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Old 09-03-2004, 10:54 PM
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Default What they DON'T say is just as important . . .

I saw an article called "The Top-Ten Underreported Stories of the Year" in the local weekly (independent) newspaper recently, and it got me to thinking. "Bias" in the reporting of the news can be a very subtle thing; media outlets don't have to overtly favor one viewpoint or another in order to lead people toward certain ways of thinking -- a much subtler technique (but perhaps even more effective, since it's not even noticed by most readers) is to simply not acknowledge that alternative viewpoints even exist.

A column by Molly Ivins about the UPS strike some years ago really opened my eyes on that topic. She pointed out that all of the mainstream media outlets reported on how much the strike was costing the company, and on how lots of high-ranking UPS officials were worried that it would cut into corporate profits. Conspicuously absent in all of these reports (even NPR's) was any suggestion that maybe the workers had a legitimate reason for going on strike. Maybe, just maybe, the fact that hundreds of workers were willing to take that extraordinary step was indicative that they felt they were being treated unfairly by UPS.

In our increasingly corporate-dominated media, the notion that Labor might have legitimate grievances against Management (and Owners) is seldom even considered. I have to admit that Ivins had an awfully good point: I was so used to this viewpoint [that the concerns of the workers are irrelevant and therefore not worth mentioning -- what really matters is profits] that I had completely failed to notice that rather large elephant in the living room as I read the articles about the strike.

So, what other sorts of important things do we fail to notice when we read the papers and watch/listen to the news -- because they're considered unworthy of comment?


-- Michael
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Old 09-03-2004, 11:19 PM
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Default Re: What they DON'T say is just as important . . .

Great topic, Michael. Are you familiar with Project Censored, by any chance? Their Top 25 Censored Media Stories of the Year covers some of the ground the mainstream media has studiously avoided; it's pretty astounding how gigantic these stories really are.
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Old 09-04-2004, 02:09 AM
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Default Re: What they DON'T say is just as important . . .

On that site, how do you get follow up information? I mean, I would like to research things, it is just telling me something happened, but where is the stuff to back it up?

-Scott
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Old 09-04-2004, 02:30 AM
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Default Re: What they DON'T say is just as important . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scotty
On that site, how do you get follow up information? I mean, I would like to research things, it is just telling me something happened, but where is the stuff to back it up?
Each story has a resources header, sometimes as short as a single source, sometimes a list. I've been known to follow that trail in the search for information, but it's certainly not easy. These stories were barely covered to begin with; follow-up is rarely on the agenda.

Project Censored itself is a not a media outlet, but a university research group with a decidely progressive bent. Afaik, they don't do any follow-up themselves; they just pick the stories.
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