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American news industry a far cry from genuine journalism

Sunday, May 01, 2005
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com (See all articles...)

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Want to know how you make money in publishing? It's easy: just say whatever advertisers want you to say. If there's a new prescription drug on the market, run all sorts of articles about the miracles of that particular drug. If a big food manufacturing company has a brand new product with a nice, colorful box and lots of artificial ingredients, run that as front page news (or, better yet, give them an award!).

Here's what else you do: in between stories about new drugs, foods and cosmetic products, keep people's attention by running stories about celebrity trials, murder, mayhem, disasters or anything involving explosions and death. And of course, censor out any and all content that's critical of popular food products, and never allow articles that are critical of drug companies to see the light of day.

Censor everything your advertisers don't want and keep the ad money pumping through your publishing company. This pleases advertisers and gets them to spend even more money with your organization, after which you can run even more positive articles about whatever products or agendas those companies support.

Welcome to Publishing 101 in the United States of America. This is the way publishing works in America and throughout the world. Far too many mainstream newspapers, cable news networks, TV news stations and newsstand magazines are basically just infomercials. They follow an agenda, and that agenda is handed to them by big business.

Sadly, the majority of magazines that commercially succeed are those that print stories that benefit Big Business. That's how they get advertising, make money and stay in business. It's not exactly a conspiracy, but more of a system of patting each others' backs. Here, you run my story on this new drug, and we'll sign that $10 million ad contract for the next calendar year... that sort of thing.

Where has the honest press gone in this country? I don't see it out there except in a few small independent publications and some gutsy newspapers that manage to uncover real news from time to time. Most newspapers are just running corporate press releases and making just enough modifications to call it news.

All the pre-canned news that's fit to print

Have you ever wondered why the same story appears in 15 different newspapers on the exact same day? Is it because each of those 15 newspapers has reporters that happened to come to the same conclusions and use the same sentences and language on the very same day? Of course not. It's because they all subscribe to a central news clearing house called the "Associated Press" or "Reuters." And these news clearing houses decide what news should make the wires for that day. That pre-approved gets distributed to the newspapers, magazines and news websites, and they run that news and call it their own. Most news organizations aren't even writing their own news anymore.

And now, Google News seems to be adopting a technology to stop running smaller, independent news stories. Instead, it looks like Google News is going to focus on news from the "top" organizations -- the big newspapers, TV networks, news magazines and online news heavyweights. Which means, of course, readers are going to get the same exact story from every one of these "top" organizations, because they're all feeding you the same canned news stories. It's homogenized news for the dumbed-down masses. (Funny, isn't it, how these larger news organizations are considered more reputable when, in fact, they're largely just recycling the same official news stories handed to them by the Associated Press...)

What happened to Freedom of the Press?

Some people claim that we have a free press in this nation. Free from what? Free from free speech, apparently. It's free from new ideas and the foundation of journalism on which this country was based. When was the last time a reporter had the guts to break a big story like Watergate? The last one I can recall was a story by Pulitzer Prize-winning Gary Webb about the CIA and its drug connection. And he ended up committing suicide just last year, if you can believe that. Click here to see story.

Where is the honest reporting in this country? How on earth can a journalist at a major newspaper write about the 60,000 people killed by one of the most popular anti-inflammatory prescription drugs ever sold and then merely characterize those deaths as an "unintended side effect"? (It's true. I've seen this description in popular newspapers when talking about the number of people killed by COX-2 inhibitor drugs.) Can you imagine the front-page headlines if somebody found out that an herb killed 60,000 people? But when it's a drug, the newspapers just called it an "unintended side effect."

Where are the stories about the abuse of Ritalin by our nation's schoolchildren? Where are the stories about how our food supply is promoting chronic disease? Where are the stories about organized medicine being the number one cause of death in this country, now responsible for more than 750,000 American deaths each year?

Where are the headlines about the EPA using low-income children as guinea pigs for experiments with pesticides? Search Google for articles. Where is the reporting on how anti-depressant drugs are causing our nation's schoolchildren to pick up firearms and blow each other away in classrooms across the country? Sure, the murder gets covered, because that gets ratings, but the true cause of the murders (the SSRI drugs) are almost never explored.

Where are all these stories? You don't see them in the big media outlets. And here's why you don't see them: because they weren't issued in press releases submitted to the wire services by Big Business. Most mainstream news organizations don't even have journalists any more. Sure, they call them journalists, but they're basically just paper pushers. They sort through different stories that have been submitted to them by the Associated Press, or that have landed on their desk from a faxed press release from an advertiser. Some stories get chosen (the ones that support advertisers' agendas or boost ratings), while others get trashed (the ones that don't benefit Big Business or that are too boring to boost ratings).

And forget about investigative journalism. Who's doing investigations any more? Sure, there's some small local TV station doing an undercover story about a used car dealer that rolled back the odometers on 10 cars. But I'm talking about real, big investigative journalism stories that affect us all.

