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Old 09-01-2008, 02:33 AM   #1 (permalink)
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What Persuades You That US Corporate News Media Reporting shows a "Liberal Bias" ?

...and how does such an opinion effect US politics, and our interaction on this forum? If you believe there is a liberal slant to "the news", do you favor alternative sources for updates on current events, instead? What do you think the impact of your information sources has on your participation in discussions on this forum, in 3D, and on your voting choices, compared to someone who believes the opposite of what you do about the slant of news reporting.....that it is tainted by the political agenda of those who own the means of gathering the information and reporting it?

How does this;

Quote:
Today in Investor's Business Daily stock analysis and business news
INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY

Posted 8/28/2008

Press Bias: Democrats in Denver tried to introduce Barack Obama as a moderate, whitewashing his radical past, and the media are helping them by following the fictional script....
.....Compare to all of the following......? If Upton Sinclair was accurate in his expose of the meatpacking industry, was he wrong in his later expose on the news media? Aren't his observations and revelations about American journalism, parallel to what we observe in the 2008, broadcast media blackout of the NY Times reporting about the retired military officers manipulated by the Pentagon to propagandize the broadcast audience with the knowledge and complicity of the broadcast media?

Quote:
The Brass Check - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Overview

The book is one of the "Dead Hand" series: six books Sinclair wrote on American institutions. The series also includes The Profits of Religion, The Goose-step (higher education), The Goslings (elementary and high school education), Mammonart (great literature, art and music) and Money Writes! (literature). The term "Dead Hand" criticizes Adam Smith’s concept that allowing an "invisible hand" of capitalist greed to shape economic relations provides the best result for society as a whole.
Quote:
Monthly Review May 2002 Robert W. McChesney and Ben Scott

...Radical criticism of the press was an integral component of the many large social movements of the Progressive Era, which sought to resist the effects of accelerating capitalist development. It was a time of striking similarity to the present, mirroring in particular the corruption of democracy by political and economic elites whose control over the media strangles public awareness, debate, and activism. However, unlike today, radical criticism of capitalist journalism was a dominant theme on the left during the Progressive Era, particularly in the socialist, anarchist, and progressive press....

...Upton Sinclair is best remembered for his novel The Jungle, the 1906 muckraking exposé of labor and sanitary conditions in the Chicago stockyards. The book catapulted the then-twenty-seven-year-old author into international prominence, and Sinclair remained a highly acclaimed and widely read author until his death in 1968. What has been forgotten is that, although he wrote ninety-two books and twenty-nine pamphlets, for much of Sinclair’s career he was known as a “two book author.” The other book, besides The Jungle, was The Brass Check, which he published himself in 1919. In The Brass Check, Sinclair made a systematic and damning critique of the severe limitations of the “free press” in the United States. “(T)he thesis of this book,” he wrote, is “that American Journalism is a class institution serving the rich and spurning the poor.”*If The Jungle was notorious for its aggressive assaults on capitalist industry, The Brass Check pulled even fewer punches. The title itself is a reference to the chit issued to patrons of urban brothels at the time. Sinclair drew an analogy between journalists and prostitutes, beholden to the agenda, ideology, and policies of the monied elites that owned and controlled the press. It was an integral part of his broader critique of the corruption of U.S. politics and the appalling nature of capitalism: “Politics, Journalism, and Big Business work hand in hand for the hoodwinking of the public and the plundering of labor” (p. 153)......

... In the text of the book itself, he called it “the most important and most dangerous book I have ever written”(p. 429).

Yet while The Jungle remains a staple of American literature, The Brass Check has been all but forgotten. This is the case despite its groundbreaking critique of the structural basis of U.S. journalism, arguably the first such systematic critique ever made. Anticipating much of the best in more recent structural media criticism, Sinclair explained the class bias built into journalism in a four-part systemic model emphasizing the importance of owners, advertisers, public relations, and the web of economic interests tied into the media system, and invested in its control of public opinion. Integrating the critique of the press into the larger history of Progressive Era activism, Sinclair pointed to the centrality of the media in all of the problems of social injustice which attended the rise of modern capitalism.

Yet, those historians who bother to mention The Brass Check dismiss it as ephemeral, explaining that the problems it depicts have been solved.
As John Ahouse, Sinclair’s bibliographer put it, the criticism made by Sinclair in “The Brass Check played an important part by provoking and broadening a debate that eventually led to greater objectivity in the American press.”* Sinclair, the curmudgeonly muckraker, helped clean up the newsrooms much like he helped clean up the stockyards. We can all move on to some other more pressing social issue.

