Does independent media make a difference?

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N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture
Does independent media make a difference?

Quote:
The MRzine Web site (http://mrzine.org) was inaugurated on July 14, 2005, and early on included events in North Africa and the Mideast in its focus. In the intervening years there have been many occasions when countries among the most frequent points of origin of visitors to the site have been Turkey, Iran, or Egypt. But for a moment in February, MRzine played a role in events qualitatively different from anything that had gone before. The Bahrain government attempted to block internet access to videos and accounts of events in the early stages of the revolutionary movement. MRzine escaped their notice, and for an important day or two its coverage of events was one of the few available in Bahrain. On one day in mid-February records of MRzine internet usage showed more visitors from Bahrain's capital Manama-population 155,000-than from any other city in the world, and indeed from any country other than the United States.

Monthly Review April 2011

NDPP

The Dangerous Cult of the Guardian  -  by Jonathan Cook

http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/09/28/the-dangerous-cult-of-the-guardian/

"So why do the Guardian and its writers publish these propaganda articles parading as moral concern about the supposedly degenerate values of the 'left'? And why, if the left is in such a debased state, can the Guardian's stable of talented writers not take on their opponents' ideas without resorting to strawman arguments, misdirection and smears?

It hardly matters whether all or some of these critical thinkers are right. The danger they pose to the Guardian is in arguing convincingly that the way the world is presented to us is not the way it really is..."

milo204

i think it does, even if it's small right now.  For example on israel/palestine people attitudes have changed more in the last ten years than the 50 before that due in large part to indy media/internet for allowing info previously kept under wraps to be seen.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Alternative and independent media are important, as every babbler knows, or we wouldn't be here. Publicly-owned media can also play a similiar role, as the CBC has and other public media has.

Russia's RT has played a significant role, as has Al-Jazeera, Democracy Now, The Real News Network, and others, in getting alternative or non-MSM views out to the public.

Anyway, a recent installment of Peter Lavelle's Crosstalk at RT on Media Failures is quite good.

See http://rt.com/shows/crosstalk/221547-media-mainstream-alternative-sources/

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Traditionally, the role of media has been to inform society and keep an eye on the powers that be. Today media follows a very different model - for the most part the mainstream merely echoes the opinions of the elite. Is it any wonder audiences are looking for alternative media sources?

CrossTalking with Patrick Henningsen, Brian Becker and David Swanson

The show covers matters such as:

- demonization script by MSM, e.g. of DPRK or North Korea and the Sony hack story
- all about "who we're supposed to hate", etc.
- MSM, press corps in US as union of stenographers, or worse, as poachers turned gate-keeper
- daily self-censorship by reporters
- echo chamber or echo machine in USA, especially since the invasion of Iraq and 9-11
- mainly about the USA but applicable to Canada as well
- it's cheaper to get a good journalist in Washington than a call girl ...
- the fourth estate has become a fifth column

I particularly like that the show is not a litany of negativity and outlines some bright spots ...

 

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Michael Krieger, the editor of Liberty Blitzkrieg wrote:
“RT’s success was not because the Russian state poured so much time and money into the network,”Krieger writes. “It’s success was a direct result of the U.S. mainstream media being so childish and useless. By spewing a mind-numbing amount of inane celebrity gossip, sports drama and cartoonish American propaganda, a massive audience yearning for a different perspective was already present and underserved. RT merely came along and filled that void.”

The above quote comes from an article over at Global Research commenting on the recent fiasco in which the new head of the US BBG compared alternative media (RT in Russia) to terrorists like Islamic State and Boko Haram.

Evo Morales, President of Bolivia wrote:
This media is the voice of the developing countries, the voice of the peoples of the world, and it deserves our admiration.

"If RT does well then the terrorists win," or some nonsense like that.

Slumberjack

Quote:
Traditionally, the role of media has been to inform society and keep an eye on the powers that be.

Lol.  In a pig's eye!  This hasn't been our experience with western corporate media.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

That's a poorly thought out introduction to the show RT was trying to promote. It actually wasn't a bad show, as far as such things go.

