Dear President Obama: Blogs Fact-Check and Put Stories in Context Much Better than the Corporate Media → Washingtons Blog
Dear President Obama: Blogs Fact-Check and Put Stories in Context Much Better than the Corporate Media - Washingtons Blog

Monday, September 21, 2009

Dear President Obama: Blogs Fact-Check and Put Stories in Context Much Better than the Corporate Media

President Obama said yesterday:

I am concerned that if the direction of the news is all blogosphere, all opinions, with no serious fact-checking, no serious attempts to put stories in context, that what you will end up getting is people shouting at each other across the void but not a lot of mutual understanding.
But as Dan Rather pointed out in July, the quality of journalism in the mainstream media has eroded considerably, and news has been corporatized, politicized, and trivialized.

Rather also pointed out that “roughly 80 percent” of the media is controlled by no more than six, and possibly as few as four, corporations. As I wrote in July:

This is only newsworthy because Rather said it. This fact has been documented for years, as shown by the following must-see charts prepared by:

And check out this list of interlocking directorates of big media companies from Fairness and Accuracy in Media, and this resource from the Columbia Journalism Review to research a particular company.

This image gives a sense of the decline in diversity in media ownership over the last couple of decades:

As I have also documented, there are four major problems with the mainstream reporting:

  • Widespread self-censorship by journalists
  • Censorship from editors and producers
  • Pro-war bias
  • Government censorship

(Oh, and also moolah)

Moreover, as I wrote in March:

The whole debate about blogs versus mainstream media is nonsense.

In fact, many of the world's top PhD economics professors and financial advisors have their own blogs...

The same is true in every other field: politics, science, history, international relations, etc.

So what is "news"? What the largest newspapers choose to cover? Or what various leading experts are saying - and oftentimes heatedly debating one against the other?

As blogger Michael Rivero pointed out years ago, mainstream newspapers aren't losing readers because of the Internet as an abstract new medium. They are losing readers because they have become nothing but official stenographers for the powers-that-be, and people have lost all faith in them.

Indeed, only 5% of the pundits discussing various government bailout plans on cable news shows are real economists. Why not hear what real economists and financial experts say?

To the extent that blogs offer actual news and the mainstream media does not, the latter will continue to lose eyeballs and ad revenues to the former.

In reality, the best blogs offer far more fact-checking and context then the mainstream media.


  1. Good post. Pretty scary some of the statements from Obama lately.

  2. "real economists"

    This is not really what has been written here, is it?

    Economics is the study of how to fool people into believing you and your disciples know more so much more about money than anyone else does, you should handle the printing presses of the stuff.

  3. I believe maybe a quarter of what I read on blogs and nothing I see on televison. If I did believe what I see on television I would be duct taping my windows and not going outside until government officials showed up at my house to deliver my H1N1 vaccine.

    The notion that the mainstream media does better fact checking than online bloggers is ludicrous. If they are worried about online bloggers taking over the news, maybe they should do things like, I don't know, REPORT THE NEWS BETTER! The lack of important stories on the news makes me sick to my stomach.

  4. Yes, the blogs do it better. They also do it much worse. Trick is telling the difference, and finding the ones you can trust.

  5. Let's just look at how blogs and newspapers have covered one particular news story, namely 9/11.

    Because of the bloggers, it is now widely known that 9/11 wasn't done by Muslims at all, and that it was done by Israelis and Americans.

    That is, and has been, the REAL headline-news story every day for over 8 years, since 9/11/2001, yet the story has yet to appear that way in any newspaper. How absurd to say newspapers have better fact-checking than the internet!

    The newspapers have deliberately and in fact strategically ignored this key story, every single day since the crime happened. Which is exactly what they were supposed to do -- that was and is their assigned role, regarding 9/11 -- because the news companies are owned and controlled by the very same people that own and control the people who did 9/11.

    A huge and growing percentage of the public knows (either clearly or else indistinctly but with their gut instinct) that the newspapers are -- I was going to say lying, but it's so much worse than ordinary lying . . . what they're doing is covering up the crime of mass murder, when the mass murder was committed for the very purpose of blaming it on people who didn't do it.

    People are rightly sensing that the newspapers are willingly fronting for something that is truly vile, and naturally turning to the internet where real information is available.

  6. Like all information sources some blogs are worth reading and some are not. I just looked in my news reader and there is not a major newspaper in the reader, lots of blogs though. In thinking how that can be , I believe the reason quite simple. In the MSM the important story could be buried on page 8 if it is there at all. Even the fabled NYT is unreliable in reporting consider their take on WMD's in Iraq or the reasons for going they agreed with. If I wanted the truth I went to the blog Informed Comment with Juan Cole. Over time when time after time the blogs of your choice have the story correct and MSM doesn't where are you going to go. GW makes a good point in that lots of folks have blogs who are knowledgeable on a wide range of subject matter and are sited by bloggers who are on both sides of their beliefs, hold your breath waiting for MSM to provide both sides an argument in fact you might wait a very long time for the truth.

