Media reform

Here is a transcript of a speech by Bill Moyers to the National Conference on Media Reform (Update: link is now dead). While the warnings about the growth of consolidation and the loss of diversity in the news media aren't new, Moyers's presentation of it is very good. He's one of my favorite journalists; it's a shame (although good for him!) that he's retiring.

One of the points I found the most interesting was the idea that it was fine for early newspapers to be biased because there were a lot of newspapers that were all biased in different ways, and more importantly in pretty much all ways that were represented in the surrounding society. This is an argument that's used by some supporters of organizations like Fox News, but the reality of the current situation is that there are no major news organizations that are actively anti-corporate. There are only different approaches and different degrees of pandering to corporate power.

It's not about conservative vs. liberal, although that is a small underlying part of the problem. It's really about whether we have a news media that's willing to tell the truth, dig into the cracks, and expose the secrets of corporate and government power before they become so obvious that the media can't not cover it. And by secrets, I don't mean who's sleeping with whom, I mean who's abusing their power and their position to deceive, control, and fleece the public.

Personally, I subscribe to and read Salon. They can be a touch shrill, and they're certainly not unbiased or unpartisan, but I think they do try to do the real work of journalism in a way that's hard to find otherwise. But they need competition, and not just in the form of talk radio and pure opinion magazines. Salon has reporters who actually go somewhere and try to find news, they interview the people involved in current problems, and they seek out partnerships with other news organizations elsewhere in the world who do this and whose writing people in the US often don't see.

We need more journalism that does this, with more resources, with more different viewpoints, and with more aggressiveness. There are a lot of obstacles in the way of getting that, but one of them is clearly attention; we won't get insightful journalism that tries to pull the rug off of real issues unless we, the readers, support it and pay for it. Bush's government, one of the primary benefactors of the current news media atmosphere, certainly isn't going to be an ally.

Posted: 2004-12-25 12:51 — Why no comments?

Last spun 2013-07-01 from thread modified 2013-01-04