www.RogerWendell.com
Roger J. Wendell
Defending 3.8 Billion Years of Organic EvolutionSM
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Media
The Failure of the Fourth Estate and the Death of Journalism

Hunter S Thompson suicide February 2005 - photo by Roger Wendell
Hunter S. Thompson suicide '05
Media is supposed to attempt, at least, to be somewhat neutral - serving all of us equally. Their job should be to report the news, not make the news or weight it down with spin and bias. Their job is to provide only the facts and whatever background is necessary to make the information understood in proper context. Their job is not to reprint or rebroadcast propaganda, theirs is a higher responsibility. It's obvious the media has failed us completey. It was especially evident by the way they treated presidents Bush and Obama. The failure to really dig deep into Bush's "weapons of mass distruction" cost countless innocent lives. And, of course, the free ride the press gave Obama, Hillary, and the rest of his administration cost our society dearly. We don't need anymore political activists posing as journalists - they've nearly killed journalism and the media can't be trusted. - Roger J. Wendell (2013)

 

 

On A Related Note: From the early 1970s, until now (the second decade of the second millennium), I regularly monitored all kinds of news in addition to listening to a lot of talk radio and monitoring internet blogs. Whether at my office, driving to work, or even repairing my car, I've always enjoyed listening (and reading) about alternative viewpoints and philosophies. And, I haven't restricted myself to just any one political persuasion or genre either - I've enjoyed hearing from both ends of the political spectrum and everything in-between. However, as time has moved on it's become increasingly evident that there's less and less objectivity on the channels and blogs than ever before. The dishonesty and misrepresentations have become so extreme that I can no longer rely on conservatives, liberals, or anyone else in the media for an objective, balanced, fair or accurate representation of the facts. Their reporting, interviewing, and talk show monologues have become nothing more than propaganda pieces for one political ideal or another.

So, after having listened to them all (Beck, Boortz, Colmes, Flanders, Goodman, Hannity, Hartman, Hightower, Lavin, Limbaugh, Maddow, Savage, Schultz, Rosen, and a bunch of locals you've probably never even heard of), and even corresponding, meeting personally with, or holding private telephone conversations with a bunch of them (to conduct business, etc.) I've concluded that they're generally no more capable of assessing a political, economic, environmental, or military situation better than you or me. And, as I've mentioned above, many continue distorting the facts in support of their own political agenda or that of their employer. Because of the media's profound influence on our society the aforementioned propagandists get special attention on this page since I don't have a national newspaper or radio show to challenge them with. They, along with their cousins holding political office, need to be challenged by the owners of this country - we the people.

- Roger J. Wendell
July 2014

 

"In conclusion, Congress is supposed to provide oversight, the voters are supposed to provide oversight, and you are
supposed to provide oversight. That's why you have special liberties and that's why you have special protections."

- Congressman Trey Gowdy, May 11, 2014
(challenging the media as to why they failed to followup on Benghazi)

 

"We have to expose the mainstream press for the boardroom bulletin board that it is."

- Arundhati Roy
(As heard on David Barsamian's Alternative Radio broadcast 08-18-2005)

 

Paul Ehrlich "I've been a member of the media, I used to be a correspondent for NBC News. We can all tell stories about the media. It's wrecked, it's broken. Almost nobody in the mdeia is well informed of what's going on. Just like the politicians."

- Dr. Paul Ehrlich, Ph.D, when asked why the media doesn't address the huge overpopulation problem. (During a radio interview on KGNU's "Connections" program, hosted by Roger J. Wendell (me!). (Click Here to hear the entire interview)

"In an ideal world, the media would serve as a watchdog of sorts, where those in power must tolerate constant, and rigorous, scrutiny by an aggressive press
which reports to an engaged and knowledable populace. This is what's known as the Jeffersonian model for analyzing the role of media. An alternative
model is the Propaganda model, where the major news outlets distort information in a manner that defends the agendas of the people who control society."

- Bill Blunden and Violet Cheung in their book,
Behold a Pale Farce (Cyberwar, Threat Inflation, & the
Malware Industrial Complex), p. 1

 

"We are living in a time in history when the mass media can no longer be counted on to provide a free and independent voice in political debate, or to be a countervailing force against large corporate commercial interests."
- Jenny Uechi
adbusters, jan/feb 2007

 

Journalist Joe Goldman and Roger J. Wendell in Buenos Aires - 02-23-2011
Me and journalist Joe Goldman
"Too much is made of anchors and their personalities, their ups and downs. The larger issues -- the role of a free press and of honest, real news in a democracy, the role of technology in supporting a free press, the 'corporatization' of news and its effects on news content -- all deserve more attention, more discussion and more passionate debate."

- News Anchor Dan Rather, in his final
    departure from CBS in June, 2006

 

 

"Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations."

