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America has more traditional news media sources than ever in its history, yet Americans seem more uninformed than ever. This can only be blamed on the sources America deems trustworthy.

A classic example of the ineptitude of the traditional news media is evident with the governor’s race in Texas. As a case study, it is not only fascinating, it is substantive. Specifically, education, availability of water, and equal pay are major issues in the state. Informed Texans must vet the two candidates, State Senator Wendy Davis and Attorney General Greg Abbott, to determine which of them would best fulfill the needs of Texas.

Follow below the fold for more on media failure in this case.

Unfortunately, the news media shows up at candidate rallies in the attempt to find gotchas, seldom reporting the substantive portion of the events. Davis recently visited Houston to lay out how her education plan contrasted with Abbott’s plan. Questions of funding were asked and addressed. Abbott’s use of an anti-woman white nationalist as an education advisor was addressed. Many of Houston’s major traditional news media were present. Yet news from the event for the most part went uncovered.

This is replicated throughout the entire country. The outcome is an uninformed populace and a corrupted politics. The outcome is dangerous, opening the door for support of detrimental local, national and international policies.

In a world made up of more than 7 billion people and 195 countries, why is it that the traditional media tends to have the same stories and the same take on them? Why are there no stories on most countries the United States is actively engaged with until there's a preamble to some military conflict? Why is there such poor context on every issue or story?

The stories one hears about Ukraine are pathetically out of step with reality. Reports by the traditional media about people negatively affected by the Affordable Care Act are generally debunked, sometimes within hours, usually within a few days. The problem is that by the time these stories have been debunked, millions have heard and believed them. Few news consumers are able to connect the original story with the debunked story or even hear about the debunked story.

Who is doing all the debunking? Many times the debunking is done by informed bloggers who feel a patriotic responsibility to inform. They feel a responsibility to correct a seemingly corporate-driven misinformation campaign by the traditional news media.

Chuck Todd is appropriately one of the poster boys of a delegitimized traditional news media. In an interview with Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein, he worried that “There are concerted campaigns by activists …. who actually are trying to delegitimize the press. That is their goal in order to make the activists the first place people go.” Yet Todd abdicates his journalistic responsibility when in discussing misinformation about the Affordable Care Act he said: “What I always love is people say, “Well, it’s you folks’ fault in the media.” No, it’s the president of the United States’ fault for not selling it.”

Was it not the traditional media’s responsibility to research health care systems throughout the world when Republicans lied about the failures of health care systems in Canada, Great Britain and Europe in general? Bloggers did this. Was the traditional news media not responsible for fact checking the stories of people who claimed to be helped or hurt by Obamacare? Bloggers did. Was it not the traditional news media’s responsibility to research the coal ash corporate and political corruption in North Carolina? Bloggers did.

If one is tasked or self-tasked to be the entity informing citizens, one has the responsibility to do it truthfully with all the nuances it entails. One cannot be the medium used by politicians and/or the corporatocracy to indoctrinate. That is what members of the traditional news media have become.

Reputable bloggers now have the responsibility to fact check not only the politician and corporations, but the traditional media and false bloggers on the take. In that light, the traditional media is but a burden, not a boon, to understanding issues.

News of the future must be crowd-sourced. No longer must Americans allow the few to be the arbiters of news or reality. It is time that the traditional news media is deemed irrelevant. They are. Bloggers have asserted their worth, and it is time that all of America is made aware as well.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Many good points raised here. But, and this (41+ / 0-)

    seems a significant point, why do you label the problematic media as the "traditional news media" throughout your piece? It is the corporate media that is the problem, and it needs to be named as such.  

    Also, there have been plenty of "traditional", independent-minded journalists who have done excellent work.  

    "Trust me... I've been right before." ~ Tea party patriot

    by Calvino Partigiani on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 12:07:20 PM PDT

    •  It is the "traditional media" (14+ / 0-)

      Maybe another term could be found. But, it turns out "Corporate Media" is not the correct term. Daily Kos is a corporation, for example.

      Traditional is meant to convey "old," what we're used to, what's been around for a long time.

      •  Infotainment pushed through (5+ / 0-)

        traditional media technology?

        "Broccoli could take down a government. Broccoli is revolutionary." --Kris Carr

        by rb137 on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 12:25:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I meant corporate media in the sense (12+ / 0-)

        of the handful of corporations that have consolidated control over much of media production in the US.

        A look at the comments below shows that plenty of traditional media - that what's been around for a long time - represent a solid, critical, independent type of reporting.

        "Trust me... I've been right before." ~ Tea party patriot

        by Calvino Partigiani on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 12:35:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  But It is Vastly Less Corporate in Nature Than (5+ / 0-)

        broadcast and print; most of the content comes from volunteer amateurs, the opposite of corporate.

        Also it's very little press actually. There's almost no direct reporting, no reporter staff that I'm aware of.

        Media yes, press no. News? Welll, sorta.

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 12:41:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •   Some of us have been around long enough to (11+ / 0-)

        know of a traditional journalism that was legitimate. We don't see Chuck Todd as having anything to do with that tradition.
        One of the big problems was the decline of newspapers, and the rise of tv news as entertainment. At one point in our history serious people knew how to read and took the time to find things out.
        Now interestingly, new media is turning the tables on the entertainment/propaganda journalism industry.

