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State Media Rushing Into Coverage Void Left By Dying Newspapers

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the east-vs-west-propaganda dept.

China 250

derekmead writes "As newspaper budgets shrink, state-sponsored media outlets like RT, China Daily, and Al Jazeera have grown, hired more writers and offered more (free) coverage. Mark Mackinnon, writing for The Globe and Mail, explains the issue well: 'Throughout the recent crisis in Syria, and before that in Libya and Egypt, Xinhua and RT News have thrown unprecedented money and resources at reporting from the scene, even as Western media scale back on their own efforts. It's not too far-fetched to imagine a near future where it's Xinhua or RT, rather than the Associated Press or BBC, that have the only correspondents on the scene of an international crisis, meaning the world will only get Beijing or Moscow's version of what's happening.' But quality coverage still requires money, which means finding funding from somewhere. You see the effects of this every day: If your revenue is based mostly off of pay-per-click banner ads, a lowest-common denominator post, like a cheap roundup of cat pictures, is quite possibly going to pull in way more views for less money than a nuanced, deeply reported, and expensive dispatch from Syria. And, yeah, ads can be a bummer, especially when they're executed poorly, and paywalls aren't great. But when the alternatives are either fluffy, thin reporting; or worse, blatantly biased coverage sponsored by governments, we have to find a palatable way to fund good reporting."

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250 comments

The BBC isn't state sponsored media? I must be mis (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40450105)

It's not too far-fetched to imagine a near future where it's Xinhua or RT, rather than the Associated Press or BBC

The BBC isn't state sponsored media? I must be missing something

Re:The BBC isn't state sponsored media? I must be (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40450121)

quotefail

Re:The BBC isn't state sponsored media? I must be (4, Insightful)

rbrausse (1319883) | about 2 years ago | (#40450263)

I think the point of this TFS sentence was western media vs middle east/far east one's, as a second spin additionally to private vs state-sponsored broadcasters.

Re:The BBC isn't state sponsored media? I must be (5, Insightful)

starworks5 (139327) | about 2 years ago | (#40450425)

While people in the west were crediting facebook and twitter for organizing the arab spring, the leaders in the middle east understood that it was al jazeera that actually was responsible for forming perceptions, in some ways it exerts more influence in the middle east than any other regime in the world. I suggest that interested individuals read "propaganda" by Edward Burnayes, whom was the nephew of Sigmud Freud but far more influential, by being responsible for corporate perception management in the USA. Of course the internet has thrown the media a curve ball, but they still hold asymmetrical power and influence, which is why governments want to filter out the internet.

I recently found this [wikimedia.org] to be good source of main world information, especially if you read it 2-3 days delayed. Clean short description of what is happening in the world. Without ads.

This is an example of what post journalism should look like, more like citation based research conducted by qualified agents using the scientific method, analyzed and automated using Natural language processing and statistics including "reporters" as datasets. Once people can have a reasonable objective certainty of what is true and false, it will get alot easier to separate the wheat from the chaff in politics. However none of this will ever occur if we don't fight for the net neutrality and freedom of information, information asymmetry will be used to manipulate people and consensus for ulterior motives.

Re:The BBC isn't state sponsored media? I must be (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40450285)

Whitehall's version of events is pretty much the same as Wall Street's, so it's a good alternative for those who prefer their news to be biased in favour of big business instead of biased in favour of a particular state (which is, after all, the complaint here; that corporate bias is being replaced by state bias, not that the amount of bias is changing).

Re:The BBC isn't state sponsored media? I must be (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40450293)

Because it isn't. The BBC is funded via the TV license, not taxation. It is not government controlled, it is an independent entity.

Re:The BBC isn't state sponsored media? I must be (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40450383)

The TV license is a tax and the broadcast finances and license fee rises are negotiated with the UK Government every ten years. Think the Government and the British state don't have a large measure of control? Think again

The notion that the TV license isn't a tax and the BBC isn't state-controlled is a delusion.

Re:The BBC isn't state sponsored media? I must be (5, Informative)

chrb (1083577) | about 2 years ago | (#40450615)

Think the Government and the British state don't have a large measure of control? Think again

Officially they don't. There have been numerous governments that have criticised the reporting of the BBC but been unable to prevent it - the BBC dutifully reported NATO airstrike civilian victims during the Balkans wars, leading to government criticism that BBC in fact stood for "Belgrade Broadcasting Corporation":

"During the Nato bombing campaign the British government was sharply critical of BBC coverage. At one stage some government officials referred to us as the Belgrade Broadcasting Corporation."- The Guardian [guardian.co.uk]

Now, contrast this situation with an actual state controlled media - do you think such a media would even be allowed to report on civilians killed by the state military (a fact that goes against the military line that these are "no-collateral-damage precision airstrikes"?) And to continue to report on such victims of your military, even when it angers and displeases the government? And it was not just the Kosovo War, during the Falklands War government ministers accused the BBC of unpatriotic and neutral reporting - one minister angrily naming it the "Stateless Person's Broadcasting Corporation", another the "Bolshevik Broadcasting Corporation".

The notion that the TV license isn't a tax and the BBC isn't state-controlled is a delusion.

Compare the BBC and its successive spats with various governments to an actual state-controlled media and you will see a big difference. Do you think that real state-controlled media broadcasts any criticisms of the government? Would a real state-controlled media be allowed to report repeatedly on allegations that the government mis-represented the evidence for going to war? [wikipedia.org] If so, why do we not see this kind of criticism coming out of, say, the Chinese state media?

Re:The BBC isn't state sponsored media? I must be (1, Insightful)

SwedishPenguin (1035756) | about 2 years ago | (#40450981)

I'd rather take several different state-funded television stations than several corporate-funded ones. The latter all have similar agendas because their funding all comes from the same place, the former tend to report accurately when their particular state is not involved and thus tend to complement each other.

