Thursday, June 10, 2010

Media Wars

Freedom of the press is very important to the health of our nation. When government agencies (federal, state and local) keep members of the press from covering the oil spill and the damage it has brought, it is a detriment to us all. It increases the liklihood that this catastrophe will be dismissed by the body politic at large, the real costs will be minimized by talking heads, and therefore the liklihood that this will happen again will be increased.

The reason the government doesn't want you see unapproved pictures of the oil spill is the same reason the government wouldn't let flag-draped coffins of servicemen killed overseas be photographed: you might start thinking that your day-to-day behaviors and political actions have consequences you don't like. That's bad for the folks in charge.

That government agencies are restricting members of the press from covering this disaster at the behest of private industry is nothing short of enraging.

All that being said, we may not be in this predicament if our 24 hour news cycle spent more time on the actual news rather than opinion-based infotainment. There is a way to address your lack of credibility and that is to behave in a more credible way. While it would have been better for Big Media to heed John Stewart's long ago words and stop hurting America, there's no better day to start than today.

And restrictions on freedom of the press should be front page news, everywhere. That is a HUGE story, to which the government and BP should be called to account. If you think people are angry now, imagine how agitated they'll be when they hear the government is restricting access to public beaches so BP doesn't get embarassed by pictures of oily birds.

The only thing the government agencies and big business should fear more than allowing the press to photograph and investigate should be not allowing the press to photograph and investigate.

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