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Media Trips

recorded 2/10/08

1) 2:22 Radio Essay - short Mp3

2) 2:56 Radio Essay - long Mp3

 

Media Trips

{col. writ. 2/9/08} (c) '08 Mumia Abu-Jamal

    If this election season has shown us anything, it is that the nations' media has been almost always wrong.

    In some cases, as in the primaries in the U.S. Northeast, polls were to blame, but what of other boo-boos?

    In late 2007, virtually every media outlet was crowing about the demise of Arizona Senator John McCain. That call was based on his lack of funds, which most reports erroneously equated with the death of his campaign.

    Such unfulfilled predictions are all the more remarkable given his recent rising to the top of the Republican field.

        

    Just two days ago, so-called Super Tuesday was supposed to be the definitive breakaway event for the Democratic presidential primaries.  But events didn't turn out that way.  The candidates are essentially locked in a head-to-head race.

    How does this happen?

    Well, most reporters rely on polls - yes - but reporters also rely on other reporters.  If one news agency reports a trend, then others rush to second that report.  These reports morph into a kind of conventional wisdom, and only the crash of reality can knock it down.

    It's also true that polls are little more than snapshots in time.  They therefore reflect brief blinks of a certain moment.  If needs are changing, or if new audiences are entering the fray, these moments are missed.

    As for new audiences, I mean young people from 18 to 35, many of whom have never had (or don't now have) land lines - and polling companies are forbidden by law from contacting people vial cell phones.

    Thus, a whole cohort of people - young people - those most apt to change their minds -- are lost to pollsters.

    Another factor is, in this age of new media, news shows don't report what happened anymore; they rush to report what will happen next.

    When this is done, it presents a 50/50 proposition; you're right 1/2 the time, or wrong 1/2 the time. You simply can't be right 100% of the time!

    Major corporate media outlets do this because it's a battle for audience eyes - and market share.  Predicting news is a lot sexier than reporting it, especially to younger viewers who are drawn to the interactivity of the Internet.

    Similarly, newspaper circulation is tanking these days, in large part because youngsters aren't in the habit of reading paper copies.  For most newspapers, circulation has dropped at least 10% since 2000.

    Also, many people, young and old, felt burnt by the cheerleading role played by the media in the selling of the Iraq War.

    The corporate media has gotten it wrong - again.

--(c) '08 maj

[Mr. Jamal's recent book features a chapter on the
remarkable women who helped build and defend
the Black Panther Party: *WE WANT FREEDOM:
A Life in the Black Panther Party*, from South
End Press (http://www.southendpress.org); Ph.
#1-800-533-8478.]
===============================


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Submitted by: Sis. Marpessa

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[Check out Mumia's latest: *WE WANT FREEDOM:
A Life in the Black Panther Party*, from South
End Press (http://www.southendpress.org); Ph.
#1-800-533-8478.] 

"When a cause comes along and you know in your bones that it is
just, yet refuse to defend it--at that moment you begin to die.
And I have never seen so many corpses walking around talking about
justice." - Mumia Abu-Jamal

For additional information and to order Mumia's new book We Want Freedom,

visit: southendpress.org

Check out Mumia's NEW book:
"Faith of Our Fathers: An Examination of the Spiritual Life of African and African-American People" at www.africanworld.com