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Like PressThink? More from the same pen:

Read about Jay Rosen's book, What Are Journalists For?

Excerpt from Chapter One of What Are Journalists For? "As Democracy Goes, So Goes the Press."

Essay in Columbia Journalism Review on the changing terms of authority in the press, brought on in part by the blog's individual--and interactive--style of journalism. It argues that, after Jayson Blair, authority is not the same at the New York Times, either.

"Web Users Open the Gates." My take on ten years of Internet journalism, at

Read: Q & As

Jay Rosen, interviewed about his work and ideas by journalist Richard Poynder

Achtung! Interview in German with a leading German newspaper about the future of newspapers and the Net.

Audio: Have a Listen

Listen to an audio interview with Jay Rosen conducted by journalist Christopher Lydon, October 2003. It's about the transformation of the journalism world by the Web.

Five years later, Chris Lydon interviews Jay Rosen again on "the transformation." (March 2008, 71 minutes.)

Interview with host Brooke Gladstone on NPR's "On the Media." (Dec. 2003) Listen here.

Presentation to the Berkman Center at Harvard University on open source journalism and NewAssignment.Net. Downloadable mp3, 70 minutes, with Q and A. Nov. 2006.

Video: Have A Look

Half hour video interview with Robert Mills of the American Microphone series. On blogging, journalism, NewAssignment.Net and distributed reporting.

Jay Rosen explains the Web's "ethic of the link" in this four-minute YouTube clip.

"The Web is people." Jay Rosen speaking on the origins of the World Wide Web. (2:38)

One hour video Q & A on why the press is "between business models" (June 2008)

Recommended by PressThink:

Town square for press critics, industry observers, and participants in the news machine: Romenesko, published by the Poynter Institute.

Town square for weblogs: InstaPundit from Glenn Reynolds, who is an original. Very busy. Very good. To the Right, but not in all things. A good place to find voices in diaolgue with each other and the news.

Town square for the online Left. The Daily Kos. Huge traffic. The comments section can be highly informative. One of the most successful communities on the Net.

Rants, links, blog news, and breaking wisdom from Jeff Jarvis, former editor, magazine launcher, TV critic, now a J-professor at CUNY. Always on top of new media things. Prolific, fast, frequently dead on, and a pal of mine.

Eschaton by Atrios (pen name of Duncan B;ack) is one of the most well established political weblogs, with big traffic and very active comment threads. Left-liberal.

Terry Teachout is a cultural critic coming from the Right at his weblog, About Last Night. Elegantly written and designed. Plus he has lots to say about art and culture today.

Dave Winer is the software wiz who wrote the program that created the modern weblog. He's also one of the best practicioners of the form. Scripting News is said to be the oldest living weblog. Read it over time and find out why it's one of the best.

If someone were to ask me, "what's the right way to do a weblog?" I would point them to Doc Searls, a tech writer and sage who has been doing it right for a long time.

Ed Cone writes one of the most useful weblogs by a journalist. He keeps track of the Internet's influence on politics, as well developments in his native North Carolina. Always on top of things.

Rebecca's Pocket by Rebecca Blood is a weblog by an exemplary practitioner of the form, who has also written some critically important essays on its history and development, and a handbook on how to blog.

Dan Gillmor used to be the tech columnist and blogger for the San Jose Mercury News. He now heads a center for citizen media. This is his blog about it.

A former senior editor at Pantheon, Tom Englehardt solicits and edits commentary pieces that he publishes in blog form at TomDispatches. High-quality political writing and cultural analysis.

Chris Nolan's Spot On is political writing at a high level from Nolan and her band of left-to-right contributors. Her notion of blogger as a "stand alone journalist" is a key concept; and Nolan is an exemplar of it.

Barista of Bloomfield Avenue is journalist Debbie Galant's nifty experiment in hyper-local blogging in several New Jersey towns. Hers is one to watch if there's to be a future for the weblog as news medium.

The Editor's Log, by John Robinson, is the only real life honest-to-goodness weblog by a newspaper's top editor. Robinson is the blogging boss of the Greensboro News-Record and he knows what he's doing.

Fishbowl DC is about the world of Washington journalism. Gossip, controversies, rituals, personalities-- and criticism. Good way to keep track of the press tribe in DC

PJ Net Today is written by Leonard Witt and colleagues. It's the weblog of the Public Journalisn Network (I am a founding member of that group) and it follows developments in citizen-centered journalism.

Here's Simon Waldman's blog. He's the Director of Digital Publishing for The Guardian in the UK, the world's most Web-savvy newspaper. What he says counts.

Novelist, columnist, NPR commentator, Iraq War vet, Colonel in the Army Reserve, with a PhD in literature. How many bloggers are there like that? One: Austin Bay.

Betsy Newmark's weblog she describes as "comments and Links from a history and civics teacher in Raleigh, NC." An intelligent and newsy guide to blogs on the Right side of the sphere. I go there to get links and comment, like the teacher said.

Rhetoric is language working to persuade. Professor Andrew Cline's Rhetorica shows what a good lens this is on politics and the press.

Davos Newbies is a "year-round Davos of the mind," written from London by Lance Knobel. He has a cosmopolitan sensibility and a sharp eye for things on the Web that are just... interesting. This is the hardest kind of weblog to do well. Knobel does it well.

Susan Crawford, a law professor, writes about democracy, technology, intellectual property and the law. She has an elegant weblog about those themes.

Kevin Roderick's LA Observed is everything a weblog about the local scene should be. And there's a lot to observe in Los Angeles.

Joe Gandelman's The Moderate Voice is by a political independent with an irrevant style and great journalistic instincts. A link-filled and consistently interesting group blog.

Ryan Sholin's Invisible Inkling is about the future of newspapers, online news and journalism education. He's the founder of and a self-taught Web developer and designer.

H20town by Lisa Williams is about the life and times of Watertown, Massachusetts, and it covers that town better than any local newspaper. Williams is funny, she has style, and she loves her town.

Dan Froomkin's White House Briefing at is a daily review of the best reporting and commentary on the presidency. Read it daily and you'll be extremely well informed.

Rebecca MacKinnon, former correspondent for CNN, has immersed herself in the world of new media and she's seen the light (great linker too.)

Micro Persuasion is Steve Rubel's weblog. It's about how blogs and participatory journalism are changing the business of persuasion. Rubel always has the latest study or article.