        You can't make this stuff up.

        by David54 on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 01:25:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Trouble is, this is NOT what journalism used to be (4+ / 0-)

        Some of us can remember Viet Nam and Watergate, when the press sometimes (admittedly not always) challenged official lines and did investigations of their own, when they were willing to risk legal consequences to do things like publishing the Pentagon Papers. I don't know when political campaigns started turning into a high school gossip fest, but Maureen Dowd's getting a Pulitzer Prize for a year of tittering and snickering over Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky was probably a sign of the end times. Ever since then, she has vigilantly devoted every campaign event to distorting quotes from speeches she didn't hear, garbling accounts of incidents from events she didn't attend, and always arriving at the triumphant conclusion that the Republican is stupid and the Democrat is an effeminate elitist. Issues, what on earth might those be? Never heard of the things.

      •  It's the CCCP! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Calvino Partigiani

        Corporate Controlled Conservative Press!

        Now where have we seen CCCP before?

        •  technically, we never have... (0+ / 0-)

          CCCP isn't in a Latin alphabet. That letters have similar or even identical shapes to ones we think we know is as meaningful letter O and the number 0 having similar shapes. Both Latin and Cyrillic can trace some common lineage to Greek, so the O/0 comparison is actually a stretch, but in your example, we'd be talking talking K vs S uses of C when held up to the original CCCP.  

          Корпоративный Контролируемая Консервативная Пресса does have an imposing ring to it, though. And it demonstrates many of the joys of cognates and borrowings =)

          CCCP in context is Союз Советских Социалистических Республик and those nifty ю з и ц ч л п & б tip us off that we aren't in a Roman-descended land any more.

          In Latin letters: Soyuz Sovetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik or Union of Soviet Socialist Republics =) But I am sure you had something snarky rather than scholarly in mind with the comment.

    •  I think you are right. I must reconsider making (4+ / 0-)

      that more explicit. Thanks for reading.

      •  As I mentioned, I think your writing (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AnnieR, foresterbob, Snarky McAngus

        raises important points.  You hit the nail on the head with your examples of precisely what kind of failures much of the media makes.  

        I appreciate your taking the time to read these responses and consider the points made here - your thoughtful writing and responsiveness represents exactly what good writers and media persons should be doing.  Thanks EW!

        "Trust me... I've been right before." ~ Tea party patriot

        by Calvino Partigiani on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 03:51:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  MSM? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calvino Partigiani

      "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." - Albert Einstein

      by pickandshovel on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 04:48:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This is the right term. (0+ / 0-)

        "Mainstream media" reflects the type of traditional media outlets (newspapers, local TV stations) that are increasingly the playthings of investors with deep pockets and the MBAs that run the newsrooms. False equivalence is their friend -- hence, if you're in Houston you don't get the facts about Wendy Davis' education policy position or her opponent's misogynistic, white nationalist buddy because that would look like the newspaper is veering left. And heavens, we wouldn't want that. Side note: the editor of the Houston newspaper is the same editor who ran the Minneapolis paper during the many years it refused to report on the many wackobird capers of Michele Bachman. The alternative media have to continue to report on these issues because eventually it'll have to force the MSM to acknowledge the truth. Maybe that's just wishful thinking.

    •  The Movie "Network" warned us of this. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calvino Partigiani

      Corporations in the past absorbed the cost of their News Departments. They were essentially non-profit.
      They were using the "public" airwaves to carry out a constitutionally defined activity. To report truth to power.

      CableTV made the "broadcast" private property (with political parties providing the talking points of the day).

      Why do political campaigns have to raise so much money?
      TV time.
      I would love to know how much each networks makes on selling political ads.  

      Our ignorance is being engineered.

      Paddy Chayefsky the '70 Orwell.

      Keep It Real Folks

         

  •  Monopolies (28+ / 0-)
    why is it that the traditional media tends to have the same stories and the same take on them?
    The news sources are monopolies. Simple as that. I believe that five companies own 98% of all news outlets. (That was the last number I heard).
       Thus they don't have to compete. They don't have to worry about the quality of their content. They can just rake in the profits.

    "The oppressors most powerful weapon is the mind of the oppressed." - Stephen Biko

    by gjohnsit on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 12:07:35 PM PDT

  •  Was just talking about this at dinner (18+ / 0-)

    last night. Consensus: We all miss the days of real journalism :(

    I don't love writing, but I love having written ~ Dorothy Parker // Visit my Handmade Gallery on Zibbet

    by jan4insight on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 12:09:20 PM PDT

  •  Journalism has become screen writing. (23+ / 0-)

    Write a narrative, and then cast the play.

    Pope Francis: the Thumb of Christ in the eyes of the Pharisees.

    by commonmass on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 12:10:06 PM PDT

  •  FOX News is habitually bad, but FOX Sports did (5+ / 0-)

    usually get the scores on any sport close to the final score. FOX Sports recently moved over to the same incompetency as their sister stations when they confused the NCAAP with NCAA sports.  

  •  Benghaaaaaaaaazzzzziiiiiiii! (13+ / 0-)

    Legal means "good".
    [41984 | Feb 4, 2005]

    by xxdr zombiexx on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 12:16:41 PM PDT

  •  yes and no - the problem remains in the frames (5+ / 0-)

    and the ideologies which are aggregated structures: for example we usually work within DK still with the MSM as the default despite our necessary complaints (Faux) and for every trusted blogger there are so many untrustworthy or just simply stupid ones. It is a public sphere for better or worse.
     

