The News That Isn't: How We Are Fed False Stories Driven By Missing Information
By Danny Schechter
The news is coming to us hot and heavy these days. There is scandal after scandal, outrage after outrage. The media playbook treats it all as a way to build audience, and raise ratings (and revenue) by polarizing opinion.
Here's what the Republicans say; here's how the Democrats respond. Obama is good; Obama is bad. So and so says this; so and so fires back
It's mostly heat, not light.
There are rarely any other views, or ways of understanding events presented.
News programs are the new wrestling shows, a noisy battleground, in the morning, on the Sunday shows, and all day long on cable networks. The goal is not to explain, probe, or ask questions.
No, it is to squeeze a repetitive and narrow narratives into a morality play that provokes as much emotion as possible.
Its been said we live in an era of "missing information" and the news is the best arena that defines it---not by what's being reported, but how its being reported, and mostly by what's not being reported.
Lets look at current major "stories"--stories is an appropriate word--to show how this process works.
1. The IRS
At issue is the decision of one office of the IRS to target small Tea Party Groups. They are now apoplectic, using the incident to picture them as martyrs while launching campaigns to raise money for them as victims.
The President is apologizing, "accepting resignations" from temporary officials. Yada Yada Yada!
Unmentioned; This is not the real tax scandal focused on the way big money has taken over the electoral system by using non-profits and anonymous sources with the Federal Election Commission and the IRS looking the other way.