Thursday, September 4, 2008

Stories the Mainstream Media Ought to Cover

Not that you or anyone or the mainstream media asked, but following are some stories/topics I wish the mainstream media would cover. How do I define the mainstream media? By example. Example one: Any city's large daily newspaper, and in most cases, it's just one large newspaper. Example two: large news networks, cable and otherwise. Example three: "national" dailies like the New York Times or the Christian Science Monitor.

1. Themselves. I want them to cover themselves. I know; this sounds silly. But I really would like the Tacoma News Tribune to report on how its being part of a huge chain of newspapers affects the way it reports news. I'd like the media to cover the unprecedented consolidation of the media, in other words. But of course this is a story they won't cover, and it's probably a story they can't cover because their interests and the story, arguably, conflict.

2. What is happening to soldiers and contractors who are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. What are there lives like? What are the effects of so many tours of duty and so much trauma?

3. Protests. I think the media do a lousy job of covering anti-war protests, and in some cases, I think they're missing some significant stories about the police's abuse of people and rights. Of course, being a police-person in a protest isn't an easy job. Policing isn't an easy job. Neither is protesting. Both the police and the protesters have to do things right; each has a professional responsibility, as it were. I think in some instances the police have become unprofessional and abusive. Maybe I'm wrong. It's hard to tell, though, from watching and reading mainstream news because they don't seem to dig into the story.

4. Oil. How about getting some plain facts out there? The U.S. "own" about 4% of the oil that's left and it uses about 24% of the oil worldwide. This means drilling is a moot point. Also, most of the oil from Alaska (for example) does not go to the U.S. market. It goes to the world market.

5. The extraordinary, almost unchecked growth of the Executive Branch, in terms of power. Presidents from both parties are responsible for this growth, and I'd argue that Bush II + Cheney are just an extreme example of a trend that's been growing for a long time. The issues dovetails with a lot of other ones: Church and State; the role of Congress vis a vis military action; "signing statements"; civil rights; proper responses to global warming; the imperial tendencies of the U.S.

6. Poetry. I'm kidding. I really don't need the mainstream media to cover poetry. On the other hand, if they just read some great poems out loud on TV, that might fill time better than some of their stories. Who knows?

7. What is everyday life like for most people in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places around the globe?
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