One of the most interesting things I have noted about the Arab Spring is the role various state run news media outlets have played. Often when the media is closely controlled by the state, after the dust settles and the young media savvy protesters return to put their lives together, they then have the second battle of fighting entrenched complacency. While I do not want to insinuate that we are living in a fascist regime or other hyperbole in that vein, it is striking that a faction within American politics has strived to control so much of our media.
If you will grant me a digression, passive vs. interactive media. When I am reading a book, news paper, blog or any other form of written media and something strikes me as odd, I can stop, research more on a topic or check the references where the information is coming from. One reason I have never like broadcast news is its momentary nature. It does a end run around your common sense by switching so rapidly from topic to topic that fact checking in the moment is nearly moot. As such, I feel broadcasters can be a little more lax at best or devious at worst in the content they provide.
Now it can be argued that you can just turn off media sources, but nothing disturbs me more than to be in a place where that is not an option, a waiting room in a business for example. Even if you are not paying attention to every word, there is a chance that part of your brain might be. It has been well proven that mirror neuron response and other cognitive phenomena is taken advantage of by advertisers, why shouldn’t those with an agenda and public forum also bend the will of the people.
Today, we find more and more independent news papers falling from the market everyday, information that is circulated through the main media outlets seem to be funneling from smaller and smaller sources of content, and I for one am disturbed by this trend. There are several industries that for the public good need to be kept insulated from the corporate profit motivated system. Media as it is necessary for an informed public so they can make informed decisions is definitely one of them.