Letter to the Editor: Some Problems With the Free Press

Thomas Jefferson said “The only security of all is in a free press.” Since then we’ve added radio, television, and Internet. But can the media speak truth to power when six mega-corporations own 90 percent of American media?

Daily newspapers, fighting to survive online competition, have gone out of business by the scores, their downsized staffs stripped of investigative reporters. Ironically, most online news originates with newspapers.

Network news is noted for the dictum “If it bleeds, it leads.” Fox News, the most-watched cable network, has a conservative bias that blurs the distinction between news and opinion.

The Internet often spreads fake-news to its ideologically divided audiences. Public Policy Polling found that Trump voters believe an alternative set of facts; 67 percent think the unemployment rate increased under Obama, although it actually went from 7.8 percent in January 2009 to 4.6 percent in November 2016.

Unfortunately, schools seldom teach media literacy, including how to resist propaganda techniques. People don’t question the official narrative that sets in early and becomes conventional wisdom.

Project Censored, a media education group at Sonoma State University, compiles important news that emerges in only a few outlets: “The News That Didn’t Make the News.” Some stories from 2016 were “World Trade Organization Smashes India’s Solar Panels Industry,” and “U.S. Military Forces Deployed in Seventy Percent of World’s Nations.” In other news that didn’t get legs: far more jobs are being lost to automation than to trade deals.

MSM ignored the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck used by Republican secretaries of state in 27 states to purge minority voters under the guise of combating voter fraud. Investigative reporter Greg Palast says up to 7 million voters may have been disenfranchised. (Might this help explain why voter turnout was the lowest in 20 years?)

Sometimes MSM run the story but only grudgingly. It is one-sided, doesn’t get the headlines or inches it deserves, lacks background info, and is quickly lost in the 24-hour news cycle.

One such brownout was the Green Party recount. MSM showed clear bias against the very idea of a recount and projected Dr. Stein as a kook or worse. Yet election security experts have warned for years of vulnerabilities in e-voting. (See “Which voting machines can be hacked through the Internet?” by Princeton prof Andrew Appel, also see Bev Harris and Bob Fitrakis.) MSM ignored that Clinton, then Stein was urged to initiate a recount by a group of election security experts including Alex Halderman and John Bonifaz.

The recount was stopped in Michigan by Republican lawyers and officials, never started in Pennsylvania, and in Wisconsin, it did not involve a full hand recount. While no evidence of fraud was found, there were oddities, such as the 75,000 blank votes in black majority cities Detroit and Flint, or the 87 vote-counting machines that crashed in Detroit on Election Day.

We may never know if the 2016 vote was manipulated—or if so, whether by Russians or Republicans. But there are many elections to come. Experts say that every election should be audited. This can’t happen without a paper trail—which 30 percent of voting districts don’t have.

We may not get the full story but that is no reason to trust Infowars. Look at diverse sources, dig deep, and use your common sense.

– Coralie Koonce

To submit a letter to the editor of The Free Weekly, email nbrothers@nwadg.com. Please keep submissions at about 500 words. Please, no submissions longer than 700 words.


Categories: Commentary