Perhaps such things really have changed. Why else, for example, do we note that the Obama Administration has gone after more whistleblowers than all other admins put together? Why did Ed Snowden have to seek refugee status in Russia? Why is Julian Assange holed up indefinitely in the Ecuadorian embassy? Why is there now some substantial talk of a Media Reform Movement? Isnt' that new?

swallow swallow's picture

I've always considered alternative media to be outlets like rabble.ca, with no form of state control. The CBC as alt-media? It's a stretch.

iyraste1313

 Why is there now some substantial talk of a Media Reform Movement? Isnt' that new?

...the fundamental problem is with the interpretation of fair and balanced media according to *Canadian values*

by the CRTC. And of course the values of the Canadian courts not to mention their inaccessibility.

The problems can´t be dealt with piece meal. Its a system of mutual big brother support...

this is why there must be a holistic all incompassing national and radical anticapitalist movement established in Canada...to take on the whole!

Slumberjack

Crosstalk, State Media and the Irrational

Quote:
The deeper issue is that we have these media outlets of various nationalities — RT for Russia, France 24 for France, CNN for the U.S. establishment, Fox for the U.S. establishment rightwing, MSNBC for U.S. establishment corporate liberals, Al-Jazeera for Qatar, Al-Arabia for Saudi Arabia, CCTV for China, etc.  They all foster shallowness and a ultimately prize hacks over real journalists.  We desperately need a global, real network dedicated to real facts and meaningful dialogue between various viewpoints.

lagatta

Russian Times is not "independent" or alternative media:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RT_%28TV_network%29

Slumberjack

Why don't you try reading for effect.

lagatta

???

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

lagatta is technically correct; RT (it's not called Russia Times and never was called that) ... is s state-funded media outlet just like the CBC, BBC, or some such institutions. The Western MSM, however, treats RT as a mouthpiece for the government of Russia while treating the CBC, BBC, etc., as "independent" institutions, pure as the driven snow, objective as a career scientist, beyond reproach, etc., etc. The double standard is, needless to say, indicative of the corporate media generally. And that is what state institutions like the BBC and CBC are; they echo the corporate media with a slightly different flavour, like, say, Coke versus Pepsi.

What's new about RT is that they echo a lot of the independent media, while providing little critical coverage of Russia domestically, and that evokes the most foaming, frothing antagonism from their media rivals, the US State Department, etc. State Department media briefings are practically a circus now, and it is not just RT's doing; other reporters are getting in on it. But corporate media is an easy target, just as the mounting social contradictions, violence, cruelty, etc.,are as well.

The competition from RT has, recently, evoked the response (in the USA) ... that their assets should be seized. Politics trumps private property. I like the precedent, not the particular example. RT has really challenged the corporate cheerleading in the MSM and, at least in that regard, deserve some credit.

In any case, state media like RT, arguably, actually helps independent media like rabble.ca. Of course they have their own interests, just as Al-jazeera does, and it's always wise to know or be aware of these things. It might be useful to point out that on some of their shows, e.g., Crosstalk, RT invites plenty of critical guests who disagree with domestic and foreign policy of the Russian government and they're quite willing to air their views.

It may be worth mentioning that even with a conservative government with Vladimir Putin, there exists a kind of residue, a left over from the Soviet era, not completely lost, of a positive element from that era, a more enlightened foreign policy, which in my opinion is to be commended, and the contrast with the US (and satellite) policies is really remarkable. I think RT covers this difference really well and thereby makes itself useful even to those who have no time, and deep mistrust, for the Putin regime.

The shocking failure of the leading parties in the Canadian Parliament (Liberals, Conservatives, and NDP) to distinguish themselves on the key foreign policy issues of today - yelping, in unison,  like good little poodles of the US regime - just shows how the corporate and non-independent point of view completely dominates in political circles in this country. Any critical perspective on that, provided we don't shut off our bullshit detectors, is helpful. That IS the role of independent media.

 

Slumberjack

ikosmos wrote:
lagatta is technically correct;  RT (it's not called Russia Times and never was called that) ... is s state-funded media outlet just like the CBC, BBC, or some such institutions.

I don't know where in the article this fact (that RT is state-funded and is thus not independent) was in contention, so lagatta's comment was either the product of a misreading, or a tautological statement out of the blue.  It was being argued in the piece that RT is not, in fact, independent.