In fact, many of the concerns Sinclair had about commercial journalism did not disappear with the rise of professionalism and “objectivity”—a development he witnessed and regarded with disdain as a sham solution. Moreover, as commercial pressures on the integrity of U.S. journalism have intensified over the past two decades, much of Sinclair’s critique now appears startlingly accurate. What then explains the erasure of The Brass Check, not to mention the entire radical tradition it crystallizes, from public consciousness, or even from the reading lists of contemporary media scholars, both mainstream and critical?.....

....Critics loosely charged that Sinclair had been sloppy with his facts in The Brass Check, and the book did not stand up to close scrutiny. Sinclair, a fanatic for factual accuracy, directly challenged any of those he criticized in The Brass Check to sue him for criminal libel—often in the footnotes of later editions of the book—if they could prove a single word in the text was false. No suits were ever forthcoming. Indeed, in 1921, the Associated Press announced it was appointing a commission to review, collect evidence, and denounce the charges Sinclair made about the AP in The Brass Check. The project was quietly abandoned without any report, formal or informal, being issued (p. 376).

In our view it was this smear campaign, more than anything else, which led to the virtual disappearance of The Brass Check by the middle of the century. ....

Quote:
CNN, the Pentagon's 'Military Analyst Program' and Gitmo | CommonDreams.org
Published on Friday, May 9, 2008 by Salon.com
CNN, the Pentagon's 'Military Analyst Program' and Gitmo

by Glenn Greenwald

......But what is most extraordinary about all of this is that huge numbers of Americas who were subjected to this propaganda by their own Government still don't know that they were, because the television networks which broadcast it to them refuse to tell them about it, opting instead to suppress the story and stonewall any efforts to find out what happened. As corrupt as the Pentagon was here, our nation's major media outlets were at least just as bad. Their collective Pravda-like suppression now of the entire story -- behavior so blatantly corrupt that even the likes of Howie Kurtz and The Politico are strongly condemning them -- has become the most significant and revealing aspect of the entire scandal.



http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/24/wa...ss&oref=slogin
May 24, 2008
2 Inquiries Set on Pentagon Publicity Effort
By DAVID BARSTOW

The inspector general’s office at the Defense Department announced on Friday that it would investigate a Pentagon public affairs program that sought to transform retired military officers who work as television and radio analysts into “message force multipliers” who could be counted on to echo Bush administration talking points about Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo and terrorism in general.

The announcement came a day after the House passed an amendment to the annual military authorization bill that would mandate investigations of the program by both the inspector general’s office and Congress’s investigative arm, the Government Accountability Office.

The G.A.O. said it had already begun looking into the program and would give a legal opinion on whether it violated longstanding prohibitions against spending government money to spread propaganda to audiences in the United States.

The Defense Department suspended the program last month, just days after it was the focus of an article in The New York Times. The article described an ambitious Pentagon campaign to cultivate dozens of military analysts as “surrogates” to generate favorable coverage of the administration’s wartime performance. The analysts, many with undisclosed ties to military contractors, were wooed in hundreds of private briefings with senior government officials.

The inspector general’s office said its inquiry would specifically look at whether special access to Pentagon leaders “may have given the contractors a competitive advantage.”.....

.... Representative Paul W. Hodes, Democrat of New Hampshire, added: “The American people were spun by Bush administration message multipliers. They were fed administration talking points believing they were getting independent military analysis.”

Representative Duncan Hunter of California, the ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee, objected to the amendment, arguing that retired officers working as military analysts were a “great asset” for the country.

“The idea that somehow Don Rumsfeld got these people in a room and told them what to say, if you believe that you don’t believe in the independence of these general officers,” Mr. Hunter said. “None of them are used to having people tell them what to say.”

And Representative Paul C. Broun, Republican of Georgia, said: “Of course Americans engage in propaganda. It’s a vital part of the mission of the United States to promote democracy and protect our country from harm.”.....
.....aren't the objections of Duncan Hunter and Paul C. Brown, in synch with your own objections? Hunter and Browne bekieve the news media has a "liberal bias", even as they defend the pro-Pentagon propaganda that the broadcast networks routinely distributed.

