0756: "Public Opinion"

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SirMustapha
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Re: "Public Opinion" discussion (#756)

Postby SirMustapha » Mon Jun 21, 2010 11:56 am UTC

folkhero wrote:This joke seemed way to obvious to me. He wanted to get from point A (valid criticism of television news) to point B (humor) and just took the easiest possible path.


I agree. Making fun of the media is COMPLETELY commonplace, and if you just try to play along with it without coming up with something truly fresh, it'll fall into irrelevance.

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Re: "Public Opinion" discussion (#756)

Postby The1exile » Mon Jun 21, 2010 12:00 pm UTC

Snow02 wrote:Case in point....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nda_OSWeyn8

"Could be a crackhead!"

I especially like "this is a special leprechaun pipe passed down through thousands of years from my grandfather who was irish". Dude.

DVC wrote:How about just implementing some sort of peer rating system then?

You mean to solve our problem with the public's view being overblown and misinterpreted in modern media, the system should be changed to be rated... by the public? This isn't a clear cut issue. Either you open the door to more vox pops, or to regulation of the news - which is superficially good, but can go bad very quickly, and so things like overblown 24 hour news desks are sent to try us. Admittedly, I do consider the beeb to be a better compromise between "regulation" and "randomers on the street" than most.
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Re: "Public Opinion" discussion (#756)

Postby DVC » Mon Jun 21, 2010 12:17 pm UTC

The1exile wrote:You mean to solve our problem with the public's view being overblown and misinterpreted in modern media, the system should be changed to be rated... by the public?


Do I have to explain what a peer is? It's not "the public" in the same way scientific peer review articles aren't reviewed by the public. Your other points are valid, these are things that need to be considered. I'm just annoyed that everyone agrees "news" hardly deserves the name a lot of the time, but nobody wants to consider a system for improving service.

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Re: "Public Opinion" discussion (#756)

Postby Inkstain » Mon Jun 21, 2010 12:25 pm UTC

As I read that comic, I was in the middle of writing an article for my newspaper "celebrating" a milestone in web hits for our web site, where we give the product away for free and wonder why paid circulation continues to dwindle and jobs are in danger. I was asked to include quotes from readers on Facebook saying why they visit our site. I felt like I was writing the obit on my own career (which, to be fair, has had a terminal illness for years, I'm surprised it has lasted this long).

When you see reporters out there doing ridiculous man on the street interviews, know that even the reporters themselves know that it's ridiculous BS. We just have to do it.

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Re: "Public Opinion" discussion (#756)

Postby DragonHawk » Mon Jun 21, 2010 12:47 pm UTC

DVC wrote:
DragonHawk wrote:DVC's idea of "regulating" news scares me.

How about just implementing some sort of peer rating system then?

That sounds a lot more sane to me.

Of course, I suspect it would be largely pointless in the end. Sensationalism sells. It seems like most people would rather get fired up about stuff, and have someone to blame, then to hear that their own actions have consequences.

"What the American public doesn't know is what makes them the American public." (Tommy Boy)
-----
SirMustapha wrote:Making fun of the media is COMPLETELY commonplace...

Hmmm. What about complaining about pundits making fun of the media?
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Re: "Public Opinion" discussion (#756)

Postby RandomMarius » Mon Jun 21, 2010 2:12 pm UTC

I stopped reading news24.com a while ago in favor of iol.co.za.

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Re: "Public Opinion" discussion (#756)

Postby Malph » Mon Jun 21, 2010 2:30 pm UTC

Kain wrote:I took about a two year hiatus from watching the news (mostly because my roommate is a rather far right libertarian, and hates when I watch CNN, just like I hate when he watches FOX) and was startled when I started watching regular news again this summer. Twitter posts? Really? WTF?


Do you live in a sitcom or something?

I barely ever watch the news and will usually stop when something major happens (Katrina, Earthquakes, Oil Spill, Michael Jackson dying). There's only so much of a shit I can give about any given matter and I usually try to reserve it for when something major happens in the story (Breaking News! There's still oil in the Gulf. We now go to our on site reporter to explain to us all the nothing that has happened since the morning news).
Last edited by Malph on Mon Jun 21, 2010 2:43 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: "Public Opinion" discussion (#756)

Postby riddler » Mon Jun 21, 2010 2:32 pm UTC

One premise is that the News Media never before relied on the voices of the people. They always did, but with the Internet, they just don't have to work as hard.