    News of the future must be crowd-sourced. No longer must Americans allow the few to be the arbiters of news or reality. It is time that the traditional news media is deemed irrelevant. They are. Bloggers have asserted their worth, and it is time that all of America is made aware as well.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013 (@eState4Column5).

    by annieli on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 12:18:45 PM PDT

  •  making them irrelevant requires a fundamental (7+ / 0-)

    change in the institutional economics of global media Mainstream Media Moguls

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013 (@eState4Column5).

    by annieli on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 12:21:59 PM PDT

  •  What's with this (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Superpole, whl, AlexDrew

    Idea of real journalism? Journalism has always been sensational, unless you've forgotten the America Spanish War.

    http://jasonluthor.jelabeaux.com/

    by DAISHI on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 12:22:34 PM PDT

    •  There's been 'sensational and true' as well. n/t (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lunachickie, allie4fairness, Dave925


      When the Oceans rise, what's the plan for moving the nuke plants? Anyone?

      by Jim P on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 12:51:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes. The oldtime Hearst newspapers made Rupert (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Papuska

      Murdoch's corrupt propaganda peddlers look like a herd of cub scouts.

      Pulitzer devised his prizes as penance for the horrors his chain created.

      Some of the ancient radio programs masquerading as "news" should have been charged with treason.

      Phonies such as Paul Harvey and Walter Winchell were pathetic liars--not even skilled propagandists.

      Some of the oldtime stuff lived into this era, depending on your cut-off date. Robert Novak. Jack Anderson.

      William F. Buckley--i.e., the puke factor on NPR.

      The current situation is same old, same old.

      We're all just working for Pharoah.

      by whl on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 02:12:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But there were more options in Hearst's day (0+ / 0-)

        At least in larger cities.  If you didn't like one paper, you subscribed to another one.  Or found cast-off newspapers if you couldn't afford to purchase them.

        Individual bloggers cannot act as investigative reporters because they WILL be sued.  A large corporation might be able to foot the legal bill, but an individual?  No, unless that person is very wealthy.

    •  You didn't finish the train of thought (0+ / 0-)

      Journalism has gone through many stages of objectivity since 1901, dude.

      I am shocked that no one has mentioned the death of the Fairness Doctrine in this thread. A few mentions here and there about the corporate ownership of media, but nothing else.

      "I feel a lot safer already."--Emil Sitka

      by DaddyO on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 05:02:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Failure to enforce antitrust laws has also played (13+ / 0-)

    ...a major role in media consolidation.

    The politicians may be bought, and the system corrupt, but it is our duty to fix these things.

    by sebastianguy99 on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 12:22:53 PM PDT

  •  Here's what I find amazing and hopeful- (11+ / 0-)

    We have options.  Not enough of us use them, but enough do to cold-Koch the ACA horror stories.  Today's college age kids don't seem to know what CNN and Fox are doing, they know what's trending and where to go for the truth.  We had a brief golden age of media excellence ( thank you Marshall McLuhan) but the wealthy have almost always controlled the news in this country.  It's always been the niche broadsides that citizens had to rely on, and they were city publications.  I live 50 miles from the nearest city and I have access to incredible sources of information.  

    I fully agree that the Chuck Todds need to be marginalized, and I'm grateful for the banquets available to me.

    I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

    by I love OCD on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 12:25:40 PM PDT

  •  They act as though knowledge free = bias free (9+ / 0-)

    Then there's how they handle issues. If it comes from the right, it need not be questioned. If it comes from the left, it's always in doubt. But if it bleeds, it leads.

    They've reduced journalism to cliches, and not good ones.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 12:31:00 PM PDT

  •  Delitigimization..... (7+ / 0-)

    “There are concerted campaigns by activists …. who actually are trying to de-legitimize the press. That is their goal in order to make the activists the first place people go.”

    No, Chuckie. As usual, you got it wrong yet again. The corporate press has done a lot to de-legitimize itself.

  •  Is this the same as "Mainstream media"? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calvino Partigiani

    Daily Kos has become one of my key sources of "non-traditional" media.

  •  News infotainment fosters (5+ / 0-)

    intellectual laziness, too. People never get past passively being told what to think -- and they're being told that they are listening to robust analysis. And they're being told that what they're learning is astute and special. It's occult knowledge that only people with the wherewithal to watch Fox news can understand.

    The viewers feel emotionally like they are satisfying intellectual curiosity. What they're really getting is a prescribed set of beliefs they are trained to spit back out at a prescribed time. Right after they stop listening to anyone else. (Like when a "liberal" utters and actual fact.)

    Americans are taking a real hit in their ability to do critical analysis. This extends beyond the folks you might not expect to be analytical, too. I know people with MDs and PhDs who do this.

    "Broccoli could take down a government. Broccoli is revolutionary." --Kris Carr

    by rb137 on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 12:33:17 PM PDT

    •  "It was on TV, it must be true" thinking. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rb137

      It is amazing to watch Faux news watchers screaming in adult tantrums at scientists and other experts who are just trying to share information that is common knowledge in most scientific fields.  The Fauxites seem to enjoy 'humiliating' more educated people with superior Faux knowledge.  

      Unfortunately, you are also right about technically educated people refusing to add up information they already have to even consider a conclusion which does not fit in their bigoted political universe.

      •  It boils down to treating everything (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        allie4fairness, paulex, NoMoreLies

        in the world as if it's a belief system -- and applying standards of validity for a belief system to everything. Once everyone is operating in this mode, all they have to do is take their conclusion and replace their axiom with it.

        And they do Illustrious Ontological Infotainment:

        "Either Santa Claus exists, or this sentence is false." Or another version: "Santa Claus does not exist. At least one of these sentences is not true."

        omg! Santa Claus exists!

        "Broccoli could take down a government. Broccoli is revolutionary." --Kris Carr

        by rb137 on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 05:02:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I think the main problem is (9+ / 0-)

    the model of news-as-a-product.  Investigative journalism is expensive, and doesn't make sense for media companies from a cost/benefit perspective.

