Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Ties That Bind

The first thing you learn in school as a journalism student is that journalism's main function is to serve as a watchdog, and to keep the government in check while at the same time informing the public if the government tries to do anything that would be detrimental to life, liberty and democracy.
Now, some news organizations do a great job serving as the people's watchdog. A lot of the times reporters can go places ordinary citizens cannot, and they can gleam info from accumulated sources high in governmental positions who will speak with them because of the fact they know they can remain anonymous if necessary and the good journalists will have a solid reputation. This is how huge stories, with human consequences get broken for all the world to see. For example, Seymour Hersh was able to break the Abu Ghraib story partly because people in the current Bush administration were disgusted with the fact that young, mostly southern M.P. Brigade soldiers were torturing Middle Eastern prisoners by taking nude photos, attacking them physically and mentally with guard dogs, and making them strike faux masturbatory poses, so they talked. (The M.P. 's didn't think of these acts on their own, members high up in Bush's cabinet had read Patai's book on the Arab mind and knew how to maximize humiliation).
So this blog is going to deal with the current 2008 Presidential elections and how well the media is or isn't applying their watchdog function and covering the election, if media is bringing to light issues that the public wants to know, and to ultimately help the citizenry make an informed vote. An example of the articles I'll concentrate on and an example of the media doing some good digging is the New York Time's Sept. 10th article "08 Rivals Have Ties to Loan Giants." It is as follows-

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