radio stations, the papers, the evening news on the Television, the 24 hour news stations, the on-line papers,blogs, services--what keeps us informed, what makes us informed citizens making informed decisions in our democratic republic. It is why our founders put the clause about "freedom of the press" into our first amendment.

But over time the media has become profit driven; news does not sell. Appeals to our prurient interests, other people's tragedies and of course, sports and the pragmatics of weather and traffic, do sell.

So we are given Anna Nicole all the time, with the information that should be important to us in a small crawl across the screen.

The once proud Fourth Estate has become mostly news readers, and Entertainment Tonight and Extra! are carrying versions and visions of Anna Nicole. Infotainment and cold file cases rule. Children who hiccup, sneeze or are extremely overweight become stories.

Disney, GE, and Westinghouse own the major TV stations (ABC, NBC and CBS).

The satellite radios carriers are looking to become one, thus, following the path of their earthly radio stations in which Clear Channel seems to control the airwaves.

Newspaper readership is way down--less than 30 % of people read a paper on a daily basis--as newspapers are becoming part of larger chains, of conglomerates, homogenization of information.

The issue of diversity of ownership is also before the FCC as owners of newspapers and owners of television stations in the same market are looking to consolidate.

Joseph Goebbels said "Not every item of news should be published. Rather must those who control news policies endeavor to make every item of news serve a certain purpose" and
"It is the absolute right of the state to supervise the formation of public opinion."

So what if we know everything about Anna Nicole and nothing about the issues that really affect our lives, that hardly anyone is noting that just 2 weeks ago our President said that we would not talk with Iran and Syria about security in the Mideast, yet yesterday Condi Rice made it look like this was our initiative (it was Iraq's). I know how many bags of chips the 8 year ld overwieght boy in England eats each day. Unfortuantely, that info is not going to make me an involved citizen.

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