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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Loss of Democracy Through News Ignorance

In a Linked-In discussion a pro-business individual proposed that we need to find a way for the end user (reader, viewer) to pay for their access to news. To some extent that is already true, as we pay for internet service, we pay for the newspaper, and we pay for cable...but to have to pay for the news that should be a public service and is a key part to keeping our nation free...I have a real problem with that.

My students do not and will not pay for news.

It's a new generation out there, so pay models will only lead to an informed elite and uninformed malleable masses.

The fourth estate needs to be available and accessible for everyone for free or we could lose the core of our American Democracy, where every citizen has the right to an informed vote.

Interests in news in this iPod age are declining, at least among high school and college students. We see or are in contact with those who eat up news, as I do, but the reality is that most Americans are uninformed by choice.

Then too there is the recession. How can you ask people to pay for something they can live without? Those of us news junkies will pay, but only what we can afford and then we drop subscriptions more than we add.

The survey is very misleading as it limits choices to one (for example I seek our national and international news, particularly that which does not attract the masses in six minute increments)

I read the newspaper for its in depth coverage (New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times and finally our flimsy and very politically bias local paper the Review Journal).

I watch CNN and for a joke turn to see what Fox is covering.

I listen to public radio over the air and on line, the BBC, have my satellite radio on various international news channels (paid lifetime subscription when I had the funds). I also read journals, on-line news services and news magazines.

But I am a junkie.

The reality is that if we do read or follow news, we gravitate to those sources that agree with our point of view, politics and beliefs. Only a select few, or elite, bother to seek out opposing views and accept what the can from sources they may not otherwise agree with. Are we are becoming polarized and single minded?

Most Americans avoid news or simply watch the entertainment ratings based local newscast.

Again, if we charge for media access we could well lose the base of an informed electorate, of our very Democracy.

The elite will continue to have a lock on our nation.

Shouldn’t we just call them “people”?

Is "Consumer" a bad word?Guest posting from 

EDINBURGH – Yesterday in our meeting with European colleagues we returned to the subject of empathy and Dev Patnaik’s book, Wired to Care. (We posted about this in January.)

Discussions with people from around the world always force us to clarify the meaning of our words. Dropping our idioms and figures of speech make us communicate clearly in international audiences.

In yesterday’s discussion we agreed that the word “consumer” describes what someone does, not who they are. Empathy is not about getting people to consume, but understanding who they are as people so we can get them to consume.

So, to drop the jargon and speak plainly: Shouldn’t we just call them “people”?

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