Re:The BBC isn't state sponsored media? I must be (3, Insightful)

starworks5 (139327) | about 2 years ago | (#40450453)

The BBC USED to be government controlled, now it is a private corporation that is government funded. However the purpose and "company culture" that prevaded the BBC USED to be about public service, while in the west it was about propaganda and advertising, which is why the BBC was funded by taxes in the first place. However over the years things have changed, while the BBC is certainly better than the american media, has deviated from its traditional values considerably.

Re:The BBC isn't state sponsored media? I must be (2)

madprof (4723) | about 2 years ago | (#40451139)

Sorry but this is almost all wrong. The BBC has never been government-controlled. It is state-owned and has been since 1927. It is not a private corporation at all.

It is subject to public service broadcasting requirements (as are Channel 4 and ITV, but not sure about Sky) and of course it has to comply with stuff like DA-notices but those apply to the whole media.

I have to agree that it isn't quite as good as it was, but IMVHO it is still ahead of the most popular traditional media in the US. There are quality US outlets though, but they're just not huge organisations.

And who sets the license cost? (2)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 2 years ago | (#40450607)

It is naive to think the government has no influence over the BBC, well, some governments at least. It is foolish to think the BBC is unbiased. True unbiased reporting is unheard of in the world, it would require every story to consume more storage resources then fit in the physical universe. What am I talking about? The Israel/Palestine conflict is a prime example, since it has been decades, no centuries, no millenia of tit-for-tat, if you want to report the full story, you need to include all of human history, each time. Would make the morning paper a bit thick.

Cut bits out? Then your bias is in the bits you cut out. The BBC always cuts so that Israel is the aggressor and never reports a story until Israel has retaliated. Check their reporting.

Fox does the opposite. Both are lying scumbags, just because you like the lies of one the scumbags does not make that scumbag unbiased.

Re:And who sets the license cost? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40450879)

Yes the government do have an influence on the license fee as they restrict the BBCs ability to increase whenever they want. Every year the BBC has to report to the gov what they want the fee to be and if it increases too much the government cap it.

If the BBC had their own way we'd all be paying about £500 / year by now.

Re:The BBC isn't state sponsored media? I must be (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40450295)

I really wouldn't trust AP as an unbiased news source just because they are privatized. At this point, in the US, privatized basically means "an excuse to hand out government contracts." That's mainly just a bitch against the right-wing, though, my main point was this article in which the AP version differed from other version, in favor of US interests. [reason.com]

Re:The BBC isn't state sponsored media? I must be (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40450317)

Sadly reason isn't exactly an emblem of unbiased reporting either.

Re:The BBC isn't state sponsored media? I must be (5, Informative)

Pecisk (688001) | about 2 years ago | (#40450353)

No, BBC isn't state sponosred media, it's tax payers sponsored media (rather directly). While goverment has some oversight of BBC, comparing that RT or Xinhua is laughable at best. Both ar propaganda mouths of their respective goverments, and don't hide in shame about that.

Sorry, but I will take BBC over any of these any day. Call me Western capitalist whore if you like.

Re:The BBC isn't state sponsored media? I must be (2)

svick (1158077) | about 2 years ago | (#40450395)

But the summary says different sources of money of different media are the cause of this situation. And in that regard BBC is comparable to RT: both are publicly funded, they don't rely on advertising.

Re:The BBC isn't state sponsored media? I must be (1)

Pecisk (688001) | about 2 years ago | (#40450409)

I can agree with that.

Re:The BBC isn't state sponsored media? I must be (2)

martin-boundary (547041) | about 2 years ago | (#40450729)

But the summary says different sources of money of different media are the cause of this situation.

That's not really the cause of the situation, though. The cause is that the self described bastions of free media aren't doing the job they promise their readership, and haven't done so in at least a generation. So the readership has wised up and no longer spends money on newspapers and "serious' magazines as they used to, and the alternatives "state sponsored media" therefore have an evolutionary advantage.

The solution isn't for the public to bite the bullet and accept unpalatable new ways to fund media, the solution is for the old media giants to either die off (most likely) or return to offering a quality product (most unlikely).

Re:The BBC isn't state sponsored media? I must be (2)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | about 2 years ago | (#40450903)

State Sponsored is the problem with the wording

The BBC is funded via the government (through a tax on possessing equipment capable of receiving) but is not government controlled, how independent it is is a matter for debate, but the alternatives in the UK have not shown they are any more independent of government influence ...

RT is government funded, controlled and run ...

Re:The BBC isn't state sponsored media? I must be (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40450657)

Call me Western capitalist whore if you like.

Western capitalist whore!

Sadly, you are wrong (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40450849)

Unfortunately the BBC TV is no longer the 'bastion of truth' that it used to be. With the introduction of 24hr news, it has fallen into the trap of chasing quick and cheap headlines , much like a tabloid newspaper, and is really now just a marketing outlet for better prepared organizations to deliver their message to one and all. Look for any searching questions or background checks on the 'experts' and you will be watching for a long, long time. It is quite rare to find strong cases made for issues against the BBC's own agenda, which is of course very left of center politically. BBC radio is a better option for informed debate and comment.

Contrast that with RT. Laughable you say ?
Well, I find some of the programmes far more informative since they actually debate and argue the issues rather than delivering the official line, as with the BBC.

Lets take a look at three progs from RT that you wouldn't get on the state sponsored BBC.

Julian Assange show: The world tomorrow.
Love him or hate him, what you get is influential world figures giving their point of view direct.
Far more informative than the spun versions of isolated quotes you get in mainstream.

Keiser report:
Difficult to find too much wrong with the logic delivered by this guy.
Alternatively, you can listen to the BBC , IMF, Euro muppets etc. telling you every 6 months that "The banks are NOW solvent".
(at least even they have been questioning the rhetoric recently, but it took some years AND they simply don't dig deep enough)

Cross Talk:
You actually get debates / heated arguments about the issues. Again, much better than some PR exec delivering a sermon.

So I'd say that if you want to have a rounded , informed opinion, then you need to take channels such as RT onboard and not dismiss them as some 1970's Soviet mouthpiece, which I'm sure they were in the past. They even had a debate criticizing Putin heavily a while back when he was being re-elected.

