Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Whatever Happened to the Fourth Estate?

Whatever Happened to the Fourth Estate?

According to Dictionary.com:
Fourth Estate -- the journalistic profession or its members; the press.

Who owns and operates the journalistic professions in the United States of America in 2016? The graphic below illustrates how only six corporations (and shrinking) own 90% of the media outlets in our country:
I know what you're thinking: "Only a small handful of people (mostly white males) are telling American voters how to vote, how to think about the important issues, and are molding the relationship of the U.S. to the rest of the world in order to make and keep their massive profits--and we didn't even elect them!" Worse yet, they even allow the Clinton campaign to write stories for their reporters and pretend it's actual journalism. (More on this manipulation of the media can be seen in the recently leaked Podesta emails.)

What can we do to fight back against the monolithic mainstream media? Boycotting the mainstream media television networks, newspapers and other news outlets is one way. Better yet, support alternative media outlets such as this blog, Democracy Now!, Political Revolution TV, Redacted Tonight with Lee Camp, The Humanist Report, and The Jimmy Dore Show, among others. Spread the word/links to others who aren't as internet savvy. Once we all kick the mainstream media habit, perhaps the general level of information will rise, allowing voters to make better decisions at the polls? One can only hope!

If the journalists of the Fourth Estate have been falling down on the job, who will take their place? Who can we trust to give us the facts straight up? 

The crimes and abuses of power used to be exposed by investigative journalists, such as Woodard and Bernstein during the Watergate scandal. There are still many capable investigative journalists--Greg Palast of the BBC and Abby Martin of TeleSur come to mind--but nowadays they're often forced to work independently since our co-opted mainstream media has been tasked with spewing propaganda to cover up their avaricious owners' actions.

Investigative journalists and activists in the 21st century need help.

This is where whistleblowers come in. By blowing the whistle on their bosses' crimes, whistleblowers help us gain a better picture of what's really happening. They shine light into the darkness, illuminating how our rights are being slowly whittled away.

On this tenth anniversary of Wikileaks, let us all take a moment to reflect on how much we owe the mostly anonymous whistleblowers who have revealed the establishment's ugliness. We can never thank them enough for showing us what the 1% wanted kept hidden. Whistleblowers like Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning have risked their lives and freedom so we can form a greater understanding of the world we live in.

Listening to the establishment candidates, however, some voters might assume whistleblowers are dangerous. Recent email leaks demonstrate how the establishment covers up its criminality with pay-offs and other threats against our democracy. So, in reality, it is the establishment candidates who are dangerous to America's safety, not the whistleblowers. (If the recent "debates" don't convince you of just how self-centered and dangerous the establishment candidates are, nothing will.)

That’s why many voters support Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party for president.

Dr. Stein states she supports whistleblowers who reveal the corruption in the system. Together we'll build a transparent, accountable government which serves all Americans.

Once we've cleaned up our corrupt system of government and ended Citizens United, our Fourth Estate will be free to become what it once was--an active part of our system of checks and balances, a pair of eyes observing our elected officials and taking notes to share with the public, as opposed to being the bought-off spin doctors of the establishment.

 Bern Notice gives us more examples of how American journalism has gone missing in action.
Journalism in America: Missing in Action
by Bern Notice

If the role of the press is to be the watchdog of the government, how can it do so efficiently while adding members of that government to it's staff? Having people with direct ties to the government it is supposed to hold accountable only leaves the institution susceptible to the influence that individual has.

There is also the problem of focusing on one story while neglecting others. It is

a good thing to present information about a breaking event. However, when the focus on that event consumes 35 minutes of a one hour segment it leaves a lot of other important events unmentioned. While I understand  big stories draw eyeballs and should lead the broadcast, I don't think that it alone should be the broadcast.

It is even worse when you consider that most of the time breaking news occurs, there isn't a lot of solid and verifiable information. Thus, we are left with pundits offering their speculation on what happened for hours on end. Since when did speculation become journalism? At what point did a person's opinion or best guess become fact?

Would it not make more sense to present what is known in the first five to ten minutes, then present further information once you have more...I don't know.... facts? Maybe then the news would have time to cover what else happened during the day.

