Democrats & Liberals Archives

America's True Enemy: Corporate Media

A friend of mine recently said to me that media conglomerations are patently un-American. His statement got me thinking, and I came away with the conclusion that he’s exactly right. Working for a massive news corporation like, say, News Corporation (Rupert Murdoch’s outfit) or Sinclair Broadcasting Group almost totally limits the Freedom of the Press our Constitution says America should have. Massive media networks like NewsCorp, Clear Channel, Sinclair, etc. aren’t America’s true enemy just because they restrict the press’ freedom. The media conglomerates are our enemy because of how they present the “news.”

Though this isn't necessarily political in its nature, it's a fair indication of the difference between a member of a media conglomerate (in this case Premium Radio Networks, a division of Clear Channel) and how a member of a much smaller media company presented the exact same piece of news.

UNC Chapel Hill star basketball player Rashad McCants recently did an interview where he was asked a series of questions. He poorly worded an answer to the question, thus giving the impression that playing basketball for UNC was like being in prison. Jim Rome had one of his "takes" on the subject, and "quoted" what Mr. McCants had told the interviewer. Jim Rome, for those who are unaware, has one of the most listened to sports talk shows on the radio, and is syndicated by Clear Channel. In his take he quoted only the most damning parts of Rashad McCants' answer, and totally neglected the rest of the response to the question that would have put the quote in some kind of context.

Fast forward three hours, and a local sports show is discussing the same topic only the host read the entire answer from a transcript he had in front of him. Instead of Rashad McCants dismissing his playing for UNC as nothing more than being in prison as Jim Rome falsely asserted, he was stating that his inability to go out for fall break, accept free stuff, or do any of the things most college kids can do is kind of restrictive. He then went on to say his uncle likened it to being in prison.

And here's the difference. Jim Rome simply read a 100 word AP wire report on the interview, refused to do any further research, and told upwards of three million listeners that Rashad McCants is so selfish that his free ride to UNC is nothing more to him than a prison sentence. Adam Gold, the host of the local show, went and found the actual interview and read the full answer to the question Rashad was asked.

And it's not like this one instance of the corporate media being lazy. Clear Channel, News Corporation, AOL Time Warner, and General Electric (NBC), and several other news empires do this an innumerable amount of times during the day. After the debate did Fox News or MSNBC or CNN discuss the issues George W. Bush and John Kerry brought to the table? No, they talked about how John Kerry brought up Dick Cheney's daughter's sexual preference, as if that's the issue!

If this country is to ever be truly free, and ever wants to truly win the war against terrorism, we'll need help from a press corps that isn't forced to be lazy in research and isn't afraid of "hurting" the parent corporation's bottom line.

Posted by John F. Szamosi at October 21, 2004 5:14 AM