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Making News Better?

(Photos by Robin Holland)

This week on the JOURNAL, Bill Moyers spoke with media commentators Jay Rosen and Brooke Gladstone about how America’s sensationalistic news media has been covering important issues of our time.

Jay Rosen said that today’s mainstream journalists often present a narrative that doesn't represent the true range of debate and fail to responsibly referee the arguments that make it through the filter:

“One of the subtler things that journalists do in our public life is they set the terms of what a legitimate debate is. They marginalize certain people as not a part of it. And they include other people, who perhaps ought to be marginalized, as a central part of it. It's very hard for us to hold them accountable for those decisions, because they are subtler than we sometimes recognize... We don't have a press that's willing to say, 'This is not a legitimate argument this person is making.' We don't have a press that's willing to say, 'This, he said it, but it's completely out of bounds,' or 'it's completely baseless,' or, 'it has no grounding in reality.' We just don't have a group of political interpreters who are willing to say that.”

Brooke Gladstone pointed to the increasing importance of Internet journalism and suggested that it may lead to better news coverage in the future:

“We have to be careful in not regarding the media as solely the mainstream media, as solely the mainstream television news outlets, or even the big daily papers. There is a huge, raucous, wide-ranging discussion going out there, and even though it is not the dominant media in this country yet, it will be a far more democratic discussion as we move forward. I am talking about the Internet, I’m talking about all the different conversations – local, national, and global – that are going on outside the realm of these filters.”

What do you think?

  • In your experience, what does the mainstream media do well, and what should it be doing better?

  • Do you think the Internet will provide better news to a mass audience than is currently available on television and in major newspapers? Why or why not?

  • Is the American mass public interested in thoughtful, in-depth journalism? Explain.

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    Those "VOLUNTARY" contributions made by middle management and executives at corporations which are then funneled to PACS to buy votes in D.C. are NOT VOLUNTARY. They are achieved by EXTORTION. Middle managers and executives are given the very loud hint that NOT giving to the PAC that the company WANTS them to give to, their CAREER IS ENDED.


    It's either give your money to the PAC or pack up and leave. It's been this way, with companies using extortion to steal money from people so they can buy power and influence in government for many many years. I have seen it myself at all levels since the 1980's.

    When I watch Bill Moyers Journal it's almost like I have gone into a dream, traveled somehow to a different time and space where people speak with sincerity and honest concern for our country and it's people.
    I have to laugh at mainstream TV, it's silly Barbie and Ken news anchor "entertainers" and how many cars and mattresses someone hopes I will purchase each day in response to their morbidly ridiculous commercials.
    I am truly saddened and ashamed with what our country has become. As Mr. Moyers said tonight, Washington is kind of a 3 ring circus these days.
    Everywhere I look in my general area (Los Angeles) I see total ethnic take over of jobs. I don't know how else to feel about that except concerned, and I am unemployed. At one time I had a decent career as an electrician. Currently, not many electricians here speak English. People moving around the world is an issue in most developed countries. There is no practical regard for naturalized citizenship in America.
    Enough lobby money reaches enough senate and congressional votes to make corporations the new owners of America.
    One day in the not too far off future I will pass on, with memories of a better country than this. I was proud to be an American – in the past - instead of ashamed, embarrassed and betrayed as in the present.
    I feel sorry for the next generation of Americans, to say the least.

    I stopped watching mainstream media years ago, right about the time the OJ Simpson trial became the daily entertainment for millions of Americans. As far as I'm concerned, that's what television news is today - infotainment. I hear "news stories" about things which I have know for years - how is this news? I hear commentators give their opinions about what this or that person in the news did; that's not what the news is supposed to be. News is not opinion - it's news, plain and simple. I hear news stories which dwell almost exclusively on a person's motivations and feelings, etc. How is this news? I think mainstream news started going downhill when CNN started 24-hour news coverage. Inevitably, there was airspace that needed to be filled. Guess what filled it? Fluff. Eventually this fluff came to be regarded as news. I know so many people who honestly do not realize that what they are hearing nowadays is so far removed from what was heard from the likes of Walter Cronkite and Chet Huntley and David Brinkley. Now that was news. I have even come to regard Wolf Blitzer as an infotainment show moderator. How sad! The only news I respect anymore is what I find on the internet.

    I think we are all expecting more from our media. Sensationalism has ruled the day for the last decade or so - which is why many of us turn to the Internet for more in depth coverage.

    MIKEY JACKSON! For 2 days all we have heard about is a young man who could sing&dance too one that admittedly slept naked with kids.Enough already there is way more important news then this crap.Fox,CNN,NBC,ABC,CBS&HLN you make him out to be a MARTYR or the second coming of JESUS.That is just bullcrap period!!!!

    "This is Gobenor Mak Sanferd, responding to yo' text.
    "Yeah, Governer, where the hell are you? A big ole' hurricun is a-bearin'down on Chaalston, liable to destroy evathang from Hiltun Haid to Murtle Beech. We need you t'call FEMA, get out them Nashnul Guards."
    "Hadn't hurd, eva-thin is clair out hea on t'Appalatchin Trale. Oops, I'm comin' to a big ole' hi-ull. Uh-uh-uh, damn good Maria, o-o-o-o damn me in hell, fer shoot.! Huff-huff-puff, thank you honey. Scuse me Althea, I just decided to jump in tha' riva, an' cool off. I'll get on the email, soon as I get in town, and get the President to daclar un emurjancy."
    "Sir, how soon will you get back. We need you now. Want me to sand Sytate Troopers?"
    "Naw Althea, I so far up the ass of New york I'll have to make connections in Miama. See you Winsdy er Thursdy."
    But sir, we need you home now! Your wife said she don't even know whur y'are..."
    Buzz-z-z-z-z-z-z (dialtone).
    Althea: "Wow, star 69 is givin' a country code!"

    Note: Thank you State Newspaper. I'm glad you still exist.

    It is so obvious that the news has been, to a significant extent, neutralized. The current situation is that the full truth is seldom brought out into the open and the operatives live behind the proverbial curtain which keeps things out of the public's sight.

    The other obvious observation of the news media is not what is said so much as what is not said or covered. Examples of this that readily come to mind is the complete lack of objective reporting on the Iraq fiasco from the start to now and now it continues in Afghanistan. The other is the complete lack of objective and analytical reporting of the economic situation both domestically and in the world. Not only what really is going on with Wall Street and corporate and banking greed are not covered to any real level but the so called Global Free Trade Concept, which is destroying the middle class and the American way of life, is never covered in any meaningful way. Lastly, the invasion of illegals, mainly from Mexico, is never covered in a way that uncovers what is really going on and why our government is failing to uphold the rule of law. The real cost of this cheap labor is never talked about in any meaningful way by the news media.
    There are many more examples of the failure of the news media but the question why this is happening? I have some ideas like the news has become big business with a focus on the bottom line and not the uncovering the truth. The Internet has diluted the impact of the news in that the more focused source of newspapers. The thousands of news sites and bloggers has created a decentralized news situation. Another idea is that the news has morphed into this non-confrontational go along liberal agenda driven entity.
    In a democracy we need an informed electorate that can make intelligent decisions based on the facts. Unfortunately, what typically happens is that we are exposed to someone's opinion with an obvious bias and agenda.

