Do we have a free press? If not - how bad is that, really?

In other words, do we have a free and open path for the flow of news and information to be written and then get to the public? And if not, how bad is that, really?

Very possibly we do not actually, as a practical matter, have a free press if you consider the monopoly control of the delivery system being expressed by big tech, as dictated by an ideology, shared by many in government.

You might think that bias is a problem, but that we do still have a free press. I would argue that what little of a free press we do still have , ( that can get through ),may be about to become moot, and all that will remain will be a black market style commodity, the way it is in a communist country or a severe dictatorship. You will have to read your news always knowing that you are only being told what the state, and it’s current leaders, want you to know. So even if you live in what looks like a democracy, it can hardly be so, because people are not informed, not aware, have little chance of knowing the whole truth, and therefore, will be incapable of any meaningful decisions on their own. You might even be able to vote, but knowing nothing other than what a single ideology wants you to know, how can you use that vote in any meaningful way?

Right now, freedom, and very significantly “freedom of the press” are fighting for their life in this country. While everybody is allowed to have their opinion, you are not to be allowed to deny other people their opinions, yet that is what we are now witnessing in this country. Access to trustworthy news and information has grown more and more difficult to the point where it is nearly an insurmountable problem to find truthful, reliable news, and worse, even if you find it, most others among the masses are NOT making the effort, and therefore only read ever more carefully selected “spoon fed” news, as delivered to you by the owners of your service. Even the most discerning among us can fall prey if we are not careful, being outraged over things that were not real, to the exclusion of the things that ARE real, ( as presented ). Consider the pandemic coverage, and the STILL lingering doubts as to how serious is, and to whom, and what the best course is.

In this community we have direct experience with how the debates about self defense, and the tools thereof, have been misshapen and influenced for the casual observing public, and by extension, the mass perception of allowable and appropriate laws.

You gain near total meaningful control of the press, ( or perhaps more appropriately here, control of what gets through ), with it you gain near total control of government, and through that, with the inestimable aid of the conquered press ( or it’s information ), you express unfettered control of the people.

The word “bad” doesn’t quite seem to cover it.- But what do you think? have I miscalculated?, is there something to do that I have missed?

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I think a big contributor to the problem is a lack of teaching critical thinking skills or at the least, how to apply them in the internet. Too many people take information they get online at face value and don’t seek verification because it matches their worldview and dismiss anything they don’t agree with as coming from an unreliable source. People want information now and don’t want to wait until a more complete picture is formed. When media starts doing that, the problem gets compounded.

I follow both liberal and conservative news sources along with a few foreign outlets. I expect they all lie, but the truth or at least what I perceive as the truth is somewhere in between.

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yes, I have tried that technique too. As it stands, trying multiple sources and trying to sift out the most common sensible average, if you will, is about the best i have been able to come up with. Often I will wait two or three days to see what the various follow up is, as so often stories change enormously with even a little time.

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I also try to read news from multiple sources along the continuum and around the world. The truth is frequently somewhere in the middle, as @George80 mentioned.

I think the biggest danger is that many in the press really do believe we are operating under a free press when management (or ownership) knows the truth to be nothing of the sort. Too many media outlets (and each Twitter feed, Instagrammer, YouTube account, and Facebook account is an individual media outlet) are under the control of too few owners and management teams.

Too many of us don’t realize that we are part of the problem, by not vetting the media sources we use. We blindly click on the bait and don’t challenge sources when they need to be challenged. My hope is that we, as a society and as media consumers, get better at challenging sources.

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yes @OldGnome, It was a maddening and sobering day when I found my favorite news source had reported a story in a deliberately inflammatory way that misrepresented the real story. I didn’t like it, but I needed to know it. Now I don’t take any source as unbiased.

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I am tempted not to answer this because so many people have been influenced by mainstream media. The propaganda spewed every day influences millions around the world. Almost all is opinion not fact. I will listen to OAN and Newsmax at times, but my primary news source is twitter. I know that sounds insane, but on twitter I can get the words directly from whomever I think is a trusted source (of they’re not blocked!). Why listen to what anyone says that trump said when I can get it straight from him. I follow a lot of different global sources. This is a dire time for the world. Take the red pill and wake up!

Do we have a free press? No! If the news doesn’t promote socialism it is removed. We don’t have justice anymore. Very soon its possible we don’t have freedom anymore.
Just my 0.02¢

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You can tell a lot about our news media by their refusal to cover something major that is going on at the time. It creates a lot of distrust with the media which tells me a lot.

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Also another way of putting it is. If they (THE MEDIA) refuses to cover what is going on at the time, it is just another way of covering up the real story.

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IMO-We have “Journalist” who believe words-are-violence and think too highly of themselves. Rather than report factual information to let the individual decide for themselves they put their opinion (spin) on the facts to be presented as reality. We are dealing with fragile, shallow minded lunatics with huge egos. I have zero sympathy for those that think history started when they were born. For me, if one side tells you it’s raining outside and the other side tells you it’s dry outside it is up to you to open the door and find out for yourself. My .02 cents.