    As long as our system for informing the public of important news is based on what stories make the most money for the news companies, we can't expect the media to do anything other than try to maximize their profits.

  •  Thanks, Egberto (3+ / 0-)

    you are always worth the read.

    Back in the days of multiple newspapers with different owners and publishers, a lot of the papers were similar to Daily Kos or Red State.  They provided news with a point of view; some of them even had Democrat or Republican in their names.

    In addition to corporate consolidation, I think a big problem today is our short attention spans.  Folks want quick bites of news, not in depth analysis.  Stenographers provide that. The only things that have grown longer are movies.  

  •  A few years ago there was an effort by a lot (6+ / 0-)

    of pretty prominent journalists and scholars, an international array, to put together some kind of publicly funded joint effort to create a non-corporate news source that would go wherever a story took them, regardless of political or economic viewpoint or agendas.

    I had high hopes because of the people involved but I haven't heard another word.

    There is no reason why something along those lines could not be created.

    The mainstream media has pretty much already discredited themselves. I don't know anyone who bothers to follow them as though they had any relevance anymore except for disaster reporting and breaking news type stuff. They are completely worthless when it comes to political or economic or environmental type stuff or anything requiring more than a cursory coverage. Politics is almost exclusively horse race and polling, forget any kind of in-depth policy analysis.

    “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

    by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 12:49:04 PM PDT

  •  There's mass-reach media, and internet media. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lunachickie, Dave925

    The mass-reach is the one that can reach every single person in the US in a day or two with the identical message. The internet media is mainly the tail of the mass-reach dog, and you just have to go to any place where people talk about things to see most of it follows what mass-reach puts out.

    Even if you don't watch tv or listen to radio, you still talk about what mass-reach puts out, because that's what gets talked about.

    (And, btw, it's not just news, but values inculcated through entertainment and advertising.)

    Now, I gotta tell you, the abysmal irrelevance of the mass-reach media to the needs and concerns of the voting public is NOT new news. It's been this way for decades.

    Decades.

    People think the internet is going to change all this, and it could if the main bloggers weren't still bedazzled by the 'new = improved' brainwashing (and the WWW is 20 years old now) which is, someday, somehow, going to 'crash the gates.'

    Well, since the Internet what's mainly been crashed is the Nation, the people in it, values in public offices, and the general quality of life.

    There's a line in Blade Runner which summarizes the blogosphere's failure to use this media for anything other than sniping, mocking, and bemoaning, the state of Mass-Reach media, instead of using it to break into the Mass-Reach Media's All-Important Narrative-Creation.

    Then we're stupid, and we'll die.
    It's long long past the time when we figure out how to break up the de facto Monopoly on the conversations and ideas put forth in our shared Public space.

    And you know what? Until that becomes our priority, the best we'll do is win the occasional skirmish, while the 1%s agitation/propaganda apparatus continues to roll over us.


    When the Oceans rise, what's the plan for moving the nuke plants? Anyone?

    by Jim P on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 12:49:42 PM PDT

  •  Bedrock Failure of the Framers. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925

    The premise and expectations of the free press are just utterly incorrect, and arguably have been through our entire history.

    Press freedom amounts to flat-out surrender into the hands of the nobility of the venue and exercise of civilization itself.

    But we have a long way to go to making it irrelevant.

    We haven't got serious competition for it yet, on a consistent and national scale. That alone is a helluva daunting project.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 12:53:28 PM PDT

    •  Stunning... Totally (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AlexDrew
      We haven't got serious competition for it yet, on a consistent and national scale. That alone is a helluva daunting project.
      Helloooooooooooooooooooooooo?

      The INTERNETS??

      YouTube? these tools don't exist????????

      I'm baffled... truly baffled; progressives REFUSE to see the tools are right in front of them, and get busy using those tools.

      this is hopeless.

      "We are beyond law, which is not unusual for an empire; unfortunately, we are also beyond common sense." Gore Vidal

      by Superpole on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 01:29:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Gooserock can really go out there sometimes. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Superpole

        New Republic: So are the left-wing blogs as bad as the Tea Party ones in this case? -------------------------Chuck Schumer: Left-wing blogs are the mirror image. They just have less credibility and less clout.

        by AlexDrew on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 02:02:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah, but it's not just Gooserock (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AlexDrew

          weekly there are several diaries here demanding traditional media DO THE JOB that is in fact the job of progressives and the deadbeats in congress.

          I'm baffled as to why so many progressives are in total denial regarding the media tools we have within our reach, totally affordable and effective.

          "We are beyond law, which is not unusual for an empire; unfortunately, we are also beyond common sense." Gore Vidal

          by Superpole on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 02:32:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  With our talent and issues, (0+ / 0-)

            there are no excuses. That's why I have that Schumer quote. It is our elected reps that we demand so little of because we are afraid losing ground on social issues. They are the roadblock almost as ,much as the GOP. Can you imagine a GOP pol saying that about right-wing blogs?

            We have to work with what we have instead of complaing about what we lack.

            MSNBC, FOX, CNN etc...are not the DKos front page. it is up to us.

            New Republic: So are the left-wing blogs as bad as the Tea Party ones in this case? -------------------------Chuck Schumer: Left-wing blogs are the mirror image. They just have less credibility and less clout.

            by AlexDrew on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 03:36:03 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  This is a We The People problem (3+ / 0-)

    It happens that I have been doing work in this area for quite some time.  The first time it seemed to me that there was a systemic problem was in mid 1970s Texas as I was a new graduate looking around for a job as a cub reporter.  

