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Monday, 27 October 2014 00:15

Internet exposes the sad state of news

By
President Putin President Putin eng.kremlin.ru

In the days of print news media it was often said “don’t believe everything you read in the papers.”  These days, it is often a case of believe many things that you don’t read in the mainstream news media. Thankfully, we have the Internet to fill in the gaps, because one glaring example has just surfaced.

Russian President Vladimir Putin last week gave a speech in Sochi to a group of global scholars called the Valdai Club, an organisation established in 2004 to promote discussion between Russian and international intellectuals. In that speech, President Putin lashed out at the USA and the West for, among other things, allegedly weakening global security for its own gains.

The story and a full video of the conference, including Putin’s speech, are on Russian government sponsored English language news site RT.com. One would think that such a speech by the leader of a global power that is currently being demonised by Western leaders and the Western media on a regular basis would be widely reported in the West. Incredibly, not one mainstream media outlet is carrying the story at the time of writing this.

A quick check of CNN.com, Foxnews.com, NYT.com, Washingtonpost.com and a myriad of other sites have not so much as mentioned Putin’s speech. A search on Google of the RT.com headline “Putin lashes out at US, West for destabilizing world” yields only the RT.com story and coverage from a few obscure alternative media sites.

The late comedian and social commentator George Carlin remarked during one of his memorable performances that the US educational system is not interested in producing educated, informed individuals but rather dumb automatons. Sadly, it appears he was right on the mark.

Meanwhile, the front page of the venerable NYT.com today carries a story about not eating late at night because of the dangers of gastric reflux!

RT.com, which is based in the US, is often derided as merely a Russian propaganda organ. It is true that it presents the news from a pro-Russian perspective – perhaps a bit like the way the BBC presents its news from a pro-British perspective. However, it is hard to imagine RT.com not faithfully reporting a speech concerning Russia made by President Obama, Prime Minister Cameron or Chancellor Merkel.

Recently a friend of mine had an elderly visitor from the US and they discussed the subject of political prisoner Julian Assange. The US visitor indignantly voiced the opinion that Assange should be tried for treason in the US. My friend calmly informed his US visitor that Assange is an Australian not an American and thus cannot be tried for treason.

An informed public is not what you will find in the US or for that matter in Australia, Canada, the UK and most of Western Europe. For this, the Western mainstream media, which have become little more than propaganda mouthpieces for their respective political establishments, must take the blame. They long ago abrogated their responsibility to report the news objectively in favour of catering to corporate and elite establishment interests.

Fortunately, there are alternative news outlets on the Internet such as informationclearinghouse.info, globalresearch.ca and of course RT.com, which is the only well funded alternative news organisation. You could even pay a visit to comedian and social commentator Russell Brand's YouTube Channel and watch his daily news digest aptly called "The Trews." You may or may not agree with much of what they report and opine on but at least they are willing to take on real news. Once again, thank goodness we still have a free and open Internet – something we should never take for granted.

Postscript: it turns out that several of the larger mainstream publications did cover this story. However, unlike the usual case with such stories, the RT.com story does not lead to the mainstream stories on Google - unusal for such important news. In addition, much of the coverage was sketchy and poor, leaving out the main thrust of Putin's speech and relegating the story to a lowly position in the publications. The Washington Post for instance focussed solely on Putin's criticism of the US Electoral College voting system. To date there has not been any in-depth commentary on Putin's speech, and no obvious link to it on Google News.

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Stan Beer

 

Stan Beer co-founded iTWire in 2005. With 30 plus years of experience working in IT and Australian technology media, Beer has published articles in most of the IT publications that have mattered, including the AFR, The Australian, SMH, The Age, as well as a multitude of trade publications.

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