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It’s so bad, if Dems win it all, they won’t need to create a PRAVDA-like press.
It’s already in place.

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I highly recommend this documentary/movie. Free press went the way of the passenger pigeon.
We are not consumers on the internet. We are the product.
There is no unbiased news, and worse–every click you make steers you down a rabbit hole. The goal? Sell more advertising. Not to inform, not to entertain, to sell your clicks.
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It’s free…

The problem is that with that freedom comes the freedom to determine how/what they will covered and it seems our press (mainstream media in general) has been driven by $$$ and their own bias towards the left…

As such we get biased news based on what will draw “clicks” in order to drive revenue.

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That’s why I think my formerly favored news source did what they did, to sell, to pander and then to sell. If Trump truly does something wrong, I want to know, nobody is immune from fault. So with protectionist news altering, and sensationalizing, even if it’s in what would be considered “my favor” I am still not well served. What troubles me most now, is the obvious, admitted, and blatant quashing of news, not just refusal to report it, but actively trying to suppress it, and it’s being tolerated. That is what really sets my alarm bells off.

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Guess it’s mostly about the agenda these days. Take any subject, twist the wording a bit, adjust the facts, stats, sensationalize it, bingo you got a story. My favorite is to take a story from some other media & make it your own. Quick, simple & less work.

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I think you’re right, and I think it boils down to two things:

  1. When money gets involved, it tends to overtake ideals and principles as the motivating factor. The mainstream media is mostly owned by Rupert Murdoch, and the online media is mostly owned by a small cabal of Silicon Valley progressives. You can’t get an unbiased source. For all practical purposes, they just don’t exist. ANd what’s more, in our current society of algorithmic optimization, you almost can’t find firsthand information that gives you a clear picture, which ties into my second point.

  2. Our news is optimized to elicit an emotional response from you, not to inform you. The content and delivery channels are finely and carefully tuned, word choice combed over to elicit exactly the right tribalistic lizard-brain stimulation that causes people to keep engaging with the content, not the people or the ideas. THis is why liberals believe that conservatives are the only ones causing damage at protests, and why conservatives believe that liberals are the only ones causing damage. It’s because, surprise surprise, people tend to lean into sources that make them feel good and reinforce their preconceived beliefs. It’s what lets a reader associate a news source as “One of ours” and therefore instills trust, stimulates engagement, and generates ad revenue.

That’s not to say there’s any grand conspiracy going on. It’s just a necessary outcome of the gradual monetization of the production and consumption of information, and the prioritization of information over knowledge and wisdom.

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I’m glad you wrote that, that is a large component too.

I do not think it acceptable though that so many unacceptable results are laid at the feet of an algorithm, or a “policy”. Such things can not be held responsible, and serve to provide cover for the persons at the real seat of power that implemented them, And it is no excuse, - consider: If you fire a gun, - it does not matter what the terrain is like, what the winds are like, why you fired, or what you fired at, nor any other extraneous circumstance or condition - You are responsible for where that bullet ends up, and any damage it causes. Should not the same consideration be given for an algorithm you let loose, or a policy you impose?

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I tend to think so too, but the trouble is that it’s difficult to hold them accountable when strictly speaking, there’s no crime being committed. The trouble with current plans and calls for attacks against social media and its owners represent a dangerous step toward a very anti-capitalist agenda, and that can’t be alright just because it’s our team doing it.

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@Catburd

No, nothing is alright just because just because our side is doing it. In fact that kind of thinking is a big part of what is wrong today, the fact that a lot of people have justified a lot of unjust behavior based on the idea that it’s OK because of who is doing it! …wrong, very wrong.

We have faced this question of a newly created, overwhelming control, before in our history, in the form of the monopolies of the past, and the owners who created them. They created commodities that went from luxury, to necessity, as people adopted them and abandoned the former ways of living life without the benefit of the new technology. But once your product has effectively eliminated all previous forms of supplying what is now a new form of a life necessity, and persons have little or no choice but to accept your conditions for supply of that necessity, it has been the consensus that you have entered a new realm of responsibility to go along with the dependence you have created. The successful men who created the first great monopolies did in fact fall prey to greedy practices that cost a great many people a great deal of suffering as a result of their actions. Even though they had created a wonderful thing that had never existed before. - These men even began to start buying election results ,and the politician that was elected, in order to maintain their advantages.

So the question becomes, does a great business success give you the right to use that success to set yourself up as king, with overwhelming influence over the people, by virtue of your new powers and their unavoidable reliance on your product? It is much the same question as was faced because of the monopoly owners of the past. I think it is simply a question of an established fact in life. That too much of anything, even a good thing, is detrimental. Everything is a balance, In fact I am hard pressed to think of anything that does not require a proper balance to remain healthy and beneficial.

It might even be said that America was founded expressly to address, and prevent in the future, the evils of too much power in the hands of too few, who were not accountable to the people they got it from.

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