Symptom: Press Bias

In 1983 fifty corporations controlled 90% of the media. Today only six companies control 90% of the media These corporations promote what suits their bottom line and even censor what they politically don’t agree with ­ Disney kept its subsidiary Miramax from distributing the Michael Moore film Fahrenheit 9/11 because it was critical of the Bush Administration. With the corporations in control of TV, radio, movies and major Internet outlets, where is there room for a free press?

There is no freedom in the free press.

♥ The International Freedom of Expression Exchange was founded in 1992 and is a global network of 80 non­government organizations dedicated to preserving freedom of expression as a basic human right. It is one of many organizations created in the last few decades such as Reporters Without Borders and Freedom House. These organizations primarily draw attention to the lack of a free press worldwide: according to Freedom House’s Freedom of the Press index, only 14 percent of the world’s citizens live in countries with a free press.

♥ Despite all the organizations and people active in promoting a free press, a 2014 report from Freedom of the Press found every region, except small parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, suffered setbacks toward their goal of a free press.

♥ The United Nations and its member states declared in 1946 that freedom of information is a fundamental human right. It commemorates May 3 as Press Freedom Day, created an advisory group on press freedoms, and established the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize. It also has released numerous publications that document trends in press freedom worldwide, the most recent of which show that despite all efforts, press freedom worldwide is at the lowest point in over a decade.

♥ Even when the media is not state controlled, it is corporate controlled, with a strong emphasis on playing on our fears. Media and their advertisers employ psychologists and other experts to play to our brain chemistry, which is very responsive to fear. For example, even as major crime rates were falling in the past two decades, the public believed crime was rising. Corporations are benefiting from this fear.

♥ As media hypes up every issue, we become anesthetized to the wars, the famines, the next disaster, rendering us more and more out of touch with our compassion for the rest of humanity.

♥ Big media has also created the media personality, people who are famous for just being famous. We are fed endless stories of what they are wearing, whom they are dating and their petty issues, distracting us from real issues facing our world.

♥ The media plays on our biases and jealousies and get more attention if they paint an issue black and white. This feeds into our brain’s tendency to pit us against them, dividing us against ourselves. Our challenge is overcoming the basic tendencies of a brain designed to operate in a world very different from today. Understanding our brain is a first step.

We need to Leap Forward!


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