Media

Yesterday I worked as part of the Senior Carnival and today I am alone. Those two things are not linked in any way I know of, but they are the two top headlines in my life for yesterday and today. That's rather interesting to think about... what would your top headlines be day to day in the wondrous world of you?

Now that my family has had cable for a few weeks it's very strange to see what's changed from having all these options to watch on TV now. Clearly we watch more TV now, but perhaps that'll die back down once the novelty wears off. Each of us now seems to have a favorite channel as well, except my mom, who hasn't really changed her minimal TV-watching habits. My dad has poker and old movies, my brother found MTV, my sister is into the Disney Channel, and I, "boring" guy that I am, have found cable news and politics. Basically I stick with CNN and MSNBC, although I occaisionally go to FOX for laughs and of course still spend quality time with PBS, especially on Fridays, when one can sit through a straight shot of hours through Washington Week, McGlaughlin Group, To the Contrary, and on... that cycle was actually when I wrote Mythos of Midas. Political commentary seems to stimulate my sonnet-writing ability.

So how does this tie in to headlines? I've gotten into the whole cable news cycle now, of course! It's actually kind of depressing sometimes, what stories end up being repeated throughout the day. There is so much going on in the world, and yet one day CNN decides that it's top story will be about a mentally ill woman carving a backwards B into her face. Great. As a matter of fact I really do have a lot of beef with the "MSM" because of its incredible narrow-mindedness- not bias, but stupidity. That's exactly what it is when news organizations completely forget about the wars we're in, totally ignore serious world issues and tragedies, and then end up turning crazed time-wasting bids for attention into the main stories. Back when my family only had 13 channels I would get all my news from either BBC World News or the News Hour with Jim Lehrer- both on PBS and both pretty intelligent. NPR too is incredibly intelligent in regards to story selection; it's just that that's radio so no one cares.

I may think it's ridiculous for conservatives to see a vast liberal conspiracy in the mainstream media, but I absolutely unsterstand where they're coming from and I understand what they're talking about when they characterize the MSM. The problem is that the big corporate media has far too much control over the knowledge and attitudes we are exposed to on a day to day basis. Part of combating this is to expand and further regulate public broadcasting, which already produces the most intelligent waves on the air. I understand fears about state-sponsored media, but for God's sake we have state-sponsored schools and those are far more potent carriers of potential bias. PBS and NPR though are not the enemies of those who wish to combat the MSM; they are in fact the most balanced news sources I know of- a far cry from either FOX or MSNBC.

Now I know there are people who would say that public broadcasting and even public schools are biased, and liberally so. From my experience I must absolutely disagree. The only potential bias I could imagine that could be seen in PBS or NPR is in their story selection, which is exactly what puts them above the other media outlets. On things newsworthy they have superior choice and on things political the two always seem to make a point of addressing both sides and in recent months always doing both an Obama and a McCain story. The stories are always balanced, too. You see, during the news cycle, PBS and NPR aren't about commentary like the other outlets are. They just report the facts, and when they bring people in they're largely unbiased experts, and when they're opinionated and one sided- there's someone on the other side to face them. And, amazingly, the host stays out of it. I have never heard Jim Lehrer or any of his sidekicks state their opinion, nor have I ever heard a serious opinion from any of those NPR leading voices. That's how journalism is supposed to work, and our nation seems to be losing its sense of that.

