The Persistence of Ignorance
8 Information Age Journalism and Ignorance 135
8 Information Age Journalism and Ignorance ne of the last professions one would usually associate with ignorance (particularly in an age of information plenty) is journalism. In the popular imagination, the valiant men and women of the press were traditionally associated with uncovering facts, exposing corruption and generally keeping the public well informed with credible and useful material. Feldstein (2004) even cast journalists as being similar to oral historians who aim to educate the citizenry and protect historical knowledge for the future. If these are rather romanticized views, they may be tempered by the under- standing that the history and practice of news is somewhat more politically involved and economically driven. O’Boyle (1968, p. 300) noted the “intimate association between journalism and politics” that could be found, for example in the French newspaper business of the early 1800s where “writing for the newspapers was regarded as a normal step in a man’s political career and an accepted means of gaining political office” and that in England, Germany and France “the occupation combined belles lettres, reporting, and political agitation” in varying measures (p. 290). Today’s increasingly corporate-minded, and corporate-owned journalism is further influenced by the whims of powerful corporate owners who indirectly or directly determine editorial leanings and story coverage. According to Dugger (2000, p. 49), The owner of the corporation appoints the CEO who appoints the managers who appoint the editors. Those editors dependent, through the intermediate executives, on the pleasure of the owner and the CEO, hire and fire...
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