July 11, 2003

Something Stinks About Big Media

In case you missed it, and you probably did, there were massive student protests in Iran earlier this week, as well as substantial protests in now-Chinese-controlled Hong Kong.

I'm trying to understand the dearth of big media news coverage on these stories. I mean, students demonstrating and calling for regime change in Iran, IRAN!, should make news stands everywhere and be covered by as many networks as there are channels? Why? Because those students need to get the word out; they're relying on the world to pick up on their cause. The pen is mightier than the sword only if the pen finds mass distribution. As it is, it seems, the protests were quickly crushed, and the majority of the world remains mostly oblivious to their courage to speak out and their violent oppression.

Look at those pictures. And then look at these (both links via Andrew Sullivan). Just for a moment, imagine this type of crackdown happening across U.S. campuses (Kent State being an unfortunate exception). It would be splashed across every newspapaper from small town weeklies to the most omnipresent daily. Ah, but this was Iran, IRAN! Who cares? Well, damn it, I care! Here was a chance to encourage revolution from within a country rather than rumbling tanks across the borders. A revolution against an outdated and oppressive Islamic mullah-controlled government. With just a little coverage, we could have dealt a massive blow to their stranglehold on power, all without requiring a shot. But, nothing, or very nearly nothing. Way to drop the ball, guys.

I wonder, sometimes, if the big media organizations have simply gotten lazy, content to sprawl lazily on their lucrative advertising revenue, sacrificing journalistic integrity just so they can have a wealthy pulpit from which to spew their political viewpoints. Most daily newspapers, I think, have become mouthpieces for either the right or the left, with few genuinely interested in maintaining fair and balanced reporting. They've become tools of persuasion rather than disseminators of information. This goes against everything I learned in my journalism classes, and I seethe sometimes when I read editorials and commentary.

But, this was different. This was actual news, big time earth-trembling news. Iranian students demanding change. Hong Kong residents demanding free elections. This was like selective hearing on the part of big media, a twist on the tree falling the woods question. If demonstrations take place in world political hotspots, and no news organizations cover it, do they really happen?

Unfortunately, it seems, in this case, they never really did.

UPDATE: Fascinating (Via Instapundit).

UPDATE: Apologies to the Cheddar X. Once again, I'm leaving work early and cannot blog to the extent to which I'd like. I'll try to get at it on Sunday. Or something.

Posted by Ryan at July 11, 2003 10:29 AM
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