Journalism

Corporate media, a propaganda system for elite interests

It’s been Keith Baldrey’s style to advance positions of government and industry leaders and tell others to stay quiet and listen to their betters.

So, I was not surprised when Global TV’s main political opinionater disparaged the medical personnel, health scientists, policy specialists and community advocates behind PoP BC.

PoP BC formed after health professionals became concerned about inadequate health policies in BC. Are participants qualified to express opinions different than government officials who balance political issues with health optimization? The answer to that question is a resounding yes.

When I saw Baldrey’s comment, I had been reading material about journalism by Tapani Lausti. He has commented extensively on large news organizations. In these excerpts, readers might be reminded of Baldrey and other opinion purveyors working in Canada’s corporate media.

… I don’t really believe that journalism can in the end be unbiased. All writing reflects some value system. In my own journalism I sympathise with the poor rather than the rich, the powerless rather than the powerful, the occupied rather than the occupier…

One of the most painful characteristics to observe in any journalist is self-importance. The journalists suffering from this instinctively see themselves as being above the rabble because of their frequent closeness to the centres of power…

The editors say that because of its profit-based ownership and business-friendly ethos, corporate media has to present to their readers a world where business life more or less accords with human needs. It sees nothing wrong with societies where the profit motive rules. The media thus filters out facts and interpretations which might disturb this world view. Articles revealing connections between corporate greed, world politics and climate change remain too rare…

The ease with which much of the media goes along with this task of filtering unwanted facts and connections is at the source of Media Lens‘s criticism. The editors [David Edwards and David Cromwell] argue “that the corporate mass media — not just the right-wing Tory press, but also the most highly respected ‘liberal’ media — broadcasters like the BBC, and newspapers like the Guardian, the Observer and the Independent — constitute a propaganda system for elite interests.”

Media Lens was shocked by some responses to their criticism. After a pompous and contemptuous reaction from one Observer journalist, Edwards and Cromwell replied: “Serious debate is not welcome in the mainstream; dissent is treated with derision and contempt, or ignored. There is no sense that ideas are to be proposed and challenged, debated and discussed — we the public are supposed simply to listen to your wise words and shut up. To dare to do anything else is deemed outrageous by journalists who seem to view themselves as celebrities to be feted, rather than public servants doing a job that demands vigorous challenge if it is to be done well.”

Journalists in Awe of Power

As to objectivity, mainstream media tends to promote all sorts of illusions of journalistic standards. It is not unusual to meet reporters who have fallen into a self-congratulatory mode which borders on arrogance. Assumed independence turns into preconceptions which hamper serious analysis…

The self-denial of being part of a distorted intellectual culture may explain the aggression often directed at dissidents like Noam Chomsky. Thus the leading British left-liberal newspaper The Guardian actually proceeded to do a demolition job on Chomsky. His interview was full of obvious distortions inserted by the interviewer Emma Brockes. The paper had to apologize, although — as Edwards and Cromwell point out [in NEWSPEAK in the 21st Century] — even the apology included distortions.

Journalism’s servility to power

…The depressing truth is that much of the world of journalism has sunk into disability or unwillingness to offer readers and listeners material which helps them to achieve a rational world view…

Mainstream journalists get entangled in a world view which echoes the way the world elites impose on citizens’ minds narratives which they claim reflects reality. Questioning the elite-sanctioned “truths” is a quick way of losing one’s credibility in the corridors of power.

…[Australian journalist John Pilger] describes the state of Western journalism like this: “Journalism students might well study this period to understand that the source of ‘fake news’ is not only the trollism, or the likes of Fox News, or Donald Trump, but a journalism self-anointed with a false respectability: a ‘liberal’ journalism that claims to challenge corrupt state power but, in reality, courts and protects it.”

British media’s role as the guardian of elite interests

Categories: Journalism

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