"The internet: A magnificent new technology combining the credibility of
anonymous hearsay with the excitement of typing."
(The book): A citizen's guide to democracy inaction, The Daily Show, 2004
"Respect for the truth
and the right of the public to truth
is the first duty of the journalist."
- Code of conduct, International Federation of Journalists
journalists ignore abuses of the public language by people of influence
and power, and reproduce without comment words that are intended
deceive and manipulate ... when this happens journalism
ceases to be journalism and becomes a kind of propaganda."
- Don Watson:
'Death sentence: The decay of public language'
Editorial: More than anything else, it is the media corporations' irresponsibility in
uncritically accepting such deceitful practices by politicians, media commentators and reporters that serves to deny real meaning to
the daily language of public debate. This in turn severely undermines public understanding and the overall health of
'democracy' itself, let alone the genuine exercise
of 'free speech' around the world.
It is easy to overlook the fact that
the behavior of the media is fundamental to our well being. Because the reality is that - beyond the limits of our personal realms
of activity - the major way we
obtain information (and ultimately develop opinions) on our wider locality, state,
nation and the world is via these largely unregulated, communication channels.
Despite their critical importance
to society and the significant financial gains many make from their use of a public asset (the airwaves), the mainstream
media are basically not required to live up to any significant codes of social responsibility and ethical behavior by any meaningful
Such failures on their part ... and that of our politicians and governments ... should not
with resignation or a 'sigh', but instead loudly and consistently challenged until the sheer weight of public pressurebrings on a greater respect for the truth and more accurate and honest use
of public language.
In public life, actions
must again come to speak more loudly than words. Candour and openness be more warmly welcomed than rhetoric and spin ... or
trickery and fraud. All the mind-numbing nonsense represented by 'poli-speak' and 'double-think' (a phenomenon
worsened by the extremes of PR, polling and marketing) instantly treated with the public contempt it deserves.
is ironic that it took the pen of one of the most skilled and accomplished of 20th Century journalists, George Orwell, to
predict the extent of manipulation, abuse and decay of the public language occurring today. During the past five years,
the truth of his words seems more evident than ever.
These disturbing aspects of '1984' may be arriving later rather than
sooner, but nonetheless today's 'people's representatives' and their co-defendants the 'people's media' must
be brought to account by all concerned Americans - if so many of our most basic and hard won, democratic freedoms (including genuine
'freedom of the press') are to survive.
It is not by chance that the contentious push for fundamental global change and
reform has seemingly been targeting virtually everything and everyone (whether at home or abroad) ... except the development
of more responsible & inclusive media networks, a more effective political system, more trustworthy voting system, improved
system of justice, and more honest approach to fostering greater freedom, financial security and democracy in the world.
All the complicated talk of 'globalization' (and its predominantly narrow economic view of our planet), coupled with the
otherwise 'trivializing role' of the modern media, also avoids any serious discussion of what seems to be a deeper
human need to agree upon a universal set of ethical values and life principles (e.g. one based on the 'Universal
Charter of Human Rights'). Providing, in effect, a more noble means by which citizens, communities, nations ... and
even journalists, congressmen & corporations ... can truly measure their behavior, self worth and achievements on Earth.
on: 'Quotable quotes' on the U.S. media]