While I only touched briefly upon it at the end of my review, the movie “Outfoxed” does do a bit on how misleading corporate media is in general. The rest of media has to be constantly monitored for falsehoods too.
Let’s take a look at today’s newspapers for instance. As I picked up my free copy of the Metro today, it looked like Bush has finally denounced the Swift Boat Veteran’s attack ads on Kerry. The Metro wasn’t alone its headline. Unfortunately, that headline is essentially untrue, but I didn’t know that until I did more research into it. As Slate reports:
The LAT doesn’t headline Bush’s declining to denounce the Vietnam ads. Instead it emphasizes his call for an end to all independently funded ads. The NYT has similar play in its off-lead as does the Wall Street Journal up high in its world-wide newsbox. Which is weird, because Bush did not break new ground. Again, he essentially reiterated what White House spokespeople have been saying for weeks. By going Page One with Bush’s comments anyway, aren’t the papers helping to mislead readers? Only the Post doesn’t play along: “KERRY TEAM LINES UP VIETNAM WITNESSES; Bush Again Declines to Condemn Attack Ad.”
The LAT editorsand most journosmight want to flip to the back of their paper. “The technique President Bush is using against John F. Kerry was perfected by his father against Michael Dukakis in 1988,” says an editorial. “Bring a charge, however bogus. Make the charge simple. But make sure the supporting details are complicated and blurry enough to prevent easy refutation. Then sit back and let the media do your work for you. Journalists have to report the charges, usually feel obliged to report the rebuttal, and often even attempt an analysis or assessment. But the canons of the profession prevent most journalists from saying outright: These charges are false. As a result, the voters are left with a general sense that there is some controversy over Kerry’s service in Vietnam. And they have been distracted from thinking about real issues (like the war going on now).
Thank goodness for Slate and the other media that are true to the ideals of journalism. A pity that they are few and far between.