Re:The BBC isn't state sponsored media? I must be (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40450869)

You western capitalist....

Re:The BBC isn't state sponsored media? I must be (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40450871)

The BBC is pretty good.
The CBC (Canada) is generally decent, but is pretty left leaning, even for Canada.

I'm finding too many errors in "news" articles, some of it is nitpicking, but some of it is blantantly wrong. I've switched to being skeptical on everything.

Re:The BBC isn't state sponsored media? I must be (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40451147)

The point, and it is a valid one is that purely being state media doesn't define poor/biased reporting. Obviously the BBC is much more independent than Xinhua, which is great.

All news will have a bias. News International probably has more bias than many state media outlets. Charity or non-profit news will still show the bias of the people running it.

Bitcoin (0, Offtopic)

genjix (959457) | about 2 years ago | (#40450811)

This is the reason I develop Bitcoin. We desperately need a funding method to help keep the internet alive, but all the current "solutions" are easily corruptible (see PayPal/Visa/MasterCard and Wikileaks) *and* have a ton of friction involved - think of all the hoops needed for a sub-$1 payment - most just don't bother and go fuckit.

Once we inject the slightest flow of frictionless money into creative works on the internet, it will fuel a boom in media and free culture (including free software). Donation driven distributed patronage now becomes the norm and allows the consumers to connect with the producers on a more personal level, even becoming producers themselves.

In the online poker world, there is the possibility to send funds between sites. Because of this there is a rich community of people sending funds among each other, betting on StarCraft games, selling poker skins, posts with rewards for the best answer and so on. It's like when there's a tiny bit of money, there is a minature boom of activity and producitivity in that area. To borrow an analogy: in the highest poker play money games, nobody cares how they play and just click random buttons. But in the lowest *real money* games for 1c/2c, shit becomes serious. People start folding hands and thinking strategy. The leap in skill level is enormous, and only grows exponentially as you go up in poker stakes. Despite being a tiny injection of funds, people start playing to win, not playing out of boredom (mindlessly clicking anything or going allin every hand). Suddenly there is money on the table and the stakes have been raised.

I see the same thing happening with digital culture as Bitcoin becomes a real possibility in the future.

Re:The BBC isn't state sponsored media? I must be (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | about 2 years ago | (#40450873)

I think the thing about the BBC is that while they are state "sponsored" (extorted?), due to clever maneuvering, they have more influence on their government, than vice-versa.

Not sure if that makes things any better...

RT is not more biased than BBC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40450125)

or any other news channel

Re:RT is not more biased than BBC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40450141)

RT> Radio Times is the BBC's propaganda sheet!

Re:RT is not more biased than BBC (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about 2 years ago | (#40450207)

If that is the level of propaganda then I'm fine with that.

Re:RT is not more biased than BBC (5, Interesting)

Nursie (632944) | about 2 years ago | (#40450303)

Umm, yeah, it is.

It's really very funny to watch the huge amounts of spin they put on everything. I was watching the RT coverage of OWS last year, in which they hyped it up as the beginning of the new American Spring, which would sweep the country and take down the institutions of oppressive American government inside a few weeks.

US biased news at the time was doing its best to ignore it or hype up any hints of violence they could find, while playing down any message that protestors might have.

The BBC were reporting that some amount of people were protesting about financial stuff and that the movement seemed very decentralised and pretty peaceful.

Guess which source I trust a little more than the others?

Re:RT is not more biased than BBC (2)

Adult film producer (866485) | about 2 years ago | (#40450387)

I prefer to think of this way, The RT is no more biased than the BBC is..

Re:RT is not more biased than BBC (1)

Nursie (632944) | about 2 years ago | (#40450569)

Erm, no. Seriously. Have you actually watched RT?

If that's the conclusion you come to then you're either so far-out yourself that everything seems slanted against your way of thinking, or you're somehow impaired and unable to see the bias on RT. I guess you could be a shill, but that's pretty unlikely, after all we're not talking about Windows Phone here.

What could lead you to jump to such a conclusion?

Re:RT is not more biased than BBC (3, Interesting)

Alex Belits (437) | about 2 years ago | (#40450523)

You see it as biased because you treat US media spin as the norm.

Re:RT is not more biased than BBC (1, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | about 2 years ago | (#40450547)

????

I'm not American, and I see US media spin as a symptom of corporate sickness in the UK.

RT is about as fair and balanced as Fox News.

Re:RT is not more biased than BBC (1)

Nursie (632944) | about 2 years ago | (#40450583)

Ugh, brainfart.

corporate sickness in the US.

Re:RT is not more biased than BBC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40450901)

People don't become an 'amount of people' until their been put through a meat blender and are weighed by the pound.

It's:
        'reporting that a number of people... who'
rather than:
        'reporting that some amount of people... that'

Re:RT is not more biased than BBC (4, Insightful)

stranger_to_himself (1132241) | about 2 years ago | (#40450401)

or any other news channel

RT's coverage of Syria shooting down Turkish plane is enlightening on that point:

Turkey's downed jet: NATO action in disguise? [rt.com]

It's quite a thorough analysis, and a totally different spin than anything I had heard on BBC, RTE (Ireland) or US news sources. I guess all news sources are biased, and you need to take more than one point of view if you want to be able to form your own balanced opinion.

Re:RT is not more biased than BBC (4, Insightful)

windcask (1795642) | about 2 years ago | (#40450703)

I guess all news sources are biased, and you need to take more than one point of view if you want to be able to form your own balanced opinion.

I'm glad at least one person on Slashdot gets it. It's not "Fox News Lies!" or "MSNBC Lies!," "RT Lies!," "BBC Lies!," etc. They all have skin in the game and they have a particular mindset and worldview to which they want to cater. You're not going be able to go out there and verify everything they say, so all you can do is try to get as many angles on an issue as you can in order to grasp the reality of the situation.

Re:RT is not more biased than BBC (5, Interesting)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 2 years ago | (#40450905)

That's how I used to think too. Then I realized that hearing lies on all sides didn't make me any more informed, it just made me think I was.