Susan Mernit's blog is "writing and news about digital media, ecommerce, social networks, blogs, search, online classifieds, publishing and pop culture from a consultant, writer, and sometime entrepeneur." Connected.

Group Blogs

CJR Daily is Columbia Journalism Review's weblog about the press and its problems, edited by Steve Lovelady, formerly of the Philadelpia Inquirer.

Lost Remote is a very newsy weblog about television and its future, founded by Cory Bergman, executive producer at KING-TV in Seattle. Truly on top of things, with many short posts a day that take an inside look at the industry.

Editors Weblog is from the World Editors Fourm, an international group of newspaper editors. It's about trends and challenges facing editors worldwide. keeps track of developments from the British side of the Atlantic. Very strong on online journalism.

Digests & Round-ups:

Memeorandum: Single best way I know of to keep track of both the news and the political blogosphere. Top news stories and posts that people are blogging about, automatically updated.

Daily Briefing: A categorized digest of press news from the Project on Excellence in Journalism.

Press Notes is a round-up of today's top press stories from the Society of Professional Journalists.

Richard Prince does a link-rich thrice-weekly digest called "Journalisms" (plural), sponsored by the Maynard Institute, which believes in pluralism in the press.

Newsblog is a daily digest from Online Journalism Review.

E-Media Tidbits from the Poynter Institute is group blog by some of the sharper writers about online journalism and publishing. A good way to keep up

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March 24, 2005

Boston University J-School Faculty Takes a Stand on Video News Releases. Very Intelligent.

"[We] condemn the use of “phony” reporters hired by the government to perform in VNRs where their affiliation with government is unstated, and urge the Administration to translate the President’s words into action by ceasing this practice at once."

Journalism schools have not been known as places from which rebellion is likely to come. Far short of rebellion is their record for taking stances on things that are, shall we say, at stake in the news. The record is basically non-existent.

Journalism Deans (I was a department chair, which is like a dean without secretaries…) might and did speak up as individuals, but not as a council, which might have had some weight but also meant agreeing on what to throw our weight behind. This didn’t happen much during my years of service.

Many faculty members are media critics, of course, and get involved in the passions of the times, but as individuals, not as “the faculty” speaking into public debate. I’m not saying it never happens, but it rarely happens; and during the recent stresses and strains on the press, we haven’t seen J-school faculties passing many resolutions, or putting up much of a fight. (Including, of course, the NYU chapter.)

One could argue that this system is a wise system. “Let individuals take stands.” Most of the time that works.

So I was mildly surprised and mighty interested when I received a copy of a unanimous resolution passed by the Boston University Journalism Department Faculty and circulated to other J-Schools by Bob Zelnick, the former ABC News correspondent who now teaches journalism for a living.

The resolution condemned the practice of broadcasting government video news releases (VNRs) where the source of the material is not identified. It condemned the use in VNRs of “phony reporters” and their phony reports, “including sign-offs.” And, in its most important section, the Boston University Journalism Faculty urge the Bush Administration “to identify and cease other practices with respect to VNRs that run a substantial risk of misleading the public.”

Which is speaking from the seminar room directly to the White House.

Zelnick, who describes himself as a Republican and a conservative today, said in a cover memo to us, his colleagues in J-schools at other universities, that the action his faculty took was, in a sense, a memorial to a time when such actions made a difference.

“During the civil rights era, and again during the Vietnam war, we found that simple appeals to decency and respect for the rule of law presented by academicians often carried great moral and political impact,” Zelnick wrote to us. “We believe the same may be true with respect to this situation which strikes at the core of journalistic integrity.”

And then he urged other faculties to join his. Here’s the Resolution. On the other side, I will have some analysis, and more from Zelnick (who is an interesting man) on why he did it.

Unanimous Resolution
of the Boston University Journalism Faculty
Condemning Fraudulent Use of Video News Releases
March 22, 2005


As educators of the next generation of American journalists, we the journalism faculty at the College of Communication, Boston University:

Recognize the need of citizens in a democracy for information that is accurate, unbiased and independently gathered and presented;

Recognize the vital need of government to communicate with its citizens and the useful role print and video news releases (VNRs) can play in this process;

Recognize the obligation of news organizations to identify clearly the origin of any editorial material provided by government, business, interest group or any source other than their own news gathering or that of affiliated news organizations;

Recognize the obligation of government to avoid using VNRs for purposes of political advocacy or propaganda;

Recognize the need to avoid presenting the material in a way that invites public confusion as to its source;

Note the President’s recent statement that acknowledges the need to maintain a clear line of distinction between journalists and members of the government or Administration;

Condemn the use of “phony” reporters hired by the government to perform in VNRs where their affiliation with government is unstated, and urge the Administration to translate the President’s words into action by ceasing this practice at once;

Urge the Administration to identify and cease other practices with respect to VNRs that run a substantial risk of misleading the public;

Condemn the deliberate use by television news outlets of material knowingly obtained from the Administration without clear identification of its origin, and urge all members of the media to cease this deceptive practice at once.

We invite colleagues at other journalism schools and departments to endorse the Boston University Resolution.

Unanimous Resolution
of the Boston University Journalism Faculty
Condemning Fraudulent Use of Video News Releases
March 22, 2005

Department Chairman Bob Zelnick’s Letter to Colleagues:

Attached is a resolution adopted yesterday by the faculty of the Boston University Department of Journalism condemning the practice of broadcasting government video news releases (VNRs) where the source of the material is not identified.

We find particularly objectionable the use of “phony reporters” hired by one agency or another who deliver complete reports, including sign offs, without ever mentioning their affiliation and, in some cases misrepresenting it.

We also condemn those stations that knowingly run news segments, written, shot and recorded by the government with no identification as to the source of the material. We regard these practices as unethical journalism that run a high risk of confusing or even deceiving the public.

During the civil rights era, and again during the Vietnam war, we found that simple appeals to decency and respect for the rule of law presented by academicians often carried great moral and political impact. We believe the same may be true with respect to this situation which strikes at the core of journalistic integrity.

Accordingly we invite your distinguished faculty to join us in protesting the subversion of journalistic values both by the Government and those media collaborators who seek competitive advantage at the expense of fundamental public integrity.

Please let me know how your faculty responds to this invitation. It is my judgment that by acting in concert, we can achieve significant results.

Yours truly,

Bob Zelnick
Journalism Department
College of Communication
Boston University

Zelnick said he had a sense of alarm about the political moment in journalism. He did not think we were in danger of losing a free press; “that would be too much.” His concern was that the “press is losing its influence and standing in public policy debates.” In effect, a loss of power, but also truthtelling authority.

