The purpose of this presentation is to give a brief overview of the Uses, Perceptions, and Displacement Effects of Media in News Reporting and its Effects on a Global Society. The purpose of the Capstone Project is to demonstrate and explain how corporate media has taken hold of news sources and reporting methods and used them to achieve specific results or agendas by replacing factual reporting with sensationalism and conjecture designed to change the public perception. “ If you are not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” -Malcolm X
History is what historians construct from many types of information from the past; news is what can be jammed into today's paper. If there is a purpose to histories, it is philosophical whereas the point of newspapers is to be read and recycled and purchased again tomorrow. Newspapers are the first product with planned obsolescence (Barber, 2012). Real reporting consists of research, objectivity by interviewing and fact gathering from both sides of an issue or telling both sides of the story, and presenting facts in such a way that a man vs. man story allows readers to form their own opinions, not the other way around (Barber, 2012).
Walter Cronkite represented what real reporting was all about. When I was a child, we watched CBS Nightly news in our house. Walter Cronkite was the one who told us that President Kennedy had been shot, who told us that we had put a man on the moon, and the man who told us that we couldn’t win the war in Vietnam. Cronkite set the standards of television news high, back when television was new and malleable. He was loyal to those standards, and his large audience was likewise loyal to him. He seemed incorruptible in a profession that was easily corruptible. He was trusted and represented excellence in journalism. Journalism excellence is the fair, accurate, contextual search for truth that provides citizens with the independent news and information they need to run their communities and their lives (Newton, 2011).
In the United States, the "fourth estate" is supposed to monitor the political process to ensure that political players don't abuse the democratic process. But some call the media the fourth branch of government as it plays such an central role in the fortunes of political candidates and issues. This is where the role of the media often becomes controversial (Boaz, 2012). Journalism is the only profession explicitly protected by our Constitution because journalist are supposed to serve as the check and balance on our government. It is intended to be a means to hold those in power accountable – not to be a mouthpiece for any particular agenda. But the corporate takeover of today’s media has forgotten those lofty goals and instead of reporting the news, they are now shaping the news or in some cases, creating it.
In a democracy it is vital that issues be discussed openly and arguments dissenting from conventional wisdom be at least exposed without fear of reprisal. But is this too idealistic? The free press is expected to mean free from outside interference but in actuality, the press is simply ‘free’ to propagate its own agenda (Cooper, 2006). A cunning choice of words can make a big difference in how things are perceived. For example, during the War, many misleading phrases were used in news reports. Instead of "forced transfer of civilians" they said "relocation", and replaced "lies" with the phrase "elements in the credibility gap." By using cleverly chosen phrases, war efforts seem less harmful and less offensive to the people in the United States. More recently, the term for school "vouchers“ has morphed to "opportunity scholarships"; it's not "tax cuts", it's "tax relief” (Boaz, 2012).
Most people think of themselves as being smart, street-wise, and able to distinguish what is true and what isn't. But most people still depend on mainstream corporate media sources for their ‘news’ – the same MSM they blame as being biased. You cannot at the same time believe and disbelieve the corporate media…either you understand what is being fed to you, or you don't. (Cooper, 2006). Do people prefer the comforting lies that conform to their beliefs over the unpleasant truths that may cause discomfort? Cognitive dissonance occurs when people ignore, rationalize, or even deny anything that goes against their core beliefs. What is the answer? How can ordinary people fight Corporate Media and the Fourth Estate?
As with most new terms, the Fifth Estate has already been used as a metaphor for the poor, trade unions, organized crime, even bloggers. The book Watching the Watchdog: Bloggers as the Fifth Estate by Stephen D. Cooper clearly links internet journalism with the much needed Fifth Estate: “ There is nobody guarding the guardians now, apart from individuals who are in the right place at the right time, with a story worth telling and, most importantly, a media outlet on the internet” (Cooper, 2006).
The Internet houses over 630 billion sites and continues to grow. Everyone of those sites can contain thousands or even millions of individual pages (CNN.com, for instance, has over 47 million pages indexed on Google, and adds thousands daily (Catone, 2013). Free access to all that information is, for the most part, beneficial to society as more people can stay informed and more voices can reach what is now a global audience. Writers are no longer constrained by column inches or page counts or the cost of ink (Catone, 2013). Stories can now be reported with greater depth via more media sources with previously undreamed of interactivity.
With more and more news outlets incorporating and/or requesting reporting from the public via social media (iPhones, cameras, Facebook, Twitter, etc) the tide of accurate and timely reporting of real events as they unfold around the world is thrust onto the audience instead of the providers. (Reference the Arab Spring) Today’s news is augmented with photos of weather conditions; live traffic updates; breaking news; and interest stories from viewers daily. This is real news without the network spin in most cases.