Since I firmly believe that Upton Sinclair had both his critiques of the meatpackers and the corporate news media "spot on", and you believe that there is a "liberal" corporate news media in America, is it even possible for us to discuss politics?

Is it possible to believe that the corporate news media has a liberal slant in it's reporting, and still be informed enough to vote for candidates who, if they are elected, will do the least harm, compared to the election and "service" in office, of their opponent?

Last edited by host; 09-01-2008 at 02:40 AM..
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Old 09-01-2008, 06:00 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Silly host. Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly claim it to be the case, therefore it is the case.
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Old 09-01-2008, 06:15 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I think it has more to do with the fact that the entire contemporary conservative movement has at its core a sizable sense of fear and persecution. The perceived liberal bias of the media has more to do with motivating the troops than anything else. It's a lot more self serving for certain members of the media to paint the problems of the MSM as being the result of bias than it is to paint them for what they really are: the direct result of capitalism.

Limbaugh would never come out and admit the real reason why the media is messed up, because then he'd have to admit that he's actually part of the problem.
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Old 09-01-2008, 06:54 AM   #4 (permalink)
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There reason there is a "liberal bias" is because many of these media companies are influenced by one thing - the bottom line. These companies are in it to make money. They see a Fox News, who is a conservative news source own that market, so how do they combat that? They start reporting liberally and try to get a big piece of that market share. It all comes down to money.
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Old 09-01-2008, 07:37 AM   #5 (permalink)
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You're portraying Investors.com as a major news outlet? Jesus DailyKos gets probably 6x the output... so I can point them out as a liberal bias major news outlet.

Quote:
They see a Fox News, who is a conservative news source own that market, so how do they combat that? They start reporting liberally and try to get a big piece of that market share. It all comes down to money.
I think it's the other way. Fox News was made conservative because the liberal reporting on all other channels. If viewed this way it was a massive success. Compare MSNBC (Oberman) vs. Fox (O'Riley) numberwise. The conservative channel blows the liberal out of the water. The success can be seen as evidence by corrolation in that the higher number of liberal news agencies waters down the viewing rate as opposed to the singular conservative channel which in turn has a pseudo-monopoly.
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Old 09-01-2008, 09:11 AM   #6 (permalink)
 
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the notion of a "liberal biais" is a necessary correlate of and justification for the imposition of its reverse.
this is a basic ideological statement in the upside-down world of conservative-land.
the move is itself kinda interesting: you acknowledge the operation (the imposition of a conservative biais in the packaging of infotainment) but posit it as reactive with the effect that there is nothing interesting or new about the operation: rather it is a corrective, which enables a "conservative perspective" which is fundamental to a "conservative identity" to assert or make or fashion itself.
so the conservative media apparatus builds into its foundations a sense of being-persecuted by a hostile reality, and de facto posits itself as a corrective, enabling those who choose to enter this hall of mirrors to escape this hostile changing reality but moving into an alternate one.

all this is explicit, but somehow erased in the act of entering the hall of mirrors, moving through it, making it over into your own image and your own image into its image and so it goes.

conservative identity politics preserves continuities within information streams by collapsing to the greatest possible extent the contents of these streams back onto the a priori which shape it.

in conservativeland, this is understood, in a glib appropriation of po-mo critical theory, as the way in which everything is anyway. nothing is "real" so you choose your construct. in conservative-land, this construct is suitably metaphysical--markets and "amurican values" and Persecuting Others--so this change business can always be reduced to passing blips.
it's like being some god an having access to the structuring grid of the universe---except that you aren't some god and so don't believe either the viewpoint or its content as such---you just find them reassuring (the fiction of Revelation and the status amongst the Chosen)----so you act like you believe and eventually you forget that you don't.

so we aren't dealing here with a falsifiable proposition for the right--we are dealing here with an axiom. there is a "liberal biais" *because* there is a conservative one, and the "liberal" one is everything that is not part of the conservative one---so the latter creates the former, which at the same time it requires to legitimate itself.

this is all a funhouse mirror image of the post above from the other rb.
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Old 09-01-2008, 12:55 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by roachboy View Post
the notion of a "liberal biais" is a necessary correlate of and justification for the imposition of its reverse.
this is a basic ideological statement in the upside-down world of conservative-land....
Seaver and forseti-6, who are the muckrakers in journalism that you admire? Seaver, you posted the examples of Daily Kos and MSNBC's Olbermann. Daily Kos is a website started and still owned by "a guy"....the site is composed of populist content... entries posted by volunteer participants, like....me....and by a dozen or so, site commentators chosen by the site's founder. Contrast Daily Kos with townhall.com.... a conservative content site owned by Salem Communications, a broadcaster distributing SRN News and mostly talk "christian" radio commentary on 1600 radio stations, while Salem owns more than 100 stations. Salem stock trades on the NYSE. MSNBC's Keith Olbermann is a news commentator who is distributed on cable only, to less than 1,000,000 viewers nightly..... . Just one of the three major TV network news shows averages more than twice that number of viewers, each nite.

