The meaning of Democracy’s Freedoms and the Nature of the Western Media Beast – Part 5/5

July 13, 2012

Global Issues.org reported on War, Propaganda and the Media: “When it comes to propaganda for purposes of war, for example, professional public relations firms can often be involved to help sell a war… Media management may also be used to promote certain political policies and ideologies. Where this is problematic for the citizenry is when media reports on various issues to not attribute their sources properly.”

For example, to sell the Gulf War in Iraq in 1991, John Rendon, the founder of a Washington PR firm, told the cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1996, “I am a politician, and a person who uses communication to meet public policy or corporate policy objectives. In fact, I am an information warrior and a perception manager…”

In varied ways, perception management combines truth projection, operations security, cover, and deception, and psyops [psychological operations].

“In March 2005”, Global Issues said, “the New York Times revealed that there has been a large amount of fake and prepackaged news created by US government departments, such as the Pentagon, the State Department and others, and disseminated through the mainstream media.”

In addition, smear tactics often used to discredit, stain or destroy the reputation of someone are increasing in sophistication. With the increasing popularity of the Internet, and search engines such as Google, smearing is taking on additional forms and techniques.

In fact, negative campaigning through the media in America was launched by two lifelong friends, John Adams (second US president–1797-1801) and Thomas Jefferson (third US president–1801-1809), when they ran against each other for the office of President of the United States.

CNN.com says, “Things got ugly fast. Jefferson’s camp accused President Adams of having a “hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman.”

“In return, Adams’ men called Vice President Jefferson “a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father.

“As the slurs piled on, Adams was labeled a fool, a hypocrite, a criminal, and a tyrant, while Jefferson was branded a weakling, an atheist, a libertine, and a coward.

“But the key difference between the two politicians was that Jefferson hired a hatchet man named James Callendar to do his smearing for him. Adams, on the other hand, considered himself above such tactics.”

Jefferson’s tactics won him the White House but his hatchet man, Callendar, went to prison for slandering John Adams.

Fast forward to December/January 2005, and a piece in the American Journalism Review, which said this of Dirty Politics, “These political campaigns are corroding our electoral process. Who wants to participate in character assassination, Orwellian “doublethink,” dreamland oratory, and outright lies and inflated claims?… The news outlets that used to educate voters are no longer independent (and presumably neutral) sources of impartial information.”

I close this series of posts with the following questions—comparing the media in China and in America, how much of a difference is there in how the people get their news? Either way, can you trust what you read and hear? Is there a difference between a politician, a government official or corporate employee?

In China, the government owns the media and sensitive news is censored. In the US, politicians and the government-manipulate news fed to the media, which in turn manipulates the news to support the political beliefs of the corporate bosses that control the corporations that own the media.

In both countries, the Internet Blogosphere is a free-wheeling madhouse of opinions and news, which may be correct but there is no guarantee. In the end, American and Chinese citizens will believe whatever they want no matter what they read or hear from the media/government.

Return to The meaning of Democracy’s Freedoms and the Nature of the Western Media Beast – Part 4 or start with Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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The meaning of Democracy’s Freedoms and the Nature of the Western Media Beast – Part 4/5

July 12, 2012

PBS ran a special on Milestones in the History of Media and Politics. From this PBS special, I learned that “In 1690, the first newspaper published in America was printed by Richard Pierce and edited by Benjamin Harris. Since it was published without consent of the government, it was immediately suppressed, its publisher arrested and all copies destroyed.”

PBS said that in 1798, the Sedition Act made it a crime to print “any false, scandalous and malicious writing…against the government of the United States.”

“Introduced by President John Adams as the US was on the brink of war with France and rabble-rousing from French immigrants was feared, the Sedition Act made it illegal to criticize the government, under penalty of a $2,000 fine and 2 years in jail. The Act directly contradicted the First Amendment, which had already been ratified in 1791. Everyone from writers, editors, printers, and “even drunks who were overheard condemning (President) Adams” were prosecuted.”

“In 1841,” PBS said, “Horace Greeley launched THE NEW YORK TRIBUNE, which…was strongly antislavery, and as a reform-minded journal of ideas, reported on women’s rights, socialist experiments, temperance, and other reforms. Greeley explained, “I founded the New York Tribune as a journal removed alike from servile partisanship on the one hand and from gagged and mincing neutrality on the other.”

In the 1880’s, Joseph Pulitzer, a key figure in developing the big-business model of the newspaper, and William Randolph Hearst, seeing the press as both political agency and business, competed for mass circulation. The sensational reporting they turned to became known as “yellow journalism.”

Starting in the “1890s,” PBS said, “many independent newspapers were swallowed up into powerful “chains.”

