Sunday, April 26, 2009

Meandering about the media

The role of media has been thrust to the forefront in the past months; at least this has been attempted.

When one looks at third world countries, there is a void of a variety of media. Usually the ruling party controls the one newspaper that is allowed to publish and or the one television or radio station that is allowed to use the airways. This is a pretty straightforward way of saying “We, your government, control your intake of news. We there by control what you think and what you talk about. We thus control how you live, period.”

Everyone knows how one party has maintained control of countries such as Cuba, as well as how the government of Russia is once again tightening the controls in that country.

If you follow world news, if you have studied history, if you read more than one source and watch more stations besides FOX, evidence of that fact is easy to find. What is happening right under our noses in our own country is the shrinking of the very sources, which give many views on government at a national level, but even more importantly, at a state and local level. Our Daily Sentinel has downsized. The Free Press is now publishing only three times a week. The Palisade and Clifton papers are identical papers only with the name changed. The Fruita paper is a repeat of some content from the Palisade and Clifton papers now that Bob Dougherty is too ill to publish them and the owner of the three papers chose to put a general manager in charge. The owner lives in Denver and could care less about what is published as long as it fits his slant and will make a profit or perhaps continue to be a tax write off.

When a city suddenly becomes limited to the opinions and news so broadcast or written and published, the citizens are the losers. Now partisanship can reign, the Rush Limbaugh type of half truths and the slick politicians jargon to woe the public for votes can change the face of an entire community, even a state.

For example, limiting news to one source results in the slanting of news to convince voters to believe politicians that may not always be the best for the job because of links to a partisan movement or simply are slick crooks wanting to feed at the trough of taxpayer monies.

Next comes the question, does the public even care. Having attended local council and commission meetings on a weekly basis for the past years, it is with wonder I watch citizens show up at the last moment to protest the very issues they should have been talking about much sooner, claiming they did not know or where not aware of because no one told them about the issue. In too many instances the information had been published, had been listed, had been sent to every household in the city and yet the public still was not aware of such. Could the reason for the shrinking of media such as newspapers be due to the apathy of our citizens?

With the dawning of the blog, with the podcasts and with newspapers putting their news on line, I know senior citizens are not participating, at least, many of them never use a computer and if they do, they do not go to such sources. With Internet news, revenue is cut for paper publications and there goes the profit margin for those very newspapers.

It would be interesting to hear from others as to solutions for such a dilemma. Without transparency through many sources of news, where will our civilization find itself in 50 years? Is a George Orwell society simply postponed until that time?

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