I just stumbled upon an article marking the 75th anniversary of the BBC. About one third of it is based on Jeffrey Sachs’ Reith Lectures.
Here’s a few important points:
A terrorist shot in Sarajevo provided the pretext for German aggression which started World War I. 9/11 was used by the Bush Administration to launch the Iraq War. In both cases, trigger-happy leaders exploited the incidents for their own political purposes.
In both cases, the national media played along. The failures of the American media to slow or stop the descent into the Iraq War are the greatest media failures of our current era…
In short, almost all governments lie and lie relentlessly. Yet governments can be made to lie less frequently by being exposed and held to account by the professional media.
He does mention blogs (such as this one) and concludes: The problem with the internet, of course, is that it transmitted considerable flakiness alongside pithy truth telling. Blog sites, for good and ill, are unfiltered and unaccountable.
So what about getting the best of both worlds – the accountability and ethics of professional journalism AND the freedom of expression associated with the Internet (and blogs)?