As the election year continues, the Bill Moyers and Company site provided this reminder and warning from the late reporter and editor Ben Bagdikian:
"In the United States, voters cast ballots for individual candidates who are not bound to any party program except rhetorically, and not always then…. No American citizen can vote intelligently without knowledge of the ideas, political background, and commitments of each individual candidate... No national paper or broadcast station can report adequately the issues and candidates in every one of the 65,000 local voting districts. Only locally based journalism can do it, and if it does not, voters become captives of the only alternative information, paid political propaganda, or no information at all.”
"As regional daily newspapers have shuttered, as local newspapers have downsized, as local radio hosts have been replaced by syndicated “content,” and as old lines of distinction between broadcast and print and digital media ownership have been blurred (thanks to wrongheaded federal legislation, lax regulation, and greed), communities across this country have become information deserts. Voter turnout for local elections is often so dismal that it invites questioning about how cities, villages, and towns are governed — and how those in power are held to account."
The messages are from Bagdikian's book: "Media Monopoly." Yes, journalism must serve the people and not the (rich) few and corporations. A healthy democracy needs robust journalism and not a media monopoly that reports propaganda and entertainment masquerading as hard news.