When people speak or write about mainstream media (MSM), they are mostly referrring to the national news channels seen on television, not to their local newspapers.
This is because newspapers have declined in readership drastically over the past several decades and they simply are not where most people get most of their news these days. We have tv, radio, social media, blogs, and youtube for news now. While many newspapers are available online, they are just one competing voice there and often one of very few that requires us to pay before hearing what they have to say.
So, the following is NOT directed toward newspapers or websites that follow the newspaper form of journalism.
If the mainstream media did not follow the “if it bleeds, it leads” philosophy, if they did not choose to focus their attention on stories of crimes committed by Big Scary Black Men or Awful Illegal Immigrants, if they instead paid attention to crimes committed by Men with Money and to protests of corporate greed and government corruption both here and in other countries, they would be a part of solving many of the problems America and the world face. We do not need more fear of the Other; we need more reasonable, practical plans for dealing with the problems faced by all of us.
If they shone their spotlight on secret deals being made between governments or between big business and government that serve the interests of those in power over the needs or interests of We the People, and if they unleashed their so-called “investigative teams” onto finding out and reporting the real facts on spin and propaganda given out by those in power, we could turn to them as a source of light and truth and knowledge, rather than shake our heads at the BS they currently spew.
If they gave us a daily drumbeat of stories about the atrocities committed in our name or using money our government provided to foreign countries and told us who we could contact to demand that these atrocities stop, and if they gave us useful information about what Congress and the President and the various agencies of government and the firms lobbying them all were actually doing (not what they said they were doing) and how we can have an impact on that, then they would be serving the people and the country as the watchdog of democracy, which is why freedom of the press was enshrined in the Bill of Rights to begin with.
If We the People are supposed to be the ultimate power in this democratic republic, then someone needs to “speak truth to power” by telling US on a regular and ongoing basis what is happening that we actually need to know, meaning what is going on that we can do something about. We do not need more awareness of things we can not have any impact upon.
Making us afraid of the Big Scary Black Man or the Awful Illegal Immigrant does not help us; it keeps institutional racism and white privilege alive, depriving us all of the contributions that far too many of our citizens would contribute if these stumbling blocks were not placed in the way.
Telling us the spin and propaganda without pointing out clearly where it is lies and half-truths does not help us; it keeps us looking at the elections as parts of a Cold War between partisan camps, rather than a process for selecting the best possible people to represent ALL of us. It keeps us looking at actions by one “type” of people as criminal while treating the same actions by another “type” of people as nothing serious. It divides us into warring factions which gives those at the top control over all of us.
Giving opinionated amateurs a national voice equal to or louder than qualified experts does not help us; it adds to the noise and confusion on the issues being looked at and substitutes partisan propaganda and lies for clear information and truth. It prevents us from making informed decisions about what we should be demanding from OUR representatives in government, which allows those with the funds to send lobbyists to government or to make large contributions to campaigns as the only voices heard in the halls of power.
It does not help us when the MSM treats people as if they are experts just because they served in a position of power, even though they used that time to lead us into disastrous mistakes in the very same areas where they are now speaking.
It does not help us for MSM to treat a subject as a controversy just because those in power wish it were so when the vast majority of actual experts are in agreement about what the facts are and what needs to be done; you can not “teach the controversy” when the only thing controversial is how We the People are going to get those in government and corporate boardrooms to do what is needed to prevent even greater disasters than what we have already seen and experienced.
Unfortunately, the ownership of MSM by a very small number of mega-corporations does not lend confidence to the hope that such a shift in focus is likely. That sad fact is why many people now think of the MSM as part of what is wrong with America, rather than part of the solution.