“The press” means news reporters as a whole. The name comes from the printing press that newspapers still use. These days the news is also reported through television, radio and the Internet, so in the 1900s some started to call it “the media” instead. It means the same thing.
In many countries the government controls the press. In some countries only the government is allowed to print newspapers. In others it can stop a newspaper from printing a story or even shut down an entire newspaper.
In a working democracy the press is free to print anything it knows to be true. Even if it ruins someone’s name or brings down a government.
- This makes it harder for government to lie or keep secrets for long: there is always someone in the government who talks too much or who does not like what is going on.
- This makes it hard for democracies to fight a long war, especially guerrilla wars.
- This means voters and businesses know more of what is going on and can presumably make better decisions.
But even in a working democracy the press is not completely free.
A news operation must still make money to pay its reporters. Most make money by selling advertising. The more readers or viewers it gets, the more it can charge for advertising and the more money it makes.
This is why American news:
- Has little depth. Saving a girl who has fallen down a well is far more interesting to more people than, say, mounting government debt or poverty.
- Is soft on its readers and viewers. In America the news is largely of, for and by the white people who live in apple-pie America. It reports a world where black women are never missing and America is noble. A world where blacks have cultural pathologies but whites do not.
- Is soft on government, big business and the police. Because they regularly provide the press with news and can shut reporters out. That is why the press rarely attacks a sitting president.
- Is soft on advertisers. Mainly big business and the business owners in town.
- Is soft on Israel. Because many advertisers are businesses run by Jews.
Business and government both know what the press wants and feed it ready-made news to get its own point of view across. Companies put out press releases. The president provides ready-made events that he knows the press will cover. They know reporters are under a deadline and most will take the easy way out. Even a top newspaper like the Wall Street Journal will print parts of press releases word for word as fact without any quotes.
President Reagan and his men took this a step further: they thought about what story they wanted to appear on the television news that night and then worked backwards, feeding the press with the sound bites and images it would need to create that story. It worked.
– Abagond, 2007.
- news outlets:
- news phenomena:
- The police
- The news and whiteness: