Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Conservative Right Plays The Media Like A Drum

From Media Matters:

Timeline of a smear
"Summary: On January 17, posted a
story stating that Sen. Barack Obama attended a madrassa as a boy and that this
information had originated from Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's camp. With the aid
of the conservative media,'s anonymously sourced report turned
into 11 days of baseless accusations against two leading contenders for the 2008
Democratic presidential nomination."

Media Matters points out how conservatives play the media. This can only happen when three things converge.

1. There is a perceived need, by big media outlets, to compete with small media outlets. These small outlets can get attention by running poorly sourced or unsubstantiated stories.

2. Mainstream media has reduced it's staff, in an effort to remain profitable, as they loose portions of their audience to alternative "news" and Internet based sources. This reduced staff cannot substantiate stories quickly enough to compete in a timely manner.

3. Wealthy people are willing to inject their political agenda into some large media outlets.

People with money and power will always try to manipulate information. We should expect them to. It is up to news organizations, using publicly owned airwaves, to be the gatekeepers. So far the FCC has let the major media outlets pretty much do what they want. I wonder if the pendulum has swung as far right as it can? Should news organizations continue to only pay lip service to being unbiased, they may pay a price when the public allocates the public resources they use to disseminate information.

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