...is that all you've got?

Do you understand that it is not only what is reported by the news media you believe has a liberal slant, but what it does not report, that it holds back....that is "the problem", and one of the major things that bumps up against your conviction of liberal bias?

Quote:
Gore Vidal - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"[t]here is only one party in the United States, the Property Party...and it has two right wings: Republican and Democrat. Republicans are a bit stupider, more rigid, more doctrinaire in their laissez-faire capitalism than the Democrats, who are cuter, prettier, a bit more corrupt—until recently... and more willing than the Republicans to make small adjustments when the poor, the black, the anti-imperialists get out of hand. But, essentially, there is no difference between the two parties.

http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/He...rop_Model.html
Manufacturing Consent
A Propaganda Model

The mass media serve as a system for communicating messages and symbols to the general populace. It is their function to amuse, entertain, and inform, and to inculcate individuals with the values, beliefs, and codes of behavior that will integrate them into the institutional structures of the larger society. In a world of concentrated wealth and major conflicts of class interest, to fulfill this role requires systematic propaganda......

Upton Sinclair - Wikiquote
The Brass Check (1919)

* Journalism is one of the devices whereby industrial autocracy keeps its control over political democracy; it is the day-by-day, between-elections propaganda, whereby the minds of the people are kept in a state of acquiescence, so that when the crisis of an election comes, they go to the polls and cast their ballots for either one of the two candidates of their exploiters.

* The methods by which the "Empire of Business" maintains its control over journalism are four: First, ownership of the papers; second, ownership of the owners; third, advertising subsidies; and fourth, direct bribery. By these methods there exists in America a control of news and of current comment more absolute than any monopoly in any other industry.
Quote:
Originally Posted by shakran View Post
http://www.tfproject.org/tfp/tilted-...ml#post2492717
Soooo. You want an insider perspective eh? Fasten your seatbelts ladies and gentlemen....

...Even then, some things worried Rookie Shakran. Why do I keep getting sent out to this same car dealership every time there's a hailstorm to do a story on how many of their cars got dinged and oh by the way they're for sale real cheap? Why do I always interview this same guy at the farmers market selling sweet corn? And then I started noticing - - the dealership and the farmers market guy both bought advertising with us. Hmmm.
Well, OK, it's a small market, these people are dipshits, they dont' know what they're doing, it'll be better when I find my next job. So I did.....

....Fast forward to a few years ago, a former intern of mine called me up. He'd gotten a job at my first station, which I thought was cool despite the fact that I didn't know anyone there anymore. But it was still in the fallout shelter and so it was kinda neat. I asked him how he liked it and he said it really sucks. Asked him if the macaroni decorating parties were getting to him and he said no, nothing like that. It was ethanol.

Ethanol?

Turns out he'd glommed upon the same research that I've posted here in various places. I won't go into the dirty details here but suffice to say ethanol is crap, and it's one of the largest scams ever foisted on the American public.

He had the info. He wanted to put it in a story on an ethanol plant that was being built as balance. They told him he couldn't, because it might make the corn farmers around him angry.

He left the business, as have scores of talanted reporters and photographers because the business simply isn't what it should be. We are willling to accept crap pay (starting salary for a photographer today is between $17,000 and $19,000) if we are allowed to tell stories that make a difference, but we aren't, and so we are gradually, one by one, getting the hell outa dodge.

This of course has an even more detrimental effect on the news business because the old pros and the promising newbies leave instead of bringing their considerable talents to journalism.

And this is showing in the reporting......
Quote:
TheBrassCheck

The Brass Check

A Study of American Journalism

By Upton Sinclair

Who owns the press, and why?

When you read your daily paper, are you reading facts, or propaganda? And whose propaganda?

