web counter Media Lies: I love Cori Dauber!

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

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I love Cori Dauber!

If, like me, you are concerned about the media and how they distort the news, then you, like me, are a Cori Dauber lover. I admire her ability to see through the gauze of the media screen and spot the hypocrisy. Today she discusses a very simple headline and pierces right to the core of what is wrong with media coverage.

She wryly points out, "NBC Nightly News (still doing Iraq Watch, and I can't decide if that's more offensive now that they don't have the excuse of the Olympics or less) says this..."

Cori's observation is dead on. The media is far to quick to jump on negativity and destruction. Accidents, deaths, human tragedy, anything bad leads the news. Today we are assaulted with the news about a man in California on trail for his wife's murder, a basketball player on trial for rape, an abuser who hurts his children. Let someone do something positive, however, and we might be granted the opportunity to hear about it if we listen to Paul Harvey's "rest of the story".

Furthermore, the media not only focuses on the negative almost to the exclusion of the positive, but as Cori points out, they don't even bother to provide us with the context necessary to make an intelligent judgment about the value of the story.
"9 civilians including 3 children" were killed in a US air attack on Fallujah according to hospital officials there.

Note what's missing: any comment from US officials on whether they agree that civilians were killed, and any contextualizing comment on what may or may not have been accomplished in that air strike.

That's a staggering comment. It presumes that "hospital officials" are perfectly neutral.


From everything we've heard Fallujah is a damn cesspool of terrorists, Islamists, and their supporters. Even if a particular "hospital official" were neutral or even pro-American, why wouldn't we believe that, like the guys writing press releases on civilian casualties for the Taliban, they were doing so with guns to their heads?

To air this statement without getting and airing a comment from the US military is really quite outrageous.
Outrageous indeed. Not least because it insults our intelligence. It assumes that the media knows better than we do which elements of a story are important and which are not. It disallows us the opportunity to decide for ourselves which facts are relevant and which are not, where the truth lies in the story, what is important to take away from the story.

I sometimes wonder, had the media been more balanced and fair in their reporting, would blogging have arisen as it has. I think, to some extent it would have, but one thing is certain. My blog might not even exist. I certainly wouldn't be posting as much as I do.

As it is, I don't even have time to address a small portion of the things about the media that irk me.