This about sums up the state of the national media

April 7, 2010 | By | 1 Reply More

Glen Lyons of Salon describes the state of the national media:

The average citizen hardly knows what to believe anymore. Due to the parlous state of professional journalism; the Internet; cable TV “news” networks and talk radio shouters; and the ceaseless din of the right-wing noise machine, the public is daily confronted with make-believe news, doctored quotes, fake history and phony data.

In my opinion, Lyons has it about right. Most people I know don’t want to spend immense amounts of time picking through the “news” to figure out what they should actually believe.  Out of fatigue and frustration, they tend to lock on to one or two sources of information, despite the fact that most media sources are not motivated to be trusted as sources of information.  Rather, based on what they are actually reporting, and how they are reporting it, they are primarily motivated to make money.  Hence, Tiger’s affairs get much more coverage than critical national issues and contentious sound-bites are offered to us instead of careful analysis of issues.

Given the great amount of money at stake, it’s understandable that power so successfully warps the information that is fed to us by commercial media on a daily basis. The state of the Fourth Estate is confusing and agitating, and thus we have become a confused and agitated nation.

It is in the context of this already desperate situation that the DC Circuit Court has dealt a huge blow to the cause of net neutrality, as described by Megan Tady of Save the Internet:

The court ruled that the Federal Communications Commission lacks the authority under existing legal framework to enforce rules that keep Internet service providers from blocking and controlling Internet traffic. The decision puts the FCC’s Net Neutrality proceeding and the National Broadband Plan in jeopardy.

Those who fight for media reform tend to see a very big picture, and we know that we have more work to do than ever.  Luckily, there are options.  Tady describes  a relatively simple approach: The FCC needs to “reclassify” the service under the Communications Act.

Under the Bush FCC, the agency decided to classify and treat broadband Internet service providers the same as any Internet applications company like Facebook or Lexis-Nexis, placing broadband providers outside of the legal framework that traditionally applied to the companies that offer two-way communications services.  That’s the loophole that let Comcast wiggle out from under the agency’s thumb.

There’s an easy fix here: The FCC can change broadband back to a “communications service,” which is where it should have been in the first place. By reclassifying broadband, all of these questions about authority will fall away and the FCC can pick up where it left off – protecting the Internet for the public and bridging the digital divide.

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About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. grumpypilgrim says:

    Interested readers should check out Edward S. Herman's book, "Manufacturing Consent," which is all about how mass media is used as a tool for manipulating public opinion.

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