June CommQuote

It’s June already. This month’s quote is taken from the Special 10th Anniversary Issue of Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism called The Future of Journalism. Editors Howard Tumber and Barbie Zelizer ask 38 of the Journal’s board members to weigh in on the subject with the goal that “hopefully, they will tell us much not only about where journalism mighte be in 10, 20, or 100 years’ time but where we are today in its surround.” From this gathering of voices I’ve selected from Oliver Boyd-Barret’s essay, Contra the Journalism of Complicity.

Herman and Chomsky’s ‘propaganda model’, as proposed in their (originally 1988) book, Manufacturing Consent, remains one of the most challenging, relevant, and profound, if also frequently misunderstood, underestimated and flawed, critiques of modern journalism….Herman and Chomsky were preoccupied by a central question: how was it conceivable that a supposedly independent and critical press failed to properly dissect the false pretexts for war in Vietnam? And, I will add, how do we deal with the dreary phenomenon of a press cavalry that invariably and unashamedly arrives too late to make the difference that is most desperately needed? Mounted upon white steeds, uniforms pressed, sabers rattling and swords glinting, blackened boots gleaming, the media charge with grand bravura onto a battlefi eld now littered with corpses and the dying, men, women and children in their hundreds of thousands, millions, whose vain and pitiful cries for help and vengeance have long been extinguished. Their mission is to observe the carnage, not expose the scam of warfare. Such is the main issue, the continuing sin and awful conundrum of a complicit press, as true of Vietnam in 1964 as it was of Iraq in 2003.”
–Oliver Boyd-Barrett, Contra the Journalism of Complicity, pp. 296-299, in Journalism (Volume 10, Number 3, June, 2009)

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