Can you believe what you see, read and hear?
What does media consolidation mean for consumers? What types of stories should news organizations report? Can a news organization deal with spin in a way that serves the public interest?
Flashpoints USA examines these tough questions in an effort to help us understand and evaluate the role of the press in a free and democratic society. Before joining the discussion on this Web site, use the background information, transcripts and video clips provided in this section to take a look the current media landscape. Then add your thoughts to the discussion, examining the media's credibility, decision-making processes and increasing consolidation.
Does the press today focus too much on sensational news stories? Who decides which stories make it to the front page? Follow the events surrounding the dramatic rescue of trapped Pennsylvania coal miners as a point of reference for an examination of media frenzy, then read a discussion on media ratings, rantings and political agendas. More...
Big media groups have continued to grow. Is media consolidation a concern or just a natural stage in economic evolution? Read the two sides to the battle over media ownership restrictions and hear from FCC chairman Michael Powell. More...
The State of News
Trust in the media has always been an issue. When the Washington Post covered the Watergate scandal some called it a conspiracy against Nixon. What is the current perception of today's media? Did The New York Times scandal do irreparable damage to the credibility of the American journalist? Hear from a roundtable of media critics and read Bryant Gumbel's one-on-one interview with Tom Brokaw. More...