In 2015, the traditional news media — what we call the Corporate Mainstream Media — have continued to move to the right, in some cases sharply so. These television and newspaper media outlets are no longer reliable conveyors of facts that Americans need to make decisions at the voting booth and elsewhere. We should ditch these corporate mainstream media. Instead, we need to become our own news aggregators.
Here are some of the many examples of the mainstream news media’s rightward drift:
New York Times
Op-ed columnist Maureen Dowd has been on a 20-year warpath against Bill and Hillary Clinton. The rest of the New York Times seems to have followed suit, with stories such as this one and this one, which was so false, prejudicial and shoddily sourced that it required an apology from the Times’ Public Editor. This from the same newspaper that featured Judith Miller‘s falsely sourced Iraq War cheerleading on behalf of the Bush administration.
Chris Cilizza at The Fix has joined Maureen Dowd in irrational anti-Clinton writings. Pieces from just the past two days include Cilizza’s article entitled “Democrats like Hillary Clinton. Her problem is they don’t love her” and this tweet, upon learning that the latest batch of Hillary Clinton’s emails from her State Department tenure would be released Monday night at 9 p.m.:
9 pm. I am certain that’s accidental. (eye roll) https://t.co/fifkDAK50c
— Chris Cillizza (@TheFix) August 31, 2015
CNN has become the ISIS Scare Channel. CNN’s ISIS frenzy reached a peak when its reporter and anchor mistook a satirical dildo flag for an actual ISIS flag that they surmised was presenting a threat to an LGBT rally in London. That’s in addition to airing the latest stupidity from Don Lemon, or encouraging Dick Cheney to criticize Hillary Clinton’s email practices without mentioning that Cheney’s colleague Colin Powell did the same thing.
Following its parent company’s majority takeover by the conservative Comcast Corporation, MSNBC is in the midst of a corporate purge that has seen the cancellation of programs with more liberal hosts such as Alex Wagner, Ed Schultz and Rev. Al Sharpton. Meanwhile, conservative Republican Joe Scarborough keeps his show.
What to do?
If news readers and viewers are to make informed decisions, they must unplug from this conservative corporate mainstream media, and become their own news aggregators. This can be done in two easy steps:
1. Pick trusted sources of news and information. We won’t advise conservatives on how to do this, because they are too invested in right wing phony news sources such as Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Alex Jones, etc. to seek real facts. The rest of you can decide for yourself what’s accurate and useful information, but here are a few examples:
- BBC News (you won’t believe how comprehensive BBC is in providing information from around the world if you switch from a mainstream American “news” source);
- Daily Kos;
- Crooks and Liars;
- Media Matters for America (which critiques and corrects right wing news media lies);
- On satellite radio, the SiriusXM Progress channel 127, which features political talk shows Stephanie Miller, Mark Thompson, Michelangelo Signorile and others. Likewise, the SiriusXM Insight channel 121 features programs such as “Tell Me Everything” hosted by John Fugelsang, and “Startalk with Neil DeGrasse Tyson,” a science-related show;
- Individual journalists. You don’t have to follow a media outlet. You can simply follow particular journalists whom you trust. Virtually all of them have Facebook and Twitter pages. One frequently mentioned name is Chris Hedges, whose column is published weekly on Truthdig;
- Podcasts. While conservatives have their right wing hate radio, others compete with podcasts, which are often free. A couple of popular ones are MSNBC Rachel Maddow and The Majority Report with Sam Seder.
Note that some of these sources are liberal in their viewpoint, but the difference between them and the conservative media is that these sources deal in actual facts, and when they get it wrong, you’ll see them get corrected by commenters, and make corrections themselves. At any rate, these are merely a few suggestions to get you started. You should do your own research, and pick your own news sources.
2. Follow these sources on social media such as Facebook and Twitter to create your own news feeds. Then you have a headline service that surpasses even the traditional news media “wire services” (in fact, services such as the Associated Press and Reuters will be included in your feed if you make it complete enough) in scope and speed of incoming stories.
You’ll be amazed at not only the new flow of facts coming your way, but the variety of important stories that real media outlets cover, instead of the few shiny objects on which the corporate mainstream media focus. If you see stories you like or which you think are important, there’s also a third simple step you can take:
3. Share. That way, you’re not just a news aggregator, you’re a broadcaster as well.
Photo by Ninian Reid, used under Creative Commons license. https://www.flickr.com/photos/25034321@N05/6302246630/