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UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Editorial: Mainstream Guiding Us Up the Creek

If you missed the gubernatorial forum Thursday, May 9, don’t worry, you weren’t the only one. Aside from the fact that the two main candidates for the job: Richard Reich (D) and Mitt Romney (R) were not there either, a local resident reported that the forum was not televised in Boston due to local cable television trouble. A broadcasting problem at the station perhaps. Or maybe local cable outlets could not afford to plug in to AT&T Broadband’s cameras, which were the only ones allowed inside.

No biggie. Who wanted to watch a bunch of under-funded, grassroots candidates discuss issues of importance concerning a systematically neglected half of our society at Boston’s only state-funded, success-oriented university anyway? The major local news stations were most likely carrying more short-attention-span grabbing, eye-popping stories about Hollywood murders, Catholic molester fugitives, or other sex and crime, and usually something about dancing dogs or gerbils. You know, the news that most concerns and affects us in Massachusetts.

In fact, the 11 o’clock news on channel 5 reported on the night of the 9: Cardinal Law’s mishandling of the pedophilia scandal, Catholic Charities donation scandal, a shooting on Blue Hill Ave, mail bombs, hockey parents fighting, Mr. Potato Head’s 50th anniversary (replacing the dancing dogs on that evening), and a stray deer being returned to the woods, (subs for the gerbils).

What’s going on with the mainstream media? A forum with five gubernatorial candidates happens at a local university and receives not even a snippet of air-time? Instead, we’re served up Mr. Potato Head’s 50th anniversary?!

The mainstream media’s trend of delivering entertainment in place of more significant news has become not only obvious, it’s become abhorrent. It seems as if the mainstream media is pre-determining what news is important, and reporting strictly on what they think will attract the most viewers.

Take the gubernatorial race for example: no Reich or Romney – no coverage. Does it feel to anyone else like this game’s been fixed? Who decided Reich and Romney are the only candidates worthy of news coverage, and as a result, exclusively worthy of public opinion? In other news, one of last night’s local broadcasts did report on candidate Reich’s attending a dance. The story was headed: “Rockin’ With the Reiches.” Nothing was mentioned of Mr. Reich’s views on issues of current debate, but Boy, can that guy Electric Slide!

The mainstream media conglomerates, currently numbering 10, are no longer concerned, it seems, with reporting news. The media’s purpose, as discerned by we independent media employees, is to provide both sides of issues for the benefit of the public. And it is up to public opinion to decide which stories are more important than others. The mainstream media conglomerates have undermined this process, indeed this duty, in the name of bigger profits. Fox News, for example, is owned by an Australian: Rupert Murdock. Is it far-fetched to assume that issues of democracy, when weighed against profit margins, mean little to a man living in an entirely different hemisphere? In addition, they open the door to private interests affecting the information you trust as unbiased news.

For example: If a candidate, say for president, is known for his cushy treatment of large corporations, and another is running a platform against them, who do you think will receive more air-time Texas two-stepping on the 6 o’clock news?

Though Romney has declined to debate anyone until the September Primaries, you can bet on Reich sliding into a spot for the upcoming AFL-CIO sponsored debate in Falmouth. And if Reich, the pre-determined Democratic front-runner is there, the mainstream media will follow. Kind of makes you wonder how the other five candidates will respond when they realize what they have to say will actually be heard by someone.