Media Disinformation: Why Newspapers are dying

Guest Author: Wei Ling Chua, Outcast Journalist
Website: http://outcastjournalist.com

The American base PEW Research Center recently conducted a survey on Americans’ views on media bias and independence.

The result was released on the 14th Sept 2009  under the title: Press Accuracy Rating Hits Two-Decade Low, indicating that “Just 29% of Americans say that news organizations generally get the facts straight, while 63% say that news stories are often inaccurate”.

During the recent world media conference in Beijing (Oct 2009), some Media Moguls complained about the drastic decline of their newspaper businesses and blamed it on the Internet.

That reminds me of an article I read 3 months ago in the print copy of a New Zealander independent Magazine– Uncensored (Issue 16, page 30). I would like to abstract a quote from that magazine as follows:

Newspapers are dying because they became the prostitutes of commercialism and stopped telling the truth. Many people stopped buying newspapers because they become the rags of a corrupt industry. Too many journalists swallowed their pride, ignored their integrity and did what they had to do to pay the mortgage. They followed the marching orders of editors and publishers who forgot, or never knew, what journalism was intended to do.”

Uncensored (Issue 16, page 30).

As an accredited freelance Journalist of the Australia News and Feature Service (ANFS) and International News Syndicate (INS) (registered in Hong Kong) I have my own story to tell about media control in the “Free” world.

Click on:  How I became an Outcast Journalist in the “Free” world for detail of my story.

Here is an excerpt:

[In 2008], the way China was abused deliberately and unfairly by the media on a daily basis had finally stirred  up my emotion and passion to defend China and any developing country under the on-going media distorting reports.

I begin to search the Internet for a Journalism Course, and delighted by the benefits offered by Morris Journalism Academy on the successful completion of the Course, I decided to pay the $1095 course fee and went through 6 months of training with 10 assignments while working full time, 6 days a week.

I had successfully completed the Course on 27 January 2009, and received my accredited media pass with my photo on it in February 2009. However, at the time of writing this statement (20 Oct 2009), I am still unable to enjoy any of the benefits outlined above as an Accredited Freelancer of INS and ANFS.

Why? 

There were 10 assignments in this 6 months course. Part of the 9th assignment required us to define our area of specialisation in our writing career… The academy has a 5 days assignment return policy and it was consistent throughout my first 8 assignments. However, for this assignment, my tutor refused to mark it for more then a month.  I had to initiate a series of communications before he finally returned me on the 27th Jan 2009 with the following remark:

=======================================================================================

Hi Wei Ling, thanks for your assignment and your letter. I understand that you are very passionate about the subject of the portrayal of China in the western media, and the issues of Chinese global politics.

Both of these would make for very good areas of specialisations in your writing career. However, I would say that you will not be very successful in achieving commissions if you use your articles to push your own personal opinions.

You will, after all, be writing for the western media for the most part, and as such, I cannot envisage too many editors being willing to publish your articles on which you rail against their papers and magazines.

All journalism and freelance writing should be balanced and opinion free. If you feel that much of what is written about China’s relationships with the west is not balanced or accurate, then that is your right – and you seem to have done a great deal of research on the matter.

However, it is fair to say that that is your opinion, and very few editors or readers will be interested in that opinion.

My advice is that you use your excellent research, fantastic passion and great analysis to write on a broader range of subjects – particularly if you wish to earn an income from freelance writing.

The areas you have concentrated on are certainly interesting, and would make for a good specialisation, but they will not result in a regular flow of commissions.

I hope this helps and I have provided feedback on your ideas below.

=============================================================================

Where is my democratic right for free speech, free expression, free opinion and free will in the supposedly “Free” World without fear and favour?

Who the hell does my tutor think he is to represent the view of all the editors and readers in the Western world? Is it a crime to specialise in the area of my chosen [passion]?

On the other hand, after cooling myself down with some logical analysis, I have to admit that, I respect my tutor for his honesty and frank advice as I believe there are some kinds of control at a higher level in the western media industry.

My tutor simply told me the reality in the industry. I honestly feel that he is a man I can still respect and for this reason I do not have any hard feeling against him.

Read the full piece here: How I Became An “Outcast” Journalist In The “Free” World | Wei Ling Chua

The result of the American PEW research center survey did not surprise me at all and it should not be a surprise to anybody.

Guest Author: Wei Ling Chua, Outcast Journalist
Website: http://outcastjournalist.com

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Categories: Beliefs, Morals, Business, Multiculturalism, Politics, Law

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4 Comments on “Media Disinformation: Why Newspapers are dying”

  1. October 2, 2012 at 11:54 am #

    “On the other hand, after cooling myself down with some logical analysis, I have to admit that, I respect my tutor for his honesty and frank advice as I believe there are some kinds of control at a higher level in the western media industry. ”

    This article was a pleasure for my eyes to see. Great to know that there are honourable and astute minds in China able to see the plight of the “free world”. I wish you all the best in your efforts to restore credibility to such a dishonoured field.

  2. October 3, 2012 at 2:23 pm #

    it’s interesting to think that many Western interests would see your own view as coloured by China’s own internal propaganda. I say this as a Chinese person living outside of the middle kingdom.

    There is no such thing as fact, only different points of view. Even the way we present numbers constitutes a point of view.

  3. Nimrod Evans
    October 12, 2012 at 1:24 pm #

    Richard: There is such a thing as fact. Gravity pulls at us at 9.81 m/s2 at sea level. E=MC^2. Sometimes things people say in interviews are direct lies, contravening what we know to be true. Granted a lot of issues move into more murky territory, but to say there is no such thing as fact is one of the problems with the modern media. They present both sides of an argument as just as valid, regardless of the supporting evidence either side brings. Or worse, they bias things based on their opinion, not on what the evidence points to.

    • October 12, 2012 at 2:07 pm #

      You mistake yourself Nimrod. You may present those items as fact, but when it was conceived E=MC^2 was an affront to newtonian physics.

      If you gave me Earth’s gravitational pull, what if I neglected to tell you that it is affected by the world’s rate of rotation and that would impact the delicate calibration of an instrument? That is where E=MC^2 and gravity collide. Hence there are no such thing as facts, only that which can be supported by whatever limited evidence is available.

      By not telling you all information, by selectively offering you attractive information and concealing other information, I can manipulate how you see “facts” and make some choices more attractive than others. Omission and selective presentation, hence, is a powerful tool for demagogues and politicians.

      For example, the Chinese Communist Party can neglect to tell the author of what happened in Tian An Men 1989 hence not dull the author’s patriotism.

      “bias things based on their opinion, not on what the evidence points to.”

      The issue is, there is really no valid “opinion”, everything has to be put into the marketplace of ideas and put to a vote. Hopefully better ideas prevail; but often, as in Politics, it’s not the better idea so much as “which side sounds better / which side has more supporters”

      This all comes back to the importance of safeguarding free speech to ensure that the marketplace of ideas remains open, and is never closed down by the side that has the most votes

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