When you watch the evening news?
do you actually believe most of the things they are telling you is true? If so, why? If not, why not?
- Anonymous1 decade agoFavorite Answer
Yes and no........I take it with a grain of salt.
I've got a bit different angle, since I live in the PRC now, have for the last year and this is my take. From a letter I wrote to my parents.
No Freedom of the Press. How free is China’s press? Not nearly as free as the ours.
First let’s look at an example of our freedom of press in a paragraph taken from our western style of reporting. “China is now Communist in name only after three decades of market reforms which along with breakneck growth have brought income disparities, widespread corruption and an ideological vacuum.” BEIJING (Reuters) May 17, 2007.
That paragraph stunned me the first time I read it, for the first time in the west I have seen a major news organization, Reuters, accurately say that China is Communist in name only, something I have been saying since my first visit here. Where I take exception to the paragraph is the tone and the impression it gives.
By saying things like, “breakneck growth have brought income disparities,” while not pointing out we have roughly the same disparity, “widespread corruption,” without point out corruption has been a huge problem in China since the beginning of time while giving the impression it is a new phenomenon all while ignoring that China is currently taking huge steps to fight it, and the final blanket statement, “ideological vacuum.” Pretty much meaning, no freedom of thought, press, politics, social welfare, and economy.
Freedom of the press is in our bill of rights and yet we’ve plummeted from 12 ranking in 2002 by “Reporters Without Borders” to 53 in 2006. China stands at 163. Curiously, Hong Kong, which is now part of China, is ranked at 58.
Also, how free is our press when it is owned and controlled by only a few media giants?
We have three checks and balances in our system to help curtail run away government, that being Administrative, Legislative and Judicial. But our founding fathers put freedom of the press in our bill of rights as our final check and balance.
As witnessed by the first six years of Bush, the first three checks were almost eliminated allowing run away government to abandon its people and get us into two wars that never should have happened. Then factor in what the press was ignoring during that time and we plummet from 12th ranking to 53rd.
Reporters Without Borders blames that on Bush putting fear of jailing reporters because of his war on terror, as the reason. True, but I also believe there is a more insidious reason, the “business of news.” All for profit, the hell with investigative reporting and being spoon-fed ideological wishful thinking in order to go to war and affect policy while burying the opposition.
The press however will say they are reporting the news factually, marginally true, but more importantly it’s the way they are reporting it.
The example I gave above is one, but another way it is done is reporting one side of the story and the other side is at the end of the story.
Studies indicate that most people get their news from headlines (or in the case of TV news 5-15 second sound bites) which can be misleading, then the readers perception is fed by the first few paragraphs and most people don’t reach the end of the story.
Over reporting is also another way to affect perceptions. The Swift Boating of Kerry should have been reported a few times and the talking heads on smear radio ignored, yet this kind of railroading of Kerry into a defensive posture along with the type of reporting that should only be on the editorial pages lost the election.
The saving grace this time around is the democrats took the same pages out of Roves play book and hit them where it hurts. This time forcing the press through the Dems well oiled machine to question the Repugs smear campaign when that should have been done, by the press in the first place.
Another problem with the business of news is we’ve allowed our papers to be turned into supermarket tabloids. A good example is the impeachment of Clinton. That whole fiasco of over reporting wasn’t always the fault of the press; it was the fault of the people.
While the people were saying they were sick and tired of the whole thing, newspaper readership was up by double digits during that time.
We’ve got a never ending appetite for sex, violence and socially unacceptable behavior all while not looking at our own skeletons and deviant behavior.
There is freedom of the press, and then there is decency and the press habitually going where polite people would never venture. They call it freedom of the press; I call it destroying lives for profit and that kind of reporting affects legislative policy, takes our focus off the real problems that truly affect us all and gets those into power that shouldn’t be, anymore then traveling snake oil salesmen.
Back when Kennedy was president, the press knew of the affairs he was having but kept it under wraps. In part because they knew it could bring down a presidency, but also because of the old biblical saying, “those who cast stones…..” What goes on behind closed doors with consenting adults should be no ones business except for their own unless it involves children.
