It is amazing the history of free press suppression amongst those who want to take or remain in control. And more than one philosopher has noted that; He Who owns The Media, Owns The Minds Of the People. Today we see Silicon Valley, namely Google and Facebook wanting to eliminate what they call “Fake News” from their websites, namely Google News and Facebook’s News Feed. Of course, this presents argyle stranger things a rather slippery slope – one of mass censorship. Indeed, both companies have been caught suppressing right-wing news and enhancing positive news towards left-leaning politicians.
In Washington DC, there is work to prevent Fake News in the media or online to keep foreign governments from trying to subvert our elections or poison the minds of our people from propaganda. Still, it is obvious by the mainstream media’s reporting on this effort in Washington DC that the target is right-wing alternative online news. The mainstream media is worried that it is losing millions of viewers, thus huge amounts of advertising revenues due to online news sites – competition they’d prefer not to have. Are all these forces; the mainstream media, Democrat Party, and major Internet social networks and search engines converging to control the our information and control the minds of the masses?
Well, if history is any judge, then the answer is yes. All dictatorships, communist countries, and even the NAZI regime worked very hard to control the news. Even the terrorists, spies and nation-states that sponsor terrorism use the news for propaganda.
There was an interesting article in Foreign Affairs published on January 7, 2014 titled; “Al Jazeera’s ‘False News’ Problem, ” by Judy Bachrach. The way I see this is that every news agency has an agenda, and one hell of a lot of power owning the minds of the people. When discussing this at our think tank, one thinker noted;
Wow, now those are some interesting comments indeed. Still, when i look at news media like RT (Russian TV) it often has a negative slant towards the US, sometimes they are right and make us look in the mirror, sometimes it’s just persnickety negative diatribes. More like a clock, right a couple of times per day. Al Jazeera America, I believe is often better than RT, but not when it comes to Middle East sectarian issues, they are all one-way also. RT is generally leftist slant, makes sense. Modern day news, well it takes a sharp eye and commitment to read between the type, bullet points and sound bites. Online news sites have a huge advantage over the printed news media. They can post articles and coverage of breaking news within minutes of it happening. With the advents of Twitter, Instagram and other leading social media platforms, news providers are able to be in the centre of the action, as it happens, reporting events live.
This has significantly changed the type of news we regularly read, and it has changed how and when we read it. While many of us will still enjoy a leisurely morning read of the newspaper, these luxuries tend to be consigned to the realms of lazy Sunday mornings. They are no longer something we all do on a daily basis. We are much more likely to scroll through the news feed on our favourite news provider’s website. While we are on the train, during a quick coffee at work, waiting for the kettle to boil, or whenever we want to, we can use our mobile devices, laptops and pc’s to access the latest news.
Statistics indicate that increasingly, whenever people have a few minutes, they are likely to tap in to their favourite news source to get the latest updates on any given subject.
The 21st Century newsroom has had to change and adapt too, as a result of this massive shift in how we access and read our news. Traditionally, as news items were picked up, they would go through a number of journalistic stages, following the editorial chain of command. A new news item would be approved, then, a journalist would work on it, pass it to the sub-editor, who would then work on it before passing it to the editor for the final editsprior to inclusion, just before going to press.
One huge growth area where technology has enabled amazing coverage of breaking American news is the ability to provide live coverage. A journalist can send updates, articles and live video footage, straight from their mobile device. It has the potential for making anyone a news reporter. Increasingly today, we see reports using video footage, tweets and photos taken by members of the public on who were one the scene, and witnessed the ‘news’ as it happened.
We have more choice and control over our news than ever before. We are fully in control of what we read and when we read it. Most people choose a news provider they like, setting up preferences so they immediately see updates on the news that interests them. Then, they log in whenever it suits them during the day.