  7. Excellent article, If I read it or see it in the main stream media it is a bought and paid for advertisement or just plain propagnada.

    Thanks for always having the facts!!

    Tracy V

  8. I'm confused. Television still has news? And people actually watch it? I thought they just did clips of pundits for bloggers to post up and make fun of. As they should. The only bailout the print/tv news needs is one for their integrity. Something they threw away upon receipt.


  10. The government run media has been extremely biased since at least the 1960's. Here's an example. About 20 years ago Ohio was about to pass some anti-gun legislation. To protest it some 35,000 pro gun activists showed up in Columbus and that didn't make the nightly news on any major channel. About two months later there was a planned hunt for buffalo in Wyoming where SIX anti-hunting activists showed up and NBC gave them about 90 seconds of airtime. When I want the news I either go to FOX, or Rational Review on the internet.

  11. Between blogs, Wall Street newspaper, Investor's Business Daily, and a few FOX network talk/news, I get a broad overview of what is going on in the world. This is more accurate than the "major" news networks (CBS, NBC, ABC) that many people rely on for their news. More people every day are learning the "major" (maybe I should call them fringe networks)netorks are not accurately giving us the news nor are they giving us both sides. So, Mr. President, maybe you should stop trying to convince people of your agenda via CNBC, MSNBC. CBS, ABC, & NBC.

  12. We just canceled our last newspaper subscription. I rather read various articles on the net and try to make sense of it all.

    The journalistic style in the US was always poor in my mind. More or less every story is wrapped around a person to touch your empathy or rejection. On TV I do not need to see some person cry. I want the facts and I know there are people suffering.

    Stories are usually half baked and do not ask nor answer the central questions. So why should I waste my time on them? My subscription is not meant to be a social program for wannabe writers.

    TV is not any better. The only thing going for TV (and going against it at the same time) are these unreal pretty humans who are selected for their looks and their speaking talents and sometimes they even understand what they talk about. I do not watch news any more. It's an entertainment I can do without.

    Blogging is my kind of thing even knowing that there are paid bloggers distorting any subject. As mentioned - find bloggers that appear truthful and weave their threads into your fabric of views and understanding.

  13. Its funny how someone like Dan Rather comes out and talks smack about the media when he himself is or was part of the problem. anyone remember the fake documents rather tried to come out with about George W. Bush and how he wasn't in the national guard! im a center right kinda of guy and i know a lot of people disagree or hate the guy but the only guy on cable news i can stand to watch and respect is O'reilly, at least he gives a center point of view on most things. and to the guy who thinks Americans and Israelis carried out 9/11 how's the land of oz sir? do you know that a conspiracy only works with minimum amount of people involved, there would have been ten's of thousands of people involved in making sure that the plot was carried out the right way. so for a government that cant even get mailing a letter right you think they pulled off the biggest farce attack of all time? come with facts guy/girl and maybe people in this country will respect people like you (truthers) until then no excuses just results! out

  14. The president doesn't like blogs because he doesn't have control over them like cnbc

  15. I'm reading 1984 right now. Between the media-control statements such as this article addresses, and people-shouldn't-be-allowed-to-talk-smack-about-our-dear-leader comments from the likes of Jimmy Carter et al, I'm finding the book VERY interesting....

  16. @ Anonymous September 22, 2009 11:03 AM

    There were multiple anti terror attack drills that day, that is the way to control 10 000 people.

    Oh guess what there were anti terror drills on 77
    as well.

  17. not all media news sources are bad -

    The Financial Times is one of the papers I read religiously.

    Other sources for hard data include going through trade associations or industry groups. That's where I get a lot of my hard news from.

  18. @ anonymous september 23 4:47am

    Do you sir/madam know how many anti terror drills where done daily before 9/11 and how many are done daily now? probably not, so like i said come with facts and maybe people will not think you're a yahoo! please tell me how the anti terror drills would control the 10,000 people that work for the city of Ny, the trade centers, fbi, security for the trade centers, members of congress, the police, fire, and ems, city officials, state government, the list of people that would have been sworn to secrecy is endless. oh yeah the airliners that would have had to hide the planes, and the people that were on the planes are now in what the witness protection program.

  19. Looking at America from outside is like watching a game of chess. You can plan the next move in advance and see if the player plays it. I have closely followed the American elections since the 1930s and find that most major players in that power game lack ethics. The only exceptions I have seen over the years are Truman and Ford, and they were pushed and not funded into their office. The best confidence men on my list are Clinton and Obama, with the former still in the wings advising his wife who I predict will be ousted from the Obama mob soon. All I can say is, "God Bless American" because if that great nation succumbs which it likely will under the present administration, say goodbye to the thrust western civilization has given the world to date and prepare for the new dark ages.


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