Freedom of the Press?

It’s an election year and we all know what that means. Constant media coverage as far as the eye can see. There are political speeches. Media reports about the speeches. Media reports about the media reports. It makes you just want to turn off your television, turn down the volume on your radio, and never open up a newspaper ever again.

Am I being slightly dramatic? Perhaps. However, I know I’m not the only one who feels overwhelmed by the incessant media coverage these days. There’s constant coverage on politics, the economy, the Middle East. All are important issues, which the media should discuss… however, they’re not the only issues that should be discussed. There are so many other underrated news stories that don’t receive any coverage at all simply because “they’re not important enough”. (Translation: They’re not entertaining enough, do not show enough blood and guts, or might possibly be making a claim against one of the corporation’s key advertisers.)

Want to know the truth? The sad truth is that over 55% of Americans don’t trust the mass media to deliver news fully, accurately, or fairly anymore. The majority of the public has come to believe that news stories are often inaccurate, or at least favoring one side the majority of the time. And up to 80% of Americans believe that news organizations are influenced more by the desires of powerful people and organizations than about the desire for presenting hard-hitting, investigative journalism.

As my parents would say, “the news just isn’t the news anymore”. It’s not about telling the truth, or getting to the bottom of the story. The news has essentially become a form of entertainment. At the end of the day, all most news corporations care about are ratings and protecting their own private interests. And that’s a shame because the importance of a news event shouldn’t be determined purely by its “wow” factor. It shouldn’t be determined by a few big-name media executives, who care about setting the public agenda than supporting public interest.  And it certainly shouldn’t be determined by advertising and marketing interests.

The problem? The problem is that we’ve lost the diversity in our news sources. Only six major media giants control 90% of our entire American media. These six media giants have control over all forms of mass media – newspapers, radio stations, television channels, productions studios, even Internet sites. They’ve destroyed, for the most part, the concept of a small town paper or a local radio station. Where have all the independent news sources gone?

The good news is – there still are some independent media news sources left. Not many, and certainly not as many as there used to be, but there still are some independent media options that are holding strong.

Independent media options:

  • PBS: Public Broadcasting Service (pbs.org)
  • NPR: National Public Radio (npr.org)

Independent news sources that don’t accept any advertising, corporate, or government funding:

  • The Real News (therealnews.com)
  • Alter Net (alternet.org)
  • Democracy Now! (democracynow.org)
  • Truth-out (truth-out.org)
  • The Raw Story (rawstory.com)
  • Truthdig (truthdig.com)
  • Project Censored (projectcensored.org)
  • RT (rt.com)
  • The Nation (thenation.com)

Nonpartisan, nonprofit organizations whose primary purpose is unearthing the truth in politics:

  • PolitiFact (politifact.com)
  • Open Secrets.org (opensecrets.org)
  • FactCheck.org (factcheck.org)

Another resource: Center for Media and Democracy, which is a non-profit investigative organization focused on exposing corporate and government propaganda.

  • PRWatch (prwatch.org)
  • SourceWatch (sourcewatch.org)
  • BanksterUSA (banksterusa.org)
  • ALEC Exposed (alecexposed.org)

Contrary to popular opinion, there are other options than FoxNews. We need to become aware of our alternative news sources, and utilize them to their greatest potential. The mainstream media doesn’t have to be our only source of media. Check out your other options, and you’ll be amazed by the amount of news stories that have been flying under the radar, both in your local towns and around the world.

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