Who furnishes the raw material for your thoughts about life? Is it honest material?



No man can ask more important questions than those; and here for the first time the questions are answered in a book....

....CHAPTER XXII: A MILLIONAIRE AND AN AUTHOR

The thesis of this book is that our newspapers do not represent public interests, but private interests; they do not represent humanity, but property; they value a man, not because he is great, or good, or wise, or useful, but because he is wealthy, or of service to vested wealth. And suppose that you wished to make a test of this thesis, a test of the most rigid scientific character--what would you do? You would put up two men, one representing property, the other representing humanity. You would endeavor rigidly to exclude all other factors; you would find one man who represented property to the exclusion of humanity, and you would find another man who represented humanity to the exclusion of property. You would put these two men before the public, having them do the same thing, so far as humanly possible, and then you would keep a record of the newspaper results. These results would give you mathematically, in column-inches, the relative importance to each newspaper of the man of property and the man of humanity. Such an exact, scientific test I have now to record.

I introduce the two persons. First, the man of humanity: At the time the test was made, in December, 1913, he was thirty-five years of age; he was known everywhere throughout the United States, and was, with the possible exception of Jack London, the most widely known of living American writers throughout the world. At the time of the test he did not own more than a couple of hundred dollars.

Second, the man of property. He was at this time twenty-two years of age, and had done four things which had been widely heralded: First, he was born. Second, he decided to conduct some experiments in farming. Third, he decided to marry a young lady of his acquaintance. Fourth, he inherited sixty-five million dollars.
Three of these things are not at all unusual; many a farmer's boy has done them, and has not had the distinction of seeing the newspapers devote columns of space to them. But the other thing is quite unique; since the beginning of American history, no other person has ever inherited sixty-five million dollars. So it may be asserted beyond dispute that this young man's reputation depended upon property, and nothing but property; he was the perfect specimen which the sociological scientist would require for his test--the man of property pur sang.

And now for the action of the two men. It appears that the "New York Times," a great organ of world-capitalism, in its efforts to camouflage its true functions, had resorted to the ancient device of charity, used by the Christian Church ever since it sold out to the Emperor Constantine. Early in December of each year the "Times" publishes a list which it calls "One Hundred Neediest Cases," and collects money for these hundred families in distress. The "Times" never goes into the question of the social system which produces these harrowing cases, nor does it allow anyone else to go into this question; what it does is to present the hundred victims of the system with enough money to preserve them until the following December, so that they may again enter into competition for mention in the list, and have their miseries exploited by the "Times."

In addition to this, the "Times" publishes every Sunday an illustrated supplement of pictures to entertain its variety of readers; and it happened that on the Sunday when it published the "Hundred Neediest Cases" it published also a photograph of a "recreation building" which young Mr. Vincent Astor was erecting on his country estate at a cost of one million dollars. This building was for the use of Astor and his friends; it had no place for the public. It was devoted to tennis and swimming and gymnastics; it had no place for literature, music, art, science, or religion--it was a typical product of the private property regime. So the man who represented humanity sat himself down and wrote a "Christmas letter" to the millionaire, in substance asking him how he could enjoy his Christmas, how he could be content to play in a million-dollar "recreation-building," when he had before him such positive evidence that millions of his fellow-beings were starving. This letter was picturesque, interesting and well-written; as news it was in every way "live."

So came the first test. This "Christmas letter" to Vincent Astor was offered to every newspaper in New York City on the same date, addressed "City Editor," special delivery. It was sent to both morning and afternoon papers. And how many published it? Just one--the New York "Call"--the Socialist paper. No other paper in New York, morning or afternoon, printed a line of it, or referred to it in any way. It was offered to every big news agency in the country. And how many handled it? Not one. Outside of New York it was published in the "Appeal to Reason," and in one Chicago paper which happened to be edited by a personal friend of the author's. So here you have the first verdict of the capitalist journalism of New York City; a letter written by a man of humanity represents a total news-value of precisely 0.

There the matter might have rested, the test might never have been completed, but for the fact that the millionaire disagreed with the judgment of his newspaper editors; he thought the letter of the author was important, and he answered it.

How this came to happen I have no idea. Maybe the millionaire's conscience was touched; maybe he had ambition to be something else than a man of property pur sang. Maybe he himself wrote the answer; maybe some shrewd family lawyer wrote it; maybe his secretary or some other employe wrote it--all I know is that two or three weeks later the millionaire wrote to the author, and at the same time gave his letter to the newspapers.