Zelnick traced things back to Nixon and Agnew and “they way they turned the power of the news media against itself.” (Which I thought a great way of putting it.) He said he recognized, as did others who have been around, that there is a pendulum swing in government and press relations; as they struggle for control of the news agenda, one side will gain on the other. But this situation was different.

“I don’t see the pendulum swinging back,” Zelnick told me. “I see us heading toward lower public standing, our confidence eroding, with the press losing some of its freedom not to government, but to corporate ownership. A lot of negatives. But they do not amount to the press being unfree.”

True. He clearly wanted to be what is sometimes called (in the biz) an “activist” chair, and stir the pot with his term. I told Zelnick that I admired what he had done, and would pass it along to his counterpart at NYU, acting chair Professor Mitchell Stephens— also a journalism historian, media critic, friend, co-author. It would be Mitch’s decision to bring this before the faculty, and I hope he will.

“I can think of a number of issues large enough to benefit from the expressions of the journalism faculty,” he said. Zelnick was serious about parallels to the civil rights era. It seemed to me he was asking the perfect question: if once there were university faculties who felt they had authority to speak in resolution form on vital questions of the day, what happened to that voice?

Did it go away, or did it die? “I would like to see other schools endorse the Resolution,” he said. And maybe more collective action down the road. He said he considered us—the J-school faculty of America!—an “untapped resource.” And of course we are. Zelnick’s a good chair; he knows what he’s doing. But it is the faculty who excelled here, speaking as one. (Itself a victory over the narcissism of small differences.)

Their statement is not excessive. It is not toothless; it has bite. It describes what is wrong. It objects with precision. It connects the duty to speak out with the duty to teach and set an example for the next generation. It is hard on professional journalists (“… We also condemn those stations that knowingly run news segments, written, shot and recorded by the government”) and on politicians or would-be propagandists.

But also notice: the resolution does not grandstand and condemn the Video News Release as a form. It is not about attacking public relations people. Or the Bush Administration with some grand theory, such as you might find at PressThink. It recognizes that government has to communicate information to citizens. It calls on the President to do something: review and cease VNR practices that “run a substantial risk of misleading the public.” It was put together with care and it shows fine political judgment. It limits itself to one thing: a matter of misleading the public— by design.

Thanks, Boston University Journalism Faculty, thanks Bob Zelnick, for setting an intelligent example.

After Matter: Notes, reactions & links…

At Nieman Watchdog, former Washington Post editor Barry Sussman writes: “Reporters should put the question about the fake videos not to groups that may be seen as adversaries of Bush but rather to his allies, including Republican governors, senators and other GOP figures. I expect some of them will have strong opinions on the issue, if asked.”

Susan Poling, managing associate general counsel at the Government Accountability Office (GAO), interviewed on On the Media:

SUSAN POLING: We didn’t choose to go by defining propaganda. Propaganda is a little bit in the eyes of the beholder. One person’s information or facts is another person’s propaganda. In a pre-packaged news story, an agency is emphasizing some facts and leaving others out. It’s just by the nature of anyone who sits down and writes something - they tell you some things; they don’t tell you other things. When you can evaluate what the source is, then you can help decide for yourself what information you are getting. So, we believe that it’s truly the covert nature of this that pushes it over into propaganda, because if the material were properly identified, we would say it is informational.

Brooke Gladstone of On the Media talks to Barbara Cochran, head of the Radio and Television News Directors Association:

BROOKE GLADSTONE: So, the president of the RTNDA would never advocate additional rules coming from the FCC. I understand that. On the other hand, though the RTNDA has a policy, it has absolutely no way to enforce it, and not even any way to monitor these infractions. So, broadcasters can continue to play these things without consequences.

BARBARA COCHRAN: You know, I think, again, the number of instances in which this material has actually been used are so few, relatively speaking, compared to all the information that goes out over the air all the time on so many local television stations.

“It is fair, of course, for the government to communicate with citizens via press releases on video as well as in print. It is not ethical or appropriate, however, to employ people to pose as journalists, either on or off camera.” From the American Society of Newspaper Editors letter of protest to Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson in the Karen Ryan case. (The Radio and Television News Directors Association, the comparable group in broadcast journalism, did not send such a letter.)

Andy Lark: “This is exactly the kind of leadership I wish we could get from the various PR associations that exist.”

Tom Rosenstiel and Marion Just write on the op-ed page of the New York Times:

Local broadcasters are being asked to do more with less, and they have been forced to rely more on prepackaged news to take up the slack. So we don’t have to search far to discover why the Bush administration has succeeded so well in getting its news releases on the air. The public companies that own TV stations are so intent on increasing their stock price and pleasing their shareholders that they are squeezing the news out of the news business.

Online petition from Free Press, an activist group, to Stop News Fraud. (41,000 signatures so far.)

Kudos to thinking man Joe Territo, who changed his mind about this post.

Slate, The Age of Missing Information: The Bush administration’s campaign against openness.

From the Washington Post, evidence that “the press” as a kind of umbrella institution does exist and will occasionally take action:

The friend-of-the-court brief was filed by 36 news organizations, including The Washington Post and major broadcast and cable television news networks, in support of reporters at the New York Times and Time magazine who face possible jail time for refusing to cooperate with a grand jury investigating the allegations. Those two organizations filed a petition Tuesday asking the full appeals court to review the case.

New York Times, Columbia Plans 2nd Master’s in Journalism. It’s the dawn of a two-year Master’s program at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. (President Lee Bollinger is quoted.)

There will be two compulsory courses, a history of journalism and another, taught by the dean, on evidence and inference, in which students will learn to find and interpret statistics, archives and legal documents.

The program will also feature four yearlong seminars, based on subjects taught elsewhere in the university but intended for journalists. These include arts and culture, economics and business, politics and science. The program plans to add other courses, including immersion courses in Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish.

“We were very clear that what’s involved here is not farming out students to different disciplines, to simply learn what you learn in any political science class,” Bollinger said, “but, how do you create the materials and subject and form and shape of a deep, professional education for journalists?”

Posted by Jay Rosen at March 24, 2005 1:34 PM   Print


It seemed to me he was asking the perfect question: if once there were university faculties who felt they had the authority to speak in resolution form on vital questions of the day, what happened to that voice?

