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The Media’s Masquerade

December 2, 2011

Relating to the class material on the state of public television and radio n the U.S., the most striking difference between the BBC and PBS is the relationship between the media and politicians. The footage of Jeremy Paxman on “Newsnight” where he was not afraid to challenge Prime Minister Tony Blair head-on, asking condescending questions and being plain mean about it, was a thing of beauty. That type of interview is unheard of in the US and today we seem to be moving farther away from it.

An article in the Huffington Post talks analyzes how the media deals with lies and it does not paint a good picture. Instead of questioning statements by politicians outright, like Paxman, the U.S. media consistently finds ways to circumvent the lie while still reporting on the story. According to the article they may report on the controversy surrounding a lie, the effectiveness of lying during a camping or just glance over the lie part of the story.

A 2006 blog post from the writer of the article, Dan Froomkin, discusses the media’s inability to call “bullshit,” as he states it. He writes,

“I still believe that no one is fundamentally more capable of first-rate bullshit-calling than a well-informed beat reporter – whatever their beat. We just need to get the editors, or the corporate culture, or the self-censorship – or whatever it is – out of the way. “

The mainstream media’s fear of losing access to sources and offending political sponsors seems to be eroding the once great journalism produced in this country. It is shocking to see how much better journalism is in Europe; I’m appalled at how sugarcoated and corrupt the media has become and it is clear to see that the public is being duped repeatedly by the press. It is important that politicians are given a hard time by reporters, it’s their job and it’s how the people hear the truth. The sad thing is that the only place on TV that you hear about this issue regularly is the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. The media can’t hide behind the mask of objectivity, they must seek the truth.

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