Friday, January 20, 2017

Why Readers Shouldn’t Trust Staff Reporters by ERIC ZUESSE

Credit: Daniel X. O'Neil from USA - Washington, DC, June 2011: The Washington Post, CC BY 2.0
Journalism — especially about important matters — is not a profession. It’s a calling. Or else, if it’s not a calling, then it is public relations; it is propaganda, “PR” — done for the purpose of receiving pay, not really for the purpose of conveying truth. But propaganda isn’t journalism at all. It’s not merely fake ‘news’; it is fake ‘journalism’. Corporate-owned ‘news’ is that, but so too is government-owned ‘news’. That’s the problem: journalism, as it exists, isn’t what people think it is, and expect it to be. What is called “journalism” is actually now just a branch of the PR profession, and doesn’t deserve to be trusted more than that.
In order to be a staff journalist, one must adhere to the propaganda-aims of the individual(s) (the employer) who control(s) the given ‘news’ medium. No newsmedia-owner hires ‘reporters’ or editors who report (or allow to be published) facts which contradict that owner’s (or controller’s — because this applies to ‘non-profits’ as well) central viewpoint. The employees are purely megaphones for their boss’s views. That’s what they were hired to be, and that’s what they are if they succeed in their profession and rise up the career-ladder in it. Anything that a staff journalist writes (or allows to be published, if that person is an editor) contradicting the owner’s views, counts against that employee, and increases his/her likelihood of being eliminated, or at least of being denied a deserved promotion (because not doing the person’s job for the employer).
To be a staff ‘journalist’ is to be a ‘reporter’ for hire, who is willing to exclude reporting whatever facts the owner wants his/her audience not to know (which can be some very important things, such as that the President is clearly lying to say that solid evidence exists that “Saddam’s WMD” still exist). Unfortunately, almost all media-owners have an agenda that overrides truth — they don’t obtain the huge funding that’s necessary to build audience-share if they aren’t backed by big money (billionaire investors, and mega-corporate advertisers) to begin with. Opposing the big money is a sure pathway to obscurity in the field of ‘journalism’; and ‘journalism’ prizes (especially on international-news or other major stories) are pig’s lipstick, far more than indications of journalistic competence. The best journalists, and news-sites, are low-budget, basically volunteer operations (such as you now are reading, and wikileaks). The big corporations don’t own them, and don’t advertise in them — and so, don’t control them.
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