There is an important difference, it seems to me, between a faculty taking a stand on issues of how information is released to the press, OTOH, and on the substance of policy issues OTOH.

The former is a legitimate concern of the profession as a whole. The latter - even if I agree with the viewpoints being expressed - is just the political viewpoint of a bunch of journalism faculty.

That the two should be conflated here says reams about why the press has lost credibility with many people. I'm surprised to see you blur the distinction, Jay.

Posted by: Robin Burk at March 24, 2005 2:06 PM | Permalink

Good one Boston University. Nice tone.

Posted by: Daniel Conover at March 24, 2005 2:21 PM | Permalink

Robin: That was implied. I meant "press" issues of the day, including freedom of information questions. I think I will add that term, though. I agree that Journalism faculties shouldn't be taking anti-war stands, if that's what you meant.

Posted by: Jay Rosen at March 24, 2005 2:26 PM | Permalink

Jay, here's what bothered me about Zelnick's letter.

During the civil rights era, and again during the Vietnam war, we found that simple appeals to decency and respect for the rule of law presented by academicians often carried great moral and political impact. We believe the same may be true with respect to this situation

Chalk this up, if you will, to my sensitivity as an aging baby boomer, but when journalists start congratulating themselves on having great political impact - and especially when they congratulate themselves on their moral leadership - red flags go up for me, as I suspect they do for many other people who've watched the press for the last 3 decades and more.

I've had my fill of activist journalists seeking to have great political impact in their role as journalists and justifying that by their belief that they bring special moral authority to policy issues.

Posted by: Robin Burk at March 24, 2005 4:02 PM | Permalink

Zelnick's references to faculty in the 1960s were not to journalism professors taking stands, but academic faculties generally, and he would agree with you about the dangers of believing journalists bring special moral authority to policy issues. As do I.

Posted by: Jay Rosen at March 24, 2005 4:07 PM | Permalink

this situation which strikes at the core of journalistic integrity

Hardly. A cynic might say that the VNR issue is misdirection from a media eager to draw attention from practices far more corrosive to (what is left of) its integrity.

Had, for instance, the BU J-school resolution condemned the use of anonymous sources speaking on behalf of government agencies, then that would indeed have dealt with a

situation which strikes at the core of journalistic integrity

But, I assume, the BU faculty knows that the addiction of all parts of the media to such sources is far too strong, and their use far too embarrassing, to be worth its while making anything of it.

Posted by: John Smith at March 24, 2005 4:11 PM | Permalink

I think there's a difference between a VNR from the USGS and the Education Dept. but by all means nix the fake reporter actors on the government payroll from the clip.

Posted by: Iccarus at March 24, 2005 4:59 PM | Permalink

Jay, I think you and I are on the same page here then. I have no problem with a joint statement like this about ethical practices and I appreciate the fact that in this case the statement covered practices by both the government and the news media.

Posted by: Robin Burk at March 24, 2005 6:34 PM | Permalink

found via

A bit off-topic, but covers a lot of what Jay has had to say in previous posts. It's a panel discussion from the Brookings Institute on blogging and where journalism is headed. Shafer even mentions Jay by name at one point.

Posted by: S. at March 24, 2005 6:38 PM | Permalink

I'm as uncomfortable as Robin is with some phrasing. You want to hold on to your wallet when someone claims moral high ground ( or that something is a "right"). First, the merits of the argument are missed in the abstraction, and, second, you don't listen to an argument when someone is spitting in your face. I mean, don't you cringe when "the public's right to know" is used as an argument.

Leave the 95 Theses to Martin Luther. I'd much rather laugh the VNRs off the stage because they are designed to make editing difficult. As an editor, I'd want to put the administration on the spot by asking for the raw footage so I could insert it as the B-Roll of my own piece. In other words, give the press secretary every opportunity to help you. Give him every opportunity to do his job. Make it awkward for him to say no.

Posted by: sbw at March 24, 2005 10:32 PM | Permalink

Zelnick gets to the real heart of the VNR question in his letter when he condemns "those media collaborators who seek competitive advantage at the expense of fundamental public integrity."

Yes, its bad for the government to put out propaganda in this fashion. But the real problem is with the producers of the news programs, who use VNRs from a variety of sources because its a cheap way to fill air time and/or provide "coverage" of an issue. (The most insidious aspect of this phenomenon are the targeted VNRs---the ones where a short segment specifically target to local audiences is inserted into otherwise identical VNRs.).

To me, these are really two separate and distinct issues that should have been covered by separate resolutions. The VNR problem is far more widespread than just government provided VNRs. and having the government clearly identify itself as the source of VNRs addresses only one small aspect of a much larger problem.

(I also suspect that one reason that the Jeff Gannon story got so little coverage is that Gannon "plagarized" government press releases in his reporting, which is really no different than television presenting VNRs as their own reporting.)

News organizations, especially local television news organizations, increasingly rely on images provided by outside sources in their reporting. But these images are being provided in order to advance a specific cause or agenda, and are tailored to promote that agenda.

Its much cheaper to use an animated chart from CATO Institute or The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare to make a point about Social Security, but these are both advocacy groups that will provide images that buttress their own agnedas.

Simply identifying the source of the images by name is not enough---CATO is on record as favoring the elimination of Social Security, and the "National Committee" denies that there is a "crisis" and wants no changes made. A viewer who is unfamiliar with the agenda of these groups who is presented with images created by them will not suspect that the images have been designed to promote an agenda.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at March 25, 2005 8:08 AM | Permalink

I'll be far more impressed with journalists who care about integrity when they start investigating the sources of faked memos used by CBS, ABC and Wash Post. Apparently, if Bush produces factually accurate pieces which are used by news people, that demonstrates an assault on journalistic integrity. And it only becomes a problem if the GOP does it because we didn't hear any concern from you when Clinton did it.

And of course, totally fraudulent stories based on fake memos at CBS, ABC, and Wash Post aren't worthy of concerns over journalistic integrity. I don't have the moral stature or the highly developed moral discernment of a journalist. I'm just a lowly citizen in flyover country. So I have this foolish idea that real investigative journalists interested in integrity would try finding out whether Mary Mapes conspired with the Kerry campaign and who produced the fakes. Or perhaps finding the source of the fake memo used by ABC and the Post to try to harm the GOP last week. Because that kind of journalism is KILLING your profession's public image.

But I guess faked memos aren't an integrity issue for "real" journalists.

