Journalistic Guidelines

Part of Journalist Tools

The Problem

media consolidation
click for full infographic

Six corporations – that’s it – that’s who’s controlling the information consumed by 277 million Americans. But, why is this a problem?

First off, a recent study at Princeton and Northwestern Universities has shown that corporations have all the influence on Government policy and the middle class has statistically near zero influence:

zeroinfouice

The result of this influence is that the middle class is disappearing – notice on this chart from the Federal Reserve Board that all the classes are losing except for the top 10%:

middle-class

This chart below shows how drastically things have changed in our time-period vs. other time-periods:

Distribution of average income during expansion periods
Distribution of average income during expansion periods

Notice how income growth has moved to the negative for the bottom 90%!

With all this corporate influence on our government, the last thing we need is complete corporate influence on our news media as well, but that’s what we have.

In addition, journalism budgets have been slashed because they news divisions don’t make the kinds of profits these big corporations need to show Wall Street. What this means is that no, journalists are not in on this big conspiracy to do horrible reporting, it’s that there are no jobs and resources available for journalists, period!

So we have a government that is no longer working for us, and we have a news media that is not putting the resources towards keeping an eye on that government that is supposed to be working for us!

This is how we end up with massive news media failures, like the media not questioning WMD’s in Iraq, resulting in the Iraq war, and the media’s more recent failings reporting the Edward Snowden leaks. Ultimately, the whole democratic process starts to fail, which is exactly what we see happening right now.

What needs to be done

Well, in addition to keeping an eye on our government, we need to keep an eye on our news media and see if we can get them to start doing their job again. And if they don’t. then collectively, we’ll have to step in and start doing the job for them.

How do we do this?

  1. Get an overall view of what’s being reported, which means, looking at a variety of different news sources from all over the world with different takes on the same news story.
    1. Look at what the mainstream media is reporting, then look at the different reporting by the other, non-mainstream, sources. If the mainstream sources are all leaning towards one viewpoint, and the alternate sources are leaning towards another viewpoint, then point this difference out.
    2. A proper news media should QUESTION the actions of the Government. They should always be suspicious of what’s being told to them. This is what good journalists do. Unfortunately, our news media outlets are NOT questioning our government.
      1. The only news outlets that ARE questioning our government are the partisan outlets, like Fox News, when a Democrat is in charge, or foreign outlets like Russia Today (RT) or Al Jazeera. But aren’t these just propaganda outlets promoting Russian or other countries’ agendas?
      2. Of course they are, BUT when they are the only ones questioning our government, that alone helps you form alternate opinions on what is being told to you! Remember, “Your enemy’s enemy is your friend” and in this instance, journalists should look at their own governments as being the enemy!
  2. Share an article that demonstrates one of the viewpoints, comment on how that viewpoint could possibly be wrong (or right).. and put the article in one of the categories of MEDIA FAIL or UNDER REPORTED or GOOD REPORTING or for Gov’t actions: WTF? or WINNING. This works with the media’s reporting as well as what the government is doing.
  3. Over time, a rating system for journalists and news organizations will develop, think Rotten Tomatoes or Yelp – but for reporters and news organizations – and we will be able to attach those ratings to the journalists and news organizations moving forward.

Tools

Use these tools below to help give you an overall view of what the media is reporting.