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The mainstream media’s stranglehold on truly fair and balanced reporting…

The mainstream media’s stranglehold on truly fair and balanced reporting…
September 28, 2005 vheadline
In Commentary

VHeadline.com commentarist Mary MacElveen writes: At the bottom of his editorial “The TRUTH should hit the wires quicker than Al Qaeda planes the Twin Towers…” VHeadline.com editor/publisher Roy Carson cites this question: “The question remains though, just what does it take to get honest reporting out of the US and Venezuelan mainstream media or it just another myth that needs a quick burial in the face of black bag disinformation.”

When Governor Howard Dean was running for president of the United States, he appeared on Chris Matthew’s ‘Hardball’ on December 1st, 2003 addressing this very issue.

Here are the transcripts of that show:

“Eleven companies in this country (USA) control 90% of what ordinary people are able to read and watch on their television,” Dean said. “That’s wrong. We need to have a wide variety of opinions in every community.”

Host Chris Matthews asked whether Dean would “break up these conglomerations of power” — specifically “large media enterprises.” The candidate replied: “The answer to that is yes. I would say that there is too much penetration by single corporations in media markets all over this country.”

Dean added a comment that could be echoed in communities across the nation: “We need locally-owned radio stations. There are only two or three radio stations left in the state of Vermont where you can get local news anymore. The rest of it is read and ripped from the AP.”

Pressing for more clarity about Dean’s presidential agenda, Matthews asked: “Are you going to break up the giant media enterprises in this country?”

“Yes, we’re going to break up giant media enterprises,” Dean responded. Moments later he went on: “What we’re going to do is say that media enterprises can’t be as big as they are today. I don’t think we actually have to break them up, which Teddy Roosevelt had to do with the leftovers from the McKinley administration. … If the state has an interest — which it does — in preserving democracy, then there has to be a limitation on how deeply the media companies can penetrate every single community. To the extent of even having two or three or four outlets in a single community, that kind of information control is not compatible with democracy.”

Along with many others, I believe this appearance on ‘Hardball’ and the statement is what sunk Howard Dean’s candidacy. At that point, he was the front runner in the Democratic primaries. It was shortly after this appearance on ‘Hardball’ that his polling numbers began to slip and we saw John Kerry (who was polling at a distant third) overcome Governor Dean to go on to win both the New Hampshire primary and the Iowa caucuses.

Wins in both of these states are critical for any candidate, and the one that wins both usually goes on to become the nominee of the party. Before his appearance on ‘Hardball,’ Dean was polling some twenty points ahead of John Kerry.

I am of the opinion that the media conglomerates did not like what they were hearing; did not like his plans to break up their monopoly and used the power they had (and still have) to sabotage his campaign.

Shortly after his appearance on ‘Hardball’ … and before the Iowa caucuses … the media went into hyper-drive, stating over and over that he was unelectable. Here is what David Podvin wrote in an article “The Scream” concerning this very issue: “By mid-December, the news divisions of the four major television networks were reporting as fact that Dean was unelectable. The print media echoed the theme; on December 17, the Washington Post printed a front-page story that posited Dean could not win the presidency. The Post quickly followed up with an onslaught of articles and editorials reasserting that claim. Before the month was over, Dean’s lack of elect-ability had been highlighted in The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe, the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, and every other major paper in the United States.

As 2004 began, Time and Newsweek simultaneously ran cover stories emphasizing that Dean was unelectable. In the weeks before the Iowa caucus, the ongoing topic of discussion on the political panel shows was that Dean was unelectable. National talk radio shows repeatedly stressed that Dean was unelectable. The corporate Internet declared that Dean was unelectable. And the mainstream media continued with the storyline that Dean was unelectable right up until Iowans attended their caucuses. Iowa Democrats could not watch a television or listen to a radio or read a newspaper or go online without learning that Howard Dean was unelectable.”

I suggest to all that read this should read David Podvin’s article in its entirety. The media and those that own it are a powerful entity.

I also tackled this issue in “Knowledge is Power Or Power Over Knowledge” where I wrote “What would be his advice to those of us living in this modern era as we sit on our couches watching CNN, Fox, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, and NBC? Many of these news networks are continuing to sound very much the same. Many of these news networks are owned by parent companies that have investments in one or more of these news networks. These companies also have political and business agendas, and as hard as they try to remain objective and borrowing the phrase from FOX news, “fair and balanced”, their agenda in their programming is not.”

In conclusion … if people crave democracy in whatever country they live in, where the media is powerful as it is in the United States and Venezuela, they must seek out alternative news sites to fill in the gaps that are often left unsaid through the mainstream media.

It is my hope that some day we can be the Davids’ that go up against these mighty Goliaths’ and have leaders that can end the mainstream media conglomerates’ stranglehold.

For the stranglehold they have goes against the People’s interests in any quest for truly fair and balanced reporting.

Mary MacElveen

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