A second premise is that the News Media, more than the general public, are more apt to have factual reporting. They do not.

The third premise is that we, the public, should accept the well-informed, thoughtful opinions of talking heads, rather than the people that we actually interact with. We should not.

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Re: "Public Opinion" discussion (#756)

Postby not baby Newt » Mon Jun 21, 2010 2:45 pm UTC

Although the alt text is funny, it bugs me a bit. The chef on Titanic has no option that'll save his customers and job there. If televised news really is in that position then it seems pointless to try to do a decent job.

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Re: "Public Opinion" discussion (#756)

Postby Inkstain » Mon Jun 21, 2010 2:57 pm UTC

riddler wrote:A second premise is that the News Media, more than the general public, are more apt to have factual reporting. They do not.


Respectfully disagree.

The third premise is that we, the public, should accept the well-informed, thoughtful opinions of talking heads, rather than the people that we actually interact with. We should not.


Whether or not you are correct here is irrelevant. The problem is the assumption that the "news" is or should be someone giving their opinions on issues. I know what passes for news on cable television these days didn't invent commentary, but there was a time when news involved reporters finding actual experts and relaying the facts and opinions those experts give.

Would returning to that save a dying medium? Probably not. But at least we could die with a little dignity.

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Re: "Public Opinion" discussion (#756)

Postby neoliminal » Mon Jun 21, 2010 3:22 pm UTC

News is so 3 days ago.
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0073YYXRC
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Re: "Public Opinion" discussion (#756)

Postby Technical Ben » Mon Jun 21, 2010 3:35 pm UTC

It's funny because it's true. :cry:
[/Goes back to selling proverbial ice cones on his proverbial Titanic.]
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Re: "Public Opinion" discussion (#756)

Postby soren121 » Mon Jun 21, 2010 4:02 pm UTC

pgn674 wrote:The img-title sounds like a political cartoon. Any artists want to take a whack at it?


Sno-Cones-on-the-Titanic.png
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Re: "Public Opinion" discussion (#756)

Postby Sunidesus » Mon Jun 21, 2010 4:04 pm UTC

DragonHawk wrote:
DVC wrote:
DragonHawk wrote:DVC's idea of "regulating" news scares me.

How about just implementing some sort of peer rating system then?

That sounds a lot more sane to me.

Of course, I suspect it would be largely pointless in the end. Sensationalism sells. It seems like most people would rather get fired up about stuff, and have someone to blame, then to hear that their own actions have consequences.


The problem being that any peers doing the reviewing would most likely have the same ridiculous ideas about news as the originators. Plus, the folks in charge are entirely too worried about getting people to watch instead of worrying about informing people.

I work in news (on the production end, not the newsroom end, and thank goodness for that - newsrooms are disturbing places) and the things that go on behind the scenes are downright scary. The people in charge of how a story is written frequently don't have a clue as to what the story is actually about. Just a couple days ago I heard a producer say "I teased this story three times and I have no idea what it's about." Then there's the reporter that is doing a military story and asks "What's NATO?"

And then we have the bane of one of the anchor's existence (the anchor is smart/awesome and likes to actually have the things she reads be, ya know, accurate) who has done the "autism is caused by vaccines" story in the health segment, wrote a story about "prostrate cancer", tried to convince me that coyotes are members of the weasel family, didn't see a problem with running a graphic titled "Bear Siting", didn't believe me when I told him that in Finland they speak Finnish, teased a story as being about a "Racy Ad"... it wasn't racy, it was racist. And heaven help me whenever they run stories with statistics/math in them. They are almost always either wrong or misleading.

I really do enjoy my job, it's fun and it suits me well. But the newsroom is a whole different story, I think I would go insane if I had to work down there.

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Re: "Public Opinion" discussion (#756)

Postby tastelikecoke » Mon Jun 21, 2010 4:09 pm UTC

This one is much funnier than the others, I admit.

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Re: "Public Opinion" discussion (#756)

Postby DragonHawk » Mon Jun 21, 2010 4:40 pm UTC

riddler wrote:A second premise is that the News Media, more than the general public, are more apt to have factual reporting. They do not.

For "News Media" without further qualification, I would agree. However, in general, I have found the general public to be remarkably ill-informed, misinformed, and willing to believe whatever someone tells them. Look at all the crap that circulates as email chain letters. "Common knowledge is commonly wrong." "Information may want to be free, but nothing says it wants to be correct."
riddler wrote:The third premise is that we, the public, should accept the well-informed, thoughtful opinions of talking heads, rather than the people that we actually interact with. We should not.

