Thursday, October 30, 2003

Media Reform Thoughts

My long post again got deleted by this @$#@$#! website, so here's the short short version:

Media control is important because it shapes attitudes.

Wholly state-controlled or wholly corporate-controlled media is very bad because it presents an unreal rosy picture of its sponsor and allows the sponsor to get away with murder (literally) in both cases.

The solutions are:

1. Have a BBC-style government-funded network with the same resources as and competing with the corporate ones. Each will expose the other's biases and the other's sponsor's screwups and malfeasance.

2. Have accuracy laws modeled on (and stricter than) truth in advertising laws for the news media. Thus, when Fox News reports that "we have now found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq," their asses get sued. I haven't decided the best way to work the enforcement of such laws and welcome thoughts. If it is left up to the FCC, industry capture renders the laws meaningless; if private lawsuits are allowed on the public's behalf, a glut of political lawsuits chills investigative journalism. One potential solution would be to allow private suits but make the loser pay all the costs of the suit.

3. Have laws insulating the news people from the owners and advertisers, whether corporate or government. This is probably the most controversial of the proposals, and probably unworkable. If it can be done, it protects the integrity of the news media.

P.S. I need to remind myself to go easy on Fox News, as they seem to be out of control with the lawsuits:

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