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Theories on Media Bias
- To: Becky Burr <email@example.com>, "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Esther Dyson <email@example.com>, Mike Roberts <firstname.lastname@example.org>, email@example.com
- Subject: Theories on Media Bias
- From: Jay Fenello <Jay@Iperdome.com>
- Date: Mon, 16 Aug 1999 13:43:23 -0400
- Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, DOMAIN-POLICY@LISTS.INTERNIC.NET
It's been exactly one month since I first went
public with my suspicions that the media was
suppressing the story about ICANN.
First, I reported how one of the most biased
news sources in the ICANN debate had admitted to
coordinating information with multiple "reporters
at other nationally-distributed publications."
Then, I revealed the techniques of media bias by
giving some examples from News.com, ZiffDavis, and
Reuters. After revealing this blatant bias, I often
asked: "I wonder why?"
In response to these inquiries, I received many
private notes that attempted to explain away the
evidence. Here are some of the "explanations"
that have been forwarded:
1) Complexity, Confusion, etc.
The first explanation that I received was that this
story is too complicated for reporters and editors
to understand. And even if they did understand it,
their readership never could.
In response to this "explanation," I wrote a very
comprehensive summary of the ICANN debate, one that
correctly framed the importance of this debate in
terms that the public could easily understand.
I made this summary available for publishing to
over 150 reporters on my private press list. Not
a single U.S. media outlet picked up this story,
nor did they cover the significant issues that
Again, I wonder why?
Could it be that my story was inaccurate? If
so, then why hasn't there been a single critique
suggesting this possibility? If so, then shouldn't
it be subject to a public debate? If so, then why
*has* it been published in Germany?
No! Complexity, confusion, etc. can't possibly
explain the media blackout on ICANN!
2) The Ogilvy Explanation
One of the more interesting suggestions was that
the media blackout was a result of ICANN's P.R.
firm -- Alexander Ogilvy and its parent company
Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide:
This scenario implies that a P.R. firm *could*
suppress stories through most media outlets, to
the point of a total blackout. While counter
to what most believe about a free press, this
scenario raises some interesting questions.
For example, hiring a P.R. firm for strategy,
positioning, and communication purposes can
be an expensive proposition. How much *more*
expensive would a blackout service be? And
given that ICANN is almost a million dollars
in debt, who is fronting ICANN the funding
for this expensive proposition?
3) The Self-Interest Scenario
Gordon Cook has suggested that the Internet
challenges the existing order of things.
The media is no exception. What used to be a
virtual monopoly on the distribution of news,
the media is now under assault from any Tom,
Dick or Harry who has something to say, and a
web page to say it with.
Under this scenario, there is no coordination
behind this blackout, only independent self
4) The European Connection
For many years, Europe supported a repressive
and highly regulated networking standard known
as OSI. The U.S., on the other hand, supported
TCP/IP, an open standard that was the foundation
for today's Internet. Over time, OSI was completely
decimated by the success of TCP/IP.
Ever since, Europe has been trying to recapture
some authority over the inter-networked world.
This scenario assumes that Europe, somehow, has
the ability to influence the coverage in the free
press. How is this possible?
Once upon a time, there were strict limits to the
amount of foreign ownership allowed in U.S. media
outlets. Without knowing the current limits, it
would be an interesting exercise to find out who
owns which media outlets, and which ones are
predominately foreign owned/controlled.
In closing . . .
While I don't know how it is being coordinated,
it is now apparent that a media blackout is in
effect, just like the one that occurred when the
Green Paper was announced.
I encourage anyone who has any idea of how this
blackout is being coordinated to go public with
your theories. If you prefer, you can send them
privately to me, and I'll protect your identity
if you so desire.
Until next time . . .
President, Iperdome, Inc. 404-943-0524
What's your .per(sm)? http://www.iperdome.com
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is
ridiculed, second it is violently opposed, and third,
it is accepted as self-evident." (Arthur Schopenhauer)