while I completly agree that the press coverage of the war is possibly
its worst moment (up to now, we will have to wait to see what happens
tomorrow), I think that your view that this is due to "he streamlining
of reporting to cut costs and boost profits" is over simplified.  One of
the things pointed out by media activists (including in Bagdikian's THE
MEDIA MONOPOLY") is the dependence of the press on the government.  If a
reporter wants to advance his or her career, they need "sources" inside
the government who are willing to give them "inside scoops."  If you
don't play the game the way the authority figures like, they can freeze
you out and destroy your career (unless you are a radical muckraker like
Greg Palast, etc.).  So when the pentagon decides to "embed" the news in
the war, the media goes along partly out of intimidation, partly out of
laziness and also because it wants to present "the news" to the largest
market possible to maintain or boost advertizing rates.  Also since the
right has used the media effectively to convince media executives that
Americans want pablum instead of news, that is what is delivered.

Its not that profits aren't a major part of the picture, it is just that
the way it comes down is quite complex.  I think this complexity may
provide vulnerable spots especially if new "countercultural" trends
develop, since the advertizing execs are all tuned in to this and are
always competing to stimulate more and more consumption from "vanguard"
cultural trends.  The internet may also provide some opportunity for
opening people's eyes.  Wired online presented some stats before the war
that foreign news sites experienced a jump of about 20% from Americans
who clearly did not believe the news they were getting from American
media.  It has also come out that on average teenagers are spending more
time on the internet than watching TV.  Even though that time may be
playing games, that is still very frightening to the media moguls and
also to the pentagon since it means they do not have the attention they
need from the younger generation.  We should think about how we can grab
their attention.

-- Ivan

Doug Brugge wrote:

> Carol,
> I think it is important to document what the press has done in the
> case of Iraq.  To me it is far worse than the usual bias against
> working people, for the US and the like.  It was a near complete
> disregard of their responsibility.  The US press presented a view of
> the world that was totally at odds even with their European allies.
> While the press rarely live up to their stated mission, they usually
> give at least a taste of varying points of view.  As Chomsky always
> says, you can find all the news you need to hang the system in the
> media.  In my lifetime, this has tended to be true in other wars, even
> Gulf War I.  In this case the bias was more extreme, something that
> that has been aided by the streamlining of reporting to cut costs and
> boost profits.
> Doug

Ivan Handler
Networking for Democracy
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