Of course none of our mainstream media outlets are independent either.

NDPP

Obviously the internet provides a wealth of news and information sources. Here is a selection of news samples people may wish to compare:

CBC National News

http://www.cbc.ca/thenational/watch/

RT News - Oct 28, 2015 (1700 MSK)

https://www.rt.com/shows/news/319969-rtnews-october-28-17msk/

PressTV - Full News

http://www.presstv.com/Video/2015/10/28/435381/UN-High-Commissioner-for-...

From The South

http://videos.telesurtv.net/en/video/462323/from-the-south-462323

Slumberjack

Yes.  And it isn't true that RT and other state sources of news do not, in their own right, constitute alternatives to the deep corporate state versions we're used to here in the west.  In RT's case for instance, they provide ample exposure of the position of the Russian government particualrly as it concerns international matters.  Other that what RT, Sputnik and other international sources provide, we would have no way of assessing those perspectives for what they are if we had to rely solely on the western loudspeakers and their version of events.

The problem is in envisioning and actualizing truly independent sources of information.  Even rabble.ca is influenced by the NDP way of doing politics.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

In addition to RT, there is a citizen journalism site - Russia Insider - that clearly falls on the independent media side of things (some of the RT people, for example, won't contribute to it) and they recently posted some info about those circus-like US State Department briefings...

In this case, the US continues to insist that they have the right, not the Syrian people themselves, to determine who governs Syria. The article notes a slight nuance this time around. The hubris of Empire becomes brazenly apparent for anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear.

Nothing any other regime says, not even North Korea, comes close to this. The average babbler would probably just burst out laughing at the Empire's breathtaking and shameless hubris. And I would just remind babblers that, by and large, our government, and the Opposition Parties, re-gurgitate these animal droppings, with trivial and cosmetic differences, freshened up to appear as the early morning dew.

Noops

There is an exciting new alt-news media project set to take off down south. You can read about it here:

http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2015/12/05/buckle-up-join-the-ride-our-n...

They are looking for supporters and will be using crowdfunding to get off the ground.

 

In a nutshell what is it aiming for and why will it be different from other alt-news venues?

There are presently two basic alt-news media models:

Those that are funded/supported by large corporations (think The Intercept etc.) and those small independent sites (thousands) that are run by a handful or fewer that rely on advertising to get by.

 

This new site's goal is to tie together the best of those independent sites (links to their articles/videos etc.) plus injecting their own in-house stories from news reporters/editors (local and sent around the world on assignment), daily video news podcasts, discussion forums, the whole kit and caboodle.

A one-stop shop for alt-media news to make it easier to read/see/hear the stories the MSM aren't providing you . And completely free of advertising; just relying on member support!

No one has done this before.

 

Check it out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:

This new site's goal is to tie together the best of those independent sites (links to their articles/videos etc.) plus injecting their own in-house stories from news reporters/editors (local and sent around the world on assignment), daily video news podcasts, discussion forums, the whole kit and caboodle.

A one-stop shop for alt-media news to make it easier to read/see/hear the stories the MSM aren't providing you . And completely free of advertising; just relying on member support!

No one has done this before.

Do you mean that no one has done this before rabble.ca??

Noops

Rabble is a great site! I won't be abandoning it, that's for sure.

But what they have planned is a lot more exciting than what Rabble currently provides.

Check out their plans, it's very impressive.

Slumberjack

I don't know if independent media makes much difference when it comes to influencing public policy, except perhaps to enhance surveillance budgets to keep track of those who engage with independent media, or to provide more government work in the area of disinformation, or counter-information.  By and large governments don't really care what the public thinks anymore, if they ever did, except as it serves the various party agendas, and in those cases where the public mood might risk a general threat to business as usual.  In that case, government will weigh all options to make whatever uncomfortable issues there are in the public domain go away, either through outright repression like the G20 and Quebec student protests, or a temporary retreat as with the case of the NB fracking protests.  In that instance, the risk of enraging public sentiment across the country was likely deemed to be more trouble than it might have been worth for the corporations being patronized in that deal.

