Hmmm. Rob at Arabic Source offers a suggestion.
I want to second Abu Muqawama’s Kill_Your_TV post. American tv coverage of the events in Gaza is beyond bad – its horrible. CNN. NBC. All of them are garbage. Who gives a crap about Rod Bagloyavic? Who cares whether Sarah Palin is now a grandmother. Maybe that’s news if there was nothing whatsoever going on. But how ’bout this thing called Gaza? Isn’t it a national security issue when the American people are getting such poor quality information about events that are critical to US security in the Middle East. Might not the American people have a need to know about them?
If I was US National Security Adviser or Secretary of State, here’s what I would do to critically improve US National Security: The first thing I would do is have the US government fully subsidize a new network, next to CBS, NBC and ABC, that broadcasts only quality news and documentaries on world affairs and current events. Nothing but serious programs on all of the important issues that people need to know about. American Idol, Britney Spears and Paris Hilton would never, ever get a mention on this new TV station. Anyone who mentioned even one time, any of of these three, would immediately be fired.
People need to know what’s going on. Dumb voters elect dumb politicians. And dumb politicians make dumb policies. So what’s $50-100 million to run a 4th network featuring only serious world news?
This is spot on with my three reasons why the domestic dissemination prohibition of the transformed Smith-Mundt Act must be repealed. As the media has retreated from reported what goes on overseas out of a combination of budgets and interest, the American public are increasingly subjected to a combination of no information and half-truths from foreign sources without challenge (including the now widely read Russian psychological warrior Panarin – and here, reality check is here).
Introducing a new source of information, based on journalistic standards and public diplomacy standards to tell the truth, inform, and explain would, hopefully, raise the bar and challenge American media who no longer view informing the American public as a public service or a profit center. The purpose of the prohibition on domestic dissemination came not from the fear the Government would unduly influence the public, but that the State Department, full of Communists and Socialists, would undermine the Government. This was held by Congress, the FBI, and academics who questioned State’s loyalty of ability to manage both the information services and the exchange of persons programs.
What was done overseas in America’s name and with America’s money was intended to be shared within our borders by the media, Congress and academia. This created the necessary transparency and accountability of not just the programs but of the Government itself. At the time, holding the media accountable was not the issue. Today, it is as revenue streams shape content and headlines more than the need to now.
After the passing of “Deepthroat”, Mark Felt, someone observed that Watergate would probably not happen again because the major news organizations won’t fund such long investigations. This would have to come from “new” and independent organizations.
This is a good subject for the upcoming Smith-Mundt Symposium.
7 thoughts on “Kill My TV: where’s the news?”
NPR seems to meet your criteria of journalistic ethics, yet has very low audience numbers.What makes you (or Rob) think that pushing government-funded broadcasting toward the American public would make it any more appealing than NPR?
You want to get America’s attention? Embrace popular culture. If Britney calls out radical Islam, America’s hearts and minds will follow.
Interesting Post, but I disagree with a few of the conclusions.Would the development of a government-run news network lead to a more informed American Public? Doubtful. NPR is partially public-funded already, after all.
An alternative model might be to empower many of the bloggers that already exist and report on international issues. More and more people get their news from the internet, anyway.
It would be cheaper and most likely more effective (and undoubtedly less boring) than a government-run television network.
Incidentally, the Palestinians and Israelis (and occasionally Lebanese Hezbollah) violate some ceasefire, fire rockets/attack each other, then halt operations due to some hastily worked-out ceasefire agreement every few years. Say there was a channel Americans could watch to try to understand what was going on; would they watch that, or would they tune into Paris Hilton’s Australian New Years’ party instead? The smart ones would probably just watch that episode of Lost they Tivo’d, or better yet, play Warcraft online. . .
Happy New Year!
I do have to take issue with one of the comments of the poster. “Blagojevich…who cares?” Sorry, but as international oriented as I am, domestic concerns do matter. The serious corruption in Illinois is also effecting the make-up and schedule of the Senate at a critical time.Many foreigners want the U.S. to keep their country’s problems front and center at all times. This is neither possible nor desirable. Russia, after all, is far more interested in international concerns then in the horrific nature of its domestic situation. Wouldn’t it better if it was the other way around? Yes, Americans need to be informed about the world. Yes, Sarah Palin is now getting too much news coverage. Domestic concerns though, especially in these times, are going to be at the top of the list. What is happening is Gaza is tragic, but many Americans got burnt-out on the Israel/Palestinian situation a very long time ago and are tuning it out. That’s not a reflection of the news media. It’s a reflection of the American public’s priorities.
MLP wrote: “many Americans got burnt-out on the Israel/Palestinian situation a very long time ago and are tuning it out. That’s not a reflection of the news media. It’s a reflection of the American public’s priorities.”I agree with this sentiment. How many Israel/Gaza conflicts have the American people seen transpire on television over the past 35 years? It is certainly tragic, but it is also a fairly commonplace event.
Any time you start discussing the government promoting or limiting the flow of information, wether it be news, opinion or whatever, the problem always boils down to “who gets to decide” what news or viewpoints are worthy of coverage. Public television and radio routinely cover important issues the for-profit networks ignore, but it’s hard to say PBS & NPR’s perspective and presentation is uniformly unbiased.
Rather than using an NPR/PBS model, why not use a CSPAN approach where you would minimalize editorial bias in favor of providing an audio/visual transcript of events, debates, etc.? It is not as sexy as NPR, FOX, or CNN, but at least the policies, or the data would be accessible. Moreover, it would be a less expensive option.Matt, thanks for providing this informative blog.
The issues raised in this comment thread are all valid. They also address a reason I have for suggesting a return to Smith-Mundt and the idea that informational activities should be based on a journlist paradigm. There must be some sugar-coating, but I don’t think there needs to be a lot, especially when the stories get carried by rebroadcasters. However, as Russia is demonstrating today, we must have our own broadcast capability and not just rely third-party distribution (or however that’s termed in the media world).Chuck: thanks.
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