Today I'm relatively picky with my news and sources of news. I look for sources I can trust, and if they betray that trust, I'm hard on them.

Who to trust? Not many sources. Some organizations, such as the Guardian Newspaper, have a history of strong independent reporting that means I'm more likely to get the truth from them. Others, such as those parts of the financial press that concentrate on core news, not opinion, are good too. Both the FT [ft.com] and the news part of Bloomberg [bloomberg.com] are pretty good. The comment on the latter is fairly awful and can be safely consigned to a trashcan.

And the BBC? Well, that's more complex than most people give credit for. The BBC is mostly independent, and to be honest, the government connections have never been an issue with the Beeb. The issue is some guy called John Birt, who, before becoming DG of the BBC ran its news department, and changed its culture, from what I can figure out, pretty much permanently. That is, I take a peek from time to time, decades later, and still see the same hacks and analysis style.

Basically, Birt implemented something called the "Mission to Explain", which meant news was mixed with analysis.

How would this work? Well, imagine if the news department had to cover sports (thankfully, this hasn't happened... yet.) At the beginning of the program, the news would report that Team A has lost its match against Team B. The anchor would defer to their Team A vs B playing game C correspondent, who would introduce three experts, who would explain how Team A did so badly, what Team A needs to do from here, and what Team B did right.

Seem reasonable? Well, the report would go out Friday. The game would be played on Saturday. Saturday in three months from now...

That's why I don't care much for BBC News. Especially as we weren't even talking about real experts, just the "armchair general" types.

BBC's independence? First class. The BBC was never fearful of government, it would bully politicians on air. Politicians in government actually hate it. Actual quality of reporting though? With some exceptions, dreadful.

To get back to the point though: the truth can rarely be found by looking at a group of biased media coverage, even if you're lucky enough to find contradictory outlets. You have to try to find the good journalists. Unfortunately, there aren't that many out there.

Re:RT is not more biased than BBC (1)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#40450997)

Then I realized that hearing lies on all sides didn't make me any more informed, it just made me think I was.

Today I'm relatively picky

There's some obvious religion analogies here, or at least analogies with my religious views. A "journalism atheist"? Some fret endlessly about what church to attend on Sunday morning, or get all tied up in mental knots trying to figure out how to "fix" people going to the wrong church, or live in terror that someone, somewhere might be having a good time instead of being FUDded into oblivion. I just ignore it and chill on Sunday and my life is far better for it. Similar, there are people who get all wound up about who is watching which propaganda broadcast, try to convince others to "switch" and watch different propaganda because their propaganda happens to actually be the truth (LOL noobs), or live in terror that someone out there might be having a good time instead of being FUDded into oblivion. I don't watch, and don't much care, and my life is far better for it.

Also there's some interesting religious comparisons WRT to "knowledge" and "belief" vs actual measurable real world influence.

Re:RT is not more biased than BBC (1)

starworks5 (139327) | about 2 years ago | (#40450465)

This shows that you haven't studied either in depth, and just came to an assumption based upon deductive reasoning.

pravda do tell (2)

epyT-R (613989) | about 2 years ago | (#40450145)

I want to hear about the state of the collective farms with the objectivity only the state can provide..

Re:pravda do tell (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40450205)

As opposed to Rupert Murdoch telling you nothing but the truth?

Playing the Devil's advocate here... (5, Interesting)

war4peace (1628283) | about 2 years ago | (#40450147)

I am sorry, but I don't need instantaneous, round the globe coverage with whatever the hell happens in some God-forsaken corner of the world. it's a perk I'm passively receiving and if I get such news, then that's fine. If not, I'm not gonna curl in a corner, frightened of the unknown.

There were times when people found that their king died weeks after the dude passed away, and their life was not impacted. Granted, we can do better nowadays but still, I couldn't care less about some fanatic blowing himself up in some Syria busy market. Local news - that's what I'm interested in, followed by news from my country. Everything else (save from something HUGE like the Japan Earthquake) is optional.

Yes I know, the Syria whatever-the-fuck-happens-there could theoretically very slightly affect me through the butterfly effect but really... not worth my immediate interest. Give me the high level overview: Syria dudes are still beating each other; China launched some satellite; USA still has crushing debt and Greece goes down the drain. Have a nice day!

Re:Playing the Devil's advocate here... (3, Insightful)

rtb61 (674572) | about 2 years ago | (#40450219)

I am sorry but, I want to choose what news I want for what ever interests me at the moment even backwater God-forsaken parts of the world like the Southern United States. Sometimes it's interesting and sometimes it's not, the parts that aren't interesting at the time I simply don't read. Internet news it's about being a global news provider, about competing supplying the 'TRUTH' globally.

Truth is important as the internet really does bite back when you lie, sometimes it takes longer than other times but unlike old world media rules when lies were forgotten, new internet rules means you get caught out for the lies eventually and lose readers as a result, no likes to be lied to except US Republican voters.

So give me it all, in full detail about the whole globe, and let me choose at the time which parts I find interesting and which I will skip by. Give me good head stories with variety to see if they spark my interest, every country in the world, in full detail and I will choose what I am interested in when. Often picking up on something occurring in another part of the world no matter how obscure or God forsaken like Southern USA, 'BEFORE' it occurs at home is truly beneficial.

Corporations making record profits, unemployment, never ending pollution incidents, police out of control, political corruption, advertising as news, endless celebrity crap, no matter how repetitious US news has become the clown show is still fascinating 'at times'.

Re:Playing the Devil's advocate here... (5, Insightful)

Serious Callers Only (1022605) | about 2 years ago | (#40450287)

Yes I know, the Syria whatever-the-fuck-happens-there could theoretically very slightly affect me through the butterfly effect but really... not worth my immediate interest. Give me the high level overview: Syria dudes are still beating each other; China launched some satellite; USA still has crushing debt and Greece goes down the drain. Have a nice day!

