Under the sun

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Mainstream Blogs and MSM

Remember the outrage and anger with which many prominent bloggers reacted when it was found that Gautam Bhaskaran wrote movie reviews [for The Hindu] which were actually lifted from reviews written in other newspapers like the NYT? The Hindu surely failed to live upto the lofty standards set by MSM big-wigs like our TOI, NYT and what have you?
Obfuscation, character-assasination, lack of objectivity, atrocious sense of priorities, personality-based reporting, sensationalism etc. can and have been found consistently throughout the world's MSM. In my book, propaganda built on lies [like the biggest lie of presence of WMD in Iraq] is a far greater crime (not mistake) than carrying plagiarized movie reviews.

Here is a case of bad-reporting, lack of objectivity, and outright lying, the culprit being The Guardian. At least, they apologized.

At a more general level, Noam Chomsky speaks about Fake News and Other Societal Woes.
An excerpt:
NoOne's Listening audio interview, On Fake News and Other Societal Woes (December 7, 2005)

There was a period, in the mid-19th century--that's the period of the freest press, both in England and in the US. And it's quite interesting to look back at it. Over the years, that's declined. It declined for two basic reasons. One reason is the increased capital that was required to run a competitive press. And as capital requirements increased, that of course lead to a more corporatized media. The other effect is advertisement. In the 19th century, the United States had something kind of approximating a market system. Now we have nothing like a market--they may teach you in economics courses, but that's not the way it works. And one of the signs of the decline of the market is advertisment. So if you have a real market you don't advertise: you just give information. For example, there are corners of the economy that do run like markets--for example stock markets. If you have ten shares of General Motors that you want to sell, you don't put up an ad on television with a sexy model holding up then ten shares saying "ask your broker if this is good for you; it's good for me," or something like that. What you do is you sell it at the market price. If you had a market for cars, toothpaste, or whatever, lifestyle drugs, you would do the same thing. GM would put up a brief notice saying here's the information about our models. Well, you've seen television ads, so I don't have to tell you how it works. The idea is to delude and deceive people with imagery.


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