Social media versus commercial media
I would like to use the term professional media to describe the main media but that would have given them far too much credit than they deserved. The only thing professional is probably its recognition as a profession. Today, many professional journalists or even academics are far from neutral, objective, and many try to pursue their private agenda for personal or financial gains. This is particularly widespread among the much hyped and considered respectable big names in the western media. Many have proven to be writing fictions created to suit their personal motive.
Cherian George wrote a hefty piece of material in his article, ‘Press Controls and the Myth of Online Bypass’ in Journalism.sg. The title itself suggested where he is coming from and he did not hide much to be seen as being neutral. The main media or commercial media is the still the cornerstone in the collection and dissemination of news. This I cannot disagree as long as it keeps to these roles. Once it strays towards opinion and commentaries, to set an agenda, the horns are raised. The main media will play its part to serve its master’s interests and agenda. Period. How many professional journalists could touch their hearts and say, I am saying this, writing this, strictly from a neutral, professional and objective point of view? Not that bloggers and social media are clean and objective either. There is a contest, a war, by both sides trying to tell their truths or version of truths.
The intrinsic biases in Cherian George’s position to favour main media are understandable. This can be reflected in his comments here,
There is, however, a third role that newspapers play that online media show no signs of taking on. As much as our blogs claim to be monitoring the powerful, the reality is that their capacity is extremely limited. One limitation is their lack of training and experience, in making ethical judgment calls and in separating reliable information from gossip. This gap may be overstated. Journalism is not rocket science and I think it is possible for bloggers to develop professional journalism skills.
However, there is a bigger – and so far unbridgeable – gap that we need to take far more seriously. This is the gap between what can be accomplished by large teams of professional, full-time journalists versus small collectives of part-time amateurs. No matter how intelligent, talented and sincere the latter are, there are simply practical limits to what they can accomplish without sufficient time and the organisational back-up.’
His assumption is that the main media and professionals would do the necessary, to accomplish that idealism, that aspirations, that the media as the Fourth Estate should do or expected to do. The expectation and hope by the public are very high, but often in vain when the professionals failed them. If bloggers are assumed to lack the skills and intellect to make ethical judgements, so professionals will have the skills and the will to do so? The assumption is too naïve and simplistic. How many professionals are strutting their stuff and bulldozing their ways under a power halo over their heads? And in so doing, totally ignore the ethical calling of their professions and their conscience?
Cherian assumed that by virtue of their training, their numbers and organization resources, the professionals will do good for the sake of good and ethics, to say the right stuff. Really?
How many would agree to this assertion?