When your politicians go war on false premises, or authorise extra funding for Saudi Arabia/Pakistan/Israel/..., I guarantee events in Syra/Iran/Other countries you consider unimportant will have a major impact on the finances of your country, the way your money is spent, and on the course of your life. The news that is presented to you (particularly when it is in digest form as you seem to prefer) dictates how you think about world events, whether you think that Pakistan is a hotbed of islamists which sponsors terror, or a staunch US ally which receives billions a year and bulwark against communism, or both, whether you think that Iraq is a useful ally against Iran and worth supporting (1980s) or an evil dictatorship (1990s). That in turn dictates who you might support or vote for in US elections, and where your taxes will be spent around the world and on your military.

When the time comes that the US decides to stop managing an empire of satellite states and dependencies abroad, that'll be the time you can stop worrying about anything but local news. I agree that local news is more important, particularly for more trivial items, but international news is incredibly important - if you want to make decisions on international events you should try to be well informed about them - if you don't want to have to bother with that, encourage your government to stop interfering in the rest of the world (a habit not unique to the US, so this applies to citizens of any country really).

Re:Playing the Devil's advocate here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40450417)

Ever play that game in elementary school where one kid whispers in another childs ear and they go down the line of kids until the end person and speaks something completely different than what was originally said?

Here is the deal, while international news is important to know and certain form opinions about, the local events and country events far outweigh any value on anyone's life.

It also keeps a society accountable rather than needing intervention (like that ever worked en mass, think war on drugs)

Do we maintain our close personal relationships from afar?
Majority of people do not.

So why on earth do we find such an abundance of coverage of events that we have personally no power over? Always in another country, always eluding to some emergency or serious threat.

Government, Corporate Interests and Military

Order,Taxes, Economy, Greed, Security,Brutality.

If they can scare you with news from afar you will give up all that is of value near you as to keep the harm away from your doorstep.

Never trust those who always keep the spotlight off themselves. The farther away they want your attention drawn, the closer you need to watch them.

Either they are being used as a tool or are attempting to use you.

Re:Playing the Devil's advocate here... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40450473)

Yeah. When your politicians go to war on false premises. That the western media lied and continue to lie about. Sure, Bush, Cheney, and Powell went down in disgrace. What about Fox, CNN, MSNBC? What about the Grey Lady's complicity? Have any reporters even apologized?

Instead, the traditional media decided to blame Bush and build up Obama. They refused to vet him; when Hillary tried in the primaries, she even got called racist.

Everyone knows, and everyone has always known, that the vaunted Western media isn't worth listening to. "The bias of the mainstream media is toward sensationalism, conflict and laziness," said Jon Stewart. And let's not forget the political correctness.

If the traditional Western media wants to be absolutely worthless, then I guess we're stuck with Xinhua, RT, and bloggers like Breitbart.

Re:Playing the Devil's advocate here... (2)

jlar (584848) | about 2 years ago | (#40450595)

"When the time comes that the US decides to stop managing an empire of satellite states and dependencies abroad, that'll be the time you can stop worrying about anything but local news."

No. That is exactly the moment when you will be forced to worry about World politics. Just like the Pax Romana and the Pax Britannica ended so will the Pax Americana also end when the USA stops protecting client/allied states.

Re:Playing the Devil's advocate here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40450923)

Most Americans don't vote. Grandparent poster is probably one of these people. So international news doesn't matter to them, nothing matters except who's winning on America's Got Talent and when the next iPhone is coming out.

Re:Playing the Devil's advocate here... (1)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#40451067)

The news that is presented to you ... dictates how you think about world events

That in turn dictates who you might support or vote for in US elections

Yeah, but that doesn't matter. We only have rule by the 1% here with two different PR campaigns, both sides with identical goals. Since I am a consumer as opposed to a citizen, what I believe has absolutely no impact on what will happen or what the leaders will do. Getting past this realization is really very annoying and offensive because it goes against propaganda fed into our heads since we're kids, but once you get past it, you can safely ignore the noise. They'll do what they want to do to us, and I have no influence whatsoever over it. For awhile you can pretend the propaganda was true, and ignore the situation. Or you can try to fight it, but thats a waste of time and effort. Or, simply just accept it, get on with life. The purpose of a two party republic is to have the election system act as Marx's opiate of the masses. Add that to America's unusually high religiosity, Marx's original opiate... Thats how you rule over bubbas who pound their chests proclaiming their freedumb.

You must be very old (4, Insightful)

arcite (661011) | about 2 years ago | (#40450443)

We live in a globalized world. I live and work in Egypt, colleagues work in Washington, I have family in Canada, friends in a dozen other countries. The world is a small place. I'm not even American, but I'm amazed at the ignorance of most Americans toward their own status in the world. The USA is deeply involved in most conflicts around the world, though I would argue in a positive way. Furthering the cause of freedom and democracy for the downtrodden and oppressed. The moment most Americans stop caring about this fact though, then all hope is lost. So, perhaps instead of deriding the reality that exists outside of your comfy bubble, perhaps you could educate yourself and become wiser.

Re:You must be very old (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | about 2 years ago | (#40450585)

Furthering the cause of freedom and democracy for the downtrodden and oppressed

LOL

Re:You must be very old (1)

tjstork (137384) | about 2 years ago | (#40450643)

Very well said!

Re:You must be very old (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40450683)

We live in a globalized world. I live and work in Egypt, colleagues work in Washington,

...

Furthering the cause of freedom and democracy for the downtrodden and oppressed.

So you are one of those mysterious westerners who helped to instigate the "Arab spring" in Egypt?

Re:Playing the Devil's advocate here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40450445)

OK, it needs not be instantaneous, but you definitely need "round the globe" news. It's not about butterflies, but the real World. If you ignore what's happening there your politicians are going to LIE to you, knowing you are an idiot too busy looking at local sports to know better. They will tell you that things that work doesn't, and that things that don't work do, and you will be unable to tell the truth from the lies, because you will lack _experience_ and _perspective_.

The Syria stuff isn't about a bunch of silly arabs, but about people like you and me FIGHTING the corrupt government for their children's FREEDOM. It can happen to you, all the sooner if you chose to ignore it. Just a hint: there are people among your rulers that are more corrupt than Bashar al-Assad.

