During the run-up to the war, Russert, along with the rest of the media, provided a platform for Vice President Dick Cheney and others to present their lying claims about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction without seriously calling any of them into question.
When U.S. President Ronald Reagan killed the Fairness Doctrine in 1988, he killed a piece of American democracy, says Robert F. Kennedy Jr. The duty to inform was taken from the media and replaced with the aims of corporations, to deliver people to advertising and to hell with balance, fairness and critical thinking.
"Today as a result of that [the elimination of the Fairness Doctrine] there are five major corporations that control 14,000 radio stations in the United States. All 2,200 TV stations," he said.
"They no longer have an obligation to serve the public interest. Their only obligation is to serve the shareholders, so they cut costs, they got rid of all their investigative reporters. Eighty per cent of investigative reporters have lost their jobs over the past 15 years," he said.
One of many reasons that Americans should not be sad that Tim Russert is dead. This nation will not be free and the the American people will never live in a just world until all of Russerts co-conspiritors in the media join him.
On all vital issues - war and peace, state and corporate corruption, human rights, social justice, or coverage of the Middle East's longest and most intractable conflict, Westminster and the establishment rest easy. They know BBC is "reliable" - pro-government, pro-business and dismissive of the public trust it disdains. Now more than ever.
This is the second time in a week where Goodman’s editorial judgment has left me deeply disappointed. First was the refusal to cover -- yet again -- the AIPAC conference, with all its implications for US politics and the Middle East. In a year when even the mainstream media was finally forced to take notice (with Jon Stewart of the Daily Show going so far as to refer to the lobby group as the 'Elders of Zion', Democracy Now appeared alone in missing the irony of three presidential candidates pledging to fight the domination of lobbyists in Washington genuflect to the most powerful of them all.
Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich introduced 35 articles of impeachment against George W. Bush for high crimes ranging from creating a false propaganda campaign to lead the country into an illegal war to felony treason in leaking classified information of CIA operative Valerie Plame to obstructing justice of the investigation of the attacks of September 11th.
One might think that this would be on the front page of every newspaper and website as well as the lead story on all the major networks.
What is the function of the media if not to inform the people about important decisions facing our country? How are we to take part in a participatory democracy if the media is unwilling to give us all of the information needed to make decisions?
Given the number of lives lost and the amount of money wasted, these were the moral equivalents of serious felonies. When crimes take place in other settings, eventually government officials step in. As the scandals become public, there are exposés and then prosecutions. In this case, it is the government committing the crime, and the media, in essence, covering it up.
Yes, media crimes rationalize war crimes. Both are shameful and worthy of indictment.
Official scrutiny of media practices rarely happens, partly because of Constitutional protections afforded journalists and media outlets, and partly because wronged parties have little recourse.
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