    The mainstream media is very good at spreading lies and propaganda. The mainstream media is very good at manipulating people to support foolish wars, absurd laws, and to love living in a prison.

    The only real news is on the internet. What's on tv, newspapers, and magazines is establishment propaganda.

    The public is very interested in genuine journalism. The massive growth of the alternative media is evidence of this.

    WIP: I dare you to mail your rodent rump to the Governor of Alaska.

    After passing through "liberal Canada" it may arrive as a deluxe chicken burrito from Hardees. Everything works and tastes better in Canada. That's where Avi Lewis and Naomi Klein live.

    GRADY I could give a rats butt for PALIN.And I want to thank BILL for giving on air time to KUCINICH/RON PAUL last year even if it was only 15 minutes each.I remember KUCINICH being mayor of Cleveland Ohio.A old home town reporter named Dorthy Fulton(misspelled) ruined his chance at a second term over Cleveland power plant.She was a reporter in Cleveland for 30 yrs. Turned out that old Dorthy had a pile of stock in the power company and if Kucinich got his way she was going to lose money so she blackb-lled him.It did not matter that he was doing the right thing saving piles of money for the city.I just would prefer to be told the truth.Could be worse as in Canada the tax payer gets screwed by paying for the liberal canadian broadcast(cbc)bias one sided news.

    WIP: There's nothing wrong with bike-riding in a beautiful beachfront community. It is healthier and greener than snowmobiling in Glacier National Park. The shame is that trails for healthy exercise are needed and deserved by every American, but are not getting built. (We actually lack "freedom of movement.")

    As for the media it is controlled by large corporations owned by the wealthy class. Commentators naturally reflect these elite interests without regard to party (Dem o pubs or whatever). Media depends upon advertising revenue and will take money from whomever has it. Notice the agribusiness and war contractor ads on the Sunday chats. Notice how Dan Rather is a different person without his CBS hat? Even Amy Goodman and Bill Moyers depend upon sponsorship by the wealthy class through foundations and trusts. (Who sponsors you WIP?)

    You seem to like Sarah Palin. Not only is she a corporate drone but a royal f88k-up as well. Maybe you love the wealth dominance that results from corporate capitalism more than you love the possibility of freedom. Laurie Anderson says,"Freedom is a scary thing!" Neitzche found most people mistake a "will to power" for freedom. Do we really need any figures "larger than life" to have good government? If people weren't conditioned to fear one another by media I think you and I would be as big as we really need to be, and that would be pretty small.

    When I post a video on You Tube it actually comes under the control of Big Media: think about that. How can we change the rules: the very proposition?

    The media is all controlled by the DEMOCRATS including MOYERS and PBS.All the big name news personal are millionairs worried about hitting deer riding their bike in the HAMPTONS. Most likely talking to AIG execs trying to find ways to screw us all.They are inconsistent,incompetent,incapable idiots who could not do the job right.Most all the women have boob jobs and face lifts and the men are wearing womens makeup.They kiss up to get their own inside scoop to make money and screw us people by not telling the truth and showing NO respect!

    Its as plain as the nose on your face...the corporate media exploits the news to increase ratings whether it be the Octo-mom or the secret education of girls under the Talaban. One story excoriates any woman with children on welfare and the second ignites righteous indignation giving us the "reason" to go to war. As if!!!!!

    As much as I'd like to see blogs and blogging fill the gap that the news outlets have chosen to neglect the problem is; who has time? Capitalism, free market mania, buyer beware, quite literally has us chasing our tails and the downturn has only made the worn circles in the rug that much tighter. Sure plenty of us bet on the future and leveraged the farm but far more of us went to work every day putting in more hours than any other worker outside of South Korea, paid our bills AND all our taxes, washed our car and did our own yard work. The balance of our waking hours were spent trying to head off disaster. We worry about the food and water our children consume, so we pay more for organic and bottled. We worry about our children's schools, so we patch together a better education at greater expense and all the time we're scrambling we see the future only getting worse. So between work and worry tell me when do we have the time to gather our own news from outlet sources? The answer is, we don't. (Thank Gaud for Pacifica Radio and shows like Bill Moyer's Journal.) Call me crazy but I'm one of those that believes that the majority of people out there are really intelligent, levelheaded, and hardworking and who, if given the time would seek out those sources and keep themselves up-to-date and informed but the fact is that none of us have enough hours in the day as it is. Its no longer an issue of "access" its an issue of "time".

    I know no one is asking and probably no one is listening but what I think this country needs right now is a good national strike! Just a full on, country wide, that's enough, we don't budge until our demands are met, strike!!! Here's our list read it over carefully. And...if you wanna talk you can find us down at the shore (any shore) playing with our kids.

    I suspect there are strong financial reasons for the press’ unwillingness to say something is “out of bounds” or “completely baseless”. Maybe it’s because newspapers and the major TV networks don’t feel they can afford to alienate a large percentage of the population. Cable TV networks such as Fox and CNN have their respective conservative and liberal bases to support, so attacking the other side helps them financially. Limbaugh is in the same camp, though my guess is now it’s more an issue of keeping an audience rather than increasing his fortune.

    So, good show, but could have been a great one if there was at least one person representing the conservative or neutral side. The two speakers and you make a pretty well insulated echo chamber. Given that Rosen said “mainstream journalists often present a narrative that doesn't represent the true range of debate”, isn’t it a bit ironic that this show can’t either.

    I'm trying not to watch the news, because it has far too negative of an impact on me.


    Thanks! for presenting "Torturing Democracy" though it was distressing to view. The irony of its airing during pledge time immediately hit me because the local, in fact, the original PBS station in the USA not only lied about airing the film (the programming dept. promised callers that the film would air in January 2009 as opposed to before the election as it did elsewhere in the country but by late January their line was that the film was "not available for public broadcast"! so you can imagine my surprise in finally watching it) but back when ideologues tried to punish and then “balance” Bill Moyers w/ awful shows featuring the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal and Tucker Carlson (who was anything but “Unfiltered”), I complained and in response endured an offensive rant about the “biases” of Mr. Moyers by a programmer who thought that even “even 30 minutes is too much to give Bill Moyers.” I stopped watching and pledging to PBS until it dispatched Carlson and WSJ.
    To add the proverbial insult to injury, the Houston PBS dropped last week's Journal show w/ Jeremy Scahill (I wondered at the time when I tuned in to find schlock if a Journal topic or guest might have been deemed too "controversial" for Houston PBS).

