Is there really a 'liberal media' out there?

    Quite frankly, any news source that feels the need to claim “”Fair, accurate, balanced”” is a cause for question. Professional news journalism is supposed to be those things; what they should be doing as a disseminator of information is making all attempts to present the happenings on both sides of an argument. But few, if any, major news sources actually do this, and saying that a liberal media exists at all is laughable after seeing the coverage Fox News presents.

    We all know Fox’s primary channel, the epicenter of sleaze for the network television; that’s where we’ve been able to watch alarmist shows including, “”Caught On Tape,”” “”Cops,”” and “”When Breast Implants Explode.”” Sure, we all have watched at least an episode of “”American Idol,”” or perhaps even “”Married By America,”” but with the exception of a few other programs, the very reason the Fox name finds its way to our lips, is because of the inner rubber-necker in us. You see something gruesome; you flip the channel back, and watch. Now why would you go to this same source for news? The fact is, you can’t be balanced if you only present one side of the argument: case in point, Fox News is 100 percent behind the war. You can be for or against the military action in Iraq, but as a news agency, they have an ethical responsibility to report more than “”GO AMERICA!””

    Clearly though, most people are happy hearing only what will make them warm and fuzzy inside. “”We are winning. We are doing what is right.”” But maybe, just maybe you’d like to hear something more, something challenging, or just weird. Then where do you go? In a time of tightly controlled television media being most people’s main sources, you might have to go looking for something new: and duh, you’ll find it on the Internet.

    Many have played the game of gross out by looking at http://www.rotten.com, which is known for their gruesome pictures of mishaps and misfortune, but there is more than other’s tragedy to be found here. Linked off of their main page is the Daily Rotten, http://www.dailyrotten.com, which contains odd, often humorous, occasionally macabre, but always fascinating news stories collected from many credible, and some questionable Web sites.

    As posted recently, on March 30, there is a link to a story carried by the Boston Globe (http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/085/nation/Differing_TV_images_feed_Arab_US_views+.shtml), which highlights the differences between American and Arab coverage of the war; the article states that Americans see mostly long-distance bombings, while the Arab world “”sees pictures of bloodied bodies of young children.”” This more serious and world-affecting story is contrasted by an Associated Press story of a Massachusetts high school carpentry teacher who skinned a coyote in class, potentially exposing them to rabies. Bizarre? Yes, but isn’t that the fun part? Informative? Well … it does make for interesting conversation.

    More politically focused, and trying to offer something other then what the conservative media constantly serves up, is F.A.I.R., Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (http://www.fair.org/). Their take on news and politics is not what can be found through mainstream news sources. In fact, its take will undoubtedly make many froth at the mouth. The bulk of F.A.I.R.’s coverage is issue-related, so since the Iraq war has taken center stage in corporate media, they have responded by doing so as well, but of course with their own slant.

    In a March 27 posting, F.A.I.R. criticizes the U.S. military policy of bombing Iraqi TV as a violation of the Geneva Conventions, and that furthermore it was a war crime to target a civilian facility even if they are being used for propaganda (http://www.fair.org/activism/iraqi-tv.html).

    Another Web site more than likely to incite frenzy is Memory Hole, http://www.thememoryhole.org/index.htm, which proclaims itself to be “”rescuing knowledge, freeing information.”” As such, they are a blending of news posting (gathering and linking stories from a variety of sources), as well as links to information that might otherwise not be reached readily.

    Of the latter, there is the F.O.I.A. logs, or the Freedom of Information Act request logs; which allow you to read what others have requested from federal groups like the Department of Defense and their status, so if you have a claim you are going to make, you can expedite the process.

    With Memory Hole’s news articles, there are the obligatory topical stories, but they also maintain a wider range of issues, especially the ones that tend to fall into the cracks. The post serves as a reminder of what has been summarily swept under the carpet by the government thanks to the timing of larger media spectacles.

    Thanks to shows like Comedy Central’s “”The Daily Show with John Stewart”” and the Fox News Channel’s “”The O’Reilly Factor,”” the realm of infotainment has expanded greatly, much to the dismay of a few of us. But the often subversive Internet offers the willing, and perhaps those with extra time to go looking, an opportunity to get alternative news and entertainment from a few unusual sources. Even if you don’t agree with what these Web sites print, you’ve got to stay informed, and sometimes even the best of us want to hear about things like how a DUI coordinator was arrested for a DUI (http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/southflorida/sfl-326dui,0,5115526.story?coll=sfla%2Dhome%2Dheadlines).

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