"When government agencies withhold information, people suspect that officials are trying to cover up bad or illegal behavior. Cover-ups are often worse than the crimes committed."
Are you serious?
That might have been true before an irony-weary public became too numb over a rigged society saturated in illegal behavior and cover-ups. Despite the Bernie Sanders "movement" and $1 billion dollars of media hype for 18 months, 80% of the potential voters abstained from the 2016 presidential primaries.
Today, Americans are not effectively protected as a whistle-blower and everyone from the janitor to the CAO keeps their mouth shut. They know that no one is watching, and if they are, the story will appear once before disappearing forever. If a similar story occurs it is usually reported as another isolated incident. In the worst examples, from police shooting unarmed poor kids to nationwide complicity with top Wall Street mortgage fraud, (having wrongly foreclosed tens of millions of families and crashing the world economy), few, outside the working poor and minorities, ever go to jail. When business or government is "held to account" there is usually a confidential "no-fault" monetary settlement paid by taxpayers or shareholders and the executive keeps his job. The "bad behavior" of Deborah Wasserman Schultz, former disgraced DNC chair, eclipsed without an investigation. Where's the public clamor?
Anyone actually paying attention to the media would be driven insane from the cognitive dissonance. Media reported a grieving U.S. Muslim father, (who lost his Muslim son in the Iraq war), responding to Donald Trump's anti-Muslim bigotry, "...would you like to borrow my copy of the U.S. Constitution Mr. Trump?" If the U.S. followed its Constitution only Congress could declare war on Iraq and Mr. Khan's son would probably still be alive. Media plays a huge role in distorting the public reality.
Back when student journalists were taught how to do their jobs professionally, share in their community's outrage and encouraged to do fact-finding, investigative work without fear or favor and without being outcast to the dwindling "alternative" press, (the consequence of the Bill Clinton administration's deregulation of media ownership), government agencies used to be far more selective in withholding information BECAUSE there were courageous journalists in most communities.
If public-interest reporting returned, would subscriptions increase? Would people return from the blogs in desperate search of meaningful community information?
For example, there were no headlines, nor followup, after Eureka's Public Service Officers faced layoffs and told the press, "We're handling 700 missing person reports each year, mostly youths". This is a community where volunteers operate second-hand stores to raise funds for wayward dogs while its county supervisors fight the CA Attorney General's subpoenas to investigate Humboldt's Child Welfare Services.
Would more residents rediscovery the usefulness of a "community newspaper" if Humboldt County's shocking "Trends Report" were headlined each quarter that it is published??
Oh, never heard of it? Hmmm.
Media shares a HUGE responsibility nationally and locally for the unprecedented collapse of the economy, healthcare, public services, housing, and the environment, due to the ignorance it perpetuates in every crisis we face.
In Print This Week:
Sep 29, 2016
vol XXVII issue 39
The Last Days of the Budget Motel
The North Coast Journal Weekly
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