    While I enjoyed these two commentators opinions, it strikes me that they see the news media as a vast right-wing conspiracy (which it is) while they give the left now in power a giant pass.

    On the issues that really matter does anyone believe that President is nothing more than President George W. in a third term?:
    --abandonment of single payer healthcare
    --growing wars and war spending
    --accelerated welfare to bankers
    --and the most vile of all, continuation of torture.

    I hoped I would be wrong about Mr. Obama, but like his predecessor, he's giving me no reason to be proud to be an American. Fortunately, our growing government debt will take care of all our problems.

    We need to figure out how much we have to pay people to be "good" instead of cosmic-insane crazy?

    If it's not about the money, then what is it about?

    Seriously, if you stop and think about ALL of it, there is no explanation for so much horror. It can't be about the MONEY because MONEY is supposed to be a useful symbol for life-maintenance activity.

    Within 3 days after 911, when the local media was well on its way to put it all together, NEWS reporting disappeared and became pure propaganda.

    "Good" people - ones not worshipping craven idols and self-educated enough to be a productive member of REALITY - function like the white blood cells in a human body.

    Whatever the body politic has circulating in its veins today is NOT the white blood cells it needs to ward off the extremist form of "greed" it nurtured for way too long.

    I still have the capacity to be shocked by the depth of depravity behind the media propaganda machine churning away 24/7 on ALL communication channels.

    "Shock Doctrine" is the re-packaging of an old wine that began centuries ago when the "body politic" actually believed its psychotic and sociopathetic members could rule the world.

    Enough. Seriously, does it look like they can "rule" the world?

    DH: My primary point is that instability of the Empire is increasing at an exponential rate. If you go over to NOW and read patriotic American moderate filmmaker Michael Moore's take on the death of GM you may see what I mean. MM is an optimist. How long will such dreams remain possible under Obama's unwarranted patience?

    While at NOW notice the piece on Food Inc. Especially understand the "gravity" of big business methods which shadow out alternatives in an unregulated food market. You may be lean and fit for your age David, but the good people of NC increasingly resemble the cage raised hogs they consume at Bojangles etc. Why is health care impossible? Answer: diet, environmental toxicity, stressful lifeways. We have no culture except the synthetic dictated through media. No wonder our "lottery winner' President can't acknowledge obvious truths.

    Great power is arrayed, but survival does not lie in placating that power. The maker of Food Inc. correctly recognizes that the alternative lies in the consumption and budgetary choices and demands of citizen consumers. Here is the crux: How would Barack (be forced to ?) react to mass actions like boycotts and payment strikes? How will you react or prepare for the coming crises which are certain without reform?

    After reading Gaidar and Lester Brown I don't feel anymore "out on a limb" for being pessimistic than I did when I described "black hole debt" on Moyers' pages more than a year ago. You would not believe the desperation to make a little money by whatever means possible here in NC, or the panic at work to conform and suck up in order to avoid lay-off or firing at will (not unemployment eligible). People are glassy-eyed, driving faster and wilder than ever for no good reason, and tighter lipped than ever before. They painted the front of buildings and put up new facades in a town center (Stanley, NC)with less than 50% occupancy rate, where most open stores are hobbyists who are closed on Saturday. They payed an "artist" $5,000 of tax money to paint a mural of a Confederate supply train. Two mokes pushed carts around grinding high places off the incomplete broken sidewalks (sweetheart contract). Don't tell me they're not expecting some things from Obama's boosterism that will not be forthcoming. (Not completely demented, they oppose walking and bike trails, they say would bring the homeless and outside agitators to town. I guess they'll cut through the posted and fenced debris fields where woods once stood when gas gets scarce.) A bear has no cover to defecate around here anymore.

    I took time to listen to these two fine journalist and found it fascinating as to how the internet gets fed: Jay Rosen clearly articulates as to what the deeper story really is. Thank you.

    I watched Bill Moyers' Journal via our home wireless network and this evening with my laptop mounted above and connected to our family room TV. Although Brooke Gladstone mentioned the Internet as a recent competitor for viewer time and also observed that the traditional media haven't discovered that the world has changed, not nearly enough was done with those views, in my opinion. A brief search on the Internet yields links to streaming live video of BBC World News, France 24 English, Al Jazeera English , Royal News Pakistan, Iran-English, CCTV-9 (China), CNN-India and about a thousand other "channels" from around the world. I can get live streaming 6pm news week nights from Canada, moving east to west for 4-1/2 hours from New Brunswick to Vancouver. The fact that the PBS Video link at offers the message "Now loading full-length PBS programs with more coming every week," suggests that PBS has gotten the message, but clearly commercial U.S. channels have not. The ABC News link shows scrolling text and CBS and NBC do not have a live stream. "ABC News Now" gives the viewer two commercials, then repeats them without any News NOW.

    Rosen's comment about the bad journalism practiced by Bob Schieffer suggests to me that traditional TV journalists are trying desperately to raise their networks' ratings without a clue as to how and why their viewing audience is drifting to alternative media outlets.

    I think that Gladstone's point about the marginalization of Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich is on target and in my opinion it has occurred none too soon.

    Media can do amazing things. Are we learning more? No, infomercials are still around. Whatever liar's got the mike, he can hammer on the hot buttons. Then the swiftboaters join in. Then the astroturfers show up on the message boards. Before you know it something's conjured out of nothing. Meantime the Vance Packards of the world are gone (or won't talk). Sometimes I can't blame Bill for guarding his optimism.

    There is no value to what Limbaugh says, Paul. He's just an iron they keep in the fire. There's no logic to what he says. There's no good reason anyone should listen to what he says. But all the irons gotta be in there...Michael Savage and a whole'nother crew. As an orchestrated pack they conjure illusion out of the illogical. Dirt or angel dust. In five years we went from defeat in Vietnam straight on into Reaganomic shock doctrine and Operation Cyclone. How did they swing it?

    "Italy's love affair with Berlusconi"

    Although Obama ran on a theme of optimism, five months into his Presidency civilians are beginning to realize how disingenuous this rhetoric was. Many regretfully understand they were baited with meaningless pretenses. National elections are now determined each two or four year cycle by candidates pledging themselves to the business sector despite whatever populist words they may utter.

    Today, the United States is governed by a industrial plutocracy who pay political administrators for protection. Party affiliation is irrelevent. The only requirement is the free market economic system must be left intact. The mainstream press fosters this notion without deliberation because its survival banks on it.


