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<The News Media is in a deplorably shallow and sycophantic
Without wanting to defend the news media, it has to be remembered
that for all their bravado about fourth estates, and editorial independence
and so on, they are entirely reliant in situations like this on the
briefings they receive from government, the city and the military. When
they get the great and the good on to debate the issues, they are only going
to get the same opinions- this is exactly what Chomksy has been talking
about for years.
In the UK, a couple of days after the attack, a flagship audience
discussion programme (Question Time) aired a special on the attacks in which
strong anti-US sentiment from some sections of the UK public was included,
only for the BBC's director general to apologise for it! The reality is
that the media are also bound by public attitudes as to what's acceptable
and what's not, and those attidues are paradoxical- people didn't think the
Lewinsky scandal was appropriate news material, but sat and watched it
Add to that, the exclusion zone around the towers keeping cameras at
a distance; the officials who spent days avoiding putting figures on the
death toll, so journalists were also reticent, and so on, and what you have
is necessarily a distorted and false image of what happened. However,
without the media at all, the global impact of this event would have been
infinitely smaller. A dozen different angles of the crashes and its
aftermath from TV news, firefighter-cam, and home videos, help define the
event for people around the world.
The Media are the devils we can't do without.
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