Again, that statement is ambiguous without qualification, but given most of the people I interact with every day, I think we would be much better off listening to "well-informed experts" than the "ignorant masses we actually interact with".

-----

Sunidesus wrote:
DragonHawk wrote:
DVC wrote:How about just implementing some sort of peer rating system then?

That sounds a lot more sane to me.
The problem being that any peers doing the reviewing would most likely have the same ridiculous ideas about news as the originators.

Such a system would only be useful if it was independent and unbiased. I'm thinking something like Consumer Reports.
Plus, the folks in charge are entirely too worried about getting people to watch instead of worrying about informing people.

Indeed. I see that as the big problem. That, and the fact that many of the "viewers" are all too eager to fall for it. I know several people who complain when the news is "boring", and/or have commented that they prefer it to be "entertaining".
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Re: "Public Opinion" discussion (#756)

Postby JohnTheWysard » Mon Jun 21, 2010 5:08 pm UTC

Reporter: "Which is a worse problem - ignorance or apathy?"
Person on the Street: "I don't know, and I don't care!"

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Re: "Public Opinion" discussion (#756)

Postby Eleonoway » Mon Jun 21, 2010 5:55 pm UTC

i'm surprised nobody posted this video yet:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQnd5ilKx2Y

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Re: "Public Opinion" discussion (#756)

Postby SpringLoaded12 » Mon Jun 21, 2010 6:22 pm UTC

I don't even watch the news anymore, because any time I do, the longer I watch, the more irritated I become with the world. I still end up receiving the big news, like the BP oil spill recently, and 9/11 back in 2001 (Or was it 2003? My memory is not great). But please, people, don't watch the news; it's a huge downer.
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Re: "Public Opinion" discussion (#756)

Postby theflatworm » Mon Jun 21, 2010 6:38 pm UTC

Awesome. Best XKCD in a LONG time :).

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Re: "Public Opinion" discussion (#756)

Postby lesmith11 » Mon Jun 21, 2010 7:03 pm UTC

I don't know if anyone has said this already (I normally read comments first but not today) but...

...does anyone have the feeling he means us?

Edit: As in "What do you think of this comic?" And now I have read the comments, yes, someone has said that already.
Last edited by lesmith11 on Mon Jun 21, 2010 7:37 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: "Public Opinion" discussion (#756)

Postby murgatroid99 » Mon Jun 21, 2010 7:23 pm UTC


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Re: "Public Opinion" discussion (#756)

Postby spriteless » Mon Jun 21, 2010 7:29 pm UTC

I have one main bone to pick with this comic, and only one. The press isn't mindless to go for public opinion in such a hamfisted manner. There is a condescending logic to the decision to do so. The press sees the bloggers and the facebook and thinks to itself 'wow, these losers think they are as good at news as The Press. They are uneducated narcissists who are full of themselves. I bet they'd buy even more reasons to be full of themselves.' The press then goes after the dumbest, most narcissist people in order to cater to what they think we want. We either get what we want when we agree with such a down to earth person, or we get what we want when we feel superior to such a plebeian. Thus, the press sells us what we want. :roll:

Yes, 'us.' If you're watching it, it is for you.

And peer reviewed X just means it will be the peer's agenda, which is not necessarily better than a media company's agenda, or a government's. The problem is humans trusting humans. : P

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Re: "Public Opinion" discussion (#756)

Postby twigman20 » Mon Jun 21, 2010 7:32 pm UTC

DVC wrote:
The1exile wrote:You mean to solve our problem with the public's view being overblown and misinterpreted in modern media, the system should be changed to be rated... by the public?


Do I have to explain what a peer is? It's not "the public" in the same way scientific peer review articles aren't reviewed by the public. Your other points are valid, these are things that need to be considered. I'm just annoyed that everyone agrees "news" hardly deserves the name a lot of the time, but nobody wants to consider a system for improving service.


The problem with your method is this.

There is no viable way to make money rating news programs, so the government would have to subsidize it. The fact that this group is funded by the government means that it has to answer to the government. If the government at anytime wants to change the rules, it could simply by threatening to cut funding. Even if news programs weren't required to get a good enough rating to be allowed to show their material, they would have to in order to be trusted by the public. The result would be the government controlling the media, however distant the connection.