    I watched and enjoyed this show, for the most part, but I continue to be baffled by one important element of the discussion on the state of broadcast journalism today. It is completely unclear to me why people like Rush Limbaugh are given so much credibility. Why is he even considered relevant to any serious discussion? He is a talk show host. He's not a former or current politician, not a candidate for office, and he has even been fired for his racist comments on Monday Night Football. His inflammatory remarks are not intelligent or thoughtful nor do they contribute anything to the debate, any debate. Yet, seemingly every time he makes a comment about a current event, he gets quoted as though his opinion matters. Again, HE'S A TALK SHOW HOST. Talk show hosts typically take calls from people who have nothing better to do than to sit around and listen to A TALK SHOW. Intelligent, articulate people like Bill Moyers ought to be given much more credibility than folks like Limbaugh. Frankly, I read Al Franken's book about Limbaugh and the title of the book, "Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot" said it all.

    But to argue from your corner for just a moment, Jack, I should mention three things.

    On Saturday I wrote here about having heard Chomsky on the Colmes show last week. [Have mercy, had to catch him on free AM radio] Chomsky reminded me that Bush I had actually proposed cutting off loans to Israel if the settlements didn't slow down. I can't just write defenses here of Obama and completely leave out the zone where I see no excuses. As long as I am writing here, I should definitely acknowledge that not trying to rely on such leverage is IMO a dangerous course. It's fine to talk about two states, but there should be some action beyond talk.

    At first from this title I thought that Clinton might be disputing a claim that Israel had met the conditions of a previous legitimate accord on settlements.

    "Clinton Rejects Israeli Claims of Accord on Settlements"

    Hmm...I wonder if that accord really did go down.

    My second beef is with respect to that thing from which net buffs often must look away...the "digital divide." Our local PBS affliate decided not to shell out $80,000 to keep broadcasting analog during the extended period for the changeover. I know a person who couldn't watch Sesame Street from April till two weeks ago. If I know one there must be many others. We think digital is just a harebrained ripoff but that someday it may afford us a few more viewing options. But already the fact is it has impacted this set: youngest and poorest. Bad omen. Time to revisit stallman dot org I wonder?

    Yeah, Jack, you're right. In the wrong context cars, cell phones, and digital boxes (or cable bills) can really be part of a new stress/alienation brew.

    Third, the invisible but powerful opponents of single-payer health insurance (and their ads) make me feel the same way I feel when Bill let's us in on what Rush has been saying lately...or when I hear the hub bub about Gingrich using Twitter. They could bleed us in the details (HMOs forever) and then stick us all in customer service cubes for twit boxes.

    Ok, yes I see now you actually said "apologists" for fascists.

    But, Jack, are you sure you aren't shrinking in your imagination that very corporate/gov collusion you mentioned? It's not static, true. It's a dance with momentum, and the momentum constitutes a considerable force. Like the earth around the sun, like an electron around it's nucleus (8K miles p/hr), furious and perpetual like the phases/overtones of a string (should string theory describe "reality"). It exhibits a fundamental force due to...whatever. Comparable to tectonic forces no doubt. But you expect one Truman get off the island and go run to Silvia [Liberty] who'll preserve him free and existential!? No, he's just a utilitarian who's going the distance he can go. Cover is everything (I've read too much LeCarre). I don't read Obama as luxuriating, and, though I could be wrong, I'll be gone for sure when the real story is in some book. Don't fall for that luxury-facade crafted for the sweaty underclass yourself, Jack!

    We know he could do more with more popular support--the campaign always stressed this in the emails. We can't expect one man to whip a force like that. They just never can. John Paul Vann. Michael Levine. They just can't. Get outside the loop's influence and, true, one does find a few Oscar Romeros out there.

    The death of a loved one is fresh in my mind. I see myself as having been blessed with her presence for no reason I can comprehend (please excuse my rambling re this; because of this it is perhaps true that I cannot do much more than ramble). She said I made contributions, but I have to believe that with faith...finding no evidence. True, I'm real low on the list but I get the feeling a whole generation of "activists" are finding their sojourn records a bit short of expectations.

    But you are right about many things, especially regarding it is we who must act.

    DH: May I clarify that I do not think Obama a fascist. He is an enabler and rationalizer of fascist methods, institutions and demigogues. Utilitarian? Maybe in the J. Bentham vein. I would say opportunist and coward. To many of our leaders follow a Peronist model. "I (weakly and furtively) kept my promise (to half-ass try while luxuriating in acclaim), now keep your distance (sweaty underclass).

    Obama's not a fascist IMO. He's a utilitarian going for as much change as the system will bear. It's the land of Burn After Reading in that loop, and Lord help him!

    Worse than "The Great Depression" because of media's glorification of violence, and thus its proliferation well beyond Chicago this time. You left that one out, and it's the worst. "Less violent crime" is a lie.

    Otherwise IMO many, many good points.

    I heard Kuccinch the other night on BBC saying gov should have more of a say re the running of GM. He was great!

    Charles Brown may be on to something if he could clarify his definition of "fascism." Fascism is primarily an economic arrangement where state authority is combined with the monetary and economic power of big corporate business to subvert, oppress and shape public will and opinion. Both Stalinism and Hitlerism were fascist. Because the police and military resources of the state are used for corporate ends warfare often results. Such is a self-reinforcing mechanism because war contracting is highly profitable for military contractors. (We often read quotes from Lincoln and Eisenhower on these pages cautioning us about these arrangements.) Naturally the techniques of profit through extraction from the public have intensified with time. People who see every issue in terms of governmental taxation might also recognize the taxes imposed on us by corporations through chichanery, unnecessary fees and excess profits. This is possible mainly because of collusion between government and business. Such gouging in such areas as health care, energy and financial products should be seen as taxation by another name.

    Some of you recognize the need for honest theorists' testimony in our media. (Chomsky and Mike Parenti, elder men, are often cited.) Scahill is this type of character. Don't forget too those of a benign cautiousness like Kevin Phillips. There is no mystery why Neo-fascist Republicanism has systematically excluded thoughtful progressive voices like Christopher Shays and Lincoln Chaffee: They were often incompatible with corporate dominated government. So we see even the traditional conservatives ostracized. That is why Nader can truthfully testify that our two dominant parties are one in service to big business, both domestic and foreign. It is then a short step to mercenary armies murdering in our name and on our tab. I think we might hear more from Dennis Kucinich if he is not assassinated. (He would have made a good progressive Republican in the old days with that little Constitution pamphlet in his vest pocket.)

    We are at the end of Empire though and the people have everything to lose as far as human rights and standard of living. In many ways this "recession" is worse than the Great Depression despite the paltry social service measures. Because population has tripled there are as many families in misery as during that depression. And it is worse because people are much less self-sufficient than during previous eras. Fewer have recourse to agriculture, repair, invention and self-employment. There are the prerequisites of car, phone, computer and specialized skills that didn't exist then. Regulation on the individual is also stricter and resources are more enclosed than ever before. The lid is on our environmental jar very tight, with solutions rationed and fashioned by business interests, with little margin for error in a world operating far beyond carrying capacity. (Ex: Lester Brown projects few gains from genetic engineering of grain crops because the possibilities have already been exhausted by plant breeding. Nuclear advocates may not realize that securing lowering quality and quantity uranium deposits to make fuel may require expensive warfare. We are past peak "yellowcake" as well as peak oil and peak food.)

