Saturday, 29 November 2014

Network news is broken. Defend the internet, it's your only hope.

Reading Sharyl Atkisson's book, Stonewalled, I am struck not by how the White House is illegally using the spy services to disable critics, but by how corrupt and broken network news is.  The government has mastered the art of snooping, flattering and intimidating.  The network news managers have mastered the art of copying each other so the same half dozen stories appear on every network.  Investigative reporting that puts the Obama White house or major sponsors in a bad light will die or be shunted to the website.

The branches of the US government seem united in suppressing whistleblowers and everything embarrassing.  Stonewalling is the norm.  False friendly calls from officials are to "pump and mine" which means to find out what documents you may have got hold of and get copies of them and the names of leakers.  They say they want to respond to the specifics but they are just checking to see how much of the truth you know.  Lying is standard operating procedure.  Canada seems better but bureaucracy will always trend towards covering its butt.

The reporters largely don't want to rock the boat.
The network managers are busy scanning the New York Times and Huffington Post and the Washington post to find out what has been defined as "news".  Then they send their reporters out to cover the same ground with a little distinctive spin.  New stories are not wanted and new stories that make the White House or Democrats or sponsors look bad are slow-walked and stopped.  (The one bright light:  Unwanted stories may make it into the web edition despite being studiously ignored in newscasts.)

It's disgusting.  I don't think it's going to be fixed.  The government under Obama and Holder and company have gotten too good at disabling inquiry.  The owners of the networks are too lost in sniffing each other's bums to find out what's for dinner.  The internet can be suppressed, as China has almost proven, but it is a wild wild west by comparison to network TV news.  Look to the internet for the missing viewpoints and fight to protect the freedoms it enjoys.

Sharyl Atkisson is pretty good at what she does.  When being pumped and mined, she pushes back with bold well-documented questions that I wouldn't have had the balls to pose.  ("Don't ask me what was said. You had your people at the meeting!" (No, we didn't). "Yes you did." (Names names))

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