The author's letter had been, of course, an attack upon capitalism. The millionaire's was a defense of it. And so came the second test. Every New York newspaper was offered an opportunity to publish the millionaire's letter to the author. And how many availed themselves of the opportunity? Every one, absolutely every one! Every one published the letter, and published it entire! Most of them put it on the front page, with the millionaire's picture; some of them added columns of interviews about it, and editorials discussing it. The New York newspapers' idea of the news-value of a man of property was precisely one hundred per cent!

The above would have been sufficient for any sociological scientist; but, as it happened, the test was carried one stage farther yet. The author was not entirely overwhelmed by the evidence of his unimportance as compared with a millionaire; he was a Socialist, and Socialists are notoriously hard to squelch. He wrote a second letter to the millionaire, answering the millionaire's arguments; and again he offered it to every paper and to every news agency in New York--the same ones that had spread out the millionaire's arguments in full. And how many printed it? How many printed the whole of it? Just one--the "Call," the Socialist paper. How many printed parts of it? And how large were these parts? Let us see.

The author's first letter measured in newspaper columns sixty-three inches; the millionaire's reply measured nineteen, and the author's reply to that measured sixty-one. If it be objected that the author was claiming more than his fair share, it should be pointed out that the author was attacking an established institution, something one cannot do in a few sentences. On the other hand, the most foolish person can reply, "I don't agree with you"--and claim the virtue of brevity. Also, be it noted that the question here is not what the author claimed, but what he got. Here is a table showing what he got, in column inches, from the leading morning papers of New York:

......Author Millionaire Author

Times 0 ........19 ............0

Herald 0 19 0

Press 0 19 0

Tribune 0 19 0

American 0 19 2

World 0 19 2 1/4

Sun 0 19 4 1/2

Call 63 19 61

Let it be noted that the above takes no account of headlines, which were all big for the millionaire and small for the author; it does not include editorials, interviews and photographs, nor does it reckon the advantage of first-page position.

In order to make the significance of the figures quite clear, let them be reduced to percentages. Each paper had 124 author-inches offered to it, and 19 millionaire-inches. To begin with the "Times": this paper printed all the millionaire inches--also a few extra which it hunted up for itself; it printed none at all of the author-inches. Hence we see that, to put it mathematically, the "Times" considers an author absolutely nothing in comparison with a millionaire. Exactly the same is true of the "Herald," the "Press," and the "Tribune." The "World" printed 100 per cent of possible millionaire-inches and less than 2 per cent of possible author-inches, thus giving the millionaire more than fifty times the advantage. Similarly, the "American" favored him sixty to one. The "Call" placed the two on a par--that is to say, the "Call" printed the news.

I conclude the account of this little episode by quoting a passage from the published "Memoirs" of a wise old Chinese gentleman, Li-Hung-Chang, who happened to be a man of humanity as well as of property:

A poor man is ever at a disadvantage in matters of public concern. When he rises to speak, or writes a letter to his superiors, they ask: "Who is this fellow that offers advice?" And when it is known that he is without coin they spit their hands at him, and use his letters in the cooks' fires. But if it be a man of wealth who would speak, or write, or denounce, even though he have the brain of a yearling dromedary, or a spine as crooked and unseemly, the whole city listens to his words and declares them wise.
Quote:
Ida Tarbell, Page 3

....After years of research, Ida Tarbell produced a detailed analysis of the most perfect of all monopolies, Standard Oil. Appearing in nineteen installments in McClure's Magazine, beginning in November of 1902, it was subsequently published as a two-volume book in 1904. She had hoped it would be received as a historical study; instead, to her dismay, she was labeled a "muckraker" by President Theodore Roosevelt.

What was a muckraker? President Roosevelt brought the term into popularity when he used the allusion in his speech on April 14, 1906, to refer to those making sweeping and unfair charges of corruption against public officials. Roosevelt's allusion is from John Bunyan's allegory published in 1678, The Pilgrim's Progress, in which the character is so absorbed in raking up muck, he is unable to see the celestial crown held above him.

