"The wealthy, not only by private fraud but also by common laws, do every day pluck and snatch away from the people some part of their daily living. Therefore, when I consider and weigh in my mind these commonwealths which nowadays do flourish, I perceive nothing but a certain conspiracy of rich men in procuring their own commodities under the name and authority of the commonwealth.

They invent and devise all means and crafts, first how to keep safely without fear of losing that which they have unjustly gathered together, and next how to hire and abuse the work and labor of the people for as little money and effort as possible."

Thomas More, Utopia

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A Good Read

I recently finished a very good book by Fairness and Accuracy In Media (FAIR) founder Jeff Cohen in which he recounts his misadventures in the media mainstream. Cohen freely admits that he was naive to believe he could effectively carve out space for progressive viewpoints on mainstream cable news, however, the insights he gained from observing the news "process" from the inside was invaluable.

In his book, Cable News Confidential: My Misadventures in Corporate Media, Cohen recounts his experiences as a producer and occasional on-air pundit for CNN, FOX News, and finally (and most disastrously) MSNBC. What Cohen would run up against was the brick wall that protected the interests of corporate power from scrutiny or debate on the public airwaves. This book is a must-read for those who are curious about how the Fourth Estate, which so prides itself as the institution no democracy can do without for it speaks truth to power, so miserably failed us during the lead up to aggression in Iraq.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Of all the networks,I believe Fox is the most biased/partisan. It's the closest thing we have to the old TASS news agency of Soviet Russia.

Coldtype said...

Very true, but as a whole the entire western corporate media system plays a very similar role to the old TASS agency. They serve as a criticle idealogical filter for what is "acceptable" for public consumption.

The corporate media rely on advertisers for up to 75% of their revenues. Their "audience" are these advertisers, and their "product" is the number of eyeballs they can attract to watch the commercials between the entertainment and the "news".

An excellent source for more information on how we are ill-served by the media is a book by Edward S. Herman (Univ. of Penn.) and Noam Chomsky (MIT) called Manufacturing Consent, which they wrote in 1988. I also highly recommend that you check out Media Lens, the British version of Fairness and Accuracy in Media (FAIR). Both links are on my site. Get on their e-mail list and they will send you regular updates.