posted on Dec, 25 2005 @ 12:32 AM
While it's certainly true that PR flacks pose a threat because they can and do spin stories to create a particular impression, the heart of the
threat that they pose is that reporters are less likely now then ever before to investigate a story on their own, and more likely to simply repeat
whatever is in the press releases.
This is in part just laziness, and in part a determination to curry favor with the rich and the powerful, and it's nominally legitimate because of a
quirk in the reporting of news.
This quirk is best illustrated by the Weekly World News. See-- every story in the Weekly World News is indisputably true. How is that? It's
because the story never says simply "Bat boy found in Arkansas cave," but rather, "According to Professor Renaldo Loaf of Wombat College, a bat boy
was found in an Arkansas cave." By placing the statement in somebody else's mouth, it doesn't matter whether the statement is objectively true or
not, since the media source isn't reporting the event itself-- rather it is reporting that so-and-so said that blah, blah, blah.
So when a media outlet reports that, "according to sources in the Senator's office, 'blah, blah, blah,'" that story is demonstrably true. The
sources really did say that. Of course, the statement itself might not be true, but since the reporter relayed nothing beyond the fact that the
statement was made, that's wholly immaterial. He came in, punched the clock, typed up a non-story that did nothing more than relay what somebody
else said, punched the clock again, and went home. And for his fine service he can count on being invited to the monthly cocktail party on the
If, on the other hand, he were to actually investigate the statement and discover that it's not true-- that the senator or at least his PR staff were
lying, that would just require a lot of extra hours and extra work that he'd rather not invest, would about guarantee that he wouldn't be invited to
the monthly cocktail party, and would probably never get printed anyway, since the news editor cherishes his own invitation to the monthly cocktail
Of course, this is nothing new. As has already been pointed out, this dilemma has faced us essentially since the founding of this nation. However,
since it's a deliberately hidden truth, it has to be rediscovered by those few among every generation that look closely enough to notice it.
And, luckily enough, the thing that provides the best opportunity to counter this, at least until such time as the powers-that-be can come up with
both a justification and a method to control it, is the internet. We don't get invited to the monthly cocktail party anyway, so we don't have
anything to lose. Well... we don't have anything to lose except our freedom, and that only if the powers-that-be can manage to convince enough
people of the vividly anti-American notion that criticism of the government is a greater threat than the flaws that are the subject of the
[edit on 25-12-2005 by Bob LaoTse]