How is the Media Reporting the Latest News on Iraq?
The role of the news media, in a democratic society, is to disseminate news that is meaningful to a wide audience at a time when other factors are still obscure. Its purpose is not simply to provide the populace with the latest facts on the event; rather, it seeks to give them the information they need to act, react and evaluate the situation at hand. The media’s role is as much to inform the public as it is to entertain it. It is an essential part of a functioning society.
In a free society, the media has the responsibility to hold those government and other public figures to account for their actions. When the mass media fails to do so, the public is deprived of the benefits that follow from the actions of public figures. As a result, a substantial group of citizens who benefit from the good work of the media finds itself voiceless, while those who suffer from its mistakes find themselves voiceless as well. The media has an important role in informing the masses about current affairs events. But at the same time, it must also retain a non-dominating attitude to the power structure that it reports on.
News is one of the most important aspects of modern life. Without it, what would remain of modern public awareness would dissipate into thin air. The news media’s work in disseminating news is not always easy. Often, the press is compelled to take sides on matters of controversy, in order to stay in business. And even when the media is not compelled to take a side, there is no guarantee that the news will not be slanted in favor of a particular political faction or interest group.
This importance of news is illustrated most notably in the current Iraq war. While the press has done its duty in providing unbiased reporting of events, the extent of bias is becoming more apparent. While the media was quick to criticize George W. Bush for the way he had handled the war, they have been oddly silent about how they have covered the Bush Administration’s handling of the war. Indeed, there have been few articles written about the enormous expenses that have been incurred by the US military, and virtually no attention has been devoted to the political spin that the Administration has put on the facts of the conflict.
This double standard is damaging to our democratic form of government. If the press is supposed to be an independent watchdog of our government, then why do we have a problem with news being slanted in favor of the Administration? Why is there so much support for a news story that is slanted to promote a particular viewpoint? Why is there so much support for news that is almost completely spun according to the interests of the news organizations reporting the story? It is not surprising that so many people see the news media as nothing more than stenographers for the Administration.
We can hope that the media will start to correct their skewed reporting. After all, the purpose of the media is not to promote one point of view, or to downplay the other point of view. The news is not supposed to be a cheerleader for one candidate over another, nor is it suppose to be an armchair pollster predicting the results of any upcoming election. Unfortunately, the news is not free to express any sort of political opinion whatsoever, and they are often pressured by their employers to toe the line. Please consider all this and think on it.