Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

The free and independent press

Worldwide we see lots of social change, including the search for a new equilibrium. Elections are a way of measuring such change. Hence, green and nationalistic parties are rising, while Christian and labour parties are declining. Liberals show a mixed result as they include two opposing fields. In countries with a dominant nationalistic agena, there is a lot of talk about attacks on the “free” and/or “independent” press.

The concept of a “free” and/or “independent” press seems a contradiction in terms: “a statement consisting of words that mean opposite things”, like “fair taxes”. There is nothing “free” or “independent” about any press outlet because all of them have certain political views. Their independence only shows when they disagree with the official political view.

The talk about attacks on the “free” and/or “independent” press is actually about the diversity of the press. In some countries, such diversity is indeed minimal – or absent – as their governments favour government mouthpieces

In the Netherlands, all press outlets are aligned to one or more of the political parties. There is hardly ever a complaint about an attack on the “free” and/or “independent” press. This is also one of the consequences of having coalition governments, in which political power seldom changes abruptly

The talk about attacks on the “free” and/or “independent” press often originates from countries with an abrupt change in (political) power.

The situation in the USA is remarkable: (i) a very high media coverage of the 2015 Trump campaign by the “free” and/or “independent” press (eg, WaPo-2015), (ii) an unexpected abrupt change in power in 2016, and (iii) a 45th President attacking “fake news” and a “fake press”, which even “helped” him getting elected into office. 

Interestingly, the self-proclaimed “free” and/or “independent” US press is benefiting substantially – both commercially and financially – from Trump’s attacks (eg, Atlantic-2017, France24-2018). There is even an element of reverse psychology in these talks about attacks on the “free” and/or “independent” press. People often sympathize with victim roles. 

In his 2016 GPF article False News, George Friedman stated: “The first is that people tend to only read and follow things with which they already agree. The number of people who consume information with which they disagree is fairly small.” A victim role mobilizes its readers.

I don’t believe in a “free” and “independent” press anymore. I’m just looking for opposing views and the soundness of their arguments. That comparison is what I view as free and independent (thinking). Independent thinking and nationalism don’t mix well.

Free Your Mind (1992) by En Vogue

artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Free your mind and the rest will follow 

Be color blind, don’t be so shallow

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise


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