RE: Rumsfeld Says...

From: Steve Drew (
Date: Tue Mar 05 2002 - 22:18:18 GMT

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    > Date: Tue, 5 Mar 2002 12:16:05 -0000
    > From: Vincent Campbell <>
    > Subject: RE: Rumsfeld Says He May Drop New Office of Influence
    > The statement below is often true, although often the trivial drives out the
    > important. And what of events of equivalent importance (or urgency)?
    > Journalists make judgements about relative importance (part of the area
    > known as news values in the field), but their criteria aren't necessarily
    > related to social importance.
    > <Or as a civil servant in the Irish Ministry of Education recently
    > (but sadly
    >> anonymously) said: "The urgent drives out the important">
    > In terms of Grant's comment:
    > <A society or culture is like a person in that it, too, has long
    > term and
    >> short term memory. You'll find long-term memory in the history books and
    >> short-term memory in the newspapers and magazines. The distinction is
    >> becoming more blurred with each passing day, but the news media does
    >> decide
    >> what's hot and what's not for us. Just because an issue slips to
    >> long-term
    >> space does not mean that it's forgotten. We still dredge up Socrates, for
    >> God's sake. Little or nothing is forgotten anymore. It just can't
    >> compete
    >> with the clammor of more pressing issues for our attention.>
    > Again some truth in this, the problem is that events are often
    > unresolved, unfinished before the press have moved onto the next big story.
    > Whilst we have more information circulating about events now, I'm not sure
    > how much easier it will be for historians 500 years from now than it is for
    > historians today looking back 500 years. Plus, of course, the media become
    > part of the events they report on e.g. the difficulty in waging a war in a
    > mediated country where every soldier or civilian killed gets voluminous
    > coverage, as with the current Afghan conflict. One of the gaps in media
    > research, which would fit into memetics research also, would be the role of
    > the press in particular modern myths (although myths might not quite be the
    > right word). In particular in my mind would be things like Jack the Ripper
    > (the press played a major role in the event at the time, including giving
    > the killer their name); the Loch Ness Monster (popularised, in, IIRC, the
    > 1920s in the press); the Titanic disaster (how many people remember the
    > sister ship that had a trouble free working life?); or the Roswell Incident
    > (now probably the best known UFO/alien story).
    > Vincent

    This is very true. In the next bit i could be hanging myself out to dry.
    Although i suspect that most journalists do try to do a good impartial job,
    IMHO this is very difficult for anyone. Each journalist, whether they are an
    independent or a correspondent knows the market they want to sell to, and
    their work may be unintentionally coloured by this. Secondly, there is the
    editorial filter. Their job is to make papers that sell or they don't have
    a job. This must colour what they do.

    Where does the newspaper owner figure in this?



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