Posted by: stan at March 25, 2005 11:49 AM | Permalink

So... where does this fit?

Condi Rice decides that local TV stations deserve to have an explanation of American diplomatic policy. She asks pool reporters (or a weblog, for that matter) for a list of questions that they believe need to be addressed. She faces the camera and answers a selection of the questions as if they had been asked by a live reporter. These clips are made available to local TV news stations for them to use or not use as is they see fit. The only thing the local station has to do, is select any question or questions, and ask the question before switching to Condi's answer.

Truth or fiction? Allowed or not?

[Please do not refer to Jay's Daily Show "interview" in your answer.]

Posted by: sbw at March 25, 2005 11:59 AM | Permalink

The Unanimous Resolution (ignoring the cover letter) reads well, makes sense, and should be supported.

I would offer two suggestions:

1. It should be joined by professional organizations such as SPJ and PRSA. It is really not an academic issue except that academicians in journalism favor professionalizing journalism rather than treating it as a trade or vocation.

2. I would add, or mention, the restriction of using the term "reporting" to the resolution. The resolution should not be ambiguous about that. This would align the resolution with PRSA's announcement and target activities such as this:

So in a recent segment produced by the Agriculture Department, the agency's narrator ended the report by saying "In Princess Anne, Maryland, I'm Pat O'Leary reporting for the U.S. Department of Agriculture." Yet AgDay, a syndicated farm news program that is shown on some 160 stations, simply introduced the segment as being by "AgDay's Pat O'Leary." The final sentence was then trimmed to "In Princess Anne, Maryland, I'm Pat O'Leary reporting."

Brian Conrady, executive producer of AgDay, defended the changes. "We can clip 'Department of Agriculture' at our choosing," he said. "The material we get from the U.S.D.A., if we choose to air it and how we choose to air it is our choice."

Posted by: Sisyphus [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 25, 2005 12:04 PM | Permalink

Why do you use 'VNR' in place of 'propaganda'? Is it's introduction into current 'speak' an extension of the Administrations clever PR policy to adopt terms that either neutralize or put a positive spin on programs that are actually bad for us?

p.s. I know you're the messenger, and I don't own a gun anyway...

Posted by: Rose Gallagher at March 25, 2005 1:34 PM | Permalink

I'd like to engage Robin Burk and Stephen Water's comments on what they find to be an off-putting claim to moral authority in the Zelnick memo. Not surprisingly, I had a starkly different reading of the situation.

Given that Zelnick is a Republican, I assumed the reference to the civil rights movement was supposed to raise an issue MOST OF US CAN AGREE ON--that African-Americans should be treated equally under the law. Given that it is unlikely a Republican journalist would be undertaking a hippie-style jab at Bush from the left, I understood him to be saying the following:

In the past, U.S. political leaders had concern for the public good, and were shamed into doing what was morally right and for the greater good of the American people, even when it was politiclly inconvenient, when those issues were raised as moral issues by non-politicians such as Martin Luther King, along with an enormous variety of allied and supporting groups such as Journalism faculties, among MANY others. (Noone thinks journalism faculties were the be all and end all of the civil rights movement).

I took the point of the resolution's raising the issue to be a VERY GENEROUS Republican-friendly suggestion that, despite all appearances of President Bush and his administration's actions to date on the VNR issue, particularly the latest memo that explicitly rejects a US court ruling on what is best for the country, the BU Journalism faculty will nevertheless give President Bush THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT. They will assume President Bush sincerely has the best interests of the US at heart, and when he hears the Journalism faculty's resolution explaining that following the court ruling is in the best interest of the country, because they assume President Bush to be a man of honor who does have shame, they assume that President Bush will respond positively.

The implication is that if he does not respond positively, President Bush is not a man of honor who has the country's best interests at heart, and by his actions we may assume he has no shame. They leave it up to President Bush to show by his actions what sort of man we must understand him to be. They do not impute bad faith (though there is overwhelming evidence of it), and they do not accuse the administration of self-consciously choosing deception or disinformation (though there is nothing else we could accurately call it). I see only remarkable restraint in the resolution.

This is much more diplomatic than Brent Scowcroft's statement, for example, that the Bush administration policy community consistently describes a fantasy world that conveniently fits suits the neo-con PNAC foreign policy agenda. By contrast, the BU faculty resolution assumes that Bush has a conscience, does not impute ill-intent and leaves it up to Bush how he will situate himself by his response.

Secondly, in the midst of the GOP circus of moral righteousness over the fate of Terri Schiavo, to get stopped in your tracks over the VERY IDEA that a professional group would presume to judge moral issues is simply stunning. The GOP is incrementally pulling down the constitutional structure of our government with trial by law in their over-weening insistence on demanding that the uninformed religious judgement of the pathologically controlling parents of a bulimic (a psychological syndrome tied to overly controlling parents by definition) trumps professional medical and legal opinion of dozens of doctors and judges of any and all political persuasions.

Is the problem that religious high-ground is to be admired, but claims to moral high-ground are implicitly secular, therefore suspect?

Either way, the allergy to moral judgment on the part of a professional group strikes me as a way of insisting that only people who agree with me have the right to judge right and wrong. A little more press coverage of the fact that the Terry Schiavo case is precisely a question of judgement--that it involves deeply opposed moral convictions would improve the coverage.

Up to now, it has basically been wall-to-wall fundamentalists as if there were no other possible concept of religious and moral right, even as 80% of the country takes exception to the line that the media are effectively promoting. "Not to judge" when covering those who presume to judge is again, false neutrality. For me, but not for thee. I hope that I have missed something here, and one or both of you can make your positions a little more comprehensible.

You aren't calling for the "view from nowhere" in moral matters are you? And you surely aren't selectively calling for the "view from nowhere" only when it comes to Bush critics...

Posted by: Mark Anderson at March 25, 2005 2:15 PM | Permalink

Kudos to Sisyphus for demonstrating that it is possible to be a Bush administration supporter and have scruples.

Posted by: Mark Anderson at March 25, 2005 2:16 PM | Permalink

Thanks for the speech, Mark, you never let us down. I don't think you left out a single canard; maybe in future it would consume less of your apparently inexhaustible energy if you just came up with some boilerplate language to put over your name.

Posted by: Brian at March 25, 2005 2:18 PM | Permalink

this e-mail came:

From: Paul Nelson
To: pressthink
Subject: Government Video News Releases

I have no issue with the proper identification of VNRs.