“During and after WWI, the government suppressed radical newspapers and German language papers, but in 1925, in Gitlow v. United States, the Supreme Court upheld a conviction of radical pamphleteers…”

Continued on July 13, 2012 in The meaning of Democracy’s Freedoms and the Nature of the Western Media Beast – Part 5 or return to Part 3

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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The meaning of Democracy’s Freedoms and the Nature of the Western Media Beast – Part 3/5

July 11, 2012

A UCLA Political Scientist studied the media and discovered it was biased. “While the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal is conservative, the newspaper’s news pages are liberal, even more liberal than The New York Times. The Drudge Report may have a right-wing reputation, but it leans left. Coverage by public television and radio is conservative compared to the rest of the mainstream media. Meanwhile, almost all major media outlets tilt to the left.” Source: Media Bias is Real Finds UCLA Political Scientist

Then there is Murdock’s News Corp. Its television operations capture more viewers, more desirable demographics… than perhaps any other television group in the world and it is the world’s leading publisher of English-language newspapers, with operations in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and the US. The Company publishes more than 175 different newspapers, employing approximately 15,000 people worldwide and printing more than 40 million papers a week.

Fox News, which is part of News Corp, has been accused of having a bias favoring the political right and the Republican Party. Fox News has publicly denied such charges, stating that the reporters in the newsroom provide separate, neutral reporting.

However, it’s well known that Fox News executives exert a degree of editorial control over the content of daily reporting. In the case of Fox News, some control comes from daily memos. For example: In December 2010, Media Matters for America released a leaked October 2009 e-mail between Fox News Washington managing editor Bill Sammon and the network’s senior producers, which seemed to issue directives slanting Fox News’ coverage of President Obama’s health care reform efforts.

While it may be true that most Western media reporters are not pressured to slant the news they write, the reporters do not control the final content that appears in newspapers, or on radio and television. Editors and publishers may edit, add, cut and revise. In addition, the wording of a headline may be written to mislead and most headlines are written by an editor—not a reporter.

In fact, once, when I was a reporter, 90% of one story I wrote was cut to make room for an advertisement that came in at the last moment, which reveals that profit is more important than news.  Unknown to me, the cutting and revising was done by an editor under deadline pressure, and the balance in the piece vanished as facts were cut and/or moved around to fill the remaining space.

Breaking news or the death of someone rich and famous may also shorten other news stories or cause them to vanish so the public may never see them. The media beast is voracious and unpredictable. Its hunger for news runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year and it never rests. In this rush to report the news, mistakes happen but there is more to the news than that as you shall discover.

Continued on July 12, 2012 in The meaning of Democracy’s Freedoms and the Nature of the Western Media Beast – Part 4 or return to Part 2

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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The meaning of Democracy’s Freedoms and the Nature of the Western Media Beast – Part 2/5

July 10, 2012

Contrary to popular opinion, individual freedom of expression does not exist in the United States. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution only protects the opinions of citizens from persecution by the government. There is no freedom of speech in the schools or in business.

Speak out of line at work, and you may soon be out of a job without a paycheck to buy food or pay rent.

Defy a teacher by saying something that disrupts the learning environment, and you may find yourself in trouble and removed from the classroom or school.

Bully someone on the Internet, and you may end up in court and then in jail.

Slander someone publicly and get sued.

It’s easy to imagine a bumper sticker saying, “Go Ahead and Make My Day. Slander Me in Public and on the Internet.”

In addition, if you believe the American media is pure of heart and honest to a “T” since it is  protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution, you are mistaken and out of touch with reality.

Cornell University Law School says, The First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects the right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression from government interference. [that is it!]”

In addition, nowhere does it say anything about honesty and accuracy in reporting the news or expressing opinions. However, the United States attempted to remedy this with the Fairness Doctrine in 1949, which died under President Reagan and when President George H. W Bush threatened to veto the Fairness Doctrine if Congress attempted to bring it back.

I majored in journalism and earned a BA in that field.  I then taught high school journalism in addition to English. Over the years, I learned that what the media reports is rife with mistakes and bias.  In fact, soon after President Reagan vetoed and killed the Fairness Doctrine, conservative talk radio was born, which is 100% biased and often misleading.

Continued on July 11, 2012 in The meaning of Democracy’s Freedoms and the Nature of the Western Media Beast – Part 3 or return to  Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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The meaning of Democracy’s Freedoms and the Nature of the Western Media Beast – Part 1/5

July 9, 2012

China is often criticized for not offering the same freedoms of religion, the media, and expression that the United States offers its citizens.