    In my case, everywhere I went that looked to me like a good independent paper of the sort that might someone like me, the story was the same.  "Ordinarily we would be interested in hiring someone like you but we are about to announce bankruptcy."

    Now, with hindsight there were several things going on.  One was that the cost of operating a newspaper were going up due to the arrival of the first electronic technology and other costs.

    Another more subtle thing was that conservative bankers were pulling lines of credit because they were getting told at the kinds of conferences that donors of Republican Party candidates went to that they need not fund "the liberal press."

    Another thing that was going on was a marriage of convenience between the big oil and polluting industry giants and the evangelical right.  

    Think tanks were hiring.  They were hiring a lot of my peers and they could hire entire graduating classes from J schools and business oriented advertising arts programs.

    I had a chance to button hole Bill Moyers in a hallway at the University of Texas some years back and asked him what he thought of the trend in local newspapers.  He had just given a lecture on the national trend.  He said he really didn't pay much attention to the local scene.  

    Over the years, what I have moved over to is working in ways that new technology might be applied to local grass roots organizing at the community level.

    There you meet up with the educational understandings that people have about media that effectively predate the 1970s.

    Local people see the national trends but tend not to connect with how that ought to be a concern to organize around at the local level.  The question of how a community could be starved for information on purpose and thus, led down the rosy path is very difficult to get across.  In fact, few actually get this.  

    Recently I have succeeded in establishing a web site and a newsletter for a local group that tries to take the skill set from journalism and work it into an effort to innovate a new sort of local media.  Response is mixed.  It may not succeed because there is some resistance from those who can't see why we should adopt new methods when the old methods, which didn't take on the question of enlarging into a new media role, seemed to them just fine.  

    What I have thought for many years now is that we need to incorporate media sense into primary and secondary education.  There are a few people doing what is called Media Literacy.  A great group by that name exists in Albuquerque, NM, for instance.  They do programs and curriculum development for schools as well as engage in other forms of media advocacy.  

    But it is the local democratic party organizing committee, the local board, the local activists who need to become concerned about the problem of innovating local solutions to the information needs of the local community.  

    The analogy is energy.  We need to decentralize energy so that individual homeowners can sell back energy to the grid, and we need to decentralize our own thinking about media and what it is and what it is for.  

    This won't happen overnight.  A lot of people never intended to become professional communicators.  Never went to school to get an education in journalism, public relations, advertising or English.  A great many people learned the art of specifically not communicating as workers in a formal organizational context that required conformity with what the specialists in the PR department were doing and no independent thought allowed.  There are quite a few Democrats who are retired bureaucrats who can't take leaps of creative innovation and won't allow others to either.  

    But, given all the problems we still have to find a way.  The world needs us to get past our limitations and our sense of pace coming from a past era.  

    We have to innovate.  It may be corny to repeat this oft repeated bromide, but it is true:  We are the People we have been waiting for.  

    There won't be help arriving from some experts we should depend on.  

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 12:53:30 PM PDT

    •  How do we get copies of our writing or videos or (0+ / 0-)

      other media to the frazzled people working 3 crummy part time jobs?  The real problem is sharing information in a way that distinguishes between credible sources and BS from Faux.  Then the information has to be delivered.  

      It is good to see so many bright people tackling this central problem.

      •  I think the clues are in pre-media networking (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        allie4fairness

        For me, the way people used to organize before there was TV in the days when networking had nothing to do with wires or boxes, has some useful clues.  

        People were hard up back then and working a lot for a little.  I have been contemplating the way that the use of email seems to be caught up in socializing from the early grades and our essential concepts for why we communicate.  This gets in the way, frankly, of making a lot of progress very fast, but there is some evolution that can be observed.  

        I think this site is valuable beyond what many people might think.  There has never been an ability to share this much dialogue about what progressive approaches to policy might be and how to create influence to push them.  

        Time does not seem to be on our side, of course.  

        I see younger people, whose experience with the internet is so different from that of people of the TV generation, beginning to rebuild the older definition of networking back into the circumstance.  

        I wish it were happening a lot faster, but then I feel really thankful that we at least have the internet and the various communications capacities we do.  

        They are at least there to learn how to use.  

        What a world of hurt we would really be in if all that didn't exist.

        hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

        by Stuart Heady on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 06:00:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  "News of the future must be crowd-sourced." (3+ / 0-)

    I could not agree more!

    Reputable bloggers now have the responsibility to fact check not only the politician and corporations, but the traditional media and false bloggers on the take. In that light, the traditional media is but a burden, not a boon, to understanding issues.

    News of the future must be crowd-sourced. No longer must Americans allow the few to be the arbiters of news or reality. It is time that the traditional news media is deemed irrelevant. They are. Bloggers have asserted their worth, and it is time that all of America is made aware as well.

    * * * DONATE/VOLUNTEER: Marianne Williamson for CA-33 * * * #CampaignFinanceReform is the lynchpin of our democracy. #AIKIDOPROVERBMoveSoonerNotFaster ~

    by ArthurPoet on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 12:56:10 PM PDT

    •  Hasn't this been going on since 2004 at least? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ArthurPoet

      New Republic: So are the left-wing blogs as bad as the Tea Party ones in this case? -------------------------Chuck Schumer: Left-wing blogs are the mirror image. They just have less credibility and less clout.

      by AlexDrew on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 02:03:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Traditional News Media (4+ / 0-)

    is making, or already has made themselves irrelevant.