However, it seems to me that this topic then opens up the whole issue of "staged events" directed at the mass media (eg, various kinds of activities, demonstrations, political protests, or press releases staged for TV exposure).

If we're going to apply a consistent rule, then journalists also need to be more skeptical about such events, and less willing to automatically accept them at face value. Journalists need to be more willing to forgo the convenience of staged events, more willing to discount "the sound and the fury" of cheap theatricals, and more explicit about the underlying assumptions and agendas behind such events.

Otherwise, the current VNR controversy is not about journalism standards, but just the latest version of Bush bashing. --Paul Nelson

Posted by: Jay Rosen at March 25, 2005 2:39 PM | Permalink

Mark: I'd like to engage Robin Burk and Stephen Water's comments

I'll not presume to address your concerns or challenge your convictions. I will give you a pointer to a wonderful book that has reinforced my own thinking: The gentleman in Trollope: Individuality and moral conduct, by Shirley Robin Letwin. Besides, if the author did nothing more than introduce people to Trollope's books, it would be worthwhile. As they say, there is nothing quite like a good Trollope.

Posted by: sbw at March 25, 2005 2:40 PM | Permalink

Secondly, in the midst of the GOP circus of moral righteousness over the fate of Terri Schiavo, to get stopped in your tracks over the VERY IDEA that a professional group would presume to judge moral issues is simply stunning

Mark, to respond to only one of the many paragraphs in your comment, what makes you think I support what you call "the GOP circus ... over the fate of Terri Schiavo"? For that matter, do you think I'm a Republican? I don't take a high political profile in the blogosphere but Winds of Change does have a search function, on the off chance that what little I've actually written on political issues is of any interest.

Re: the "view from nowhere", I hang around Jay's site in part to help me think more clearly about questions like that.

Here's what I think I want, first and foremost, from journalists: reporting that focuses on representative facts, both raw data and first-order analysis of that data (as in, identifying trends over time, preferably with numbers or citations to back up the claim of a trend or pattern). Given that I work with analytic techniques regularly and am married to someone with both a doctorate and a lot of hands-on experience as an analyst, however, my standards are high and I have a sensitive nose for BS manipulation of statistics and selective quotations. When I see statistics used correctly and quotations givenin context - and especially when an editor brings in an outside opinion about numbers and facts that are used to buttress a serious point - I respect that news source no matter what its political leanings might be. And where that is lacking, so too is my respect and my willingness to pay for their product.

I also welcome informed, trenchant commentary on important issues of the day - and I want it clearly demarked as such, not mingled in with "news" stories. I'll respect commentators who openly acknowledge their assumptions, opinions and values -- and the basis for them -- and who seriously engage the arguments on the other side. Editors, ditch the Michael Moore- and Ann Coulter-wannabees, please.

What I don't want - won't pay for and will criticize - is journalism of the smug. I've been alive 53 years now, I've buried both my parents and raised a child, wrestled with some of the afflictions that humans are vulnerable to and
made some tough choices. I've worked in the trenches for various causes and have my own well-grounded opinions about the worthiness of various organizations and leaders active today.

From time to time along the way a few members of the commentariat have helped me refine my belief and value systems and some reporting has provided me with fresh insights into important events. But many journalists (and I include here many of the current 'name stars' among op ed writers) strike me as shallow in their thinking, ill-informed on many subjects and tendentious.

Is it any wonder I am less than impressed at the thought that collectively such folk might presume to pronounce on moral issues?

Now, professional ethics are a separate and specific matter on which practitioners and academics are more than justified to comment and pronounce. (And I'm free to judge, from the outside, those pronouncements -- but the act doesn't bother me.)

But for the profession (if we want to call it that) of journalism to pronounce on various policy issues of the day - my advice would be to tred very lightly on that thin ice.

Posted by: Robin Burk at March 25, 2005 3:07 PM | Permalink

If Roberts Rules prevails, this resolution should fail for want of a Second. In the resolution:

Recognize the obligation of news organizations to identify clearly the origin of any editorial material provided by government, business, interest group or any source other than their own news gathering or that of affiliated news organizations; -- Does this mean every complete package, or every single frame provided by the source?

Recognize the obligation of government to avoid using VNRs for purposes of political advocacy or propaganda; -- What is advocacy? If one selects a policy and then supports it, is that advocacy or information?

Urge the Administration to identify and cease other practices with respect to VNRs that run a substantial risk of misleading the public; -- Misleading as to source or content?

Condemn the deliberate use by television news outlets of material knowingly obtained from the Administration without clear identification of its origin, and urge all members of the media to cease this deceptive practice at once. -- So, what form of interdiction is appropriate? Cut off the supply or cut off the demand? There is nothing wrong with an organization supporting its position. If an outlet of the press chooses to mortgage its trust with the audience, the audience is welcome to vote with its remote control. And the audience should.

In their cover letter:
We find particularly objectionable the use of "phony reporters" hired by one agency or another who deliver complete reports, including sign offs, without ever mentioning their affiliation and, in some cases misrepresenting it. -- How about a "spokesman." What are the limits of what a spokesman can do?

We also condemn those stations that knowingly run news segments, written, shot and recorded by the government with no identification as to the source of the material. We regard these practices as unethical journalism that run a high risk of confusing or even deceiving the public. -- And how about those "sponsored" by the local hospital or senior citizen's home that are spacefillers designed to put the creating organization's name on the air? On local television, of the 12 minutes allocated to "local news", if most of it isn't news, is VNR the crisis, or something more systemic?
- - -
I think the resolution is misplaced. If the journalism school wants to teach about the integrity of taking full responsibility for editing, then, dammit, do it. If it wants to release reports encouraging outlets to identify clips, then, dammit, do it. But don't lecture the administration about the multiplicity of avenues it may choose to convince citizens about what it believes to be in the best interest of those citizens, particularly when, as Paul Nelson, says, the press is soooo gullible when it comes to validating the efforts of demonstrators [via Instapundit] angling for air time.

Posted by: sbw at March 25, 2005 3:18 PM | Permalink

I certainly think that the press could do a better job not lazily allowing their narrative bias templates to be co-opted for "staged events" by, for example, terrorists and "professional protestors".

However, I think a more related journalistic practice is what I'll call Rolodex Propaganda.

It could be the proverbial man-on-the-street interview or the average citizen victim, located by Rolodex and staged in a way that the interviewee's interest is covert.

Is this a pernicious form of Rolodex Journalism?

