Where has real journalism gone?
“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
On 22nd June, 2010, a reporter by the name of Michael Hastings released an article in the Rolling Stone magazine that set in motion one of the most high profile resignations we’ve seen in quite some time. US Army General Stanley McChrystal was the commander of the US forces in Afghanistan until he was forced to resign over his off-duty behaviour, which was exposed by Michael Hastings. McChrystal was also known to be tied to the coverup of the ‘friendly fire’ death of an American football player, Specialist Pat Tillman, who enlisted in the US Army. Michael Hastings has been one of the most passionate and fearless journalists I’ve seen in a very long time. It has been known that Hastings would go against the wishes of his editors to report real news and facts. He wasn’t going to be kept quiet by studios who have a mission to keep their networks happy or to get ratings or to pander to their political interests. Hastings recently became suspicious about the government tapping his phone line and accessing his emails and has let it be known. In the early hours of the 18th of June, 2013, Hastings was found to have crashed his car into a tree, and his car exploded into flames. Many speculations are forming around his death, but at this time, I think we should get the correct facts before any assumptions are made. Michael Hastings was 33 years old.
Real and factual journalism seems to have gone away with the corporations and political parties vying for media support. News agencies such as Fox News would do anything to maintain their ratings even if it means reporting false information and inciting hatred and developing conspiracy theories of their own. Whistleblowing seems to be the only way to report real needed information. Let’s start with Bradley Manning and Wikileaks. They exposed embarrassing cables between governments and damaged credibility in the wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan. Bradley Manning obtained and leaked the information that Wikileaks published. Currently, Manning is standing trial for treasonous acts against the US government and aiding and abetting the enemy. In my honest opinion, I do not feel he is a traitor. Jill Stein, a Green Party presidential candidate in 2012, has said “Whistleblowers are indispensable for democracy. They enable the people to defend themselves against government malfeasance and tyranny. Those U.S. cables released to Wikileaks contained more information on the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other countries than all the media organisations in the world combined have been able to unearth. And they are all too filled with malfeasance, tyranny and war crimes.” This is just too true.
Then we come to Edward Snowden. When we found out the NSA were wiretapping phone lines in 2006, people threw up their arms against George W Bush and his tactics. Slowly but surely the people were told it was for their own security and that they still have to go through proper channels to get the information. We knew the government were eavesdropping on us. We still know that. The issue now is the extent of the eavesdropping. Ignorance is bliss, eh? Now Edward Snowden released the details and extent of it all and has now gone into hiding for exposing one of the most disgusting acts of privacy invasion we’ve seen. Representative Loretta Sanchez, D-CA, sits on the Homeland Security Committee said, “What we learned in [the meeting] is significantly more than what is out in the media today. I can’t speak to what we learned in there, and I don’t know if there are other leaks, if there’s more information somewhere, if somebody else is going to step up, but I will tell you that I believe it’s the tip of the iceberg.”
Journalists like Michael Hastings and Julian Assange and whistleblowers such as Manning and Snowden are few and far between. Currently, we have the big mainstream media channels such as MSNBC, FoxNews, CBS, CNN, and more, seems to be the only outlet for real news. They put so much spin on the news that you can’t trust if what they say is true or not or if they value humanity. Bob Schieffer of CBS News said, “What I see in Edward Snowden is just a narcissistic young man who has decided he is smarter than the rest of us. I don’t know what he is beyond that. But he is no hero. If he has a point — which I’m not sure he does — he would help his cause by voluntarily coming home to face the consequences.” Really Schieffer? Have you not been paying any attention to why Snowden did it? The mainstream media is scared because it embarrasses them. They feel they have to back up the financial supporters to stay viable. I’ve got news for you though; we are coming back with the people on our side. YouTube, Reddit and Twitter, to name a few, are the beginning of public journalism. One of the most reliable news channels out there today is The Young Turks. Sure, they have a liberal lean; they’re not afraid to show that. But they break down the issues without spin. And they have come down hard on the Obama administration for the NSA controversy. We also have Ben Swann – a journalist for a Fox affiliate in Cincinnati – who has created a show called “Full Disclosure”, which is now being Kickstarted. He may have right-wing and libertarian leanings, but the show claims to be about real journalism without spin and is “not interested in spinning truth for any agenda.”
Journalism is a right we need to stand up for. We need to be able to know the truth no matter what cost. We can’t continue to live in a world of ignorance while the governments crack down on whistleblowers. Take a stand and help contribute to the growing community of citizen journalism.
Here are some sources of independent journalism that may help:
|The Young Turks|
|Full Disclosure Kickstarter|