    The longer the public hesitates to assert their human rights the more suffering will result and the less chance of success.
    Talking heads of whatever sort only serve to excite imagination and it is we who must decide and act. As long as fascists and their apologists like Mr.Obama remain in authority we will push ever closer to the point of no return as concerns natural and cultural ecology. Yegor Gaidar, the Tim Geithner of the Soviet demise, has written extensively about those events, saying Russia became unable to feed itself due to vested interest. I agree with him that the Soviet demise was a preview of our own, should we not relent in pursuing empire. He is recognized over here as a (traditional) conservative. I think he would be an enlightening guest for the Journal of value to the entire humane (non-fascist) political spectrum. Because I'm a socialist and he's an entrepreneurial enthusiast would not diminish the value of his insight for me. People of many stripes must ally to overthrow the facist cabal and their macoutes (some writing here). I am old but I'd like to be assured those who succeed me don't live a nightmare and that my efforts were not in vain.

    Infomercials are a craven sign of demise. They should be outlawed. To save energy and decrease the EMR about, stations should be required to go off air when/if that's all they have. Same re "reality" TV. Reality is cooperation. Let's have some shows demonstrating how 2 people can survive amongst the snakes and sharks in Western Austrailia so as to ride a few Of course, that's the exotic stuff. Soon enough we're gonna need "community broadband," but on TV & cbroadband we're gonna have to hear people and councils proposing solutions, cause time is running out.

    A fairly large crowd wants idols and images, and wants to continue thinking in images. They alternate between principle and Trumpistic oneupsmanship mimetic rivalry/"reality." To help me figure out image-based thinking I'm reading Oliver Sacks and and trying to read a book called "Wet Mind", among other things. Anyway, like many others I suppose...I got hooked on Brooke Gladstone when she was just a voice.

    Yes I disagree, Nicholas, about Gladstone. It might not be all that cerebral, (and I missed where she and Jay marginalized single-payer), but to me she proves shak'n things up doesn't have to be always so abrupt, chop-chop, and weird but can be a natural thing. She seems to be a real person in front of the camera, and, strangest of all...I think by some miracle she actually is. Alas, maybe I'm not governed enough by the left side. I did make a point of hearing Chomsky, though, Thursday night on the no-pay AM radio band (Alan Colmes Show), which I bet a fair portion of folks here wouldn't bother with [my radio uses less power than this PC].

    People come here and put Gladstone and Rosen down, but they do come here to do it, which, according to what may be a convoluted way of thinking (my thinking)...seems to back up what Gladstone was saying!

    In terms of the public's obsession with images one thing really seems salient (but which I never hear stated). The internet is for the most part devoid of graphics that break down, for instance...the sub-prime meltdown, the nature of credit default swaps, hedge funds, and innumerable other things that make this depression far more complicated than "The Great" one. Without such tools Johnson and Perino, for instance, can talk and talk and talk (and they are quite effective and gifted speakers), but all the while...don't we all realize something is missing? Something is missing that renders all this like so much flailing about, no? The right graphics would bring a lot of us very quickly very much closer at least to the level of Simon's knowledge. Don't these experts want us to know what they know? It seems to be a domain where techies think everything is sewn up nicely, but this very prejudice IMO has snuck up and blinded the entire net. There are other deficiencies too. In short order this morning I realized I needed to get a handle on: the complete rundown of the H3N2 flu strain vs the H1N1 strain. At my favorite blog the dedicated thread had wandered off into a discussion re the evils of smokers. I spent nearly all day looking for this info. Judging by the amount of interest I'd say it's conceivable both of these hummers could hit us real hard upside the head, we not knowing from whence or by what means they arrived. But I'm just a neophyte in this realm.

    Enough complaints. As always, great show.

    Robyn, give Bill a break for cry'n out loud!

    I'm not as entusiastic as Ms. Gladstone. She might believe the propaganda power of American mass news media is no longer as effective and that may be true. But I see no return to it fulfilling any function of informing people. The Internet just constitutes more fracture, which is also corrosive to focused, concerted public interest.

    It seems to me Brooke Gladstone and Jay Rosen were excusing the press for marginalizing viewpoints that aren't accepted by Congressional insiders -- viewpoints to the left of Obama, for example, and single-payer health insurance, that may have a strong following among the public or may have strong public benefits. Brooke and Jay won't say that journalists are following the money, swimming with the current when they allow big money to set the terms of the debate. Washington insiders are controlled directly or indirectly by big money and media owners have the same mindset. Instead of the money hypothesis, Brooke and Jay tell us that big media don't matter because the voters don't believe what they hear on radio and television, they get their information from the internet, backpedaling by right-wingers after an attack shows that the mud doesn't stick anymore, and it doesn't matter anyway because the political class has failed and right-wing Republicans are marginalizing themselves -- even though they still set the terms of debate in Congress. The political class may have been discredited by economic and foreign policy realities, but it is still in power, and one reason is that the media and journalists are part of the system.

    Wow, Brook - stay on Bill's show. I tuned into On the Media with renewed enthusiasm only to hear the timid, hedging language you criticize! Then I found this site (thanks GG for pointing me there!):

    Anyway, B - love you on Bill Moyers, less so on NPR.

    My biggest problem is that the country was created to be a Republic, and somehow turned into a Democracy which the Greeks distained.
    Democracy is rule by the mob, where 51% rule the 49%.Republic or democracy=

    You may be thinking about last night's NOW show which was about food.

    I am confused. The program opened with a critical report on food and additives, which has been censored from both the transcript and the video. legal warfare? does monsanto now rule the world?

    I believe that Mr. Gladstone thinks that the propaganda from the right is failing to convince any longer, and I agree that is probably true to some extent. But when he suggested that the makers of a particular ad assumed thier intended audience was in a social vacum, as they would have to be for the false message to convince them being his implication, is a little off the mark. It is, and this is unabashedly documented in memos, a strategy policy of the far right to create doubt, or muddy the waters on any issue they cannot debate on the merits of their position. I'm sure Mr. Gladstone knows that is their SOP and has sadly seen it, as I have, succeed all to often. Events are moving quickly, and making people unclear as to what the truth is,even for a short time, may be enough on issues like single payer health care. So "convincing" them becomes academic anyway, so to speak.