Some examples of manipulation that I'm thinking about are at Editor & Publisher, Kevin Drum, MRC/CNS , ...

Posted by: Sisyphus [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 25, 2005 4:02 PM | Permalink

The remarks about the media being used by professional protestors are a bit rich given the determined erasure of them from US media for several years running. This looks like a pretty clear media decision about what is news, doesn't it? Courtesy of the so-called liberal media.

Independent Media Center of Philadelphia:
Thursday August 03, @06:36PM

NPR news blackout on protest activities
By Jonathan Lawson
Ongoing protest activities, police response and mass arrests in Philadelphia have gone almost completely unreported by National Public Radio news programs Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

In the 1960s, by most accounts as few as a hundred protestors for a cause would make local or even national news due to the novelty. Now millions of non-right protestors are routinely "balanced" by a couple dozen right-leaning counterprotestors as equivalent news events.

Its seems nearly irrefutable that the national and local media is drastically more conservative and less sympathetic to non-right protest events than forty years ago. The landscape has changed drastically in this regard.

I think this might make an interesting topic in its own right for a future Pressthink post: How is a newsworthy expression of popular opinion distinguished from a "staged" non-event properly excluded from the news?

The information I see (and my own personal experience of protests that were disappeared by the media) suggests that non-right protest has been either erased or systematically discounted from the corporate press universe for several years running. Are we proud of this or are we disappointed in this?

Posted by: Mark Anderson at March 25, 2005 5:36 PM | Permalink

I am assembling a VNR archive. If you have quality clips of any Bush administration VNR please contact me at

Posted by: raindog at March 25, 2005 6:10 PM | Permalink

It is great to see the battles of democratic ideals and ideas to echo blogging voices all the way in academic circles ...

It's a universal law of capitalism: when an industry faces a new and significant threat to its profits and powers it turns to the government for protection. Well, bloggers who write on current events are challenging the mainstream media (MSM), the most politically well-connected industry in America James Miller believes he sees a gathering storm for blogs ... The coming war on blogs?The Business of Blogging

Posted by: Jozef Imrich at March 26, 2005 2:45 AM | Permalink

PS: Note the launch of a pioneering project, OurMedia: it provides free storage and free bandwidth for your videos, audio files, photos, text or software. Forever. No catches ... Open Source Project Offers Free Storage For Digital Media

Posted by: Jozef Imrich at March 26, 2005 2:47 AM | Permalink

If you want to do something about VNRs, you can start by signing our petition. My organization, the Center for Media and Democracy (, has joined with Free Press ( in sponsoring a petition demanding that "the Bush administration stop using our tax dollars to create fake news reports," and asking "local broadcasters to clearly disclose all government propaganda":

Posted by: Sheldon Rampton at March 26, 2005 4:05 AM | Permalink

re: Bush. It's important that we continue to give the President the benefit of the doubt. It's the Presidency, after all. That said, it's important that the benefit of the doubt has limits. Right now, the White House is kickin the MSM's ass, and the MSM is still in denial about what's happening.

VNRs: It's worth mentioning that, given the torrent of video information to which we're exposed, VNRs are a drop in a lake. That said, a few drops of cyanide can poison a reservor. Besides, does anybody really want to defend tax money being used to produce political PR, if not propaganda? The people who are working so hard to defend the president here are either counting angels on pinheads or are themselves a few ants shy of a picnic.

VNRs, Take Two: As much as I dislike the government cheese here, those TV stations that run these things without caveat ought to foresake their FCC licenses. It's just bullshit -- the TV equivalent of running an unedited press release under your byline. Which happens, by the way.

Anyway, my point is, journalists EXPECT politicians to try this kind of crap (i think we're just shocked that the current WH is so blatant about it). We should call it by name and not let it slip by. But our real anger over VNR ought to be at those of us within the profession who are ruining our reputation.

Re: Staged Events. The 1988 presidential election was a low point for American journalism, and much thought went into improving our performance in the next cycle. We developed new ways to aggressively fend off staged events, managed coverage and diversionary politics. Coverage of the 1992 election was vastly improved, and cause for optimism.

From my vantage point, our coverage of the 1994 mid-term and 1996 presidential election actually built on those lessons -- but the response was a collective shrug of indifference. People were bored by the Clinton-Dole race and generally thought that our coverage was too wonkish and dull.

That was the last presidential cycle I directed, and there was little complaining when our coverage plan de-emphasized "civic" political coverage in 2000. By the 2004 cycle, we were right back to being passive participants in the political process (PPPP), and I think most papers fell into that category.

My inferred lesson: When the electorate is aroused and interested, people will demand better coverage. When the voters are fat and happy, stage management and negative, diversionary campaigning works. I think the 2004 election was an anomaly: half the country was up in arms and the other half was doggedly trying to stay the course. I don't know what lessons to draw from it.

I don't know what to expect in 2006 and 2008. If the press is learning from this experience, I think you'll see it much more aggressive and focused on issues. If the press is as corporate as I fear it has become, look out. We could see PPPP on quaaludes.

Posted by: Daniel Conover at March 26, 2005 7:04 PM | Permalink

Here's a doosey...

"At the same time one of Florida's most visible television reporters brought the news to viewers around the state, he earned hundreds of thousands of dollars on the side from the government agencies he covered.

"Mike Vasilinda, a 30-year veteran of the Tallahassee press corps, does public relations work and provides film editing services to more than a dozen state agencies.

"His Tallahassee company, Mike Vasilinda Productions Inc., has earned more than $100,000 over the past four years through contracts with Gov. Jeb Bush's office, the Secretary of State, the Department of Education and other government entities that are routinely part of Vasilinda's stories."

Posted by: Jay Rosen at March 27, 2005 11:14 PM | Permalink

Capitol News Service
Mike Vasilinda Productions

Posted by: Sisyphus [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 27, 2005 11:30 PM | Permalink

To the RH jay Rosen:
What do you consider to be worth more-
Ideological currency(reflected by those in the MSM on a daily reporting and editorial basis) or monetary currency(paying people to try to inject their point of view into the MSM due to the barriers put up by the MSM)?
Does not the Mike Vasilinda Prod. Inc. indicate to what lengths people or blogs or politicians(Republicans) must do simply to get their message out without the MSM defining and interpreting and twisting their message for them?
Or, better yet, does it indicate a decreasing influence of the MSM?