Reporting on the explosions is the easy bit. (1)

robbak (775424) | about 2 years ago | (#40450887)

Getting reports on explosions in marketplaces (Side note: It's horrible how blase we are about such things!) isn't the thing we will be missing. It's the hidden stories that take time to get at. A TV station can put a report on a blast together from social media sources and footage bought from local media cheaply. So they always will - it bleeds, it leads.
But telling you the story on why it is happening, how your government is involved, and how it is going to affect you requires reporters on the ground, who have worked for years understanding the culture and cultivating relationships that allow them to get the information. Expensive stuff.
That is going to apply to local stuff too. There are reports that can't be delivered by a part-time blogger. If cash strapped media has no more resources than them, what happens? How do we find out about this century's Watergates?
In 'free' countries, you have independent state-funded media outlets to take up the slack - ABC in Australia, BBC in UK, and other examples in other countries. Most of them doing a decent job. But is that something to rely on?
You are always going to be told about terrorists in Syria. What you are not going to get is the important stories. And knowledge if the important stories has been an important part of society. And, no, I don't have a solution to offer.

Re:Reporting on the explosions is the easy bit. (1)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#40451103)

There are reports that can't be delivered by a part-time blogger.

Why? They're the folks least likely to be corrupted by "the system", yet have an axe to grind so they put in the effort, and the "free market" of the net filters out the crazies and the cream rises to the top. Think of places like thehousingbubbleblog or edububble or zerohedge.

How do we find out about this century's Watergates?

Wikileaks and 80 million clones inspired by them? I don't think we'll be running out of sources anytime soon. Would "the masses" care if Watergate II happened today? My guess is no. Changing cultural values accept higher levels of corruption now. So I'm not sure it matters anyway.

Correction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40450165)

The BBC is state media, funded by TV licensing

Comment of note (5, Insightful)

el_flynn (1279) | about 2 years ago | (#40450197)

From TFA: "This isn’t about who rakes in the advertising dollars – there’s precious few of those these days for anyone – it’s about the global conversation, and who gets to frame it."

I think that statement gets it spot on. In those few words, you can read a lot between the lines: elements of capitalism, paranoia and perspective.

It's kind of a wordplay on the oft-cited "history is written by the victor" phrase. Only this time round, TFA makes it like history is written by he who has the most money.

Re:Comment of note (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40450225)

It's kind of a wordplay on the oft-cited "history is written by the victor" phrase. Only this time round, TFA makes it like history is written by he who has the most money.

Which in this day and age is pretty much synonymous with 'the victor'

Re:Comment of note (1)

DaneM (810927) | about 2 years ago | (#40450567)

It's kind of a wordplay on the oft-cited "history is written by the victor" phrase. Only this time round, TFA makes it like history is written by he who has the most money.

Which in this day and age is pretty much synonymous with 'the victor'

Good call!

Wikipedia - current events (3, Interesting)

dvh.tosomja (1235032) | about 2 years ago | (#40450215)

I recently found this [wikimedia.org] to be good source of main world information, especially if you read it 2-3 days delayed. Clean short description of what is happening in the world. Without ads.

Blatantly biased state media? (2)

cyber-vandal (148830) | about 2 years ago | (#40450255)

Unlike the impartial and totally honest reporting of the private media?

Pay for it (4, Insightful)

wisebabo (638845) | about 2 years ago | (#40450269)

Look, obtaining good information isn't always easy (and sometimes can get you killed as the rising numbers of killed journalists will attest to). It is also VERY valuable, if the person playing the devils advocate wants to live WITH the deprived information access of the middle ages, he should be prepared to live IN the middle ages. Haven't you heard of the trite expression "if you think education is expensive, try ignorance?. Well information is like a real-time version of education and is probably even more valuable. (Ok, the devils advocate has a point about not necessarily needing instantaneous access but I still contend good information and Analysis is very worthwhile).

Unfortunately the world is now being divided into the rich, educated and well informed and the poor, uneducated and ignorant. Sadly, in many countries (like the U.S.) it is a self-reinforcing cycle where the uneducated ignorant don't realize that they're uneducated and ignorant. So they vote for policies that put them even further behind not understanding that the "liberal elites" are abandoning them to their fates and putting their kids in private schools etc. I'm looking at you, you home schooled creationist anti-global warming religious fanatics (not just Fundamentalist Christian but Ultra-Orthodox Jews and don't even get me started on madras attending Muslims).

Just as I'm a proud taxpayer because I feel it buys civilization (as opposed to Somalia), I immediately signed on to the NYTimes pay service without even bothering with the one month free trial. It buys very good journalism (as opposed to Fox).

Re:Pay for it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40450531)

Paying for something? And you expect slashdot to appreciate your reasoning? Are you new here? </sarcasm>

Re:Pay for it (3, Funny)

windcask (1795642) | about 2 years ago | (#40450727)

Just as I'm a proud taxpayer because I feel it buys civilization (as opposed to Somalia), I immediately signed on to the NYTimes pay service without even bothering with the one month free trial. It buys very good journalism (as opposed to Fox).

A proud taxpayer's capitalist approach to supporting socialist-leaning media? My head hurts now.

Re:Pay for it (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | about 2 years ago | (#40450939)

Somalia, is a country of three (or more) parts, Somalia West (where the capital is), is mostly still run by warlords and is struggling to be a proper country

Middle Somalia, is largely lawless and where the pirates live

Northern Somalia (Somaliland) is a stable civilised democratic state unrecognised by most countries...

Leveson Inquiry (4, Funny)

RivenAleem (1590553) | about 2 years ago | (#40450311)

Sky News have been reporting on this non-stop for weeks, constantly taking any free minute to drive home that the BBC is being subject to this inquiry. I'm so glad that non-government media is so impartial!

or even worse (2)

qc_dk (734452) | about 2 years ago | (#40450325)

flagrantly biased coverage by corporate interests.

