"The most effectual engines for [pacifying a nation] are the public papers... [A despotic] government always [keeps] a kind of standing army of newswriters who, without any regard to truth or to what should be like truth, [invent] and put into the papers whatever might serve the ministers. This suffices with the mass of the people who have no means of distinguishing the false from the true paragraphs of a newspaper." --Thomas Jefferson to G. K. van Hogendorp, Oct. 13, 1785. (*) ME 5:181, Papers 8:632 The Los Angeles Times has refused to release a video they received in which Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama is caught on tape praising an alleged advocate of the Palestinian Liberation Organization. Obama was attending a dinner that honored a colleague, Rashid Khalidi, who was at the University of Chicago during the same period as the presidential candidate. Khalidi has been an outspoken critic of the U.S. policy concerning Israel and has accused Israel of establishing an apartheid system of government that targeted Palestinians. Los Angeles Times Refuses to Release Video of Barack Obama A few years ago, Michael Finkel's journalism career was as dead as yesterday's newspaper because he had lied in an article for the New York Times Magazine. Today, the 36-year-old Bozeman, Mont., resident has banked a half- million dollar advance on his first book, sold its film rights to Brad Pitt's production company and has a year-old marriage with a baby on the way. After getting fired by the New York Times for lying in print, a reporter stumbled on the story of his life Our media institutions, deeply embedded in the power structures of society, are not providing the information that we need to make our democracy work. To put it another way, corporate media consolidation is a corrosive social force. It robs people of their voice in public affairs and pollutes the political culture. And it turns the debates about profound issues into a shouting match of polarized views promulgated by partisan apologists who trivialize democracy while refusing to speak the truth about how our country is being plundered. The new owner of the Tribune Company, real estate mogul Sam Zell, recently toured his new property Los Angeles Times, telling employees in the newsroom that the challenge is this: How do we get somebody 126 years old to get it up? "Well," said Zell, "I'm your Viagra." He told his journalists that he didn't have an editorial agenda or a perspective about newspapers' roles as civic institutions. "I'm a businessman," he said. "All what matters in the end is the bottom line." t r u t h o u t | Is the Fourth Estate a Fifth Column? All of us, you and I read and watch the media and listen daily to the blather from one side or the other as to who is the best candidate or why this bill is good and that one is bad etc. It has become increasingly obvious IMHO that the media has lost its objective ability to report the news in a fair manner and more so, lost is the obilgation that a Free Press has in this society to fairly report the news. With the ever increasing popularity of cable pundit sources like MSNBC, CNN, FOX people look to them more and more for their news. Now depending on what politcal party you happen to belong to that will more than likely will sway your viewing habits. My feelings are that none of these companies have met their obligation to the public to report to you and I in a fair and professional manner the news. More often than not it is scripted BLOGs that these pundits who in the guise of reporters deliver to the American public each day. The reasons for this are varied, but IMO it all comes down to corporate ratings. Ratings equals dollars and the more ratings the more dollars. So given that kind of environment, there would be no need to adhere to any professional standards. It is indeed a shame that the once great 4th estate in this country has now been assigned the same status as the tabliod pages in the supermarket checkout stand. When our press decides that the time has come to again adhere to the principle of ethics and realize their individual obligation to the American public , perhaps then it will again deserve the title of the 4th estate.