The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

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January 23, 2007

The State of the U.S. Media is… Compliant

You may have come to The NewStandard website today expecting to see an article analyzing Bush’s State of the Union address. But we at TNS are not about to break with tradition.

If you look back through the headlines of the 3,000 or so articles The NewStandard has produced, you’ll see that not a single TNS article has ever revolved around, or even been inspired by, the empty rhetoric of a politician – even when one says something outrageous or embarrassing. That would be counterintuitive to most hard-news outlets; a significant portion of news media coverage is devoted to relaying the words of presidents, legislators, and a cast of "officials" whose opinions are bought and paid for.

While it is important to scrutinize the implications of policies pushed and stances taken by people in power, modern news outlets habitually relay the views and opinions of politicians, often treating them as experts on this or that matter, letting them drive the news agenda but rarely bothering to investigate what, if any, real-world impact their words have.

A responsible media would pay far more attention to real stakeholders – the people closest to and most-affected by issues and events. For instance, it should not matter what President Bush – nor any president, liberal or conservative – has to say about Martin Luther King Jr. during the late civil-rights leader’s birthday commemorations. Aren’t there more important voices we could be hearing from in the limited space of a news article?

It should also matter little what the president has to say about the "state of the union," especially considering how rarely members of the public, or activist organizations, or public-interest groups are given a podium from which to tell what they think are the most important issues facing the United States. And yet for the last several days, Bush has been allowed to set the agenda for the mainstream and much of the alternative press.

Though we at TNS have a reputation for holding all kinds of politicians’ feet to the fire, we will not be partaking as the corporate media is joined by liberal and leftist outlets, all rushing to parrot or trash the president on topics his advisors believe are most strategically sensible for the media to focus on.

Instead, we will continue to focus on stories that we think better relay a sense of how people in the United States are faring.

While the media obsession with what the president says seems especially obvious right now, compliance is an ongoing state of the media. You may have noticed a sub-section in the new "fourth column" of the TNS front page called "Prez Sez." This box catalogues, on an ongoing basis, links to articles revolving around White House proclamations. Monitor these links for a few days and you’ll see just how prevalent and ridiculous such articles really are compared to decent, legitimate journalism.

Comments...

Joel Huberman: The State of the U.S. Media is… Compliant

Brian, you've hit the nail on the head. Just think of how many trees could be saved if all the news articles that uncritically echo the comments of politicians were simply never written. Keep up the good work!

Georgy Vladimirov: The State of the U.S. Media is… Compliant

I agree. When I didn't know better, I used to enjoy the rhetoric of Clinton. Now, I don't care at all what the president has to say. Instead, I care about what he does or doesn't do. Indeed the only reason I may read anything related to the state of the union would be to hear the criticism/thrashing where one can learn much more.

Darryl Hamson: The State of the U.S. Media is… Compliant

I agree as well, and this is one reason why I support The NewStandard. When it comes to politicians, journalists should always "watch what they do, not what they say".


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The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.