Journal: News & Comment

Thursday, May 09, 2002
# 5:59:00 PM:

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Media concentration

Organizations such as Project Censored and NewsWatch Canada try to track news that doesn't get covered by major media outlets, albeit from a left-wing bias. Here are a couple of stories I just heard about that might fit:

  • Microsoft, the company that actually invented the definition for the crime, was convicted of software piracy last September -- but, as the friend who forwarded the story to me noted, "this happened last year, but it seems that this week is when the North American news has heard about it and reporting it."

  • In 2000 and 2001, mysterious groups of young people, claiming to be "art students" from Israel (sometimes from schools that turned out not to exist), appeared at hundreds of offices and other facilities of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) -- and even at agents' homes -- supposedly trying to sell artwork. Their real motive seemed to be some sort of surveillance, perhaps espionage, perhaps as part of an ecstasy drug network. Yet major newspapers and TV networks in the U.S. essentially ignored the story (the full story at this link requires paid subscription), despite its implications of either Israeli espionage or large-scale surveillance operations by organized crime, and (just possibly) some sort of foreknowledge of the terrorist attacks that eventually came on September 11, 2001.

The owners, publishers, and editors of different sorts of news media inevitably have biases. But when media such as television, radio, and newspapers are owned by a small number of people, there is little opportunity for biases to compete with one another, and thus to show us a fuller picture of the world.

What's more worrying is that the greater diversity of opinion and analysis on the Internet somehow missed the Microsoft conviction, perhaps because of the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, which happened a mere couple of weeks beforehand.


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