- George Orwell

 

"Too much of the U.S. news media have become bottom feeders, regurgitating stories on the weird, the stupid and the coarse to satisfy an 'idiot culture' hungry to see humiliation."
- author Carl Bernstein as quoted in a
Rocky Mountain News article by Ed Will, 04-04-94, p. 1F

 

"Doing terrible things in an organized and systematic way rests on 'normalization.' This is the process whereby ugly, degrading, murderous, and unspeakable acts become routine and are accepted as 'the way things are done.' There is usually a division of labor in doing and rationalizing the unthinkable, with the direct brutalizing and killing done by one set of individuals; others keeping the machinery of death (sanitation, food supply) in order; still others producing the implements of killing, or working on improving technology (a better crematory gas, a longer burning and more adhesive napalm, bomb fragments that penetrate flesh in hard-to-trace patterns). It is the function of defense intellectuals and other experts, and the mainstream media, to normalize the unthinkable for the general public.
- Edward S. Herman, excerpt from
The Banality of Evil (Emphasis added)

 

Press Secretary Scott McClellan An invertebrate media
by Paul Campos, professor of law at the University of Colorado
Rocky Mountain News, June 04, 2008, p. 31
"It's been a very bad week for American journalism. The fun began when former Bush administration press secretary Scott McClellan published a book in which he pointed out that the Iraq disaster was enabled, in part, by the failure of the media to do their job.

"Their job was to do something other than simply reprint and rebroadcast propaganda fed to them by, among other people, McClellan himself. But this turned out to be too much to ask.

"That they were reprinting propaganda, rather than engaging in actual reporting, was obvious at the time. As my friend Jon Chait pointed out four years ago in The New Republic, McClellan wasn't a very good press secretary, because he was a terribly transparent liar. This made him particularly unqualified to defend the Bush administration's Iraq policy.

"But in the end it didn't make any difference, because most of the media were more than happy to be lied to. Indeed the most shocking aspect of McClellan's book is how little new information is in it; we've known for years now that the White House was peddling pure claptrap when it claimed Iraq posed a threat to the United States.

"We've also known - because institutions such as The New York Times and The Washington Post have admitted as much - that the elite American media largely failed to ask critical questions of the government in the run-up to the war, and that they took, in McClellan's words, a markedly 'deferential' attitude toward the administration.

"What's new are some of the extraordinary arguments being put forth by the media themselves to explain and defend the commission of journalistic malpractice on such a catastrophic scale."

 

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Focus the Nation
by Michael Welch
Home Power Magazine
Power Politics, April & May 2008, p. 118

Wind Power "According to the League of Conservation Voters, since January 2007, the hosts of popular news shows on five major TV networks - ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News and CNN - have asked the presidential candidates almost 3,000 questions. Of these thousands, only six mentioned global warming. Six. That calculates to about two-tenths of 1% - and is about the same number of questions posed to the candidates about UFOs."

"Is anyone besides me wondering why reporters are ignoring one of the most urgent threats to humanity?

"I guess it's not much of a mystery, considering that for-profit corporations, which are legally required to put shareholder profits ahead of all other considerations, own almost all media in the United States. Many are also heavily invested in or even owned by energy companies (for example, General Electric, which owns NBC) and have board members who sit on the boards of other corporations, including oil companies and defense contractors.

"Major media relies largely on advertising sales, so little impetus exists for them to focus on anything other than programming that maximizes ad revenues. Nor is there any incentive for their advertisers to support programming that deals with topical issues that could possibly countermand the need or desire for the products and services being hocked.

"But six measly questions? Jeez."

 

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The term Fourth Estate is frequently attributed to the nineteenth century historian Carlyle, though
he himself seems to have attributed it to Edmund Burke:

"Burke said there were Three Estates in Parliament; but, in the Reporters' Gallery yonder, there sat a Fourth Estate more important than they all. It is not a figure of speech, or a witty saying; it is a literal fact, .... Printing, which comes necessarily out of Writing, I say often, is equivalent to Democracy: invent Writing, Democracy is inevitable. ..... Whoever can speak, speaking now to the whole nation, becomes a power, a branch of government, with inalienable weight in law-making, in all acts of authority. It matters not what rank he has, what revenues or garnitures: the requisite thing is that he have a tongue which others will listen to; this and nothing more is requisite."
- Carlyle (1905) pp.349-350

 

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"Let me say it again. Democracy can not exist without an informed public and
these mega media corporations are not informming us."
- Bill Moyers

 

"Never answer the question that is asked of you. Answer the question you wish had been
asked of you. And, quite frankly, I follow that rule, it's a very good rule."
- Former Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamera
from the 2004 Errol Morris film documentary, The Fog of War
(transcribed by me and Tami!)

 

"We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men -- not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular."
- Edward R. Murrow from his See it Now CBS Television broadcast of March 9, 1954 in regards to Senator Joseph R. McCarthy...

 

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Newspaper American Media Failes Democracy:

It's no secret that the "Fourth Estate," for the most part, has been a miserable failure for us in America. Huge media conglomerates hold and control large numbers of newspapers, television and radio stations. It became clear to me, during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, that much of America's media simply rolled over and allowed government and corporations to have their way with our freedoms, information, and our very way of life.

