Sunday, May 09, 2010

Why don’t mainstream media publish us?

Kourosh Ziabari - Palestine Telegraph: "Fair and balanced," "news you can trust," "unbiased and accurate reporting" are phrases we have heard from western and mainstream media outlets. Yet, controversial topics, stories and articles that do not conform go uncovered, unpublished and, at best, underreported. The bias of the so-called unbiased outlets had led to an upsurge in alternative media outlets. Alternative media outlets give a voice to those whose views are quite different from the mainstream. The division begs the question: Why don’t mainstream media publish us?
Mainstream media, who take on the "they" in the dichotomy, are the chained, corporate media outlets whose interests are intertwined together. "They" are the news networks, websites, magazines and journals that fear a public backlash for not conforming to the political or ideological lines drawn. Selectively taking quotes or publishing only one side of the story by these outlets distort and withhold relevant information needed for an informed public to draw their own conclusion.

While there are many examples, only a few should drive the point home. Mainstream media used the term "nuclear energy" and "nuclear bomb" interchangeably when translating the speech of the Iranian president. The two, however, are not the same. Accurate translation, without bias, is important for the international community and the Iranian people. Mainstream media uses titles out of respect for those they like, and disrespectful ones for those they do not. They refer to the American President as President Obama and the Iranian President as "the hardliner." Media play a role in shaping the views of those who read or listen. The viewers are the ones who vote and support the policies of their governments.

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