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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • Major (Score:3, Insightful)

    The White House changed the headline "President Bush Announces Combat Operations in Iraq Have Ended" to include the word "Major" before "Combat".

    This is absolutely true. However, the second headline was entirely accurate, while the first headline was false. Bush never said that combat operations in Iraq had ended, he said MAJOR combat operations in Iraq had ended. They fixed an error, because the headline said Bush said something he never said. That hardly qualifies as revisionist history. I can find
    • I stand corrected about the White House site changing the headline. I did some research on the speech and you are correct, though it makes me wonder why they had an erroneous headline in the first place. Since so many people merely scan headlines, it's easy to paint a false picture and then later claim "that's not what was said". I've often had fun reading articles and seeing how closely they match the headline. Frequently they don't and I think that is also a form of dishonesty.

      I also agree that poli

      • Political parties suck.

        That's the truth. So why wring your hands over their perpetual failure to
        deliver democratic control of society? Just admit that capitalist republics
        don't deliver democracy, and look for something that does.
        • Just admit that capitalist republics don't deliver democracy, and look for something that does.

          I can't admit that because I don't believe it. From my perspective, there are three major things wrong with the US system: money, media, and machines (political ones, that is). The media is an obvious problem. The yellow journalism of Fox News is just the most obvious example. Make the media truly competitive or, better yet, permanently publicly fund the media as a public resource (rather than forcing the

          • Make the media truly competitive

            What does competitive mean in this sentence? I see a lot of competition. Granted, it's on minutiae that bore me, but it's competition.

            • by Ovid (2709) on 2003.12.23 1:22 (#26779) Homepage Journal

              I almost didn't answer this because I really wanted to withdraw from this thread (but if I can't take the heat I should stay out of hell). However, you asked a fair question and I think it deserves an answer.

              A good primer on the topic is Unreliable Sources [amazon.com] by Martin Lee and Normon Solomon. It was published back in 1991 one and explained very thoroughly the problems with media consolidation over a decade ago. The problem has become worse due to increased media mergers [progressive.org]. We're all familiar with monopolies -- a market where there is only one supplier of a good -- but as Microsoft has amply demonstrated, you don't have to have a pure monopoly in order to profitably engage in monopolistic behavior.

              As a general benchmark, economists frequently consider an industry in which five or fewer suppliers control in excess of the fifty percent of the market to be very monopolistic. According to the book The Case Against the Global Economy [amazon.com] (weird choice of light reading for me, eh?), with the waves of mergers that really started to take off in the 80s, we are now in a position where five companies control forty percent of the global market in media. We are very close to a monopolistic media market and the results are highly predictable -- a lack of competitives, high barriers to entry and lack of innovation (in this case, good news reporting). Many people argue that the Internet automatically creates a low barrier to entry, but research tends to show that most surfers stick to a handful of sites [it-analysis.com] and much of what is available is ignored in favor of the 'Net giants like Yahoo! AOL and MSN.

              In The Silent Takeover [amazon.com], economist Noreena Hertz describes how Adbusters produced an ad for the 1997 "Buy Nothing" day. They wanted to show it in the US but ABC, CBS and NBC refused to sell them airtime. Richard Gitter, the vice president of advertising standards at NBS said "We don't want to take any advertising that's inimical to our legitimate business interests".

              I could cite plenty of other examples, but run over to Greg Palast's site and read what he has to say about media monopolies and free speech [gregpalast.com]. Too many people sit and home and watch the nightly news and don't notice how much of it is dedicated to covering the local mall, talking about a new store or covers mainly "sizzling" stories since many important ones don't sell well.

              • One more question, I promise! You don't have to answer if you don't want. I'm not sure I like the answer.

                If there were competition, how many people would notice and how many would change their media consumption habits?

                • The short (and cheap) answer is I don't know if people would notice and if things would change. If competition led to better quality news but people still chose sizzle over steak, that would be a disappointment, but at least people would be freely choosing instead of having the choice made for them. There is good information out there now, but it's not always easy to find it [projectcensored.org].

                  A more accurate answer would be to discuss why I desire more competition -- or more precisely, a different sort of competition (ni

                  • During the same period lunch cancer was determined to be the number one killer of women...

                    Lunch cancer? What the hell is lunch cancer? It must be another story the media has covered up. Yeah, that's it!