I would suggest bigger criminal penalties for misrepresenting facts. I do not see how personal opinions in news are a bad thing. The public has to educate themselves, they have the choice on what news station to watch (if any). And I am sure we can all agree that the viewpoints of FOX and NBC are dramatically different.

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Re: "Public Opinion" discussion (#756)

Postby masterfreek64 » Mon Jun 21, 2010 8:14 pm UTC

Although risking verifying that I'd verify Godwin's Law once more, doesn't the "politician" look slightly Hitler-ish?

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Re: "Public Opinion" discussion (#756)

Postby SchighSchagh » Mon Jun 21, 2010 8:14 pm UTC

if you can't beat them, join em

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Re: "Public Opinion" discussion (#756)

Postby DragonHawk » Mon Jun 21, 2010 9:03 pm UTC

twigman20 wrote:There is no viable way to make money rating news programs, so the government would have to subsidize it.

In theory, I would disagree. Again, I'd hold up Consumer Reports as a model. It's not-for-profit and funded entirely by donations and subscription fees. They rate products on criteria they pick, and don't care if they make businesses unhappy. (Indeed, they've had to fend off lawsuits from a number of companies who thought it easier to litigate than to improve their products.)

Now, it may well be that there wouldn't be enough market demand to adequately fund such a similar activity for rating of news reports. Hence the "in theory" part above.
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Re: "Public Opinion" discussion (#756)

Postby neoliminal » Mon Jun 21, 2010 9:19 pm UTC

Personally I think a lot of businesses would be better off as "not for profit". Would remove a lot of the burden to cook the books for share prices and live for the next quarter attitude that has made this country great... and by great, I mean suck.
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Re: "Public Opinion" discussion (#756)

Postby billythehick » Mon Jun 21, 2010 10:54 pm UTC

I'm declaring a new law of modern debate: "Ryder's First Law".

"As a great social standard faces an inevitable and irreversable change, someone will compare the futile actions it inspires to an action undertaken on the Titanic"

Ryder's Second Law:
"Any great and widely-reported crisis will be compared to 9/11"

Now I just have to sit back and wait for them to catch on. And it's all thanks to xkcd.

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Re: "Public Opinion" discussion (#756)

Postby DragonHawk » Mon Jun 21, 2010 11:32 pm UTC

billythehick wrote:Ryder's Second Law:
"Any great and widely-reported crisis will be compared to 9/11"

I think that one's taken. The concept itself certainly became a cliche on Slashdot within a few months.
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Re: "Public Opinion" discussion (#756)

Postby The1exile » Tue Jun 22, 2010 12:38 am UTC

DVC wrote:Do I have to explain what a peer is? It's not "the public" in the same way scientific peer review articles aren't reviewed by the public.

Sure, but in so far as "journalists being judged by journalists" version of peer review goes, we have that in the form of journalism awards e.g. the pulitzer and contemporaries, specifically designed to be given for excellent, factual and relevant reporting. It probably doesn't affect your perspective of your news source, however - or if it does, certainly not enough for you to do anything more than apply a modicum of critical thinking to the things you read or watch, to wit, realising that The Sun is not a place for informed intellectual debate (especially if in one of the helpful footnotes on page 3) and that if Rush Limbaugh is decrying something it doesn't mean he's right. So the alternatives are to lean towards a more public rating system - which being the butt of the joke, we can assume is daft - or a more governmental controlled media policy, which tends towards anti-libertarianism. Or we could settle for a happy medium - something a bit like what we have now.
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Re: "Public Opinion" discussion (#756)

Postby Chopperman » Tue Jun 22, 2010 1:28 am UTC

billythehick wrote:Ryder's Second Law:
"Any great and widely-reported crisis will be compared to 9/11"


Oh god, what kind of suffix will this tradition attach to events? We already have -gate, which they toss on to any old scandal these days. Maybe they'll search for a related word that rhymes with or sounds vaguely like"nine," and attach -11 at the end? The BP oil disaster is Brine-11. H1N1 is Swine-11.

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Re: "Public Opinion" discussion (#756)

Postby DragonHawk » Tue Jun 22, 2010 2:08 am UTC

Chopperman wrote:Oh god, what kind of suffix will this tradition attach to events? We already have -gate, which they toss on to any old scandal these days. Maybe they'll search for a related word that rhymes with or sounds vaguely like"nine," and attach -11 at the end? The BP oil disaster is Brine-11. H1N1 is Swine-11.