Posted by: gobears at March 27, 2005 11:36 PM | Permalink

To the RH Jim K. Smith:
Is it more acceptable to peddle influence through ideology or through money?
Which one is the more influential?

Posted by: gobears at March 28, 2005 12:19 AM | Permalink

[Off-topic, but germane to journalism] Your federal government in action:

The draft regulations so narrowly define permissible blogging that if you don't own your computer, and you don't own your internet connection, congratulations, your political speech is regulated. Clearly, more government is not the answer to everything. . . .

See: Political speech: Regulation versus inoculation.

Posted by: sbw at March 28, 2005 8:24 AM | Permalink

Hi, Jay! I'm an Italian student and I'm writing a thesis about blogs and journalism.

Look at the article on NYT about Greensboro 's News&Record.

Do you agree with the article?

Bye! (and thanks again for your work!)


Posted by: Antonella at March 28, 2005 1:20 PM | Permalink

Well, it was OT, I know...


Posted by: Antonella at March 28, 2005 1:21 PM | Permalink

"The art of manufactured news"

Posted by: Sisyphus [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 28, 2005 1:29 PM | Permalink

Jay, Jay, what a laugh. The gov't puts out a pro-gov't video, and the Leftist press calls them "phony reporters". How many lies and frauds does Dan Rather have to report, as news, before HE is "phony reporter"?
The Leftist press, de-certifying itself.

How about that "talking points memo" being talked about by Powerline, now in the Weekly Standard?

The Leftist press, de-certifying itself.

But as you might guess, I'm enraged by the "moral superiority" assumed by the Press:
"During the civil rights era, and again during the Vietnam war, we found that simple appeals to decency and respect for the rule of law presented by academicians often carried great moral and political impact. We believe the same may be true with respect to this situation which strikes at the core of journalistic integrity.

Right. The Press identified how terrible the US was in Vietnam; the Press supported the US leaving Vietnam; the US left; the commies took over; and mass murders of unarmed civilians. Communist Killing Fields in some ways worse than Hitler's gas chambers. That was the RESULT of following the policy the Press, like Rather and Cronkite, supported.

And the anti-War Left thinks it has "moral superiority". Bah.

But then those Swifties, pointing out how the Leftist biased press hasn't had much to say about
Kerry's lies (Christmas in Cambodia, often), and his failure to sign the errrrgh upph...

Where is Bob Zelnick's letter to ABC telling them not to call an unsigned piece of paper, that nobody admits to writing, or even distributing, a GOP memo? Oh, well, that's just another little Leftist lie.

The Leftist press, de-certifying itself.

Too bad the public DOES want an honest press. Wonder when we'll get one?

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at March 28, 2005 1:38 PM | Permalink

Jay's responses to the previous thread jumped out at me: "I wonder whether it would be possible to write a post called: the case for de-certification?" followed by his call for a "loyal opposition press."

Loyal to what? Most people are most loyal to ... their MORAL values. But the culture war shows that the USA does NOT have one set of moral values, on abortion, on gay marriage, on the death penalty for guilty criminals, on starving brain-damanged people to death.

The Leftist press is decertifying itself because it IS loyal -- to anti-Christian morality. And it is now in opposition.

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, and Private Property. What about when liberty and happy pursuits threatens life?

As a newly-loyal Rep, let me also state the gov't should have, at the begining and end of each video they make, a quick sourcing frame.

And newsfolk political beliefs should be part of the news.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at March 28, 2005 2:28 PM | Permalink

If you can't tell the difference between a VNR, a regular news report or a news report paid for by a non-profit organization, what does that tell you about the state of news reporting today?

If the journalism profession cannot keep it's own in line to present the entire context of the news it is reporting then what does that tell you about the state of news reporting today?

If you have a major journalism school misrepresent a major news story about one the major networks, what does that tell you about the state of news reporting today?

Posted by: Tim at March 28, 2005 4:33 PM | Permalink

Faking it ...

Posted by: Sisyphus [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 28, 2005 8:33 PM | Permalink

To the RH Sisyphus:
Nice! Keep them on their nuancing toes!

Posted by: gobears at March 28, 2005 9:06 PM | Permalink

He'd know about faking it.

Posted by: James Dean at March 29, 2005 9:47 PM | Permalink

He'd know about faking it.

Shoo fly, don't bother me.

Posted by: Sisyphus [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 30, 2005 12:03 PM | Permalink

My personal epiphany happened in thinking about Bush's VNRs: how "the media" is righteously angry with the Bush Admin for making the videos, even as it seems to give itself a pass for itself running them as straight news. (It seems to me, by the way, the outlets that do this are the more blameworthy in this scenario.) And then I connected this to that old Apple commercial from 1984. I realized that we have been living in some real sense in the fabled Orwellian dystopia, but the role of mind-controlling Big Brother is actually not the government. VNRs or no, the government still doesn't have the power of the "voice," which belongs in theory still to "the people," but until recently has belonged in fact almost exclusively to large media corporations who behave often as a herd or even as a single entity motivated by a mixture of profit, self-interest, politics, righteousness, ignorance and vanity. This entity does not control "reality" but of course it does control how we see it and what we know about it. Control is exercised by regulating what we know, the image and sound of reality. In other words, the Big Brother threat doesn't come from the government. BB is not an entity with a powerful voice, but en toto the voice-- BB is nothing more or less than the voice itself, which is just your basic McLuhan in new words. We know tht voice as the MSM.

This leads me to wonder--is bad information better or worse than no information? Taking the extreme example of the Rather forgeries: from that flawed report I would know that Bush was in the National Guard, that there were annual physicals and that he had commanding officers by the names of X, Y and Z. However, if I listened to Big Brother, I would have a completely inaccurate picture of the relationships between those three things and the implications to be drawn thereof. Am I better off knowing nothing? In all seriousness, I might well be. Maybe I'd be getting better info from a Bush VNR? When it comes to Social Security, I might know there are facts and figures and that there is a debate, but listening to the major media I would know only its construction of the facts, which may or may not be true to some "reality" (and most likely is not).

Fortunately, I now have alternatives. The info-garchy is being broken down (decertified) by computer-empowered voices. So back in the actual year 1984 Steve Jobs was right too. The computer did smash Big Brother, but BB wasn't the government, he was the guy speaking on the screen himself, the voice, the mouthpiece, the assembler of reality and now he is being smashed, or no?

Posted by: Lee Kane at March 30, 2005 1:16 PM | Permalink

From the Intro