promoting the unwanted, redheaded stepchild that is individual liberty

Posts Tagged ‘internet’

Agenda Setters and Gatekeepers: How Mainstream Media Controls Information

In media on April 28, 2010 at 11:39 pm

“Information is the currency of democracy.”

The quote is attributed to both founding father Thomas Jefferson and political activist Ralph Nader. Regardless of who said it, the statement is a profound one.

In a America, citizens are assured the news offers differing viewpoints. From FOX News to MSNBC, most viewers are convinced they are getting both “sides” to a story. But are they really?

The truth is, mainstream media is controlled by a tightly knit group of corporations. The “big six,” as they are sometimes described, consist of General Electric, Time Warner, Walt Disney, News Corp, Viacom and CBS. Together, these mega-corporations make up and control virtually all mainstream news.

Notice how, when switching between “conservative” and “liberal” mainstream networks, topics covered and facts reported are almost always the same. The perceived difference in bias convinces viewers their source of choice is somehow independent.

Not only does the mainstream media serve as gatekeepers of public information, it also sets the agenda for other news sources. Foreign and local media find themselves marching to the beat set by the “big six.” As a result, massive amounts of information go unreported to the public. Mainstream decides for all what, how much, and the manner in which the news is reported.

But a powerful weapon has emerged in recent years able to counteract big media. The internet has provided the individual with a plethora of opinions and an explosion of information. Free Press accurately describes the World Wide Web as offering “hope” to the public:

“The internet is radically changing the way most everyone experiences media. It could become the central nervous system of a healthy democracy — the greatest engine for free speech, civic engagement, and economic growth ever known. It may be our last, best hope to make an end-run around the traditional media gatekeepers.”

Also see The Nation’s interactive list of “The Big Ten.”
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A digital revolution

In Individual Sovereignty, media on February 23, 2010 at 2:34 am

While most conservatives in America believe government is too powerful, leader of the British Conservative Party David Cameron, says its the people who are gaining control.

In Camerons opinion, control is shifting away from large national governments to the individual. In a recent TED talk, he attributed the transfer of power to the information revolution.

Weve gone from a world of local control, then we went to a world of central control, now were a world of people control, Cameron said. Were now living in a post-bureaucratic age where genuine people power is possible.

While the British Conservative Party and its leaders politics are far from perfect, Camerons belief in the empowerment of the individual through the information revolution is revolutionary. According to him, the revolution can alter both society and government.

We believe that if you give people more power and control over their lives, if you give people more choice, if you put them in the driving seat then actually you can create a stronger and better society, he said. And if you marry this fact with the incredible abundance of information that we have in our world today, I think you can completely, as Ive said, remake politics, remake government, remake your public services. 

The explosion of information and technology has dramatically changed the world in which we live. Most importantly, it has empowered individual users in ways never before imagined. Now it is the people, not a select few, that control the information flow.