Letter to the Editor

News media no more trustworthy than government

Tuesday, December 31, 2002

To the editor:

For months the news media have bombarded us with when and how we will engage in a pre-emptive war on Iraq. Notably missing, however, has been any serious discussion of if we should engage in this invasion. Many people are psychologically conditioned to accept what would have been unthinkable only a short time ago: An unprovoked invasion of a sovereign nation that cannot attack us -- an obviously immoral and risky war costing billions.

After World War I, Edward Bernays, the father of public relations, described the power of modern media in this way: "If we understand the group mind, it is now possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing it." Is this what is happening?

I personally believe most mainstream, national news is significantly biased due to massive corporate consolidation and ownership, the hidden influence of advertisers and similar factors. Serious investigative reporting has largely disappeared, and the bulk of so-called news stories originate directly from the public relations offices of corporations and government agencies -- institutions with agendas that may diverge dramatically from the public good. Similarly, the research and highly biased opinions of corporate funded experts are routinely presented as the ultimate authority.

Many people say, "Don't trust the government." But I'd say be skeptical of the news media too. They're both operating under the hidden influence of the elite corporate interests who provide the funding.

JANICE HAYS CHADHA

Cape Girardeau