    Most Americans are aware of this to some degree.

    Merely reinforce the idea among all voters, and encourage them to do real research.

    Suddenly, it dawns on me, Earnest T. Bass is the intellectual and philosophical inspiration of the TeaParty.

    by Nebraska68847Dem on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 01:01:32 PM PDT

  •  The Ukraine crisis is a classic example of (0+ / 0-)

    the problems of crowdsourcing as we get some really skewed versions of information in DK which thankfully force us to test their credibility, but for those LoFos elsewhere, this only causes needless pie fights not unlike I/P

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013 (@eState4Column5).

    by annieli on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 01:04:19 PM PDT

  •  Sorry to be a crab, but (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AlexDrew

    ...you kind of blew your point about the competency of traditional news media by incorrectly identifying Greg Abbott as "Lt. Governor" instead of Attorney General of Texas.

  •  A few answers. (3+ / 0-)
    In a world made up of more than 7 billion people and 195 countries, why is it that the traditional media tends to have the same stories and the same take on them?
    Because we get the news from other news outlets. Most news org don't have any bureaus anymore. So they watch or listen to other broadcasts and then jump on those stories.
    Why are there no stories on most countries the United States is actively engaged with until there's a preamble to some military conflict? Why is there such poor context on every issue or story?
    Because too few people care about what happens in other parts of the world. Their eyes glaze over and they change the channel.
    Was it not the traditional media’s responsibility to research health care systems throughout the world when Republicans lied about the failures of health care systems in Canada, Great Britain and Europe in general? Bloggers did this. Was the traditional news media not responsible for fact checking the stories of people who claimed to be helped or hurt by Obamacare? Bloggers did. Was it not the traditional news media’s responsibility to research the coal ash corporate and political corruption in North Carolina? Bloggers did.
    There is a palpable fear of being called biased and liberal in management. For the last 70+ years the right has made claims of media bias towards liberals and they became extremely effective in the 80s. Management is terrified that they will lose viewers/listeners because they have called out lies.

    This doesn't hold true for the right wing media. They actually use it as a badge of honor when they are called biased. For decades they have worked from their own facts but only in the last twenty years or so have they been able to create alternate realities that actually stick. The next time someone uses one of these alternate realities point out the actual facts to that person and see what happens. What you will generally see is that person ignoring the facts that you present because they have their own facts. It doesn't matter if you have an actual expert and they have Big Pharma Limbaugh. Limbaugh says what they want to hear which makes those things facts.

    Reputable bloggers now have the responsibility to fact check not only the politician and corporations, but the traditional media and false bloggers on the take. In that light, the traditional media is but a burden, not a boon, to understanding issues.
    Sure that works great for people that read blogs and are engaged but it isn't going to fix the overall problem. You're preaching to the choir and even when those things are posted on Facebook no one reads the actual article or post. They read the headline, figure out which way that post leans and then argue with their own facts. It's one of the reasons I rarely comment on politics there.

    What will work better is if we get our own outrage machine going. Don't complain about bad reporting online and on blogs. We are part of the great unwashed. Instead you have to call and write to the management of these news shows nyou have to do numbers that will matter. It's why MRC has so much sway over the news. They pump out the outrage and their people all call in. They flood the zone to make it sound like they are far more numerous than they are.

    Most of the people taking a hard line against us are firmly convinced that they are the last defenders of civilization... The last stronghold of mother, God, home and apple pie and they're full of shit! David Crosby, Journey Thru the Past.

    by Mike S on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 01:08:36 PM PDT

    •  Absolutely true: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mike S

      I worked for a paper where management was very conscious and fearful of the paper being labeled liberal. So they became overly cautious ... and lost readers and advertisers anyway.

      There is a palpable fear of being called biased and liberal in management. For the last 70+ years the right has made claims of media bias towards liberals and they became extremely effective in the 80s. Management is terrified that they will lose viewers/listeners because they have called out lies.
  •  Follow The Money (4+ / 0-)

    In the corporate world, that's all that matters. Everything is ultimately run by the Sales Department.

    And as the song and dance begins, the children play at home with needles, needles and pins.

    by The Lone Apple on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 01:13:56 PM PDT

  •  Excellent post, Egberto, I'm glad you brought this (0+ / 0-)

    up. We need to hear this every day. Wish there were a dailykos equivalent blog for the Lone Star State.

    Many of Houston’s major traditional news media were present. Yet news from the event for the most part went uncovered.
    I believe to get the issues out to the people, especially to low-information voters, Democratic activists need to put on "street plays," in which issues are discussed. People in the precinct could be recruited to take part in such playlets, which could be enacted wherever workers are going to work--standing in line at bus stops, outside convenience stores waiting to be chosen for day laborer jobs, pushing grandchildren in strollers through public parks and squares.

    People working three jobs that pay $7 an hour aren't going to be home to be "phone-banked." They probably don't have landlines anyway, cellphones being far more convenient. They also don't have time to read dead-tree newspapers or watch TV to see political ads.

    We have to get the information to where the people are!

    By the way, after I thought of this idea I read an article in The WaPo where activists are doing this very thing in India--putting on street plays that describe the issues.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 01:19:44 PM PDT

  •  <sigh>.. ONE More Time: (4+ / 0-)

    Traditional news media, conservative/corporate controlled media-- whatever one wants to call it-- does not take orders from progressive Bloggo world, or anyone outside of their respective companies.

    if you think they do take orders, or care about the "common good" of the republic you are very, very naive.

