How Mainstream Media Undermine Democracy

How I like newspapers! I still remember the first time I leafed through a newspaper that someone had left at my grandfather’s house, it was full of stuff. But eventually I learned to read critically. I believe that now, more than ever, it’s necessary to debate the connection between information and democracy. Even in a digital world, the newspapers are indispensable guides to politics and to the news of one or another cultural movement in society. The media are a pulpit that can be used for good or evil. The problem today is that both commercialism on the rise and political bias have eroded journalistic professionalism. That’s tragic yet realistic State of the Media 2020.

In fact, it is next to impossible to find free debate in the mainstream mass media. Surely, editorialists need not repress or disguise their perspectives, but reporters are not asked to give opinions on things. But what do we see? They are encouraged by their bosses to do precisely that. When they do poorly their jobs – I think this is the case – the damage spreads further than they can see. Because they reach a large number of persons and because their subject matter in essence is the evaluation and appraisal of social good and evil. For evaluating political culture, they get their facts wrong and bring stories that typically hurt the truth. This is how the mainstream media twists the truth. But who cares? We are living in a post-truth era, after all.

The mainstream media is misleading; it should give expression to viewpoints with which it differs. Few people plough through the paper from cover to cover, but editorialists put their perspective in headlines, leads, and data. So which concepts and ideas are “in”? It is rare to find in the media the most panoramic perspective we could see if we dip into the papers published decades ago, in part because today they restrict “both sides” to the narrow consensus of left-thinking commissars. They did not notice people’s sorrows in their eager interest in something else. There certainly have been more responsible editorial columns and broadcastings spots in newspapers, radios, and television years ago.

Above all, the “dissident” opinions are filtered out or at best treated as bullshit (pardon my French). Open communication and frank debate, based on open source of news, are increasing becoming a threat to big corporations and political parties. The tendency is being confirmed, in a somewhat embarrassing way, when you think of the daily attacks mainstream media do on conservative politics in countries like USA, Brazil, or Argentina. There’s lot of news coming out of our mainstream media these days and much of it has notoriously the tendency of refusing to recognize the conservative Christian politicians’ good qualities. The media present us with a distorted view of reality.

We aspire for more meaningful democracy. We need more independent segments of the press. That makes the concepts of cultural intelligence and moral commitment all the more interesting.

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