Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Real News


Ah News, News is our window to the great outside world, a friendly mentor explaining complex situation in an accessible way that helps us the great ignorant mass know just what the bloody hell is going on in this scary world of ours. Or at least in theory thats how its supposed to go. If you've ever been unfortunate enough to read a newspaper or seen a program by owned by News International you'll no doubt quickly realise that in practice the news leaves a lot to be desired. As that infamous front page demonstrates, (more on Hillsborough here)

But instead of ranting at the evils of Murdoch like countless others have done many of which where much better then what I could do (here, here, and here ) though if you really want a fun game to play, go to any vaguely left wing blog search bar and type in one of the following phrases , Murdoch, Sun, News International, Fox news, Evil, Satan, bastard, Bloodsucker, and well you get the idea, what comes will probable boil the blood of any decent human being.

Where was I? oh right not talking about Murdoch.... the media in general, my old Sociology teacher had a saying regarding the media, "he who pays the piper calls the tune" this is really the main problem with media in general as frequent readers of Private eyes street of shame section will probably be aware of. To clarify, government owned and publicly run enterprises such as the old Pravda, and the BBC ( Bush and Blair Corporation according to George Galloway) are unlikely to be overtly critical of there paymasters and bosses for the sake of career and because the government if its smart will pick those who are ideologically a "safe pair of hands" those this can backfire, I believe were all familiar with Greg Dykes tenure as General Secre- I mean Director General and the Hutton Inquiry Debacle which while a win for the government ended up costing Blair pretty much all credibility on the war and honesty fronts, and strangely the aforementioned Pravda under the editorship of Stalin was initially split with Lenin in early 1917 by calling for support of the Provisional government of Kerensky, so nothing can be taken for granted.

However the private or "free" press as we in the West inaccurately call it is not much better and in my opinion thanks to this capitalist myth that because its a privately owned business it can do what it likes even worse on the question of stepping on there employers and moneymen toes.You know things are bad when you have the Guardian and the New Statesmen taking sponsorship and ad revenue from companies like Shell and E-on, I mean if your a pro environment anti mega corporation newspaper would you see any conflict of interest taking an oil companies money especially one that has a very dodgy record in the Nigerian River Delta and probably *cough definitely* has blood on its hands?

Then of course theirs the insidious PR lobby that stomps down on dissent like an NKVD agent who has a brand new Gulag to fill. A very good example of how powerful and manipulative they can be is found here at around 4:31.

There is also another phenomena linked to the dumbing down of the news which has dire consequences for democracy and decision making, which I'm unfortunately not very good at explaining but fortunately thanks to Charlie Brooker and Adam Curtis (the fellow behind the power of nightmares and the trap) I don't have to explain it I can just link to it here and tell you that the relevant information starts at 1:50 so you might as well just watch the whole thing really.

Anyway all is not lost there are still a few principled voices out there in say the blogosphere and youtube etc, and some unlike me have some actual weight, very good summaries of several victories over corruption via the internet can be found at the excellent A Very Public Sociologist and a somewhat more critical appraisal of these tools of social engineering can be found here at the very good Polemical report.

And of the old media there still exist a few crusaders for truth, for example the most factual and in depth account of the Coup against Hugo Chavez in 2002 and the horrendous state of the media in the Bolivarian Republic was the Irish Documentary the Revolution will not be Televised which can be found in links on the side bar or here if your lazy. But by far the most promising development for journalism of principal in my opinion is the Real news Network (youtube channel is here a news network that is entirely funded by its members and donations ensure full editorial control of content lies with the journalists themselves. Aside from the independence it also boasts some amazingly in depth interviews with scholars and academics (such as this one on Obama's health care reform failures due to some unlikely opposition with the head of campaign for America's future) as well as breaking some phenomenally important international developments which are ignored in the mainstream media for example this expose on the recent shame elections in Honduras which have either been ignored entirely in the West or have been ignored entirely or taken at face value. then there's the frankly excellent discussions on the opposition movement in Iran which for the most part is free of Jingoism and western snobbery, one highlight is the discussion of the legacy of the life of the deceased Ayatollah Montazeri and this in depth analysis of the Revolutionary Guard.

On behalf of myself I just like to take the time to say thank you to the Real news network and the others out there to which honesty and integrity still mean something and I hope to somehow raise awareness of you out there to as many fellow travellers as possible.

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