The media's failure to question or provide accurate information about the invasion, prisoner treatment, 911, or terrorism in general was a clear sign that big government and big business are in control of our information sources. For me, this era of media subservience is the darkest period in our political history. It's still hard for me to imagine that in a country like America that it's considered sedition, or a statement against our troops, to question what the government is up to around the world.

So, I started this page to not only continue questioning the illegal activities of my own government, but to question our media as well. I'll be updating this page as material becomes available.

- Roger J. Wendell
Golden, Colorado, fall '03

 

Disclosure seems to be really lacking in other parts of journalism as well. During the January 21st (2006) rebroadcast of NPR's Living on Earth (LOE) program it was revealed that a number of opinion writers had been receiving money from outside sources without disclosing it or the possible influence on their work.

LOE (a science program no less!) is hosted by Steve Curwood and has a website that stated, "Several prominent opinion writers have recently lost their syndicated contracts because it was revealed by Business Week Online that the writers had previously undisclosed financial arrangements with companies who paid them to write about a particular story or viewpoint."

Eamon Javers, Curwood's guest, stated, "Michael Fumento is a columnist, author, think tank scholar here in Washington, DC, at the Hudson Institute. And what we've reported on Business Week Online was that Mr. Fumento, who had written a book in 2003 called "BioEvolution," which talked very favorably about the biotech and agribusiness industries, had actually been paid $60,000 by the agribusiness giant company Monsanto to write that book."

Curwood and Javers talked about how Fumento, and a number of other opinion columists, wear different "Think Tank" hats and may not always be considered journalists or reports. When asked if they should still have to disclose payments from outside sources Mr. Javers stated, "Well I think that's the standard that the syndicates have. And when you're talking about opinion columnists, you're talking about sort of a hybrid breed of person. These people are not journalists, they're not reporters. This is not a journalism problem, it's maybe more a media problem, in that these people are paid to offer their opinions; I'm not, I'm paid to offer facts. I think there's a big distinction there."

Yellow Arrow Pointing Right Click Here for my page on books and memoir fraud...

Yellow Arrow Pointing Right Click Here for my page on politics...

Freedom of the Press
(Freedom of the Press)

VNRs (Video News Release)

In early 2005 it couldn't get much more bizzare than the "discovery" that VNRs were being used by the Bush Administration to mislead the American people on a variety of issues. These little propaganda videos were prepared and edited by the U.S. government and then broadcast by media outlets as though they were some kind of original news report! Some real confusion took place when it was discovered that a government VRN was being used to "sell" a controversial new Medicare law to the public.

The bigger question, to me, is how many of these propaganda type videos did the government, corporations, and political organizations use to pass their programs off to the rest of us as "news?" The most important thing to do, in regards to VNRs, is to ensure that they're properly identified. In case you're a broadcaster wondering how to handle a VNR, or you're a government propagandist involved in creating 'em, here are some simple, easy-to-follow rules when dealing with VNRs:

  1. Without question, VNRs should be clearly identified along with disclosing who produced and paid for it.
  2. The word "reporting" should never be used in a VNR where the narrator is not a reporter!
  3. VNRs should be identified by the media outlet whenever they're aired - anything less is journalistic fraud!
Again, it's our responsibility as citizens to demand that our media provide us the information necessary to challenge government, big business, and political organizations any time they run afoul of our well-being or best interests. The media must be independent of government - it's all we have!

- Roger J. Wendell

 

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Links:

I don't necessarily endores any or all of these links. However, I list 'em here
for a variety of reasons; as alternatives, informative, or simply something different...
  1. A-Infos Radio Project
  2. Activists - Folks on the frontlines!!
  3. AlterNet
  4. America!
  5. ACLU - American Civil Liberties Union
  6. AFP - American Free Press
  7. Air America Radio
  8. BBC
  9. Center for Media and Democracy
  10. COHA - Council on Hemispheric Affairs
  11. CPJ - Committee to Protect Journalists
  12. CPR - Colorado Public Radio
  13. Common Dreams
  14. CNN - Cable News Network
  15. Democracy Now
  16. Drudge Report
  17. EIN - European Internet Network
  18. FAIR - Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting
  1. Fox News
  2. FSRN - Free Speech Radio News
  3. KGNU Community Radio
  4. MEF Media Education Foundation
  5. MSNBC
  6. NUJ - National Union of Journalists (UK)
  7. Peace
  8. People's Daily - China
  9. Politics
  10. Pravda - Russian news and analysis (kind of...)
  11. Reporters without Borders - Reporters sans frontières
  12. Scan America - Live Police, Fire, and EMS Scanners
  13. Slash Dot - News for nerds. Stuff that matters
  14. Third World Traveler - "...an alternative view to the corporate media..."
  15. Times of India
  16. Truth Out
  17. TUC Radio
  18. Z Communications - The Spirit of Resistance Lives

Back Back to Roger J. Wendell's KGNU page...

 

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