Friday, October 27, 2006

Land of the Free (Media)? Not.

There is a myth out there about the liberal media. It's just that, a myth. In reality, the media in this country is craven before the monstrous Republican machine and dares not ask the kind of accountability questions that most western governments face on a day-to-day basis. Between false balance, Nancy Grace, and mindless celebrity gossip, the media has abrogated its public service responsibility, and the situation is only getting worse.

Case in point: the major group supporting press freedom in the world, Reporters Without Borders, has ranked the United States number 53 out of 168 in terms of press freedoms, right up there with Botswana, Croatia, and Tonga. Even places like Ghana, Serbia, and Panama do better. It is by the far the worst performance by a western industrial country, especially one that likes to dub itself the "leader of the free world".

No, in case you were in any doubt about the integrity of this ranking, look no further than the recent refusal by NBC to run ads for the upcoming Dixie Chicks documentary, on the grounds that it "disparaging to President Bush". Funnily enough, the documentary is about the Dixie Chicks being hounded, harassed, and blacklisted simply for criticizing Bush and the war party. What would Serbia do?

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