Sunday, November 06, 2005

Al Gore and the Media and Democracy and Voting and the Kitchen Sink

A little over a month ago, Al Gore gave a speech about the threat of the media to our democracy.

I never saw this appear on any major news outlets and still cannot find copies of transcripts besides in liberal media websites. He does outline a serious issue however. Is democracy possible without an open discussion of ideas? I personally have to agree with him, that the large corporations that run the media have a specific interest in NOT reporting "bad" news.

Of interest to me lately has been electronic voting. I still believe there are serious issues with our electronic voting devices. Private corporations controlling the machines and not making their software open source scares me greatly. However, I hear very little of this in the mainstream news. Is this a problem that no one cares or is it that we want to believe we live in a perfect democracy where vote rigging could not occur? Does our American culture prompt us to avoid discussing serious issues at the core of our country?

This post comes immediately after seeing "Good Night and Good Luck" (an excellent film), which shows Edward Murrow arguing that television as a medium should be used for education and not simply entertainment. Is it possible to educate people through televisions, especially now where it is almost entirely viewed as an entertainment source? Will this occur with all of our mass communication mediums? Is television a good tool for discussion since it is one-way?

I think Jon Stewart of Daily Show fame has begun making it his personal mission to point out the flaws in "news" coverage by television. Shows such as Crossfire are used as entertainment and drama instead of forums for public discussion. Has journalism lost its power to address societal concerns involving politicians and corporations since both seem to have such sway over them? Can it be regained? The Watergate scandal broke in the newspapers after 6 months of research by the authors. Are news companies willing to invest that much time in a story that may never come to fruition? If so are horrible scandals occurring constantly that are never discovered?

Well I have rambled quite a bit, but these are all issues on my mind of late. I know the answers to some of my questions, but the most troubling our how do I help fix the problems I see?