    Also, I'd like to share something that I found annoying and telling about the media, in particular Meet the Press. There were three parts to last week's show (May 31st), one with Senators Leahy and Sessions, one with three CEO's and one billed as a round table discussion. This is a common format for the show, one or two in depth interviews and a roundtable discussion paneled with journalists. As the show progressed and the first two parts took up most of the time, I began to wonder how they would have time for the roundtable discussion at the end. As it turned out the "discussion" was actually a few minutes with three people being asked about three different subjects. Actually each was brought on to promote their latest media contributions. One talked about her new book about women in business, one talked about his new "tell-all" book about President Obama, and one plugged his TV special about spending the day at the white house. It was three commercials segued by David Gregory. I've watched the show for many years, and am sadly thinking my days of doing so may be coming to an end.

    Finally, I think, as someone else on this blog suggested, it would be a great idea to have Noam Chomsky on this show to talk about the media (or some other topic). Also this is one of my favorite shows so please keep up the good work.
    it would be a great idea to have Noam Chomsky on your

    I believe that Mr. Gladstone thinks that the propaganda from the right is failing to convince any longer, and I agree that is probably true to some extent. But when he suggested that the makers of a particular ad assumed thier intended audience was in a social vacum, as they would have to be for the false message to convince them being his implication, is a little off the mark. It is, and this is unabashedly documented in memos, a strategy policy of the far right to create doubt, or muddy the waters on any issue they cannot debate on the merits of their position. I'm sure Mr. Gladstone knows that is their SOP and has sadly seen it, as I have, succeed all to often. Events are moving quickly, and making people unclear as to what the truth is,even for a short time, may be enough on issues like single payer health care. So "convincing" them becomes academic anyway, so to speak.

    Also, I'd like to share something that I found annoying and telling about the media, in particular Meet the Press. There were three parts to last week's show (May 31st), one with Senators Leahy and Sessions, one with three CEO's and one billed as a round table discussion. This is a common format for the show, one or two in depth interviews and a roundtable discussion paneled with journalists. As the show progressed and the first two parts took up most of the time, I began to wonder how they would have time for the roundtable discussion at the end. As it turned out the "discussion" was actually a few minutes with three people being asked about three different subjects. Actually each was brought on to promote their latest media contributions. One talked about her new book about women in business, one talked about his new "tell-all" book about President Obama, and one plugged his TV special about spending the day at the white house. It was three commercials segued by David Gregory. I've watched the show for many years, and am sadly thinking my days of doing so may be coming to an end.

    Finally, I think, as someone else on this blog suggested, it would be a great idea to have Noam Chomsky on this show to talk about the media (or some other topic). Also this is one of my favorite shows so please keep up the good work.
    it would be a great idea to have Noam Chomsky on your

    I find it interesting that some of those posting here seem to be making a real effort to frame Bill Moyers Journal by the same criteria they apparently appreciate in their cable viewing. They would appear to be uninterested in the more thoughtful examination of issues Bill Moyers provides us. If I weren't a skeptic I might think their return week after week allows for the possibility of changing their minds. Sadly because so many people are ingesting what toxic media is putting out rather than examining another viewpoint the show allows them to throw more bombs. This is precisely why we need another Journal to discuss seriously the demise of good journalism in the media...a discussion with more thoughtful and respectful guests than Brooke Gladstone.

    Bill made an interested statement, referring to Obama as moderate. Too often we synonymously use conservative with right-wing, and liberal with left-wing. I agree that Rush, Major TV news, etc. are media / corp. outlets. The result is Obama (or any President) balancing a false reality based on corp. money. What is the right thing to do vs. what he and advisors perceive congress will pass. Congress will only pass legislation that doesn't rock the corporate lobby boat. Therefore, by such actions The President becomes a conservative. Oxford: "holding to traditional attitudes & values, and cautious about change or innovation, typically in relation to politics and religion." In my reality a liberal values liberty, and there is nothing more moderate to US values than liberty and freedom. Does this make me a conservative since I am cautious, and hold to the attitudes of liberty and freedom? I don't intend this to be a vindictive or personal attack, but I find the current right-wing to be much closer to the definition of fascism than conservatism. Again from Oxford: "an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization.... authoritarian, or intolerant views or practice". Fascism strikes me as being far from any moderate view of freedom and liberty.

    Mr. Rosen is correct that the left-wing is being left out of journalism. I say further that the current "left-wing" of US are the moderates when it comes down to constitutional values. I hope Ms. Gladstone is correct in her optimistic view of journalism and the internet. I would also argue that it is in our best interest to have the major media again become journalists. Speaking as a father and small business owner, I could benefit from a more centralized source for true journalism. I find (with few exceptions including Moyers, Frontline) seeking out real information vs. opinion to be time consuming. Time I would rather spend living my values with family and community, and making a living without compromising my values.

    Typical Bill Moyers: jam-packed information and food for thought. All those comments proclaiming Moyers gives left-wing spin have simply been brainwashed by MSM. Why do they keep watching anyway? In fact, we need MORE enlightening, informed and thoughtful input like Bill Moyers provides instead of the pundit"experts who repeat each other ad naseum. Unfortunately MSM journalism is "public relations-driven" having long lost any semblence of getting to the truth and representing the honest views of mainstream Americans. I am afraid that Obama may have drunk too much of this kool-aid too given his shameful lack of support for single payer health care and continuing the shameful warrantless wiretapping that Bush started. I can only hope that he somehow reverses course on these, but it seems the fix is in.

    Re: Modern Media Savvy segment.
    The problem with the Sunday morning political talk shows is that instead of discussing issues, they are commenting on what others have said about issues. It is talk about talk, the political journalistic equivalent of women gossiping at the beauty shop. In the name of honest presentation, the Sunday morning talking heads ought to be forced to conduct their conversations while sitting under hair dryers.

    How peculiar that many people ignore the substance of the debate to criticize the participants for their own perceived bias. Do these people not have opinions of their own about internet journalism?

    By the way, I've heard Schieffer make a statement that I knew to be incorrect before the instance you cite. Stephanopoulos, ditto. Schieffer dispenses one sided interviews without challenging statements. Stephanopoulos conducts verbal "sparring" matches with little or no challenge of statements. I'm guessing that this is one of the prerequisites in the contract that the interview subjects insist on?

    Nevertheless, I've since demoted both of them to entertainment value rather than a source for facts.

    Looks like the neo-cons are out in full force and full cry.

    1. If you don't realize that Moyers has had and no doubt will continue to have conservatives on, it's because you haven't been watching.

    2. Desanitizing Modern Warfare is a critical look at Obama's foreign policy. The poll "Is Obama old wine in a new bottle is not a pat on the back for Obama. Single payer, ditto. I don't know how you missed that fact...

    Bill, your a joke to journalism - Your bought out and paid for just like the rest of the Far Left, corporate controlled, media hacks. What balance was there with these two lefty loon hacks, spouting off in the same way the rest of the lefty media does? Look, we are bombarded with lefty, media propaganda on every network (except for Fox) 24/7 - PBS is no different.