    IT'S A BUSINESS.

    further, due to the fact our nation is in such crappy shape economically, and the additional fact our entire system of dog-eat-dog capitalism sucks for tens of millions of people-- it's a no brainer that status quo controlled media has a very different mission/agenda than the one you demand.

    it was crystal clear to me and numerous others years ago their agenda is to NOT inform the citizens (the ones actually watching, which is not a huge number). their goal is to MISinform the citizens and/or distract them from the crucial issues facing our nation. and I'm talking about networks like NBC, etc.; we already know FAUX News is a joke.

    Status quo means the One Percent does not want change, remember? what does change have to offer them? anything in terms of profit?

    finally, it's insulting to believe/posit the citizens out there are getting their info ONLY from traditional media.

    yes, there's numerous really stupid people in our nation, but there's also numerous people intelligent enough to know they can't depend only on traditional media for crucial information.

    "We are beyond law, which is not unusual for an empire; unfortunately, we are also beyond common sense." Gore Vidal

    by Superpole on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 01:22:11 PM PDT

  •  Ric Scott, Florida (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calvino Partigiani, a2nite

    That's how he managed to get elected in Florida. Alex Sink "cheating" on a debate with a crib sheet or some such got way more attention than Ric Scott being a billion dollar fraudster.

    When they talk about Sheldon Adelson, it's all about Israel and online gaming. Awhile back, Rachel Maddow reported on his troubles with the DoJ over bribes proffered in Macau, the operation which has made him so obscenely rich. I figure what he wants most is to own the Justice Department, and thereby avoid prosecution.

    Mark Twain: It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.

    by Land of Enchantment on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 01:27:58 PM PDT

  •  I think it's important to remember... (3+ / 0-)

    that while the media conglomerates own a big share of the blame here, we the American people share in it as well.  If people demanded hard hitting news and real reporting, we'd get it, because that would sell. But instead, so many of us are more interested in puff pieces and turn the channel at hard hitting reporting, especially if it involves other countries.  Go to Europe or Australia or New Zealand and look at their news.  They have big media companies too (but also have well funded government media like the ABC and BBC) but they get real news.  They hear about other countries.  The stuff we get is related to their puff piece "Entertainment Tonight" type programs.  I don't care if its a blog or a new station or a news paper, if no one looks at, it won't be long for this world.  And that's a big problem.  

    One concern I have with getting news from "crowd funded" sources is, how do you know it's credible? And just as important, if we go down this path, it isn't hard to see a world where those on the left get their news from sites like DailyKos while those on the right get their news from places like redstate and breitbart.  But how do we get news out to the folks on the right (and, more importantly, those in the middle) who might avoid what are seen as "political" sites? Where do we go to reach them?

  •  Here is the thing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Papuska

    about the "traditional media": Its all about selling advertising and what drives advertisers is not thoughtful essays about climate change, no matter how fact laden they are or how well researched. It is what sells. That produces a narrow range of story lines or narratives that the media can adopt. Fortunately online advertising opportunities like with Google and Facebook, among others, which charge by the click, and can more carefully target than "traditional media' are driving these companies out of business. I am not sure what will replace them, but hopefully it will be better.

  •  McChesney & Nichols had it right (0+ / 0-)

    In their book, surveying the state of journalism in America, they concluded that the only hope was that there would arise the political will to create a system modeled on something like the BBC and the Guardian in Britain.  This is echoed by PBS and NPR in the US, but only to a very small degree.

    We could adopt a non-profit model and we could see a great improvement in the 4th estate as fulfilling the Jeffersonian vision as an agent for the enlightened public.

    We could.

    However, we probably won't.  We all prefer to complain and to talk back to our TVs as a kind of sport.

    Trying to urge the corporate media to adhere to the principles of journalism school is not likely to get us anywhere.  These people have been about setting the situation up as it is since the 1950s.  Our complaints are music to their ears.  

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 02:07:47 PM PDT

  •  The Wendy Davis moment (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Snarky McAngus, a2nite, Maverick80229

    that said it all for me about the corporate media:

    They all reported on her filibuster of the anti-choice legislation.  We heard all about her pink sneakers, how long she spoke and how she took care of bodily functions.

    But what she said in her speech?  Her actual words?  Somehow that never made it into the story.

    I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death; I am not on his payroll. - Edna St. Vincent Millay

    by Tara the Antisocial Social Worker on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 02:30:26 PM PDT

    •  A case in point-- the San Antonio media (3+ / 0-)

      San Antonio has a Hispanic majority population and usually votes Democratic-- but this is not reflected or served in its wretched newspaper, broadcast TV stations, and radio, which are all corporate-owned and politically reactionary. They bury any news that contradicts the right-wing conventional wisdom, and they substitute Infotainment. Nearly all of their coverage is focused on the Spurs and "best chicken-fried steak in town" polls: Bread and Circuses. If one depended entirely on these sources it would be impossible to learn what was really going on in the world and develop any sense of outrage about it.

      •  I know the feeling. (1+ / 0-)

        Same way with the Denton newspaper.  It's small, but corporately owned.  They focus on local stories, like a recent Civil War re-enactment, ironically, but offer right wing propaganda for national news.

        "Woe to those who make unjust laws,
    to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights
    and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, 
making widows their prey
    and robbing the fatherless."

        by Snarky McAngus on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 04:45:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Nice article -- just one fix (0+ / 0-)

    2nd paragraph: "populace" instead of "populous"

    (from my inner English teacher)

  •  Another conspirationist diary... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cordgrass

    I clicked the link "The stories one hears about Ukraine are pathetically out of step with reality." and I found some horrific pro-Putin propaganda.

