American media- Is it a proper source to know trustworthy news ?

if yes, can American goverment influence media for their presidental candidate election ? or can they hide the proper facts from middle east? can they give a wrong about Islamic countries ?

5 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    No, the American media is not a trustworthy source of news, though I wish it were. I think most liberals and conservatives would agree that the news in biased. Although conservatives will argue that only Fox news is accurate, while liberals will point to other news programs/channels.

    There is no conspiracy as some people will claim. The government has some control over the media, but not the way you might think. (I'll get to that in a moment.) The truth is that the news media are corporations that do what's best for their bottom line. Their money comes mostly from their corporate sponsors -- large conglomerates that buy air-time for their commercials. Needless to say, if a news report comes out that is too critical of one of their sponsors or their products, those companies will apply pressure to have the news report censored. The documentary "The Corporation" talks about one such case involving growth hormones in milk and the Monsanto Corporation. Monsanto pressured Fox into censoring the news report, so the news report never ran.

    Another factor that greatly influences the news are the all-powerful political think tanks, which dictate policy to politicians and (as some argue) fund biased research in favor of their private donors' viewpoints. There are both liberal and conservative think tanks in this country, and in my opinion, both greatly influence the news media. Again, in my opinion, Fox News seems to draw heavily from the conservative think tanks, while other news, like CNN, draw from both. The possible gain there could be financial or may result in more interviews and news sources. Alternatively, they may realize that a one-sided story might spur controversy and improve their ratings. (More on that later.)

    The executive and legislative branches of government can also have their influence. Because news is best when it comes directly from its source, government officials can exert power over the news by declining interviews, refusing to answer questions, or denying/limiting seating to news organizations at news conferences. In order to stay in favor with politicians to get their first-hand information, news organizations are under pressure to keep their criticism and analysis under tight reins.

    There has also been changes to how the news media is allowed to cover war since the VietNam era. The military learned that in order to keep public support of a war (and to prevent the types of protests we saw during that era), the American public had to be shielded from images of death, like those regularly shown on television during the VietNam offensive. Since then, the media has been allowed to only use "embedded reporting," where they travel with the troops and only report what they are shown. This is discussed in the 2005 documentary "Why We Fight." Furthermore, we do see noticeably less images of death than we did during the VietNam offensive. Not too long ago, there was even a big stink raised about showing the caskets of fallen U.S. troops. Pictures like that would have been honored in past decades, but now the military, government, and some in the media feel the American public should not see them at all.

    International news is also being constrained by the U.S. The documentary "Control Room" focuses on Al Jazeera and its struggles to report the news in the Middle East. It also notes that the U.S. has a tendency to bomb news headquarters if the reporters refuse limit their reporting. Some would argue it's for national defense, others would argue that it's censorship.

    Regardless of your political standing, the U.S. has a history of misreporting or underreporting the news. In the 1970's, an invasion in East Timor resulted in death (genocide) of 1/7 to 1/3 of the East Timorese population (between 100,000 and 200,000 people). This was grossly underreported by the U.S. media, which preferred to report on the genocide in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge. The U.S. was opposed to the Khmer Rouge, but supported the invasion of East Timor.

    I overheard another good example the other night when my landlord was listening to Fox News and I was close enough to overhear the interview. The Fox news reporter cited a recent poll that most American support the Israeli offensive in Lebanon. The young woman he was interviewing asked the reporter if the American public was aware of the fact that Israel had launched something like 10x more missiles at the Palestinians, I believe before the offensive began. Rather than answering the question, the reporter tried to dodge the question and put the young woman back on the defensive. Unfortunately, I didn't hear the rest of that interview, but I did hear her demand an answer to her question. If one watches the documentary, "Outfoxed," the same trend will be seen in past interviews.

    Note that even "liberal" news organizations like CNN are guilty of this. Prior to the Iraq War, I watched several news interviews, one with retired Gen. Wesley Clark, in which the reporter was trying to get his support for a pre-emptive war. When Clark hesitated, and instead argued for U.N. inspections to continue first, the interview was ended abruptly for a commercial break. I've seen the same thing when CNN holds debates on the topic of Creationism vs. evolution. If the proponent of evolution starts to make an intelligent, academic argument against Creationism (which fundamentally trump Creationist arguments), the person is quickly interrupted and the interview is ended in favor of a commercial break. I’ve seen this happen numerous times on CNN alone.

    That leads to my last point: The news media, being commercial organizations, rely on their ratings for their economic survival. Controversy sells, facts that fly in the face of what Americans want to believe do not sell. It is more profitable if the news media maintains a long-standing debate, such as the Creationism vs. evolution debate, rather than allow either side to win the argument based on merits. It's also the reason why the news now gives more space to entertainment news, celebrity activities, and phenomenon stories (such as "Dog rescued from well after 5 days") than it does on international news or even urgent political matters going on in our state and national capitals.

  • 1 decade ago

    I think you should take whatever information is given to you ( by the media in ANY country) as not 100% truthful. That is not to say that it is all false-hood and propeganda, but unless you witness something personally, you never can tell if it is true.

    Many things happen in movies that are not true, so how can you truly believe anything.

    And to answer part of your question, yes the media can influence just about ANYTHING because most people believe whatever they are told. (I think this is true in ALL countries) I am sure that middle eastern media depicts America and Americans in a different light that what is 100% truth.

  • 1 decade ago

    of course they can hide the truth-- the Supreme Court ruled that news agencies DO NOT have to tell the truth, propaganda is a natural occurrence in American politics within the media. The American government is not allowed to use propaganda in America (there are laws against it) however they are allowed to use propaganda in foreign nations as in newspapers and TV and all American Media companies have to do is report on the propaganda reports from those nations and call it real news here in America, a great way to circumvent the law

  • 1 decade ago

    no its not a proper source...

    they dont transmitt wats really happening in the middle east..

    and the terrorism thing is just propagandaaaaa...

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • Jill
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    I think it is but then again I don't really pay attention to the news, I just read my horoscope. :p

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.