And the problem is? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40450341)

"meaning the world will only get Beijing or Moscow's version of what's happening."

So? The world has been spoon-fed America's and Britains version of events for decades. Maybe some balance is needed?

Newsworthiness (5, Interesting)

mfwitten (1906728) | about 2 years ago | (#40450367)

Most "news" is total crap.

In these days of ours, if something is actually newsworthy, then it ends up being documented and discussed in Internet fora, often in excruciating detail under all kinds of useful insights (diversity of bias is a great thing).

Newspapers and conventional media are dying because NOBODY NEEDS THEM ANYMORE; this is the nature of the Free Market—society evolves through variation and selection, but of course, people are trying to inhibit this most fundamental process by turning to the steel boot of would-be central planners, in order to pretend otherwise at everyone else's expense; when in doubt, bring out the violent coercion.

Now, don't be confused. There is no doubt still value in expert analysis—value worth paying for (in the traditional sense). However, most of what we call "news" is not in that category. The death of newspapers is a good thing; oh, certainly, there will be some unpleasantness during the evolutionary transition (especially when central planners prolong the agony), but the result will be a society having adapted a more efficient form.

Agreed (2)

arcite (661011) | about 2 years ago | (#40450455)

Twitter feeds and live blogs provide a surprising amount of information from citizen journalists that often proves more accurate than reporters.

Is RT really bad? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40450411)

I had a friend in England who suddenly asked me how the (extremely important and vital to the Eurozone) Irish referendum of May 30th went. I was midly surprised that British media had reported it (despite the fact that they are right next to us) but it turned out he hadn't noticed anything about it on BBC or other British news services, but instead had started a habit of watching Russia Today on the news and learned about it on that.

So yeah, apparently a Russian news source is more up to date on the happenings of Ireland (especially when it relates to the EU as a whole) than British news sources.

Depends on your point of view (2)

arcite (661011) | about 2 years ago | (#40450475)

RT: Totalitarians with inferiority complex

CCTV: Communist sympathizers who like to shop.

CNN: liberal bleeding hearts

FOX: biblethumpers and brimstone

BBC: elitist tea drinkers

Re:Depends on your point of view (0)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#40450533)

Is it acceptable for people to be elitist if they really *are* better than the general population?

Re:Depends on your point of view (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40450861)

don't forget MSNBC: sensationalism and race baiting sell, fuck the truth

Re:Is RT really bad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40450493)

That referendum was covered by the BBC, at least on their news site. I don't know whether it was mentioned on TV or radio news, as I don't listen to either, but they certainly did have an article on it online.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-18270392

So rather then state run media... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40450435)

Which slants reporting towards the views of the state that sponsors it we need to figure out a way to fund private trustworthy news corporations that would never slant the news run by good honorable men like Rupert Murdoch or Hearst.

Or maybe, newspapers and news networks both state run and private can go to hell.

a good thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40450495)

I remember the events in ossetia from a few years ago. Sjaakashvilly (the good guy according to the west) invaded ossetia and started killing both people and international peacekeepers using US weaponry. This was timed with the opening of the Olympics.

The news reached Belgium (my country of ressidence) fairly quickly, but it took days for a first report to appear on CNN.
That report had the following headline:
Russia invades Ossetia

Yes, after days of trying to negotiate with Sjaakasvilly to cease fire, the Russians had enough of it and invaded, stopping the bombing of civilian cities. Those were the days I discovered RT and none-western media. And I must say, I found much less bias in the not western reporting for that incident + much more information.

Re:a good thing (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40450505)

Oh,

one of my favorites quotes of that 'war' comes from russian minister Lavrov in the UN in response to a US guy that was pissed they invaded a 'sovereign' country:

"Found any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq yet?"

Who has the firepower, writes the news (1)

nomaddamon (1783058) | about 2 years ago | (#40450637)

If there were protests in California (with 1 policeman and 8 rioters dead) and Russia would send tens of thousands of troops and tanks to California, to which US responded by attacking invading Russians... would that be considered an unprovoked attack on "international peace-keepers" as well?

All war activities (including bombing) started after Russian invasion in Georgia, what country in its right state of mind wouldn't defend itself?

South Ossetia is still under Russian military occupation...

"New and improved" vs "Old & busted". (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40450509)

But when the alternatives are either fluffy, thin reporting; or worse, blatantly biased coverage sponsored by governments, we have to find a palatable way to fund good reporting."

Weren't bloggers suppose to be the new reporters?

Al Jazeera - mischaracterized yet again (5, Informative)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#40450539)

Al Jazeera is owned by the government of Qatar, so technically it's "state-owned". However, throughout most of the Middle East, its primary role is as a media outlet not controlled by either the national government or western business interests. And if you actually watch some of its reporting, you'll see that on issues outside of Qatar, its slant is different but certainly no more pronounced than your average western news outlet.

Re:Al Jazeera - mischaracterized yet again (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40450749)

On few other websites than Al Jazeera's will one find opinion pieces on the Middle East by an American Jew, a Palestinean expatriate and a former CIA director side by side.

What ideas do the /. crowd have for fixing this? (3, Interesting)

DaneM (810927) | about 2 years ago | (#40450555)

I, personally, see this trend as a major problem for democratic processes. If we can't really know what's going on, we can't vote sensibly on it. While this is a problem with mainstream media, anyway, the existing problem is a lot less severe than would be an unabashedly (or covertly) state-sponsored news media--and despite what we might think, people will undoubtedly believe such tripe, much as most people "buy into" the less-than-objective news we currently get.

So, I'm asking the brilliant minds of Slashdot what a better solution might be. I mean this as a serious question, so please no trolls, flames, etc.

