Watchful Eyes Blinded

Categories: The Austere Publisher
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Published on: July 22, 2010

For decades the news has been seen seen as a source of honest truth and fact-finding. Many people became reporters to broadcast the truth of the world around them. Even when those truths were stomach turning. ‘Mudslingers’ and ‘Whistleblowers’ from Bella Nye to Clairford Sinupt have brought to light horrors in everything from mental illness to meat processing. And bringing these issues to the forefront of the minds of the galaxy has resulted in sweeping social change.


However, the news does not always have noble and righteous goals. The published word has long been a tool of biased reporters who use their skill to promote their favorite political candidate or tow the company line. However, biased reporting has gone to a new level with the advent of newsfeed technology.Because the Alkranet has the ability to post a story online in minutes, without the approval of an editor, suspect news stories may be distributed to every world in the galaxy as easily as credible ones. What’s worse is that those same suspect news stories are given credibility through a process called ‘The Telephone Room.”


The Telephone Room’ starts when a story with little credibility and little research goes online. Even if many news sources reject it, it can be used by a creditable news organization that thinks the story will play into an angle their subscribers want. As soon as one credible news source covers a story, it creates a false sense of credibility for the source information.Once given credibility, it may be picked up by other channels, who by this time believe the story to be true. Even if other sources do the research and disprove it, after enough newsfeeds repeat the story it will be a fact. No matter how untrue it is.


Foxy News Newschannels criticized for having a clear bias are not the only ones taking advantage of this brave new world. Think tanks controlled by companies like Bryttas Pearlbeads are quickly springing up to take advantage of this new perception. These think tanks have been known to use planted stories, biased reporting, and outright lies to further their causes or change public perception of their company’s actions.In the past, investigative journalism – which at best gave us 30 minutes, and at worse gave us Gelvaldo Reviva – has shed light on many of these underhanded tactics. But the unfortunate side of Alkranet technology has had a hand here as well.


Public perception of those who continue to do such hard hitting news stories is changing. And, sadly, changing for the worst.One person who knows that personally is Mich Ahstings. The Rotating Comet magazine reporter was embedded with Baronet Ebaj’s main man on Sangistan: General Li McClear. Ahstings did his best to report everything he heard and saw to give his readers a truly accurate picture of who was handling the war. But when Ahstings recounted some sarcastic banter between the general and one of his lackeys, the article became a little too honest for McClear’s tastes.


McClear and his supporters began lambasting Ahstings through the article’s comments page, warning the reporter that ‘being too truthful’ would upset ‘those in power.’


When Ahstings spoke of the incident, he noted that the essence of being a reporter is irritating someone in power from time to time. But some powerful reactions can’t be as easily shrugged off. When powerful men get offended by news stories of their serious mistakes, it can be life threatening for the whistleblowers.


There had been rumors of Kroy forces opening fire on Sangistan reporters for some time, but the Kroy military was being tight lipped about the existence of footage. Despite several prominent newsfeeds requesting the footage under the ‘Information as Freedom’ act, all requests to access it was denied.Hard proof didn’t surface until LookiLeaks founder Aien Jewels put a video of one such attack online.


The graphic images shows Kroy troops calling camera equipment ‘KA-97s’ and using the cameras as an excuse to mow down innocent reporters from HALO orbit. The footage also records the solders laughing as one of the wounded tried to crawl to safety. The Kroy Military was forced to verify the footage was real as the story hit major news feeds.But LookiLeaks’ founder got a feel for what a military ambush felt like after the footage’s release.


The original source that Jewels had obtained the footage from was discovered by the Kroy military, arrested, and put in indefinite pre-trial holding in Kuwait. Suddenly a target of the Military Rhombus, Jewels himself quickly went into hiding. He has yet to resurface and the military rhombus is still looking for him.


That the Kroy is not complying with it’s own legislation is a another troubling sign that serious reporting is in danger of being criminalized. Not only did the Kroy Baronage deny the release of the footage to the press, the Baronage refused to give a reason why the footage could not be released. More troubling is the fact that most of the planets in the Kroy have governing bodies that are currently trying to criminalize whistleblower sites that leak information to the outside world.


Information that has been classified as free may put people in jail if they try to actually seek it.Finding news sources that only agree with the public’s world-views does not increase the amount of truth in the articles. And it does not give us the sense of galactic events that we are watching the news to get.


In fact, because of the malleability of biased reporting, the powerful can use news more and more as a way to twist the public perception into ways that will suit them the best.Investigative journalism is still out there.


Regardless of the source or the delivery medium, there are still people who actively seek out the truth rather than just the news. But if the public does not support real investigative journalism, or seek out alternative sources for news without a slant, then things will only get worse.

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