‘Investigative journalism is dead’
With stories on "fake news" now dominating the headlines, and audiences not sure what to believe any longer, more people are looking to alternative media sources.
RT: Is the American public getting a fair breakdown on what is happening in the world today?
Mike Papantonio: It is difficult for the American public to ever get both sides of the story. What is happening in the US these days is a real nuanced type of propaganda. If you have a company, let’s say it is a weapons manufacturer that has an interest in turning up the heat on a conflict, like we saw with Iraq, or you have a news organization that understands that they can sell more advertising if they can create more interest on an issue like Iraq, they simply take the side that creates that interest.
As we saw with Iraq, the American people were completely left in the dark about what the real story was. It went as far as having the American public watch Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice testifying in front of the UN about uranium and the threat of weapons of mass destruction. And in the end, the American public obviously found out that that was not true. But it is difficult to discern what the real news is. Unfortunately, in the US right now, the best source of information is social media. It's moved away from pure corporate media where you expect ABC or CBS or NBC to give you the real story. That story is always tainted with what somebody who might be buying advertising has to say about the particular story. We really saw that with Iraq. We saw this huge push by the big advertisers, such as Boeing, McDonnell Douglas pushing the idea that we had to go to Iraq or all was lost. And then we saw the media pushing the story because they understood that if they can get America’s attention they sold more advertising. Unfortunately, that has been the situation here in the US – as well as other parts of the world - and in many parts of the world. You see the media reacting according to their best interest.
RT: Is it possible to change the current situation?
MP: Unfortunately, there is no single solution here. I think what becomes more and more important is that the American public, and not just the American public, but the world public, pays attention and evaluates according to many sources. I choose to go to social media because I know there are many sites that I believe far more than I would corporate media. Somebody else may have a different avenue that they use. But the only way that I go about preparing a story… is to go to multiple sources. And then figure out where I am being hustled, what is accurate and what is not, and that takes some work. Unfortunately, in most parts of the world, people are working, they have families to have to take care of, they have children in school, they have jobs to take care of. So, at the end of the day it is a lot of work to really find out what is real and what is not. I don’t know whether there is any one solution, but if I were trying to suggest where do you begin, most of the time I find the search is much better off with social media that is less affected most of the time by big advertisers. Now, it is affected by special interest groups. What we are seeing worldwide now is advertisers commandeering social media; special interest groups commandeering social media.
But there are still places where you have a better choice of information than you would get if you get home and what the nightly news. If you are going home and simply watching the nightly news in the US or most countries around the world, you are not getting any part of the real story. You are maybe getting what is being sold that moment for corporate media. In most parts of the world, investigative journalism is dead because they simply don’t take the time to really look at all sides of the story.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.