Recently there were pipe-bombs in Minnesota, New York and New Jersey. It became the big topic of conversation on every broadcast on television. I chose to write this article on this day because it seems as though whenever there is a crisis that particular crisis dwarfs everything else that occurs, no matter how significant.

While the focus is shifted to the big story of the day, it allows our government

to do what it will unchecked. It has an opportunity to pass a bill while you're not looking. A shooting of an unarmed civilian can be summarily ignored. When the Fourth Estate has tunnel-vision on one story the person reading or watching is the one that loses out. It's not journalism. It's sensationalism.

And by the way, when a news reporter tells a story in a way that skews it one way or another that's not journalism, either. That's propaganda.

Bio: Bern Notice boldly reports on what's happening on Google+.

Folding campaign brochures. US Senate candidate Joe DeMare is in the Green Party t-shirt at the top left.

Greens Come Together in Toledo

The Lucas County (Ohio) Green Party is getting ready for on upcoming visit from Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, her VP pick Ajamu Barka and the US Senate candidate from nearby Bowling Green, Joe DeMare. The event will take place October 29 at 9:30 AM at the Frederick Douglas Community Association, 1001 Indiana Ave., Toledo, OH 43607. It will be the first stop in the Buckeye State for Jill and company. (Cleveland and Columbus have events later in the day.) Here's the Facebook page with the information: https://www.facebook.com/events/1088049804624353/

For information on other Ohio stops, click here: https://www.facebook.com/events/592481794287270/

On October 19, Our Revolution in NW Ohio will host a talk/workshop led by Stuart Rosenblatt on the Modern Glass-Steagall Act. More information is available on the Our Revolution in NW Ohio events page link on the right sidebar, along with a listing of Cleveland-area events courtesy of the Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus: http://bernie2016.blogspot.com/p/our-revolution-in-northwest-ohio.html

For those who are confused why we list both Our Revolution events and Jill Stein/Green Party events on the same blog, it's simply that we're all about promoting progressive causes and candidates of all stripes and backgrounds. If you have an event coming up you wish to share with others of a progressive mindset, please email us at thebernieblog2016@gmail.com and we'll do our best to share it with the world.

Finally this week, read some heartening words from our progressive

inspiration, Bernie Sanders, during a speech in Detroit: http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/politics/2016/10/06/bernie-sanders/91663418/  

So, take heart! Bernie says it's okay to support third party candidates like Jill Stein. After all, he's been an independent/third party member most of his political career. Feel the Bern and bern Green!


  1. So much for the Fourth Estate. Mainstream media bias has skewed this election cycle in a serious and debilitating way for democracy. Much like the Big Banks, Big Media needs to be broken up. Nobody should have that kind of power.

    1. Agreed. We've got a Soviet-era type of media establishment in the US in this century so far. They control what comes into the newsroom and what goes out... And it's always to THEIR benefit, not to inform the public and with the public's best interests in mind. Time to break'em up!

  2. I feel so sad for America when I see the network porno reality show that this election has become. Watching the knee deep slime being produced 24/7 is like a punch in the gut to all decent people. The lunatics have certainly taken over the asylum. One cannot help but feel utterly sick at heart with the realization that all that was decent about America has been systematically dismantled by an enormous criminal cabal. A mindless military juggernaut fueled by greed and death.
    The earth teeters on the brink of unprecedented catastrophe both from the climate and even nuclear war. The media response? The bought and paid for propaganda arms of both red and blue divisions of the corporatocracy will continue playing fiddles while the constitution and the nation burns.
    A slickly produced and highly polished turd masquerading as journalism in the post truth era. A bizarre porno reality game show with unimaginably high stakes. Heartbreaking.

  3. It's a masquerade, all right. One would think journalists would hold each other accountable, snitch on the suck-ups, point out the paid-off hucksters, but no such luck. They have drunk deep from the well of Kool-Aid that kills all integrity and conscience. They become a part of the problem instead of part of the solution.

    We must all remain vigilant and create our own media. Alternative journalists of the world unite! Power to the people!


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