Media lies. Get over it.

In my youth, it was common for activists to believe that if media knew the truth, they would publish it. Some began pulling stunts to garner media attention even though some of the stunts endangered peaceful protesters. Media continued to ignore antiwar protests in the thousands to report on hoola-hoop & pie-eating contests or would reduce the numbers protesting to the handful of activists pulling stunts. Yes, media is not always a reliable source of complete information.

Now the mantra is that media lies & is not worth reading. One could only say that if you never read the media because though it is always tendentious, it is also an essential source for all sorts of political information. Usually you have to read many sources to piece together what happened but you cannot understand the world we live in if you do not read the ‘media that lies’ as well as the media that claims it doesn’t.

I once attended a talk by the NY Times reporter who covered the 1968 uprising in Czechoslovakia which Soviet troops crushed. The NY Times reports & US media in general completely agreed with the Soviet media that it was an uprising against socialism. The immense body of literature pouring out of Czechoslovakia from organizations & activists before the military crackdown made it absolutely clear that what they wanted was a democratic socialism, not Stalinist autocracy.

So I asked the NY Times reporter why his coverage agreed with Soviet coverage, why he never reported about the democracy movement & its demands? He was incensed & flustered & said I ambushed him. You bet your sweet ass I did. Because his reporting was dishonest. But have I stopped reading the NY Times because I know its reporting is tendentious? Of course not, because it is an invaluable source for knowing what they think & what they are trying to convince others about & it is also a source of elementary information.

Media has to be taken seriously because it is not an option whether you read it or not if you want to understand political realities.