Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting has relieased their first ever report on the interaction of commercial and political power and news agencies, with a focus on detailing incidents in which financial or political power exerted control over things that were or were not reported. In many cases these examples seem like something out of a bad detective novel, but are instead real instances of the news media, the so-called fifth estate, allowing itself to be censored or pimping itself out to advertisers and power-dealers. Of course, this also pimps out the general public, which misses out on frequently critical information for making important life decisions.
Just yesterday I was watching a little bit of the Congressional hearings on last November’s botched TV election coverage on CNBC. It was amazing how every TV exec who got up in front of Congress made clear that they were willingly cooperating with Congress only for the good of the American public (and their bottom line), since the First Amendment otherwise makes them untouchable by lawmakers. The utter crass insincerety of these statements becomes chokingly intolerable when you read in FAIR’s report how the goals of the First Amendment have been twisted and corrupted when the apparent beneficiaries are the media companies and execs themselves. The ruling media oligarchy holds up the Constitution like an armored shield in front of Congress, while instead it is more like a cloak, behind which they wheel, deal and piddle away the very things the shield exists to protect.
How can the media industry be an effective check and balance to power when it is itself a broker of that very power?