Friday, 5 September 2008

Guardians of Power

We live in a deeply cynical world, there's no doubt about that.

And to be honest, it is a good thing that we do.

Perhaps, you might argue, we are not cynical enough. One of my favourite quotes comes from Claude Cockburn - "Never believe anything until it has been officially denied."

It is so easy to be skeptical, critical, and leery of any official statements - especially when those statements are carried in a media that is closely linked to the administration.

In some cases the links are obvious and no attempt is made to disguise them - you could cite China in this category. Consequently, Chinese state media outlets are often the target of criticism in the foreign press for their alleged lack of openness, impartiality and objective reporting.

Whatever your opinion of the Chinese media, one has to give credit where credit is due; it has made enormous and undeniable improvements in recent years. However flawed or imperfect it may be, the trend is definitely one of more candid and frank reporting.

But where countries like China make no secret of the links between the administration and editors, in some of the Western media the links to government are not quite so transparent.

And according to authors David Edwards and David Cromwell, the trend here is one of closer collaboration between editors and corporate interests and government spokespeople.

For a really eye-opening glimpse behind the headlines "Guardians of Power - The Myth Of The Liberal Media" is a must read.

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