Loewenstein says newspapers are dying because they missed the story

on 10 Comments

Smart piece by Antony Loewenstein down under saying that the mainstream media are going away not just because of a technological change but because they're invested more in the establishment hierarchy than in information. I.e., they've blown the story. Or as I like to say, The New York Times and Washington Post got it wrong on Iraq, the greatest disaster in a generation; do you think there aren't consequences of such a mistake? And the incredible force of the internet is capitalizing on that error. Loewenstein:

With notable exceptions,
the American mainstream media shies away from examining the brutal
reality of Palestine. The Israeli occupation is almost invisible. The
influence of the Zionist lobby on the political and media elite deemed
to be conspiratorial.

Witness the recent case of Charles Freeman to chair the National
Intelligence Council, forced to resign after extreme pressure from the
Israel lobby. But it was only online through blogs that the issue
publicly existed. The majors, such as the New York Times, only registered the case after Freeman pulled out. Big media was deliberately asleep at the wheel.

The question in the Freeman wasn’t so much a lack of resources to
report the facts – after all, the story didn’t require overseas travel,
as all the players were in the US – but a lack of will. Much of the
debate about the crisis in old media (and news about the closure of
institutions like the Boston Globe
is certainly concerning) overly focuses on a belief that simply keeping
newspapers alive will continue to guarantee democracy and transparency.
In my view, it will not. Debates over “public trust” journalism are therefore essential. New models are already emerging.

In fact, what we should be asking is whether the old models are adequate to sustain reporting in the modern age.

10 Responses

  1. Doppler
    April 17, 2009, 9:42 am

    "Or as I like to say, The New York Times and Washington Post got it wrong on Iraq, the greatest disaster in a generation; do you think there aren't consequences of such a mistake?"

    You're in fine voice here, Phil. Mark Twain said, "Never pick a fight with someone who buys printers ink by the ton." But you've done that, and you're in the battle of your life. And you just might win.

  2. aristeides
    April 17, 2009, 10:20 am

    They couldn't report the truth about I/P because of a fear of offending advertisers. Dependence on advertisers — and the consequent self-censorship — has always been the Achilles heel of the media. Interesting that the dependence on advertisers is now bringing them down, although in a different way.

  3. seethelight
    April 17, 2009, 11:08 am

    Ever since the Watergate era — the book and then the movie, "All the President's Men" — big city reporters, journalists, tv editors and producers, have slowly moved up in social class to the people they've been writing about. They were invited to the same parties and other social gatherings. Heady stuff. Consequently, people in power who in an earlier era would have been likely targets of investigative stories became off limits because they were social friends, and in some cases family. You can't tell me that NBC correspondent Andrea Mitchell, who's married to Alan Greenspan, would ever pass on legitimate national economy news tips to an NBC colleague if it would reflect negatively on her husband or any of their circle of friends.

    Consequently, stories of national import that should have been covered never were, because media people did not want to make their family and friends look bad.

  4. tommy
    April 17, 2009, 11:23 am

    Corporate owned media hardly reports the truth about anything. The pirate activity around the Horn of Africa has been elevated to the top of the headline queue recently, but there is much more pirate activity in Southeast Asia. Pirates are scary; African Muslim pirates are scarier.

    Then there is the problem with editorial content, especially for newspapers. From war to local elections, newspapers' publishers, editors and op-ed writers most often advocate for the most conservative, reactionary and wealthy policies. Instead of being the Fourth Estate, media has been co-opted to serve the interests of the establishment, and people notice media no longer advocates for policies in their best interests.

  5. Citizen
    April 17, 2009, 1:32 pm

    Seems this sad state of news affairs was given a big boost by Walter Winchell. I think only one person came to his funeral, and rightly so.

  6. jim byers
    April 17, 2009, 2:15 pm

    The media has gone well beyond a lapse. It has become a beacon for the radical right. I read a story a month or 2 ago about how the only US tv news available is FOX. This shit is poison. Here is an article by R Parry that says it so well. Glen Beck is off his rocker.

    link to consortiumnews.com

  7. jim byers
    April 17, 2009, 2:52 pm

    " the only US tv news available is FOX. " I neglected to say this is in Israel. Not even CNN, only FOX!

  8. MRW.
    April 17, 2009, 5:37 pm

    More importantly, they got it wrong on 9-11. To ask anyone to believe that 600 C can bring down 45 columns 1300 ft high that start as "H"s eight feet long, four feet wide, and four to eight inches thick at the speed of gravity is lunacy.

    NYT and WaPo didn't bother to read the final NIST report, and its Jan 2009 changes. From page 140 of the final report at link to wtc.nist.gov

    "Of the more than 170 areas examined on 16 perimeter column panels, only three columns have evidence that the steel reached temperatures above 250 C [480 Fahrenheit] … Only two core column specimens had sufficient paint remaining to make such an [paint deformation] analysis, and their temperatures did not reach 250 C….

    "High temperature excursions, such as due to a fire, can alter the basic structure of the steel and its mechanical properties. Using metallographic analysis, NIST determined that there was no evidence that any of the samples had reached temperatures above 600 C."Do you know what 600 C is? 1100 F. Outdoor barbecues heat higher than that. And the barbecues dont melt.

    Not one government agency did an investigation into the cause of 9-11. Not one. Even Keane said his commission didn't. They just investigated how it came down. Like an old Breck commercial: Did she or didn't she? (Think it was Breck?…..) Was it a pancake fall or did fire do it all?

    9-11 led to Iraq, and all the global war on terror shit. Nobody in the world outside of the USA (and probably FOX-infested Israel) believes the cockamamie 9-11 story, which is why Obama's responses were flat when he referenced the evil Afghans/Al Qaida and their supposed relationship to 9-11 in Europe recently. No wonder Sarkozy called Obama "naive."

  9. MRW.
    April 17, 2009, 5:43 pm

    Jim Byers, that news about Fox in Israel is stunning.

  10. Drifter
    April 17, 2009, 8:33 pm

    Antony links to a Buzzmachine article entitled, "Arianna Huffington saves Journalism" as an example of an emerging "new model" of journalism, but does anyone believe The Huffington Post is as independent as it claims to be?

    Justin Raimondo writes:

    When Arianna nabbed $25 million from Oak Investment Partners, of Palo Alto, California, she was acquired by a financial network that also has significant investments in the Israeli arms industry – an industry, I might add, directly subsidized and controlled by the Israeli government. For example, Oak Investment has invested in IET/Intelligent Electronics, now morphed into Clickservice Software, an Israeli-based company that makes sophisticated weapons systems and sells them to clients such as "an unnamed Far Eastern country." Oak Investment partner Fred Harman now sits on the Huffington Post's board.

    Since Arianna is so into "truth," how about a little when it comes to how she's financing a $25 million media gig that still refuses to pay bloggers! Not only that, but they were recently forced to apologize to a Chicago media outlet for brazenly stealing content. Whatever her contributions to the journalistic profession, let alone the pursuit of "truth," Arianna is sure giving tackiness a bad name.

    So you have writers fighting for crumbs beholden to corporate bosses with agendas…seems like the same old model of journalism. And the other major lefty blog Dailykos doesn't even pretend to have a free discourse on Israel. You just get banned.

    (This is not intended to be a knock on Antony, I saw him debate a skilled pro-Israel apologist and he was excellent at scoring points. It was a program on the play My Name is Rachel Corrie in Oz)

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