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Re: "Public Opinion" discussion (#756)

Postby InflatableSoulmate » Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:29 am UTC

The 'News Media' is a business and nothing more. The reason peer review works for scientific publications is because it goes on in academia, though there is still even speculation on the robustness of peer review surrounding Global Warming (I'm not here to make an argument about global warming, just pointing out that people have come to believe there was some social tampering involved in the peer review process, whether that belief is true or completely off base).

Being a business, the only way to change the News Media is to find a way to influence their bottom line. I think the best way to accomplish this would be to set up a business whose sole purpose is to debunk the crap that the media touts as fact (I will refer to the business as the 'debunkers'). When a news medium comes up with a statistical review of something to try to tell us that 'Australia is the fattest country', the debunkers would follow up, find out about where the claim comes from, and explain why the statistics were reported this way, and what other ways you could interpret those statistics. When a person is paraphrased by an anchor/reporter, the debunkers should find out exactly what was said so that the context of the comment can be relayed. When a poll is reported, the debunkers explain how the sampling was taken, and what sorts of possible anomalies could occur because of what group was surveyed.

Basically, they would be a news outlet, because they would be researching the same things other journalists were reporting on, but they would go that extra step to make sure that more of the original information came through. You would have each political party drooling to find errors in the reporting of the news organization that they see as being controlled by the opposing party, and submissions for 'what should be checked' would give the public the ability to vent some steam when the 'opposing news agency' reports something they don't agree with... instead of just being forced to yell at the tv screen.

In order for the business to be successful, it would have to be seen as being an impartial review of the reporting of other news outlets, so in a business sense, it would be 'better' to stay true to your game, rather than being brought into the bias that the regular media is believed to be succumbing to. If someone did this and did it right, I think it would not only help steer the media back to the basics of journalism, but also make money hand over fist.

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Re: "Public Opinion" discussion (#756)

Postby clanders » Tue Jun 22, 2010 10:37 am UTC

Randy's bland social commentary aside... oh wait, there's nothing else to this comic.

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Re: "Public Opinion" discussion (#756)

Postby xnick » Tue Jun 22, 2010 11:48 am UTC

Reporter: "Do you agree with this politician statements?"
Pedestrian: "In case you haven't noticed already, dear reporter, I am the politician who said that." - he said doing facepalm -.

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Re: "Public Opinion" discussion (#756)

Postby michael24easilybored » Tue Jun 22, 2010 3:45 pm UTC

amusingly, after looking at this comic I went over to a UK news website and this story was the first thing I saw:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/ju ... udget-cuts

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Re: "Public Opinion" discussion (#756)

Postby RabbitWho » Tue Jun 22, 2010 6:53 pm UTC

Tis mad isn't it, the only advantage TV has over youtube is that it's made by people who are better than us, and now they're taking that away from us. It's not a place for the brightest and best anymore it's a place for us. .but with less of us and with no opportunity for interaction. They really don't get it!
I want to see clever people! Look at this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EksuA4IAQIk
That's what television should be, a half an hour to an hour of people who are far superior to me having a chat, or people who are far funnier than me mocking me and other things etc. Tis a showcase for the most talented and most creative.. The strength of the internet is that it's for everyone and it gives you so much choice! The strength of the television is quality and budget! and they throw that out the window!

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Re: "Public Opinion" discussion (#756)

Postby DragonHawk » Tue Jun 22, 2010 8:03 pm UTC

Just came across this one, which I had either forgotten or never committed to memory in the first place:

"We should bear in mind that, in general, it is the object of our newspapers rather to create a sensation - to make a point - than to further the cause of truth." (Edgar Allen Poe, "The Mystery of Marie Roget", written in 1842)
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Re: "Public Opinion" discussion (#756)

Postby alreadytaken4536 » Tue Jun 22, 2010 8:57 pm UTC

What if instead of regulating, or "peer reviewing" our news stations, we just had, in addition to what already exists, a government mandated news station? Such a thing would seem ideal if we wanted a separate station that is required to present balanced news. Would it work though? Would the reports be biased to the dominant party of the government, or would it be subject to "cover ups" of topics the government thinks would be harmful to itself to cover?
Last edited by alreadytaken4536 on Tue Jun 22, 2010 11:40 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.


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