However, no one seems to question what these freedoms mean and are they real? Do these freedoms put food on the table?  Do these freedoms pay the rent or mortgage? Do these freedoms provide jobs and financial security?

Many eligible Americans don’t vote and America’s next president will be decided by a few hundred people in the U.S. Electoral College, so why are these freedoms so important?

I subscribe to Poets and Writers magazine and a line in the March/April 2012 issue caught my attention.

Stephen Morison Jr. wrote a piece called Middle Eastern Rhythms. He interviewed several authors and poets in the middle east where these freedoms Americans take for granted do not exist.

Nourredin Zuhair, a traditional Arabic poet, said, “America was good because it encouraged individuality, but because of capitalism there is only one kind of individuality now… In the contemporary, globalized world, a new kind of censorship means you can never say democracy is bad.”

There is some truth in Zuhair’s words. We may have freedom from government interference in what we say or write, but we are not free from other critics and the special interest mobs that use the media to push political and/or religious agendas causing this form of globalized individuality that Zuhair talks of.

In fact, the so-called free media contributes the most toward the growth of this cloned globalized individual.

Ask someone what these freedoms mean and see what he or she says. Ask if it makes life better

Continued on July 10, 2012 in The meaning of Democracy’s Freedoms and the Nature of the Western Media Beast – Part 2

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Democracy and Freedom – A Difference of Opinion

December 19, 2010

I’m sure that most Americans (as well educated as they are, and I’m being sarcastic) think all democracies are the same.

They aren’t.

The World Atlas lists 192 countries on the globe and according to Made in Democracies.org, there are 58 democracies. If correct, that means 134 countries are not democracies. This list excludes countries that claim they are democracies but are sanctioned tax havens for secret bank accounts or allow child prostitution.

If you read the entry for Democracy at Wikipedia, you will discover there are many different types of democracies.

The Economists Democracy Index has four categories. The next index from Freedom House has three.

In fact, Freedom House has another chart for Electoral democracies, which shrinks the list further.

There is another for Parliamentary democracies.

The smallest category may be for “liberal democracy” where elections should be free and fair, and the political process should be competitive. Even liberal democracies are divided into categories.

The United States is labeled as a federal republic along with India, Germany and Brazil.

The United Kingdom is listed as a constitutional monarchy along with Japan, Canada and Spain.

The biggest difference between China and most democracies is that China’s republic has one political party, which controls the state-owned media. Yet there are city and regional media in China that often publish opinions that do not appear in the national media. In addition, China’s Blogosphere is very active when it comes to expression and opinions.

In the US, six huge corporations own most of the so-called free media and an American corporation owns only one. Foreign corporations own the other five.

In America, freedom of the press means that conservative talk radio may manipulate public opinion and influence voters through lies and exaggeration, which it often does. We just saw that happen in the 2010 election.


This video explains how America became a democracy dominated by religion
.

In America, corporate lobbyists or special interest groups such as Evangelical Christians may influence elected officials to vote on bills that may not benefit the majority of the population such as confusing debates over abortion, global warming and the recent American health bill.

In China, the only way to influence a government official is by bribing him or her. If caught, that official may end up going to prison or face execution, which seldom happens in the US where bribed officials often go unpunished.

Although many call China a dictatorship, it is not. See Dictatorship Defined

Today, China is a one party republic, which is what the United States was under its first two presidents, George Washington and John Adams. In China, only Communist Party members may vote as part of a consensus and there are more than 70 million Party members.

In the American Republic created by the Founding Fathers in 1776, only white men that owned property were allowed to vote, which was about 10% of the population.

Critics of China claim that China’s 1982 Constitution allows for freedom of speech and religion. However, the truth is that there are limits on freedom of speech and religion that we never hear about from the Western media or politicians.

The US Constitution says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The Chinese Constitution says, “Citizens of the People’s Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration…”

Nowhere does it say in the Chinese Constitution, “the Party will make no law prohibiting the “free exercise of freedom of speech or of the press” as it does in the US Constitution.

In fact, the same article that says “Citizens of the People’s Republic of China enjoy freedom of religious belief” also says, “No one may make use of religion to engage in activities that disrupt public order, impair the health of citizens or interfere with the educational system of the state.”

The Chinese Constitution also says, “The exercise by citizens of the People’s Republic of China of their freedoms and rights may not infringe upon the interests of the state…” and “they must not commit acts detrimental to the security, honour and interests of the motherland.”

That is why the Tibetan Dalai Lama lives in exile in India, the Falun Gong religious cult was banned in China in 1999 and Liu Xiaobo, the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner, is in jail. They all refuse to abide by the 1982 Chinese Constitution.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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