Noops

Slumberjack wrote:

I don't know if independent media makes much difference when it comes to influencing public policy, except perhaps to enhance surveillance budgets to keep track of those who engage with independent media, or to provide more government work in the area of disinformation, or counter-information.  By and large governments don't really care what the public thinks anymore, if they ever did, except as it serves the various party agendas, and in those cases where the public mood might risk a general threat to business as usual...

 

Unfortunately I have to agree with you here.

The ultimate aim of this new media project is to force the MSM to take notice and respond in some way to

the real news that is being provided.

As far as influencing public policy is concerned, that's a whole different kettle of fish.

 

 

 

 

infracaninophile infracaninophile's picture

Noops wrote:

As far as influencing public policy is concerned, that's a whole different kettle of fish.

Sadly true. I'm sure someone must have flagged up this study that recently made the MSM news (what's remarkable is not the message -- something we knew already -- but the fact it was reported on fairly widely)

http://www.businessinsider.com/major-study-finds-that-the-us-is-an-oliga...

There's a link to the abstract of the study in a Cambridge journal.

Inthe U.S. pretty well  both  sides in an election are funded by the same corporate elite, so there is little chance of substantive change. Thank goodness we still have paper ballots. I saw an interview with someone (in the USA) who explained how easy it was to write code that would alter the votes in an election. He explained the gist of how to do it and says he knows for a fact these scripts are routinely used. He had written some of them himself.

It does seem that in the U.S. the Klingons have triumphed. Resistance is futile, etc. 

 

I do like The Intercept but will check this new one out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
It does seem that in the U.S. the Klingons have triumphed. Resistance is futile, etc.

[fanboy]Do you mean The Borg?[/fanboy]

voice of the damned

infrancanophile wrote:

QUOTE: Inthe U.S. pretty well both sides in an election are funded by the same corporate elite, so there is little chance of substantive change. Thank goodness we still have paper ballots. I saw an interview with someone (in the USA) who explained how easy it was to write code that would alter the votes in an election. He explained the gist of how to do it and says he knows for a fact these scripts are routinely used. He had written some of them himself. END QUOTE

If both parties are controlled by the same people, why would they bother with electoral fraud? Those elites wouldn't care which of the two parties won.

The only way it would make sense is if there were some other party, eg. the Greens, who were actually winning the most votes, but the elites rigged it so that one of the two main parties won. For reasons I would assume are obvious, I doubt that that is happening.

Noops

voice of the damned wrote:

If both parties are controlled by the same people, why would they bother with electoral fraud? Those elites wouldn't care which of the two parties won.

 

My thoughts as well.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
If both parties are controlled by the same people, why would they bother with electoral fraud? Those elites wouldn't care which of the two parties won.

With the U.S. election just under a year away, we've got about another eleven months to hear all about how there's simply no discernable difference between Hillary Clinton and Ben Carson, and how Bernie Sanders can make a three-minute egg in two minutes, and puts his pants on both legs at a time, and that's why "moneyed interests" won't permit him to win.

mark_alfred
iyraste1313

If both parties are controlled by the same people, why would they bother with electoral fraud? Those elites wouldn't care which of the two parties won......

.....While these political institutions may be playthings of the oligarchs, the people actually engaged in such institutions are playing for keeps to maintain their share of the pie...sure it's all irelevant...except for the people making their perks from the systems...way down on the totem pole, but still perks for them!

Also, remember that the role of the oligarchs is to maintain their system of control...so they may have their conflicts as to how to do so, so e.g in the case of Canada, to have a straight shooting fascist like Harper...or the deceptions of the alternatives...all of course carefully following the corporate agenda, one way or another!

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

There is a forum being held in Moscow in the beginning of June, sponsored by Rossiya Segodnya, about the new era of journalism.

Farewell to Mainstream.

Quote:
The forum’s two sessions will feature discussions on the condition of today’s journalism and its transition to post-mainstream, the evolvement of alternative media, the mainstream media and their clients’ loss of their monopoly to form the everyday agenda for the world information space, and the existence of new media as guarantors of the freedom of information. Heads of the world’s leading media, representatives of the recent successful initiatives in communications, very notable journalists and media experts from all over the world will share their views on these issues.

I love that. Post mainstream. Buh bye!