Mainstream media outlets are mostly unreliable these days. Instead of serving the public good as our founders intended they are operating only to make a profit. Good journalism is hard to find when so many newsrooms rely on press releases from the White House to get their stories.
Over the last nine years we have seen the media fail miserably. The corporate airwaves have been littered with disinformation; the Iraq war buildup is a prime example of how the mainstream media have spread around whatever is convenient for the political elite. In the buildup to Iraq, the media repeated claims Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
The Downing Street Memo showed the case for war was thin and the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the Bush Administration’s policy. The media never seriously questioned the Bush Administration’s claims, and they made things worse by spreading the government’s war propaganda.
The American people need to insist the media operate in the best interest of the public. This is what was intended by the creation of the First Amendment.
If we want to be informed in the age of the 24-hour corporate news cycle, we will have to use independent media to see quality journalists who research and check facts. Independent news outlets still have an opportunity to exist mostly because of the rise of the Internet as a form of free and open communication.
The Real News Network and Democracy Now are just two of the many online news organizations that still value quality journalism. They are completely funded by viewer donations and free of the oppressive corporate hierarchy of media.
This is a business model watchdog journalists and the public will have to examine closely if we want control of the government back in the hands of the people. If we want to preserve journalism as a public service like our founders intended, we will have to pull ourselves away from mainstream news that operates for profit.
When news organizations are independent and free of corporate control it has an enormous effect on the quality of their reporting. If the American people want quality journalism that operates with integrity they will have to actively support it. The mainstream media have no motivation to report critically on their friends in government and big business.
It is also important we keep the Internet free and open as a source of communication. Without Internet neutrality most independent sources of journalism would not reach the public. The Internet gives independent media the chance to compete with the mainstream media on a more level playing field.
That is why whenever some politician or big media company makes a case for controlling information on the Internet we should laugh them out of the building.
Americans are charged too much for Internet service as it is, that’s why it is outrageous we are still fighting to keep the nature of the Internet free and open. It’s not enough media conglomerates make huge profits; they want to join the government in the role of censoring what we can talk to other people about.
After all of the recent craziness caused by our government and big business we owe it to ourselves to find some news sources that are not completely motivated by profit.