    Shame on the diarist for spreading such conspirationist nonsensical garbage.
    Among the thousands of lies in this absurd article, the most ridiculous was to pretend the Crimean "vote" wasn't rigged! (there was not even a ballot paper for staying in Ukraine...)
    And the blind pro-secessionist ideology at work there is as discredited by history as the Confederacy.

    You're entitled to your own opinions, not to your own facts.
    The diarist hates that apparently.

  •  I'm still waiting for Obama to bring it back (0+ / 0-)

    The Fairness Doctrine.

    Doesn't that fall under the rubris of the Commerce Department? FCC? I'm all but certain he (or his indefatigable reflexive defenders) has a GREAT excuse. Not his job. Not his problem. Let Congress do it. We're helpless. Sorry.

    He's writing his memoirs. Takes a lot out of your day.

    "I feel a lot safer already."--Emil Sitka

    by DaddyO on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 04:58:16 PM PDT

  •  must be made irrelevant? (0+ / 0-)

    aren't they irrelevant already?

    Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
    DEMAND CREATES JOBS!!!
    Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 05:16:11 PM PDT

  •  but what do bloggers know about what rw radio is (0+ / 0-)

    doing? or any media analyst? US media needs to be fixed and that won't happen until the left starts challenging rw radio.

    why is the left determined to do everything the hard way? we can't fix or reform media while ignoring the most effective propaganda operation in history as it continues to intimidate and enable this pathetic corporate trad media.

    Was it not the traditional media’s responsibility to research health care systems throughout the world when Republicans lied about the failures of health care systems in Canada, Great Britain and Europe in general?
    the rw radio gods have been lying about canadian and european health care for 25 years. it created the myths and lies screamed at those town halls to successfully beat the public option. it made single payer politically impossible long ago. it beat 'hilary care'. because the left didn't know what they were spewing from 1200 radio stations, and didn't challenge it.

    the biggest PC and media cop and censor in the country, nationally and locally, is still the rw radio monopoly. that's why meteorologists/TV producers across the country dared not say the words "global warming".

    there is no more effective buzz machine. there is no more effective medium for creating made to order constituencies and 'popular' opinion and conventional 'wisdom' or for determining what and who is and isn't acceptable in media and politics. locally and nationally, as coordinated by the republican koch wall street think tanks.

    those republican asshats in media and on the floor of congress can say really stupid shit and get away with it because it's already been pounded into the earholes of 50 mil people a week.

    Why is there such poor context on every issue or story?
    unlike the trad media which is largely passive and pathetic mainly for what it leaves out, right wing radio can create its own realities through coordinated unchallenged repetition. and it can distort and disinform and lie and divert like no other medium.

    and, as i wrote about in this diary http://www.dailykos.com/... it is routinely managed by local and national elements of one single party, for their purposes.

    many of the deficiencies that media analysts find in our trad media are a direct result of a complete inability and lack of desire of the left to know what the 1%'s think tanks are pumping out of those 1200 radio stations to 50 mil a week.

    when analysts blame fox for distractions like benghazi and the IRS stupidity, or the right's irrationality, or our political center being too far to the right on the trad media's corporate friendly lameness, they ensure that our media problems will only get worse.

    the problem is on the radio, and it won't fade away soon unless the left does something about it.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 05:23:59 PM PDT

  •  The problem is for every blogger reporting and (0+ / 0-)

    fact checking there are 50 putting out echo chamber bullshit or just plain bullshit and thats on both sides.
    I'm a member of a small atheist community,  but not a day goes by when some asshat declares that all atheists are smarter and all atheists love science, blah freakin blah.
    I know it flies in the face of convention, but there are some pretty dumb liberals and progressives too.

  •  When you generalize so broadly, you harm everyone. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Peace Missile

    There are plenty of local newspapers out there still practicing journalistic ethics but every time you tar all of them with the same brush, you run them all a little bit further down the road on that rail.
    My local newspaper, for example, the Delaware County Daily Times, has never run a single bogus story about someone getting screwed by Obamacare, but it has run several articles, columns and editorials about our governor, Pa.'s Tom Corbett, blocking Medicaid expansion. The columns and editorials all point out the great harm he is doing to the citizens of Pennsylvania, based on actual facts.
    These honest newspapers are going down the tubes at an alarming rate while chortling bloggers and commentators seem incapable of discerning the difference between news and opinion.  For example, comments on articles reporting that the Newark Star-Ledger's latest layoff of 150 newsroom employees celebrated the defeat of its supposed "liberal agenda" and equated coverage of Gov. Chris Christie's "bridgegate" scandal (the news) with an intent to "get him." (Opinion).  As if supporting Christie required the news media  to not not even  mention anything negative about him.
    Commentators find it easy to jump on the Internet and dash off a few lines of vitriol.  They would find trying to actually cover the news in a fairly objective fashion or write a bylined, fact-based column much more difficult and expensive.  Please support honest journalists trying to do an ethical job while facing the loss of careers as "traditional journalism" dies an agonizing death, yet another symptom of the loss of democracy as we knew it.

    Freedom of speech, in my view, does not mean the freedom to buy the United States government -- Bernie Sanders

    by OnePingOnly on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 07:57:20 PM PDT

  •  Diary title is the most important sentence (0+ / 0-)

    in the whole thing, indeed, on the entire site today.  Big Media must be destroyed if the nation is to be saved, and the only way for that to happen is for Americans of good conscience to turn it off.  

    Shirley Chisholm was right. Our Republic is in deep trouble.

    by Big River Bandido on Mon Apr 14, 2014 at 04:11:40 AM PDT

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