President Roosevelt, while engaged in a "trust-busting" campaign, called a number of authors including Ida Tarbell, Frank Norris, and Upton Sinclair "muckrakers" and social reformers because her point of view was primarily that of a historian-a journalist after documented facts, not the advocate of a cause or a reformer. According to some, The History of the Standard Oil Company is, to this day, the best documented history of its kind ever written. Influenced by Ida Tarbell's work, anti-trust laws of the states and the federal government, decisions of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, and investigations by Congress, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down a decision on May 1911 that the Standard Oil Trust be dissolved in the next six months. As a result the corporation was divided into more than thirty companies, paving the way for competition to return once more to the oil business....
Quote:
The Seattle Times: Opinion: A plea for the revival of journalistic backbone
Friday, October 7, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

Guest columnists

A plea for the revival of journalistic backbone

By Matt Zemek and Meghan Sweet

Special to The Times


...You simply need to know that when you become professionals, your one task — your sacred public trust and higher calling — is to fight for the little guy. And in this information age, people who lack information are undeniably the little guys.

If public officials or agencies are uncooperative in providing information and legitimate, substantive explanations for various decisions and policies, you need to call them on the carpet. You have to be firm as the voice for the voiceless in the community you cover.

Remember whom you're supposed to champion as a journalist. The powerful must be respected ... respected enough to be given high expectations of performance and competence. You need to hold leaders and decision-makers accountable instead of regurgitating their spin or protecting an inside source who makes your life easier. Journalism is not a profession of ease; it's a public service that requires endless digging and extraordinary persistence.

Be sure that you're willing to confront power when power isn't exercised properly.
Quote:
The Brass Check

A Study of American Journalism

By Upton Sinclair

Upton Sinclair | The Brass Check | Journalism
CHAPTER VI: AN ADVENTURE WITH ROOSEVELT

I was determined to get something done about the Condemned Meat Industry. I was determined to get something done about the atrocious conditions under which men, women and children were working in the Chicago stockyards. In my efforts to get something done, I was like an animal in a cage. The bars of this cage were newspapers, which stood between me and the public; and inside the cage I roamed up and down, testing one bar after another, and finding them impossible to break. I wrote letters to newspaper editors; I appealed to public men, I engaged an extra secretary and ran a regular publicity bureau in my home.

It happened that I had occasion to consult the record of the congressional investigations held after the Spanish-American War, into the quality of canned meat furnished by the Chicago packers. Here was Theodore Roosevelt on the witness-stand, declaring: "I would as soon have eaten my old hat." And now Theodore Roosevelt was president of the United States, with power to help me if he would! In a moment of inspiration I decided to appeal to him.

He had already heard about "The Jungle," as I learned later; his secretary, Loeb, told me that he had been receiving a hundred letters a day about the book. Roosevelt now wrote, saying that he had requested the Department of Agriculture to make an investigation. I replied that nothing could be expected from such an investigation, because the Department of Agriculture was itself involved in my charges. If he wanted to get the truth, he must do what Doubleday, Page and Company had done, get an independent report. He wrote me to come to Washington, and I had several conferences with him, and he appointed two of his trusted friends to go out to Chicago and make a "secret" investigation. ...

....I came to the great press association, an organization representing at that time some seven hundred newspapers, with scores of millions of readers, hungry for news. The Associated Press was the established channel through which the news was supposed to flow; and in this crisis the channel proved to be a concrete wall.

I was about to describe the thickness of the wall, but I stop myself, remembering my pledge to tell the exact facts. I do not know the thickness of this wall, because I have never been able to dig through it. I only know that it is as thick as all the millions of dollars of all the vested interests of America can build it. I first telephoned, and then sent a letter by special messenger to the proper officials of the Associated Press, but they would have absolutely nothing to do with me or my news. Not only on that day, but throughout my entire campaign against the Beef Trust, they never sent out a single line injurious to the interests of the packers, save for a few lines dealing with the Congressional hearings, which they could not entirely suppress.

It is the thesis of this book that American newspapers as a whole represent private interests and not public interests. But there will be occasions upon which exception to this rule is made; for in order to be of any use at all, the newspapers must have circulation, and to get circulation they must pretend to care about the public.....