    Bill, why don't you ever include someone from a conservative standpoint in on the debate, so viewers can see both points of view, and make their own decisions based on that - but no, you invite two loons from the left, who spend the whole time attacking the right. Balance? I think your threatened by the popularity of Fox - your starting to look a little desperate with these unfair attacks.

    I wouldn't donate a dime to PBS - why, when can I get the same nonsense for free on CBS, NBC, ABC, MSNBC and CNN? The public just wants the truth - I guess that's just too much to ask of you media impostors - I bet your puppet-masters are proud of you.

    Bill and program director, did you NOT notice that you sat Bill so that he was in direct eye contact with Jay but not with Brooke?

    Bill visibly kept on looking directly at Jay rather than Brooke when asking questions. Brooke only received occasional furtive glances from Bill; his main eye contact was always with Jay. This was so obvious that it became disturbing!

    To her credit, Brooke, kept on surprising Bill by answering questions before Jay could even open his mouth. I don't understand how a veteran journalist and interviewer like Bill could NOT have noticed this and done something about the situation!

    So Bill what was the problem? Did you simply not want to give Brooke any attention? Do you not agree with her and therefore kept on avoiding real eye contact with her. Were you too afraid of possibly finding yourself gazing at her low cut top?

    I mean REALLY Bill, what WAS your problem with Brooke?

    If you don't believe me, just watch the interview again! It's embarassing and troubling that Bill's body language could be so anti one of his guests.

    This was definitely NOT the Bill Moyers I am used to and appreciate!

    Bill has simultaneously interviewed 2 guests on his program before, BUT they were seated closer together. Was this merely a staging problem?

    In any case, what transpired in this interview distracted me from listening to what was being said about the topic at hand.

    I was way too busy looking at Bill NOT looking at Brooke!

    Bill Moyers,
    First, I used to love your show! I also used to donate lots of money to both PBS and NPR. I actually did believe in public broadcasting as our best hope for non-bias reporting available and both NPR and PBS have truely let down the public at large!
    We don't get unbias news any longer. Both NPR and PBS are now completely filled with all Far Left media, including you Bill, (who I once said was one of my favorite journalists)! That was when you really were a journalist! When I heard NPR and PBS were laying off tons of people I cheered! I feel it is justified since you do not provide the public what you were chartered to do. We now turn on the radio and TV to to enjoy public broadcasts and I think I am listening to "little me" of Keith Obermann or Maddow on MSNBC who have become the most vile type of cable commentators possible! Well, who knows, since they brought on that Ed Shultz guy, he does rank right up there in craziness with them.
    But got into issue based reporting instead of good commentary ever since the dream boy of the FAR, FAR, liberal left started running for president.
    As a lifelong Democrat and a person that wants reporting from both sides of an issue, I can no longer support your show or any on MSNBC, NBC, CBS, ABC and CNN (except Lou Dobbs). It is sad that I have to watch to Fox News to get both sides of an issue presented, where I can then decide for myself. No wonder Fox has ratings shooting through the roof and is killing the rest of the cable media! You, and your two guests tonight act like we are all stupid out here! Like how can we possibly make a decision without your FAR LEFT views and your going on about how the Right Wing is lying to us and we believe it! Your conversation kept going over how all we hear on radio and TV is from the Far Right, which is ridiculous! Most centerminded Democrats like myself are just fed up with this Love Fest going on and all your fawning over Obama! We only have one place in the media we can go to get actual unbiased coverage and it is no longer PBS, NPR, MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS or CNN!
    So stop living in your little far left media world where Obama is all to all people! He is ruining this country and every Democrat I know is sorry and wishes we could take our vote back!
    We don't care who the GOP puts up to run in 2010 and 2012. They will get our votes!
    Bill, it is sad to see you go so deep in the Far Left Tank! You live in a world of your own with 90% of the media who for some reason think we the people are the stupid ones who can not possible determine if we are getting fed bull or not!
    Bottomline, until you start having people from both sides of the issue and debate, I will not give one more cent to PBS. Without presenting both sides you will remain as you have become! Not Credible! These two on tonight were a joke! They are so one sided that I was waiting for them to tip out of their chairs. They seemed to like to hear their own voices much more than any logical voices! Just like our new President! Thank ggodness we get to vote in 3 1/2 more years! We may still have to listen to this FAR LEFT dribble, but it will not be impacting our everyday lives.
    Then we hopefully can get back to life without the NANNY Government State trying to make every decision for us!

    I agree somewhat with Niell's comments about Sotomayor's statement about a latina woman vs. a white male. The thing that really bothers me is that I am hearing no comparison to the ramifications were the shoe on a different foot. What would happen if that role were reversed and a white male made a comment that he would obviously be a wiser choice than say a black or hispanic woman???

    I think his career would be over.

    I think it is all about the money, media outlets replaces real news for opinions because it is cheaper to have talking- heads talking out of their backsides than to have real journalists doing real work.

    Based on what I heard tonight from Brooke Gladstone, she's part of the problem! She repeated the same tired argument about the media and the Democrats fearing the 'liberal' label. Is she referring to her own fears? Is that why she said hardly anything insightful tonight? Get over it and do your job!

    Why is Liz Cheney invited on every major network to defend torture and her father's deadly policies? Why does Good Morning America go to Sean Hannity for reaction on Obama's speech? Why is Bill Moyers talking about Rush, O'Reilly, etc..?

    The dialog in this country continues to reach new lows.

    Support independent media. It's the only hope we have.

    Or you can become a blowhard conservative commentator (it'd be so easy) and rake in $23 million like the racist/sexist Glenn Beck. Only in America.

    Lack of sublety isn't the media's problem: calling a media spade a media spade is. Slagnation is the actual tactic the Right's using, slagging the media until it folds, too frightened to name the tactic.

    "It would be worthy of Bill Moyers to have Noam Chomsky comment", I would like to see Michael Parenti.He has a gift for explanation and a view point that is rarely ,if ever,allowed any public exposure.He is certainly to the Left of anyone I've seen on for-profit TV. Mr Parenti would surely light up this forum,get Mr Moyers into lots of hot water and cause some 'red state' hypertensive blood pressure concerns.

