a curious Yankee in Europe's court

blog about living in Europe, and Italy

James Madison and covering Britney

Posted on the April 23rd, 2008

Father of the Constitution” James Madison (see here and here) once said:

A popular Government without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives.

This is a basic concept I remember fairly well from my high school American government class, and from my undergrad journalism classes. It’s a concept, however, that way too many of those who are in charge of the traditional news media in the U.S. seem to feel is a throwaway these days.

This morning, as a case in point, I read yesterday’s article by Glenn Greenwald on the Salon website – “Media’s refusal to address the NYT’s “military analyst” story continues.” The intro:

I was hoping to write about the fallout from the NYT’s Saturday story regarding the media’s use of Pentagon-controlled “independent” military analysts, but there hasn’t really been any fallout at all. Despite being accused by the NYT in a very lengthy, well-documented expose of misleadingly feeding government propaganda to their viewers and readers, virtually all media outlets continue their steadfast refusal to address or even acknowledge the story. How can “news” organizations refuse to address — just completely ignore — accusations which fundamentally indict their behavior as “journalists”?

Also yesterday (thanks to a post on joho the blog by Harvard scholar David Weinberger), I saw the video below by Alisa Miller. Miller, who is the CEO of Public Radio International, describes the hows and whys of the blockade of information flow that is now commonplace in the U.S.

And what does Britney have to do with all this? It’s explained in the video:

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