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Posts Tagged ‘BBC’

In 1791 the first amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted.  It was part of the Bill of Rights and it was created out of a concern that the Constitution, as written, gave too much authority to the Federal government. This amendment placed limits on what the government could do. Among other things, the First Amendment stated that Congress could not make any law that limited the freedom of speech. The founders of the country knew from their own experience that one of the ways that a government could exert too much control and influence over the people was by controlling the information they received.  If the government could prevent or limit the dissemination of the truth then it had a clear advantage in maintaining power.

Some, actually many, modern but repressive governments in other countries have used this method to keep their hold on power.  Some have gone even further and besides restricting what people could say, they also disseminated false or misleading information to their citizens in order to keep control of the populace.  In recent history, the Tass News Agency of the old Soviet Union was famous for this sort of propaganda.  Tass continues today in Russia but it appears to have changed it ways quite a bit, if not completely.

In the Western world we have prided ourselves not only on the accuracy of our news but also on its fairness of reporting.  We have also been proud of the separation of the press from the government.  Today some notable examples of matter-of-fact reporting of the world news can be found in England’s BBC, Germany’s Deutche Welle, and Ireland’s Radio Telefis Eireann (RTE).  If you click on any of these links you will find news that is of interest to the inhabitants of those countries reported in a straightforward way, i.e this is what happened and when and who was involved. Just the facts.

The U.S., long a bastion of free speech and straightforward news reporting has been going through a change in direction. Just look at any of the major news networks: ABC news, NBC news, CBS news, or Fox news.  Notice anything different compared to the European news or even the Russian news?  It is the inclusion of things like polls on the front page, it is the reporting of an event with an interpretation of that event in the same sentence, it is the emphasis on sensational news like grisly murders and so forth, and it is the insertion of politics into so many of the stories that are reported.  Why?  Why the morphing from solid, straight-talking news articles to a more tabloid, emotionally targeted news? Is it because that is what the public wants?  Is it because that is what sells?  Or is it something else?

It is no secret that there are news empires in this country.  Imagine the power a single person could have if they owned the radio, television, and newspaper industries!  They could feed the public whatever they wanted, deciding what they wanted the people to know and what they didn’t want them to know.  Sort of like the old Soviet Tass News Agency.  The question is this: are we evolving, or have we already evolved – one step at a time – to a system of news dissemination where the news we receive is the news someone wants us to receive in order to promote a hidden agenda?  Could it be that some news is omitted because it would contradict a hidden agenda?  Could it be that much of our news is broadcast primarily to push forward a hidden agenda?

What about the role of opinion in the news?  Doesn’t it seem that the opinion of news reporters is blending more and more smoothly into the news itself?  It seems that the demarcation line between actual news and opinions about the news has been blurred or, in some cases, completely erased. And in those cases where it has been completely erased the opinions often seem to come from the lunatic fringe, but they are presented with a straight-face as if they were actual news instead of the garbled meanderings of Neanderthal minds.

The question we need to ask is this: how much of this new “news” that enters our homes these days via television, radio, internet, and newspaper is actually valid news and how much is propaganda?  And if it is propaganda who is creating it and spreading it and why?  Here’s a question to consider: have you ever tried to buy a television station or a newspaper?  Probably not.  They cost a lot of money. Your average person couldn’t possibly afford to buy one, let alone a whole bunch of them.  But some people can: really, really, wealthy people.  But why?  Why would someone invest all that money in these industries when there is so much more money to be made in investing in banks and insurance companies?  Could it be because these industries allow the wealthy to shape and control public opinion?  And if you can control public opinion it isn’t a far leap to controlling election results is it? And once you control the results of an election, could it be that you have also earned a hidden voice in the government itself?

Could it?

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