The greatest protection for national freedom is a FREE PRESS. But that does not mean that a member of the press should have the freedom to LIE. That said: it is also imperative that governments should not be the police to decide what is true in the press, and what is a lie.
That responsibility belongs to the people and the courts.
It is the duty of a population living within a FREE SOCIETY to guarantee that truth in the media is more than just a suggestion. And there are several ways to do it.
1) The first and best guarantee for media honesty is in having more than one source of news information. The greatest number of INDEPENDENT news sources, in as many media shapes and forms, the better.
2) The second guarantee is in the courts. If a media source knowingly reports lies, and if those lies can be proven to be injurious or defamatory to an individual or group, there should be serious legal ramifications that go beyond simple media accountability. At least within democracies governed by the rule of law.
3) The third guarantee is through revenue. Advertisers will not spend their money on a news media that is seriously suspect of dishonesty. Especially when there are alternatives.
There is also the Court of Public Opinion, which is without question the most powerful court in the land.
It is terribly important that we also recognize that many media are “honestly” inaccurate. That is not to say this is acceptable. It is only to say that far too often, journalists and/or their editors do not make sufficient efforts to get all the facts. Nor do they thoroughly check them out.
Even though this unprofessional behavior is NOT acceptable, it is also not generally intentional. But a “serious” media that is TOO OFTEN caught being inaccurate, is a media whose time and credibility is numbered.
Most within the media have their own biases, and as such, they very often report the “facts” as they see them.
By using word magic; a terrorist becomes a freedom fighter. And a person acting in retribution to terrorism becomes the aggressor. Another form of slanting the news is to simply report on just one side of an event without balance.
This is not necessarily lying. But it is definitely misleading, and disinformation. This form of journalism also has a short shelf-life amongst people who really want to know, since most intelligent people want all the facts rather than just selective facts.
THE MIDDLE EASTERN ARAB MEDIA:
The Middle Eastern Arab media which we have been witnessing within the past few weeks has been a demonstration of media lying, slanting and inaccuracies, out of all proportion to what we in the West would consider acceptable in its most generous proportion.
We saw the Iraqi Minister of (dis) Information telling all who will listen that the American troops are being slaughtered by the brave Iraqi Republican Guards; as the American troops were rolling down the streets of Bagdad virtually unopposed.
HIS OUTRIGHT LIE WAS REPORTED IN THE ARAB MEDIA AS FACT.
One of my readers was so upset with my Editorial of April 7, 2003, titled: Liars, Self Delusionists and Thugs, that he asked to have his name removed from my broadcast directory. I guess the truth bothered him. Nonetheless; it was the truth.
What is most shocking is the disbelief of so many in the Arab world when the proof is thrust in their face.
Instead of accepting the total collapse of the Iraqi military as fact; many of the Arabs believe that it is nothing more than Western contrived propaganda.
And that the Iraqis and their volunteers; including Palestinian fighters, Syrians and Sudanese will counter attack and slaughter the Infidels.
This mind-set is extraordinarily upsetting. How can you have a FREE PRESS when the people prefer lies and fiction?
Not only do I believe in the absolute FREEDOM of press. I practice what I preach.
If you go to the menu of Galganov Dot Com, just to the left of this editorial, you will find a heading that says MEDIA LINKS. Click on it, and you will be brought to more than 160 English language media providers from around the world. INCLUDING ARAB SITES.
You don’t have to take my word for what I say about the Middle East.
READ IT FOR YOURSELF!
Go to the Arab countries found on my media links and read what they write. And remember, what you are reading is produced for an English speaking Western audience. Therefore; it is somewhat diluted from what they write in Arabic.
But nonetheless; read it for yourself. And see for yourself what a government controlled and perverted media is all about. Even one that is sanitized.
You can do the same thing with the Israeli media in my MEDIA LINKS section, and see how Israel’s media best reflects the image of ours. They’re accountable to their readership, and subjected just like our media to fierce competition.
The Israeli media, just like our Western media have their slants and inaccuracies. But just like our Western media, there are more than enough choices from which you can draw reasonable conclusions.
In the USA, the New York Times is considered to be substantially Liberal and biased to the Left, while the Wall Street Journal is substantially Conservative and biased to the Right.
In Israel, the Jerusalem Post is biased to the Right and Ha’ Aretz is biased to the Left. Read both to get an idea of where the center is.
Even though both of these media have their slants, they know full well that they better be honest if they want to keep their readers and advertisers. Just like in the Western media, where integrity is crucial to success and survival.
My hopes for Iraq, is that included in their quest for democracy, the first institution they will create will be a totally FREE and INDEPENDENT press, where honesty and accuracy will be as important to their survival, as it is to the survival of the Western media.
If the Iraqis can create a real FREE PRESS, there will be hope for the Middle East. And there can develop a domino effect that can bring down all the other Middle Eastern thugocracies.
However; before this happens, the Arab “Street” must first WANT to know the truth.
And if this can happen, this will be the greatest victory and success in the Middle East of them all.