pressing issues

In a country where free speech and freedom of the press are so praised, it's ironic how censored these freedoms are. All you have to do is read mainstream media, and it's evident something is missing in U.S. newspapers and news programs. But if you're curious to know what's really happening in the world, it is easy to seek out alternatives.

The U.S. government has a vested interest in keeping American journalists away from the action: Vietnam and Walter Cronkite are evidence of that. Media still have a powerful effect on public opinion. The truth of war ain't pretty, and the government's better off if people think everything's going according to plan and see a "clean" and "sterile" war.

The few owners of mainstream media have a vested interest in turning a profit. Entertainment is cheaper to produce than news and seems to hold people's attention in this ADD era (however, I would argue people only watch the crap because they a) still expect that networks deliver timely and important news and b) that's all that is available - they'd still watch the 10 o'clock news if there were actual news included). Sending reporters overseas or into dangerous situations are costly endeavors for a news organization. While there are plenty of journalists itching to go to Iraq, media owners instead rely on wire services (limiting a diversity of perpectives); they'd rather save (and make) money.

With U.S. journalists at home and unable to confirm firsthand information on the situation in Iraq, the government is all too willing to take advantage and "help" them report fallacies. Welcome back, PSYOPS. Then again, it's hard to take advantage of those already eager to help out.

Deceitful behavior is expected from the government. But people hold news organizations to a higher standard. If only the government and media monopolists would get out of the way.

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