Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Opinion: The MSM vs. Blog debate, my take

I am sorry to come back to this, but once again, people need to take a chill pill! Some people on the right-hand side of the debate (a.k.a conservatives) are talking about the MSM as if it was the Nazis, who have submitted the right-wingers to continuous and excruciating torture! Take a look around, people. Perspective is the key. Have you been to Zimbabwe, or Congo, or Burma, or North Korea lately? I mean talk about a biased press!!

I am not suggesting that this MSM vs. Blogs vs. "peoples' feelings being hurt by some journalist's expression of their opinion" debate is not legitimate, because it is. Some elements of the MSM have discredited themselves. I have to concur with some of my fellow bloggers, that unnecessarily (and/or ratings oriented) over-blown stories like Scott Peterson story, the Kobe Bryant case, the Michael Jackson case, or the whole lobster pain story, do seem to unduly dumb down the news broadcasts, and distract from more important stories, like Somalia, Darfur, the Mid-East, or the teenage prefbabcy rate in Wayne County, IN; this cannot be good for the MSM's image. And as a foreigner, the MSM (like the bloggers) should make more efforts at presenting facts and balanced views, especially on things as important as the war. Where I sometimes disagree, is in what direction the bias goes. I mean sometimes I feel that the Liberals in the media have always been under fire, but that is another discussion.

What I want to argue here, is that if our main interest and purpose is the truth (as opposed to an attempt at coercing the media into conform to right-wing views), then it seems to me that we need a combination of the network MSM (with its qualities and resources, as well as its flaws), and responsible citizenship. See the problem, in my opinion, is that people have grown to be so apathetic in this country, and so "I don't give a damn", that they failed to fulfill their responsibility as citizens to keep themselves appraised of
the state of the nation (and the World).

What has happened with some bloggers (because many are just as crooked-party-hacks as Begala, O'reilly or Novak) is that they have taken on that job of following up on the stories, and pointing out when there was a discrepancy in the facts. It is, in my opinion, that symbiosis between institutional press and responsible citizenry that is going to serve the truth better. We need BOTH!!!

You think Bill Moyers has a dishonest agenda? Well go do your job as a citizen, and prove it if you can, be my guest (I will help!). You think - like I do - that the "King of no-spin" Bill O'Reilly and FOX NEWS are the biggest spinners on the planet, call it out!! Blog it out!!! It is our job as citizens to hold our leaders (the media being the 4th estate, I call them leaders) accountable, YES! But using ponctual cases to destroy decades old institutions simply because they disagree with our views just seems counter-productive and irresponsible. And it seems like many of my fellow bloggers are just out to do exactly that, and it's sad! And I do not believe that it is comparable to the conservative counter-revolution claims of the 70's. I mean I can't stand FOX NEWS because it seems to me like they are lying constantly, that doesn't mean I will go try and to ruin them; I'll change the channel, or turn off the TV, and I will proceed to do my own research on the subject they talked about. See the problem is not the MSM per-se. The problem is excessive and lazy reliance on them by the people.

Furthermore, you know what? Some of the people in the debate really live up to the stereotypes that we - non-United-Staters - have about the US: BLOWING EVERYTHING OUT OF PROPRTIONS. People were laughing back home during the Monica Gate, because they were watching the leading country in privacy rights, breaching its own leader's privacy for political and info-tainment gain! As I said earlier, people need to take a chill pill. Things aren't as bad. All this is an artificial opportunistic partisan concoction (in my opinion) that could have been avoided if we had all heeded Rousseau's warning:

"The better the state is constituted, the more does public business take precedence over private in the minds ofthe citizens. (...)In a well-regulated nation, every person hastens to the assemblies; under a bad government, no one wants to take a step to go to them, because no one feels the least interest in what is done there. As soon as someone says of the business of the state---‘What does it matter to me?’---then the state must be reckoned lost."


Black River Eagle said...

I backtracked to your blog today due to a comment you have left on one of my postings re: FESPACO Pan African Film Festival.

This is a real fine article you have written on the debate between The Blogosphere vs. the Mainstream Media. I am a foreigner like yourself in that I am an American in Europe closely observing Euro MSM and public opinion views toward people in my home country, where you are a foreigner.

The BBC News site has an article on this subject titled "American media vs. the blogs" dated February 22nd and I'm sure the Blogsphere is raging on this issue.

A big question that I have is, are you from the D.R.C. or another Central African nation and have French language skills? If the answer to that is yes that could be very valuable to me and to the Blogosphere as a whole.

Drop me a note via any one of the postings on my blog, and we can take it from there if you are interested in making contact.

In the meantime, keep on contributing to the global dialogues on important issues. I'll be back to see what you have to say.

TheMalau said...

THank you Black River Eagle. I appreciate your comments, and yes people are raging over the debate. That article was a comment I made to a post (and the other comments thereto) on PressThink, which is a true hub for those discussions right now. You should check it out!

Donate to The Salon

Help us continue to do this important work of promoting freedom of expression about the Congo.

Explore The Salon