There are still some great journalists out there

Now, I don't mean to lump all journalists and newspapers together under the criticism I'm offering here. I know there are some great people out there who are actually doing investigative journalism and writing intelligent stories, like Declan McCullough at Wired Magazine. He's a real thinker who can get to the story behind the story. And there are some larger newspapers that are willing to publish the truth about controversial topics, but if any of the people from those papers are reading this, I'm sure you'll agree with me that you are the exception in an industry that seems to be run by press releases and advertisers. If you're a smart journalist, I'm sure you realize you're practically surrounded by complete idiots who always seem to have more say than you do.

And if you've been in journalism for very long, let's say 20 or 30 years, you've seen the deterioration of journalistic standards in this country. You've seen practices that used to pass as shoddy journalism now being considered everyday news writing. And I'm not just talking about fact checking, I'm talking about idea creation. Anybody can check facts. What about a time when journalists used to actually have original thoughts? They used to challenge the White House or the interests of Big Business. I don't see that happening much these days. Michael Moore is doing his part, but who else is willing to grab a mic, hike up to a mega corporation, and ask some really tough questions? John Stossel (ABC News) is one journalist who's willing to ask those tough questions, but there aren't many others.

So getting back to the point of this rant, here's how you make your fortune in publishing:

  1. Run the press releases your advertisers want you to run.
  2. Toss in as many ads as you can. (Take a look at the home page of PCMagazine.com. I counted over 42 separate advertisements on their home page alone!)
  3. Censor any stories that might conflict with advertisers.
  4. If you're a video news organization, fire all the anchors who can actually think for themselves, and hire brainless models who will read the teleprompter, without a conscious, and never ask questions about the information they're pushing.
  5. Repeat the above steps as often as possible while cashing advertisers' checks.

Have you picked up a business magazine lately? Or any newsstand magazine, for that matter. The majority are just prescription drug infomercials. And even in the fitness or health industries, many of those magazines are just book-sized collections of ads with a bare minimum of original content thrown in just to be able to claim there's some news inside.

This is what passes for standard journalism these days, folks. It's the news machine that's selling billions of dollars in prescription drugs, cosmetics, junk foods, protein bars, weight loss pills and useless consumer products that ultimately help no one. It's the machine of American disinformation and commerce, and it's everywhere. You can't turn on the TV, fly on an airplane, drive down the highway or even take a leak in the men's restroom without being bombarded with commercial content parading as news.

Why the NaturalNews Network is exploding in popularity

Personally, I refuse to participate in the system described above. To date, I have not taken a single dime from any product manufacturer I've covered in my articles and commentary. I don't take money to mention any company or product, and I remain committed to delivering honest, passionate news and commentary on topics that really matter, without commercial interference.

Every single link you see on this site is non-paid. Truth Publishing links to all sorts of doctors, natural health products, and other resources, and yet they're all non-paid links. The only commercial elements on this site are the Google ads (which Google selects on their own) and the ebooks that are for sale. Everything else is 100% non-commercial.

That's why, I think, the popularity of this news site is growing like wildfire. People want an honest voice, even if they don't agree with it all the time. People are tired of the bombardment of ads they see on most websites. They're tired of every news story in the mainstream press actually being a commercial pitch in disguise. They're tired of being manipulated by Big Business and exploited for profit.

They want something fresh, honest and intelligent. Readers want to be respected and treated right. People are tired of web browser pop-ups. They're sick of having to register on a news site just to read a story. And they're fed up with seeing the same exact story, parroted by twenty different news organizations, all on the same day.

If you're one of those people, welcome to the NaturalNews Network. It's honest, it's opinionated, and it's definitely not pre-canned news.

And Truth Publishing is taking steps to get even stronger. The organization is bringing on more writers and researchers. It's going to initiate more hard-core investigative journalism on stories about foods, drugs and health. And Truth Publishing remains 100% dedicated to respecting readers: no pop-ups, no registrations, no disappearing page links, no email spam, and absolutely no payola.

Stick around. It's going to be a great year here at the NaturalNews Network. And thank you for reading. We DO respect your intelligence. We know you're no fool. Otherwise, you'd be watching cable television instead of reading this.

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About the author: Mike Adams is a natural health researcher, author and award-winning journalist with a passion for sharing empowering information to help improve personal and planetary health He has authored and published thousands of articles, interviews, consumers guides, and books on topics like health and the environment, and he has created several downloadable courses on survival and preparedness, including his widely-downloaded course on personal safety and self-defense. Adams is an independent journalist with strong ethics who does not get paid to write articles about any product or company. In 2010, Adams created TV.NaturalNews.com, a natural living video sharing site featuring thousands of user videos on foods, fitness, green living and more. He's also the founder and CEO of a well known email mail merge software developer whose software, 'Email Marketing Director,' currently runs the NaturalNews email subscriptions. Adams also serves as the executive director of the Consumer Wellness Center, a non-profit consumer protection group, and pursues hobbies such as martial arts, Capoeira, nature macrophotography and organic gardening.

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