‘The Media and the Government is Bigger than you or me’ is a ridiculously defeatist statement. A budding journalist once told me this. Are they all this brainwashed? What is our worth as human beings if we continuously bow down to the way things are and never question accepted norms and their irrationality?
Some of you out there may be system puppets, dancing on the strings of ‘everything they tell you’; but I believe most people, when mentally able, are free thinkers; capable of removing themselves from the bog of the present and looking at humanity’s historical footprint.
The world has always been doing only one thing; consolidating. And what have they been consolidating? Power. Democracy as a concept is insanely awesome. Democracy as a practice is a shit pile. Yes, even in the US of A. its home.
Media ethics, at a fundamental level, ties itself down to the side of the government. The truth will not be told if a country’s ‘defence’ is compromised. The truth will always bow down to the primal human instinct of consolidation. The truth will always be biased to power and not to the people. That would be fine if in reality the people were in power, but the modern nature of democracy largely makes that impossible. Therefore This fundamental media ethic mostly serves the purpose of the subversiveness of governments.
The truth will not be told if the media deems it sensitive to taste (the WTF ethic). Like images of human flesh blown into pieces and blood splattered walls are ‘sensitive’. In other words, the media imagines the public to be wussies. The war reporter has balls, because he’s a foreign correspondent, but they’ll be strung up beneath the butt hole of Great A’tuin if the average Joe can take it.
Saying; ‘a few people died..’ is less impactful than showing the full brunt of war; the dying and screaming and horribly deformed children etc. The public may start feeling slightly differently about the war if such was the case. But screw public opinion; this is a democracy. The public can’t think. The masses are asses.
The media reserves the right to decide what fantasy is and what it’s not. If they percieve that some neo radical thinker will create turmoil by messing up the norms and by endangering the interests of their stakeholders, this ethic gives them room to deem it ‘fantasy’ and call the guy who said the world was a ball an ignoramus.
The media shall not invade privacy, even though it may conflict strongly with freedom of expression.
The overriding absurdity should be plainly obvious to anyone reading these sets of ethics. On what moral background do they base concepts like ‘sensitivity’, ‘taste’, ‘privacy’ and ‘public interest’? Is the media the apostle of God to know what is Right for its Fellow Man?
Nope. The concepts that Media Ethics are based on are subjective beyond belief. For example, something that is ‘sensitive’ for an American voter will be exactly what the father of the suffering kid with no leg and a ripped off midsection breathing his last breaths in Iraq will want them to see. Confronted with this ‘dilemma’, the media takes a side; objectivity goes into the dustbin.
These are the core values of the media. Every journalist gets them drilled into their brains when they train. From such subjective and hazy guidelines, can an objective truth ever arise? Can the ‘media’ in its current form ever not fail epically or otherwise? The media and journalism isn’t about truth. Its ethics have let it make the truth anything it wants it to be. The danger of media ethics is that it leaves ample room for non ethical activity.
Moving on to Better Things
And on to what the morphology (yes, do look it up) of the media is; it is that branch of journalism that is governed by this set of easily adaptable ethics. It is like a fill in the blanks bible (and there aint no saints out there to save you), it is that industry that sells ‘truth’ influenced by external interest making it nothing much more than propaganda and advertising.
The media needs a makeover, it is good to see new media coming in ever more strongly to take its place. I hope this is the beginning of a change for the better. The old establishment media is failing as an industry. Its myopic view of itself as the pinnacle of integrity cannot last much longer. It must change and yeild to a new wave of creative destruction* hitting it (and its set of wtf ethics). Or die and let the world move on to better things.
*A good paper on creative destruction from an industry point of view is Theodore Levitt’s Marketing Myopia (a very interesting read no matter what your background). Also check out the work of Joseph Schumpeter.