Throughout human history we all participated in the gathering of the news. We told the news at the marketplace, around the campfires, as we met each other on whatever paths we travelled – human beings have always been great exchangers of news. It’s built into us like a rite of passage, it’s a part of survival – this search for awareness to know what is going on around us was important for us and to us as people. Over time, the ability of the common man to ‘tell the news’ shrunk in comparison to the growing corporate media giants who began to tell us what they wanted us to know and, consequently, what we should believe. But thanks to the Internet, the advantage professional journalists and crafty reporters have had over the years is shrinking. We’re now plugged in to that giant marketplace where we can do what human beings have always done – exchange news. Now, once again we are ‘tellers’ of news as well as ‘sellers’ of the news in our own right. We have come full circle… “ I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay undiscovered before me.” ~ Isaac Newton Somewhere in the ocean of truth is the future of news.
1. “Real” Reportingincludes: ResearchResearch ObjectivityObjectivity FactFactGatheringGatheringAuthentic informationthat can be analyzedand documented
2. During the 20 years heanchored the eveningnews on CBS, WalterCronkite was a dailypresence in Americanhomes. Walter Cronkitebrought CBS to thepinnacle of prestige,integrity, andpopularity in televisionnews…and when heleft, it all began to ebbaway.
3. History of newsreportingEXTRA! EXTRA! ☼ READ ALL ABOUTIT!- Since 1802FOURTH ESTATE IS DEAD!Suffocated by alandslide of liesand propaganda,it is clear thatcorporatemainstreammedia no longerserves its loftyideals but hasbecome a deviceof its masters.Does anybodyreally trust whatthe corporatemedia says?Unfortunately,most do, andtherein lies theproblem – thepropagandaworks.
4. The Fourth Estate, in the shape of selfinterest corporate mainstream media, is nolonger there to serve the interests of itsreaders, if it ever was. If people really want toknow what is going on in the world therereally must arise a new Fifth EstateFifth Estate –Citizen journalism.
5. The internet is simultaneously global & local. There isThe internet is simultaneously global & local. There isno excuse to keep begging at the altar of corporate mediano excuse to keep begging at the altar of corporate mediafor faux news. There is no excuse for swallowing liefor faux news. There is no excuse for swallowing lieafter lie when there are far more honest sources ofafter lie when there are far more honest sources ofinformation. Being aware of the propaganda and theinformation. Being aware of the propaganda and thenewspeak is useful in knowing what one isnewspeak is useful in knowing what one is expectedexpected totobelieve, but there is no reason to actually believe it whenbelieve, but there is no reason to actually believe it whenthere are alternatives that are just a click away (Manne,there are alternatives that are just a click away (Manne,2009).2009).
6. It is increasingly common for individual, first-hand accounts ofIt is increasingly common for individual, first-hand accounts ofbreaking news to be shared online. The need for citizen journalismbreaking news to be shared online. The need for citizen journalismhas become increasingly urgent as mainstream media is too closelyhas become increasingly urgent as mainstream media is too closelytied to special interests for fair and complete coverage on importanttied to special interests for fair and complete coverage on importantevents. When citizen journalists come together, a common voiceevents. When citizen journalists come together, a common voiceemerges…a united voice where individuals can speak and be heard,emerges…a united voice where individuals can speak and be heard,loud and clear…and this will be difficult to ignore (Glazer, M., 2012).loud and clear…and this will be difficult to ignore (Glazer, M., 2012).
7. Barber, P. (2012) what is News, A BRIEF HISTORY OF NEWSPAPERS, http://www.historicpages.com/nprhist.htmBoaz, C. (2012) Media as the "Fourth Estate", University of San Francisco Department of Politics, http://www.usfca.edu/fac-staff/boaz/pol326/feb12.htmCatone, J. (2013) Is Teaching Media Literacy Important, MASHABLE, http://mashable.com/2013/03/06/media-literacy-poll/Cooper, S. (2006) Watching the Watchdog: Bloggers as the Fifth Estate, Spokane, Marquette BooksGlazer, M. (2012) About News Participation, NEWS PARTICIPATION, http://newsparticipation.com/about/Manne, R. (2009) We Need a Fifth Estate: Citizen Journalism, HUBPAGES,http://rychardemanne.hubpages.com/hub/We-Need-a-Fifth-Estate-Citizen-JournalismNewton, E. (2011) A history of the future of news: What 1767 tells us about 2100, Knight Foundation,http://www.knightfoundation.org/press-room/speech/history-future-news-what-1767-tells-us-about-2100/All images courtesy of Google Image