Friday, September 20, 2019

Be aware of the funding of your news source

From America magazine, 09/02/19 issue in an article entitled "Why Americans need nonprofit sources for news."

The First Amendment guarantees the right to a free press because the founders recognized the vital role the Fourth Estate should play in the republic. A free press helps hold government accountable to the people. But the commercial press, pressured by different motivations, has been negligent in fulfilling its civic function. There is a need, even if the demand is not yet loud, for a press that is less susceptible to market influences and keeps the government in check.

Nonprofit sources of news may be one answer. Government-funded media outlets like National Public Radio demonstrate—most of the time—how a news organization can function when it does not rely solely on marketplace conditions. But Americans also need options that are not susceptible to de-funding threats from Congress. Nonprofit media, like ProPublica, can zero in on matters of public concern instead of aggravating existing partisan rifts.
While cable news outlets have benefited from a divided America, independent news groups could be in a better position to communicate difficult truths on which audiences can agree. Nonprofit trusts—independent of both the government and the marketplace—may provide a much-needed avenue to civil conversation. Profit-driven media conglomerates will not always give us trustworthy news. It is time to find another way.

Editor's comment:

Trumpism is rampant in the United States currently and there is not much about it that is beneficial to our society except their complaint about "fake news" and "alternative facts."

Of course, "alternative facts" is an oxymoron because there is no such thing. There certainly can abe "alternative opinions" or "alternative interpretations" but a "fact" by definition corresponds to empiral, fundamental reality. People are entitled to their own opinions but not to their own facts.

Even with empirial facts reality can be distorted by chosing which facts to lift up for viewing and which are marginalized are silenced into the shadows for hiding. 

Commerical media has a profit incentive and so it presents the "facts" and interpretations which will emotionally arouse and hook viewers and readers. In other words the "news" is often sensationalized to grab attention for advertisers to the channel or conduit of the media communication being attended to. Nonprofit news has no profit incentive and is not so dependent on the quanity of consumers and thus can concentrate on the quality of the consumers.

The truth is sometimes painful and upsetting and thus preferably avoided. The truth is hard some times, and yet would you rather know it and be told it? The truth can sometimes be boring even if illuminating and enlightening. Would you still want to attend to it?

Support nonprofit news sources. My favorites are Propublica, Mother Jones, and Democracy Now. There are others. Distrust the profit making news sources like Fox, MSNBC, CNN, etc. 

In the age of Trumpism the ratings for the profit making news sources are up because Trumpism is more entertaining and emotionally arousing than the truth. It reminds me of fake wrestling which has a huge fan base and makes millions of dollars per year. The U.S. President, Donald J. Trump has been a participant in and a purveyor of fake wrestling long before he was elected President. Did the voters want a chief executive of their country or an entertainer? Apparently they wanted the entertainment because the competence and performance of the chief executive is very poor and in some ways destructive to the well being of the American public.

One of the most fundamental skills in media literacy is deliberately choosing one's news source and vetting it. It is a good idea to use and financially support nonprofit news sources for your information gathering so you can make more informed and less biased judgements about what is best for yourself, your family, the country and the world.

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