    I'm an old reader of Noam Chomsky. I also am familiar with the film study, Manufacturing Consent. What Rosen and Gladstone failed to mention in their discussion about truncated Washington media coverage of populist dissent over single payer health care was that not only do Senator Baucus, Obama, and the rest of the politicians get big money from big insurance companies, but so do major media outlets. If there really was interest in cost-cutting on Capitol Hill, then single-payer would have to be the only option considered. It is historically the only option that has ever shown any effective risk management and reduced administrative costs. The fact is that kleptocrats like Rick Scott and Max Baucus smell blood from big insurance money, and are more than willing to ride their ponies to death for it. Meanwhile the media steps carefully and litigiously around commentary of them both. In Manufacturing Consent Noam Chomsky proved that the "saavy cues" that Mr. Rosen alluded to, from Max Baucus to Hill reporters, are actually hierachical cues from the powerful to the perjorative on dissenting subjects like single-payer health care. Why has the media not pointed out that of the powerful lobbiests represented in the reform hearings, only big insurance is interested in mandated universal health coverage? Why does media not report on the complete failure of the mandated Massachusetts state public option experiment? Why haven't any recent exposes been done involving actuarial statisticians mandating death and denial of health insurance claimants? There were plenty of stories in the 1990s about fraudulent insurance policies, a.k.a. "underinsured claimant" media commentary today. I would maintain that the "free choice" mandated by media coverage really means underenrollment by healthy, self-employed workers imposed by the huge insurance premiums. Those artificially high premiums will eventually kill any public option if big insurance is running the show. I have read many detailed articles about the scare tactics that insurance marketers use in the media to kill political dissent. Hence the negative polling on "socialized medicine" while positive polling on "public option" alluded to in the press, such as by NPR Health Policy Correspondent, Joanne Silberner, on C-span's Washington Journal May 31. Medicare fraud is endemic because hospitals are unable to budget around tort settlements and insurance agency claims for fear of negative media coverage. Health care privatization and quality control mandates from media have resulted in a national shortage of family doctors and in a record number of CAT scans for minor ailments. No amount of computer technology can make health care providers more efficient if they must take all their cues from medicare regulations and a plethora of wasteful insurance mandates. I accuse the media in abetting insurance frauds as free market orthodoxy on US taxpayers.

    1) What the msm does well is provide adorable stories on wayward pets. It avoids controversy at all costs so that it doesn’t receive negative email. And it seems to have lost all interest in being a governmental watchdog.
    2) Yes, the internet can’t help but offer better news coverage. Why should I subscribe to cable or even turn on the TV when I can go to my computer and seek out the news stories I’m interested in rather than wait for the kind of TV coverage that I know will never come.
    3) If Americans aren’t screaming for thoughtful, in-depth journalism by now, then I doubt they ever will. …Sign here _____________ to begin your permanent soma-holiday.

    Moyer continues to promote his liberal agenda with tax payer money.. No shame.. His guests who spoke about the consrvative media never mentioned GE-Obama network NBC; & MSNBC.. Matthews; Oberman & Ed Schulz & Rachel M. must not be biased according to you people.. How did the liberals & the media treat supreme court judges Clarence Thomas: Bjork: Allieto & Roberts.. OH I guess that OK to smear them just don't make a comment about Sonja.. Bill they were her remarks!!!!! You have no shame

    It would be worthy of Bill Moyers to have Noam Chomsky comment on any subject of world or national affairs. Please ask him on. Many of us have been waiting for a national tv station to have the courage to feature Mr. Chomsky.

    Mr. Moyers, I was expecting a discussion of the traditional news media as an echo chamber for the far right, and that the far left's views are seldom presented in the traditional news media. Your questions tended in that direction, but your guests resolutely refused to make that the point of discussion. This discussion needs to happen. Try getting Bob Sommerby and Josh Marshall on the Journal to discuss it.

    This was as bad a discussion as the previous was good. But the analysis is the same. The plain fact is that the maintream news media has steadily retreated from objectivity and returned to the tabloid journalism it once was, just as the Congress has retreated from its responsibility to govern. The Internet, tho, while providing more than its share of nonsense has provided a home for not only objective and informed observation, but even some decent opinion. The problem the old media has is that its monoploy on entertainment has eroded its income significantly and with it the sliver that could be diverted to objective coverage, and they are now reduced to panhandling and pandering like everyone else. This is the same sort of thing that has happened in politics. I regret to say too that from my service experience what the Republicans said about Kerry's military service is probably true, tho I may not attach the same importance to it that they did.

    The hard truth is that the Afghan War is an impossible situation. The Karzai administration is incapable in uniting a country so politically, ethnically, and culturally divided. Even Pashto speakers have cultural subgroups. Whether we like it or not, the Taliban may be the only force capable of politically unifying Afghanistan.I know most people will view this as heresy. But the alternative is a long, endless war of attrition. The only sticking point is Al Qaeda.If the Taliban (and this is a big if) are willing to abandon them, I don't think it's any of our business who runs Afghanistan. I see our conflict with the Taliban as basically cultural ( oddly not religious). Our gripes are with their lifestyle. That is not reason enough to go to war.

    The following essay asks:

    If those in control of the media today are solely preoccupied (obsessed?) with money, then perhaps they need to keep the following in mind:

    - Information is the currency of democracy. (Thomas Jefferson)

    What passes as journalism in the mainstream media reminds me of those trashy newspapers one finds at the grocery check-out counter! I think it is really all about the ratings. Freedom of speech is precious and we, as Americans, are entitled to it. However, I think it is the responsibility of a good journalist to dig into the claims made by those who choose to incite, inflame, scare, and often lie to the public in the hope of advancing an agenda. We saw the results of a complicit and irresponsible press during the Bush Administration. I'm tired of listening to these "talking heads" - let's hear an unbiased and fair dialogue. Americans really are grown up enough to take it. We're tired of being marginalized by these news organizations.

    How can Bill Moyer's call himself a journalists? His program is nothing more that a forum to present his political views. Journalism is about presenting both side of a story. This week he brings in NPR and NYU reps to present a media critique. Well there's a balanced view. Rush and Newt are evil, Obama and his "moderate" views are good. Plain and simple. Last week single payer health plan was discussed with with two single payer advocates. Week after week it's the same disgusting thing. Has anyone from the right ever been spotted on Moyers? It makes me angry that my tax dollars support PBS.

    What truly irritates me is that the conservative media thinks I'm unpatriotic if I don't agree with them and the liberal media thinks I'm stupid if I don't see it their way. I can think for myself.

    Most of the time it's bull anyway...all for the rating.

    Gladstone talks about checking the facts on Sotomayor's "wise latina women" comment. The fact is that she did make the comment. The question is, does saying something racist while not acting racist mean that one is a racist? Gladstone cites meaningless numbers to make her point without investigating the particulars of each case that Sotomayor ruled on. How many were on procedural grounds, etc. All this shows is that Sotomayor is not an overt racist wearing a white sheet, acting as a hanging judge irrespective of the law.

    I think freedom is speech is the only important thing here. I'm not sure why gladstone thinks no one with an opinion other than hers is correct. She needs to go into another line of work if she doesn't understand our right of free speech. What an airhead. Rush Limbaugh has more sense in his baby toe then this women will ever have.

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