Upton Sinclair | The Brass Check | Journalism
CHAPTER IX: AIMING AT THE PUBLIC'S HEART

....I went first to the glass-works of South Jersey, where I saw little children working all night in eleven-hour shifts, carrying heavy trays of red-hot glass bottles. Other children worked at the same tasks in the blazing heat of summer, and sometimes they fainted and had their eyes burned out by hot glass. When the State child-labor inspector came, he was courteous enough to notify the superintendent of the glass-works in advance, and so the under-age children were collected in the passageway through which fresh air was blown to the furnaces. I told the story of one little Italian boy who had to walk several miles on the railroad-track to his home after his all-night labors. He fell asleep from exhaustion on the way and the train ran over him. I submitted this article to "Everybody's," who sent one of their editors to check up my facts. I recall one remark in his report, which was that he could not see that the little boys in the glass-factories were any worse off than those who sold newspapers on the streets of New York. My answer was that this was not a reason for altering the glass-article; it was a reason for adding an article about the news-boys.

...I talked with the widow of one man, a Hungarian, who had had the misfortune to be caught with both legs under the wheels of one of the gigantic travelling cranes. In order to save his legs it would have been necessary to take the crane to pieces, which would have cost several thousand dollars; so they ran over his legs and cut them off and paid him two hundred dollars damages.

This article also I brought to "Everybody's," and watched the process of the chilling of their editorial feet. What influences were brought to bear to cause their final break with me, I do not know; but this I have observed in twenty years of watching--there are few magazines that dare to attack the Steel Trust, and there are no politicians who dare it. Our little fellows among the corporations, out ten and hundred million dollar trusts, are now and then fair game for some muck-raker or demagogue; but our billion dollar corporation is sacred, and if any one does not know it, he is taught it quickly.....

...Three or four years ago, I remember, they published an editorial, telling what wonderful people they were; they had been over their files, and gave a long list of the campaigns which they had undertaken for the benefit of the American people. Whereupon I wrote them a letter, asking them to take up this list and test it by the one real test that counted. From the point of view of a magazine, of course, it suffices if the public is told it is being robbed. That brings readers to the magazine; but what good does it do the public, if the robbery continues, and if the magazine drops the subject, and makes no move to get back the stolen money, or even to stop the future stealings? Let "Everybody's" apply the one test that had any meaning--let them point out one instance where their exposures had resulted in changing the ownership of a dollar from the hands of predatory exploiters to the hands of their victims!

I was in position to bear witness in one of the cases cited by "Everybody's Magazine." I knew that the condemned meat industry was still flourishing, I knew that the wage-slaves of Packingtown were still being sweated and bled. I knew also that the campaign of Tom Lawson had brought no result. "Everybody's" had clamored for laws to prevent stock-gambling and manipulation, but no such laws had been passed, and "Everybody's" had dropped the subject. What had the magazine to say about the matter? Needless to add, the magazine had nothing to say about it; they did not answer my letter, they did not publish my letter. They have been taken over by the Butterick Publishing Company, and are an adjunct of the dress-pattern trade, not an organ of public welfare. .....
Seaver and forseti-6, my heroes of journalism are Sinclair, Tarbell, and in the modern era, Seymour Hersh's reporting of the My Lai Massacre cover up, and Cronkite's reported influence on president Johnson's decision not to seek a second, elected term as president.

Who are your heroes of journalism?

Last edited by host; 09-01-2008 at 01:24 PM..
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Old 09-01-2008, 02:00 PM   #8 (permalink)
... a sort of licensed troubleshooter.
 
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If there was a liberal bias, what possible explanation could there be for this?
Quote:
The Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University, where researchers have tracked network news content for two decades, found that ABC, NBC and CBS were tougher on Obama than on Republican John McCain during the first six weeks of the general-election campaign.

You read it right: tougher on the Democrat.

During the evening news, the majority of statements from reporters and anchors on all three networks are neutral, the center found. And when network news people ventured opinions in recent weeks, 28% of the statements were positive for Obama and 72% negative.

Network reporting also tilted against McCain, but far less dramatically, with 43% of the statements positive and 57% negative, according to the Washington-based media center.
In study, evidence of liberal-bias bias - Los Angeles Times

That's ABC, NBC, and CBS... they didn't even bother with FOX.

People like to cite liberal commentators like Olbermann as the "equal but opposite for Bill O'Reilly", but the reality is that Bill O'Reilly has been repeatedly caught up in scandal due to his repeated lies. He has been found to make up facts to support the Bush Administration again and again, and his network has even admitted to getting talking points from the Administration? Olbermann? He isn't in the back pocket of the Democratic party, he just happens to be liberal (and dislikes Bill O'Reilly almost as much as I do). Not even more radical liberal news sources like Daily Kos have been getting talking points from politicians.
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