Saturday, November 19, 2005

I Have Become "Media Illiterate"

I have discovered that I am unable to understand the news media that surrounds me.

For example, The Canadian radio news from the CBC has been reporting that new laws are being discussed to give police access to all sorts of new communications you may choose to use like e-mail and instant messaging. The government says they are just coming into line with the laws of other western nations and that we are being perceived as slack in this area of law enforcement. Privacy groups and civil rights organizations are, we are told, concerned. What the CBC never mentioned in these news reports is whether the powers being given to law and security types require a warrant. I would have thought that this would be an important piece of information. It would have required one of the following sentences:

"While the new monitoring powers would require a warrant, privacy groups are still concerned." (In which case we might want to ask how this concerns them so we can evaluate the arguments for ourselves.)

or

"The new monitoring powers would not require a warrant which has privacy groups especially concerned."
Given that there were half a dozen other sentences they could have cut from the reports to make time for this seemingly vital piece of information, It would seem that the CBC either does not wish to admit that it is too lazy to keep the public informed about such an important issue or they just lack any real understanding of the issue. But since that would require seeing the media as incompetent... there must be something wrong with me.

Another example of my inability to comprehend modern media in this sophisticated, fast-paced world was provided by the news tonight. It reported that a bomb went off in a crowded market in Iraq. Now I have given up on my closed minded ways and I accept that the world is not as it once appeared. When the BBC Online News and The New York Times reported on tons of uranium found in Iraq in 2004 and 2003 respectively they were not being truthful (even though I have yet to see a retraction) and I have come to accept that all of the reports of reconstruction in Iraq being made by the State Department and USAID and others are lies and that the media has decided not to report on this lying for some reason. I have even come to accept the portrait of Iraq as a pile of lava and ash after being decimated by US forces. But what I can not understand is how a crowded marketplace can be bombed when there are no crowded market places in Iraq. Was it flown in wholesale to provide the ash and lava covered Iraqis with a positive example and if so, how is it that the US forces could not even provide security for this one little crowded market during its tour of Iraq? (How many helicopters does it take to move a crowded market around Iraq? Why do the crowds not fall off when it is in flight?)

Maybe I need to take a course on journalism so that I can figure out how to understand what the papers and TV news anchors tell me.

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