The right loves to point out that Clinton lied, but ignore that the question never should have been asked in the first place.
At the San Francisco Chronicle, when Clinton was not thrown out of office there was a loud cheer in the newsroom, that wasn’t because he’d be staying in power, it’s because the newstaff and reporters were sick of the constant pressure to over report.
I lost a lot of my belief in the press then and especially in the ramp up to the war where the Chronicle, a liberal newspaper, was printing almost word for word the one sided propaganda from the White House and burying the opposition.
What’s the answer? There is no “one size fits all” answer to this problem, but one thing is for certain, the huge conglomerates needs to be broken up because the coercion is not through government as much as it is through big business.
Another problem is how we report the news, pretty much staying on the negative while under reporting the positive. It’s not the issues that are reported, it’s how it is done. The example I used from Reuters is a good example. While they accurately used some common sense in the opening, they pulled facts out of thin air all while not reporting on the positive steps China has taken.
That kind of reporting affects people’s perception clear through our administration and legislative processes. Even affects the outcome of our elections in a negative way.
With all that in mind, if you are not doing so, look at the news reporting about Iran and North Korea and the constant clamoring to force things down their throats through the administrations public vilification of them. If the press was really doing its job it would be reporting on that and really find out what these countries are saying without going lock step with what the governments claims, and also what is going on inside the countries with a positive look instead of looking under every rock to support the administrations constant barrage of negativeness.
Go over to http://www.china.org.cn/ and see how China reports the same through its multiple news outlets. There is usually a positive slant to the news, and while some may call it propaganda, nevertheless, it is the general way the Chinese people seem to think, with less pessimism and more optimism.
However, taking what they say and what the west says, it’s probably a safe bet that the truth lay’s somewhere in the middle.
There is undoubtedly a hell of a lot more restrictions put on reporters in China, of which I would never defend, however, looking at what they once were which was touting the party line word for word, to now a lot more openness, it is clear China is moving in the right direction.
We really do need to let them move at their pace, because the social upheavals are few, the people have far more opportunities then anytime in their history and their standard of living has remarkably improved in recent decades.
Keep in mind there are three things that are universally true about humans. First, we want a roof over our heads, second we want safety, and third we want health. China is providing each of those things remarkably well for their 1.3 billion people.
Their only failure is the lack of political say for its people. However, as I have pointed out, they are moving in that direction. Instant change that the west wants with the Chinese people and government who have never had democracy or any say by its people in its past could prove to be as disastrous as what is going on in Iraq and Afghanistan under, what could easily be construed as, our concept of democracy out of the barrel of a gun.
Think of one final issue, post Second World War there were only a handful of democracies in the world. Now there are well over 80 true democracies of varying forms. Democracy was doing pretty damned well on its own. But there maybe a limit to democracy in the world, that not all area’s can be democratic and that some area’s, just to keep the people safe, need repressive type rule. I will never say that is right, but there is a limit to what our style can do. Democracy is not a one size fits all government style; it is one of many and may not work universally.
- -RKO-Lv 71 decade ago
They are simply reading the government-prepared press releases and repeating other pabulum that the government wants you to hear. The "Fourth Estate" no longer exists as a watchdog and protector of the American citizens. They have found it much more 'cost effective' to babble on about whatever the government tells them with no investigation into the veracity of the story; no 'digging' out the truth; no questions as to whether its true or false; no skepticism or doubt whatsoever. If the government says it's so, it must be true! -RKO- 06/06/07
- sakira_starwolfLv 61 decade ago
I don't watch the evening news, it's B.S. and most of it is about crashes around the city that I don't care about. Sorry to those in accidents, but I want to know what the idiots in the White House are doing and if any wars ended in African yet.
- Yo it's MeLv 71 decade ago
I stopped watching long ago - the reporting is way to biased and that should be apparent to anyone with a 3 digit IQ.