For the sake of completeness/initiating the conversation/clarity:
Options we have so far (which seem to be increasingly inadequate):
1) Traditional media. It's dying. I think we can all point to a handful of compelling reasons why it'll continue to die.
2) Paywalls. Nobody likes them, and they're arguably little better than unabashed state media, since one has to pay for a lot of them in order to sort out what's nonobjective. (If someone knows a fix for this, let's hear it!)
3) Free (as in beer) news--ad-sponsored. It lacks funding required to do a lot of "real" investigative reporting, and as such, it isn't likely to send a reporter across the world to report on the latest war in which our soldiers are fighting. (Let's put the topic of what wars they should be fighting aside, for the moment.) Also, I'm sick of seeing "lowest common denominator" content--no matter how cute those cats are.
4) Purely user-contributed news--similar to an "open-source" approach. Also suffers from "lowest common denominator," but can have some amount of filtering, much like /. does. Possibly some "real" reporters will get in on it, but I don't know how they'll make a living. Otherwise, this means that everyone is doing journalism in a mostly (or strictly) amateur capacity, which will (typically) produce low-quality stories and lack journalistic legal protection in those countries that provide such. Also, it's likely to be dangerous for those who don't know what they're doing. This still won't address the issue of how much it costs to report important, non-easy news stories, but the lack of ad-driven funding could provide for a more "serious" tenor to the content (by way of not catering to popular-but-vapid content).
5) Other?

One final thought: how can we prevent whatever we end up with from becoming just as bad/useless/corrupt/biased as current and trending options?

I look forward to reading your thoughts. I don't know how we might go about implementing any wonderful ideas we come up with, so if anyone cares to tackle that "porcupine," I'm all for it. Otherwise, it's a fun mental exercise, and might inspire some reader who actually has a say in such matters.

Re:What ideas do the /. crowd have for fixing this (2)

Celarent Darii (1561999) | about 2 years ago | (#40450623)

Well I think the first problem is that you assume that "in order to vote on something correctly we need to know what is going on". The problem is that the actual voting process is completely agnostic to whether you actually know anything or not. Even if you were to make a scientific study and analysis of a certain policy up for vote, there will be the hundreds who won't bother studying the question at all. The democratic process has no intrinsic method of filtering competence from incompetence at the voting booth. In fact to even suggest something like a requirement to vote (such as property ownership) , have been deemed 'undemocratic'.

The problem is actually more fundamental than just good media, and I don't see an easy answer.

Re:What ideas do the /. crowd have for fixing this (1)

DaneM (810927) | about 2 years ago | (#40450755)

You're right about this, Celerant, but I have to point out that more people will vote sensibly if they have easy access to good information. Yes, most people are pretty feckless about it, and probably always will be (with no easy solution, as you've mentioned), but to my mind, "every little bit helps."

Re:What ideas do the /. crowd have for fixing this (4, Interesting)

Novogrudok (2486718) | about 2 years ago | (#40450639)

5) Other: BBC -like,

that is a public news service, funded by the taxation or a license. Yes, it is not fully free from the government control, but it is still better than commercial services which seem to be levitating to more entertainment (cats) and to less expensive reporting (Syria).

Re:What ideas do the /. crowd have for fixing this (2)

DaneM (810927) | about 2 years ago | (#40450765)

Good suggestion.

From what I've gathered, it's similar to PBS and such, but with much more "serious" funding. I am, of course, "antsy" about the nearly-unavoidable government influence on anything the govt. funds, but if it can be somehow overseen in a meaningful way or mostly independent of such funding (perhaps by having its own income sources), this would be less of a problem.

Re:What ideas do the /. crowd have for fixing this (2)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | about 2 years ago | (#40450999)

It has an overall budget that the government provides, but the government gets no say in how it is spent ...

It has a controlling BBC Trust who regulate it, but have no say in the day to day running

It has a public service broadcasting remit so it must produce a certain amount of certain types of programmes, and it must get approval for new ventures from the Trust, but otherwise it is run as a non-profit company ...

Like PBS with money, a remit to produce good worthy programs, and government oversight at arms length ...

Re:What ideas do the /. crowd have for fixing this (1)

DaneM (810927) | about 2 years ago | (#40451117)

Thanks for the information, JasterBobaMereel. This does sound quite good.

The problem is the solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40450757)

teh intarnet

What's wrong with cat pictures... (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 years ago | (#40450889)

a cheap roundup of cat pictures, is quite possibly going to pull in way more views for less money than a nuanced, deeply reported, and expensive dispatch from Syria.

... I prefer Fuzzies to Muzzies

Maybe the bias will simply be more obvious (2)

argStyopa (232550) | about 2 years ago | (#40450949)

If you think Fox News or the BBC or NPR don't already have a strong editorial bias, you're fooling yourself. Even if politically neutral (which none of them are), they all have a market-bias (commercial or otherwise). Fox of course is trying to embarrass its compeition, NPR is deliberately slamming Fox during its begging, er, 'pledge' drives.

At least with government-controlled media, the bias will be overt and inarguable.

Refereed citizen journalism? (2)

k(wi)r(kipedia) (2648849) | about 2 years ago | (#40450969)

Maybe in the future, you'll have ordinary citizens posting their short (tweet-like) reports, photos or videos of a breaking or continuing event to a refereed news site.

It will be the job of designated editors to filter the truth from the trolls and propagandists. The editors will be helped by simple algorithms. Posters who have already proved reliable both in terms of information and timeliness will receive the equivalent of a karma bonus, making them a more attractive "source" for the editors.

This Is different from Wikinews [wikinews.org] , which doesn't differentiate between reporters and editors. Everybody can report and edit.

independent reporters (1)

jejones (115979) | about 2 years ago | (#40451017)

I think that we will end up with individual reporters posting to the web, supported by subscription. If you have access to a copy of Marc Stiegler's Earthweb, read it, paying particular attention to the part where the reporter interviews "The Predictor".

It is the same old management issues. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40451037)

I know 2 newspaper persons who moved to work at Al Jazeera 7 years ago. They got far better pay and were able to write stories without editors (and managers / owners / advertisers / etc...) interfering. The money is spent on actual journalists, not talking heads and management. Al Jazeera are doing it better - that's all.

Congratulations Slashdot (2)

benjfowler (239527) | about 2 years ago | (#40451125)

This article is red meat for right wing and libertarian nutjobs.

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