I’ll add that news is a business that thrives on sex, violence and controversy....just what its customers want. Who wants to constantly hear about what “Habitat for Humanity” or the Peace Corps did today?
You know what? Every day I hear people say "I'm so tired of the news. It's so negative." Sometimes this statement is followed up by "Why can't 'they' report something other than Trump?" At that point, I laugh--trying not to be too snotty--but wanting to say "Because your president can't shut the hell up".
Naturally, these are Trump supporters who think the president is being picked on---that a sitting president is NOT news, especially when he tells outrageous lies, praises criminals, pours out his love for dictators and murderers, tweets, maligns races, religions, women, and minorities. That's not news?
But I get it. The news is repetitive, monotonous, circular and 24/7. But, would you rather have TOO MUCH NEWS or not enough news? Do we really want our news to be state-controlled? Limited? Washed and rinsed?
The news is negative because LIFE is OFTEN negative. Presidents are news because....well...because THEY ARE PRESIDENTS. Lies, affairs, fraud, insults, and dictators are news because they actually happened. Every mega media outlet has correspondents at the WHouse. Those correspondents have contacts inside the WH. Always have. Always will.
They report what they hear and see--and SO DOES everyone else.
The press is our watchdog. I say "GROWL", "BITE" and stay watchful.
Right! That's the point they make early on, noting that most international news and geopolitical opinion columns are circulated by only the three largest wire services. You don't need much more than a room full of people to run that kind of operation, but how does it serve to educate or enlighten the average viewer or reader?
I have a fairly large number of independent/low budget sources....including those Russians a certain someone is always blubbering and blathering about! People who work for RTAmerica and Radio Sputnik don't get paid a lot of money. It's just that the management was smart enough to run a much looser organization than the expensive propaganda VOA and Radio Liberte do in service of US propaganda! And they don't come cheap!
As Aaron Matè said recently of his three year stint with RT, they...like TeleSUR before they got throttled by US sanctions are among the very few places where independent US journalists can go and follow the issues and stories that interest them and also have the resources necessary to travel to foreign locations and cover the issue. The small independent sites who live off Patreon and crowdfunded contributions are very limited in what they offer for any of their staff to cover the news. And there's lots of analysts and bloggers out there, it's the reporters who are needed to do stuff like...go to Flint Michigan and see if that water crisis is still ongoing and as bad as it was a few years ago when regular news felt compelled to talk about it (and yes it is!)
If a journalist, like Jeremy Scahill and Glenn Greenwald are lucky enough to land at the rare independent news sites that are funded by billionaires...in their case - The Intercept, bankrolled by Pierre Omidyar, the Neocon owner of Ebay, they can speak freely about a lot of things....but GG won't talk about Ukraine under any circumstances. It's not a story he's ever been particularly interested in, but he is also careful to stay in his lane advocating privacy rights and whistleblower protection. Scahill got into a big argument with Matè over Trump's ghostly, vanishing collusion with Russia or Putin or both, and whether the hints and glimpses of collusion amount to an actual case that can be proven in court...even if it's the court of public opinion!
So, the takeaway seems to be that the more money a journalist is paid, the less likely they are anything close to a real journalist, and are instead a mere propagandist for whatever agenda is placed in front of them. Even if they're not corrupted, what does a 30 million per year journalist have in common with millions of Americans now forced to drink contaminated drinking water? 30 mil can buy you a lot of bottled water! Same with so many other issues that divide along economic class lines.
But, the independent journalist has his or her own tradeoffs to make. Is it better to work for an organization that will likely have a few third rails....issues that they don't want covered, in order to do the work they want? Or can the work get done and the journalist get paid by being completely independent of outside influencers? So far, that seems to be an option for very few journalists who have already made a good living and can afford to be honest.