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19. So What's News?

"The danger that the press may misunderstand or misinterpret or even misinform is in the final analysis a small price to pay compared to the services the news media render when they expose wrongdoing or gross errors of judgement by the powers that be."

Leonard H. Marks, lawyer 1995
"The press is the living jury of the nation."

James Gordon Bennett
newspaper editor - c.1830
History is a continuing catalogue of how those who think they run the planet waste vast sums of money attempting to maintain the status quo or to alter it against another nation's will by force. This takes the form of wars of attrition and defence, subsidy, controls, and endless strictures as to what is and is not a house, a car, an eating apple, a legal party and endless other matters. The daily news is dominated either by plans, programmes, and proposals by politicians; or by the failure, collapse, wars and scandals that are now the result of the plans, programmes, and proposals about which we were reading in the years gone by. Next time you look at a newspaper take note of how much of it is dominated by the above. Only the names and the places change from week to week.

The so-called news is dominated by activities of the politicians and the state, yet it would seem anything that is truly new and lasting in society comes from the people and not the politicians. In fact the world's politicians seem to do the same old thing over and over again - which is to tell us what to do and beat us over the head if we don't listen. When they start telling each other what to do it often leads to a fight in which we, as innocent bystanders, also get beaten over the head (i.e. bombed, shelled, jailed, shot).

Yet despite its tendency to fill our heads with all the above, the media also performs a valuable service for society. It can often be seen to do a better job at monitoring and exposing the abuses and iniquities of our world than does the state. As we know, the state is usually the last to acknowledge its own corruption and abuse, and then only after revelation in the media. The media is often the first to inform us of scandals involving large or small corporations and dangers facing us through exposure to environmental chemicals or diseases in the food chain. Were we relying solely on government bulletins, we would know little of oil spills in the oceans, corruption in government, rising asthma among children, Mad Cow Disease, radiation leaks and linked diseases, Gulf War syndrome, the disappearing ozone hole or endangered species. Regular radio and TV programmes are dedicated to airing consumer grievances against companies, providing negative advertising for the business concerned, and cautioning us all against using that company or its faulty products. This is a service which society ing it the media attracts our attention. We could, perhaps use a few more fearless investigative reporters (and editors). Fortunately, the new technology of publishing, together with the world-wide net of global communication is dramatically expanding the scope of the media, and access to it.

For more thoughts on the insurance industry read A Brush with the Fuzz at Dead Woman's Bottom
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From the book "Uncommon Sense - The State is Out of Date"
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