2004-05-07 / Columnists

The Progressive

Letter to Rupert Murdoch
By John Paul Culotta

The Progressive

By John Paul Culotta

Letter to Rupert Murdoch

Our own Rockaway Irregular in a Letter to The New York Times stated "There’s no need for the Times to stoop to running misleading images, headlines, etc. in its pages, though it seems to do this more or less routinely."

The Gray Lady of Journalism has a reputation of being the most prestigious of our nation’s newspapers. Recent scandals have destroyed some of its creditability. It is true that it should be a concern for all Americans if our press and other forms of media deliberately mislead as the Irregular contends.

Yesterday, I listened to Rush Limbaugh on talk radio who stated the liberal Democratic Party has a central clearing house of information that the party feels needs to be disseminated into the body politic. No doubt, the Times is a major center for this dissemination. The right wing appears to believe in a vast left-wing conspiracy that influences, or worse, misinforms the public by controlling the parameters of public discourse.

Our nation at this time needs a well-informed public. Many Americans get their news from talk radio, television, or the popular tabloid press (e.g. Daily News, NY Post). During the past few weeks, while the situation in Iraq worsened, the tabloid press has had as the lead stories the rivalry between the NY Yankees and the Boston Red Sox, the sexual peccadilloes of Michael Jackson, major fires, a government investigation of the mob, and the controversy of third grade students taking examinations that will decide their immediate academic future. These stories deserve space but the choice to highlight this type of news at this time is an example of manipulation in order to minimize the detrimental effects of the Iraqi war for the present administration.

Talk radio has attacked Senator Kerry because of his wealth, his wife’s tax returns, the veracity of medals given to him when he served in Vietnam and an alleged affair with an intern. Sometimes it appears talk radio hosts get their talking points from the national Republican committee.

Fox, a major cable news network, despite its claim that it will give fair and balanced reporting, is noted for its right wing sympathies. Similar to the tabloid press, the major purpose appears to entertain rather than inform. Celebrity court cases are a mainstay of the network. It is interesting that Australian billionaire Rupert Murdoch controls the corporation that owns the NY Post and Fox News.

The media needs to be varied and interesting. Creditability is a hard won attribute. It appears much of talk radio is biased and unfair. Newspapers and news media have an obligation not only to be fair but also to report and highlight the major issues of the day. Our Tabloid press has called allies to this country that differed with our foreign policy weasels. This is not fact. It is opinion. Editorials supporting Bush are front page in The New York Post.

If the New York Times is the left wing clearing house for dissemination of Democratic Party talking points, The New York Post and Fox News is the clearing house for the Republicans.

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