School too, obviously, has been completely free of bias in my experience. People on the internet have written "your teachers taught you well" when I spout my leftist views, and frankly it just astounds me. Here, let's quickly go through my teachers. Shall we?
  • Karlik: never heard anything political from her aside from being surprised Palin was picked as McCain's choice for VP
  • Bolling: I've taken classes from him for three years, I admire the man incredibly, he and my dad are friends, and I was even kinda-sorta named after him and yet I still have no idea about his opinions on anything political. My dad tells me he's generally liberal but pro-life, but I have absolutely no evidence to support that- absolutely none.
  • Kummant: nothing even approaching political- and not Bowlen either while I'm on the topic of English, although I did see her at the Democratic caucus
  • Ortiz: I do not understand his politics and am given no hint of their nature while around him.
  • Zelensky: I know her politics because she's my aunt. Her classroom talk on the subject consists of mentioning "Sarko" when he's in the news and asking students if they are "socialiste" when they're talking about politics in class.
  • Powell: Now Mr. Powell is interesting because he does in fact share his opinion a lot -when talking during lunch though, obviously- (politics wouldn't seem to come up much in science class) but the man seems incredibly moderate and when we talk about politics we are equals and often in disagreement. He is not out converting students.
All in all those who would point to the NEA and other things as liberal scourges influencing our nation's children clearly underestimate the integrity of individual teachers. I obviously see many things that could be improved in the public school system, but teacher ethics laws are not among them. Now though let's get back to the task at hand.

Public broadcasting certainly cannot be the whole solution to solving our crisis of information. State-sponsored media must always in my mind only perform niche functions with heavy regulations to keep it straight. We need responsible, unbiased, free and independent media outlets. Clearly a revolution towards that end is already taking place on the blogosphere, of which this Publisher is but a humble part. Just within the last few hours two great articles found here and here were written by Alaska bloggers on my blogroll. Obviously neither one is unbiased, but the freedom of reporting to be found on the internet is clearly revolutionary. I have learned far more from these blogs and others about my state's politics than I could ever learn from state news organizations.

As I learned back when I was a part of Ketchikan Underground, (rumored to be starting up again soon) the internet has an incredible ability to spread local free-lance reporting and ever make news itself. KU broke news and made news several times during its lifespan, and the attention it was able to rally around certain issues may very well have changed the course of some events in my town. I am friends with writers who brought to light possible ethics violations by teachers, lambasted the superintendant in metaphor, and brought Kayhi together to protect our former principal. And then I broke the story of a school board member flipping off my aunt, as well as other things. I also aggrivated a lot of people on a wide range of issues. It all ended up being positive though I suppose; I learned. Some of the most immature things I've ever done were on KU (good thing they stayed on the internet). If the site starts up again I intend on making amends.

But beyond the internet, how do we take back the television and even radio airwaves? I think it begins with monopoly busting. Newspapers and newstations should all generally be locally owned, and there should be serious regulations on how they can be brought together. Most importantly however, the people of the United States need to assert their collective ownership of their airwaves. No private entities should be considered owners of certain channels. Local government should allow communities to insert public announcements into television and even gather revenue from advertisements. Variety of choice combined with local popular involvement could very well change the way we see television. Instead of having a few dominating streams their would be a thousand streams of information trickling, and the world would be better for it.

Comments

  1. Mrs. Bowlen's really democratic. I always thought Mr. Bolling was pretty Republican... I guess not?

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  2. That depends on which Mr. Bolling you are talking about. For the teacher though, all I have is hearsay evidence. He seems pretty rational though, and we all know rationality leads to liberalism.

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  3. Michael says Ortiz is wildly conservative, but he also likes to assume people he doesn't like are Republicans, so I don't know how valid his opinion is.

    /unhelpful comment

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  4. Perhaps we're all projecting what we want to see onto these teachers... because they're all so ethical and unpolitical in our wonderful public school that isn't churning out little liberals like the conservatives say public schools do.

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  5. WAS RIGHT.

    On election day, there's a discussion about it in pretty much every class.

    Mr. Ortiz - confirmed Republican
    Mr. Dwyer - voted Obama
    Mr. Cron - lol Nader

    I don't care about Fama's opinions, and neither does anyone else, so nobody asked. ANd in my other two calsses I had subs.

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  6. If Ortiz is Republican he's Republican like my grandpa- i.e. he's in their party to be involved in (i.e. f-up) their primaries. I seriously cannot believe Ortiz is not liberal.

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