The global economic crisis has become the biggest near-term U.S. security concern, sowing instability in a quarter of the world's countries and threatening destructive trade wars, U.S. intelligence agencies reported ... "Time is our greatest threat. The longer it takes for the recovery to begin, the greater the likelihood of serious damage to U.S. strategic intrests," the report said. ... There have been anti-government protests in Europe and the former Soviet Union, and growing economic strains in Africa and Latin America ... Reuters, 2-12-09
The Obama administration has indeed brought change to Beltwayistan. It was poignantly evident at President Obama's first news conference.
The symbolism was subtle but profound. The President called on the Huffington Post for a question, and Ed Schultz was seated next to Helen Thomas in the front row.
The message within that symbolism was direct and simple: "Thank you, and your help is still desperately needed."
Because although change has come to the White House, it has not come to the US mainstream news media (yet).
Oh, there are a few beacons of reality on TV, but they are a precious few: Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow are carrying Edward R. Murrow's torch into the 21st Century on MSNBC, and Jack Cafferty continues to personify common sense (even when I don't agree with him) in the midst of CNN's vapidity.
Meanwhile, throughout the world, professional journalists and citizen journalists alike risk their lives to speak truth to power:
Chinese bloggers are defying censorship efforts and taking delight in ridiculing the state television station CCTV. ... The problem for CCTV is that the blaze that burned down part of its new headquarters was its own fault. ... Embarrassed CCTV officials tried to censor coverage of the fire, but thanks to the millions of Chinese users on the Internet, the story got out anyway. Members of the public armed with camera phones, text messages, and email filled the void. One blogger, Wang Xiaofeng, wrote that "Even though the fire was up to their eyebrows, they were still trying to hide the truth... in this breaking news, the official media was defeated by the citizen media."
In Latin America, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, journalists are becoming increasingly vulnerable to physical violence as a result of their work, says a U.S.-based media watchdog in a new report ... Last year, at least 41 journalists were killed and more than 100 lived behind bars, according to the 341-page [Committee to Protect Journalists] CPJ report, "Attacks on the Press in 2008."- Advertisement -
If there is another Tiananmen Square protest and massacre, it will be streamed, real time, over wireless, on open source platforms, in clear text, with simultaneous translation, and it will not be so easily spun or quickly forgotten.
But in the USA, the US mainstream news media persists in pushing an agenda of misinformation and misdirection on the most urgent issues:
[A] Media Matters for America review of the Sunday talk shows and 12 cable news programs from January 25 through February 8 found that during 139 1/2 hours of programming on Sunday mornings and weekday afternoons and evenings, of 460 total guest appearances in discussions about the economic recovery legislation and debate in Congress, only 25 were made by economists — a mere 5 percent. Think Progress, 2-12-09