Recently, Keith Olbermann, on his MSNBC news show, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, cited Fox News as the “worst persons in the world.” He claimed that the Fox News Channel is blatant right-wing propaganda. He also noted that President Obama, in a recent TV interview (the same interview, incidentally, as the now-notorious fly-swatting incident, in which, according to news reports on MSNBC, NBC, CBS, CNN and elsewhere, the President demonstrates his “remarkable fly-swatting skills”) claimed that there was at least one news channel dedicated to undermining his administration at all costs. Olbermann suggests that the President was referring to Fox News.
Back in the day when the Republicans controlled both houses as well as the Presidency, a period that might well go down in history as a modern-day Dark Ages or Reign of Terror, the Fox News channel was considered to be the bastion of credible news. So much so that all other news agencies were too afraid even to question their authority.
Fox News, owned by Australian media magnate Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., had started on the premise that conventional news sources like CNN and network news operated on a principle of a subtle left-wing cultural bias resulting from the educational and social milieu of their journalists. The solution that Fox News apparently proposed was to dedicate a news channel to supposedly “fair and balanced” news coverage. “Fair and balanced” became their watchword, but it soon proved to be ironic. Over time, their supposedly objective news coverage has been exposed as right-wing propaganda that was pretty blatantly pandering to the Bush administration while they were in power.
This brings us to MSNBC’s news lineup. MSNBC is a news channel that is produced as a joint venture, as the name suggests, between Microsoft (the monolithic software giant founded by Bill Gates) and NBC. Their lineup of news shows supposedly offers us the alternative to Fox News, but, as implied by Keith Olbermann, what they are really offering us is left-wing propaganda that panders to the Obama administration.
The tragic consequence of all this government pandering and institutional propaganda is that the number-one casualty in mainstream news coverage is credibility. Where are the Woodwards and Bernsteins of today, with their stunning exposés of corruption in high places? Definitely not at either Fox News or MSNBC.
Perhaps the answer to where we can find credible news sources lies with CNN–still bland and presenting the façade of objectivity while concealing a subtle left-wing bias–who now, apparently, resorts to blogs, Twitter feeds and Facebook posts to supplement their on-site correspondent reports. CNN even encourages you to submit amateur videos via the “iReport” section on their website, which allows them to feature the videos on their news shows after a process of vetting and verification. In fact, in the ongoing Iranian uprisings, where mainstream journalists are being banned and extradited by the authoritarian Iranian regime, western news sources are having to rely on Twitter feeds, blogs and amateur video from Iranian citizens as their news sources.
This brings us to the argument that mainstream news organizations have recently been making against the Blogsphere, especially in the wake of such recent films as State of Play, directed by Kevin Macdonald, namely that the Blogsphere is composed primarily of amateurs who are out of their depth, whereas if you are looking for cutting-edge Woodward-and-Bernstein style in-depth reporting, you will find it only at the major news organizations who have the skills and resources at their disposal to support that kind of news coverage.
The reality–at least two of the so-called major news organizations are dedicated to producing partisan propaganda that pretty shamelessly panders to politicians while the third is increasingly resorting to the Blogsphere to provide its news sources. As for Woodward and Bernstein, they are both retired and writing books for a living.