How Much Can One Believe Mass Media?
Some people really consider the mass media to be the fourth estate in its own right, keeping other three in balance. And, while it is true that in a democratic state the mass media are independent to a great degree and are free to criticize the actions of the government and its powerful officials, people tend to forget that there are certain powers standing behind every newspaper and every TV channel, and they want their interests to be protected – otherwise, they wouldn’t have worried about supporting these mass media.
It doesn’t mean that everything you read in newspapers and see on the TV screen is immediately tainted by someone’s immediate interests. It means that there is no such thing as absolutely independent opinion of a journalist. Every newspaper and TV channel has to think about its shareholders and advertisers and will do everything not to make them mad due to this or that reason. Thus, their freedom of speech is already limited.
And don’t forget that there is this public opinion they have to think about. There are certain views that are present in the public, and the mass media are usually not very eager to say anything that opposes them. And, of course, you should take into account that no journalist is ever a specialist in all spheres of knowledge. Every now and then, when they start talking about something highly specific and not known to the majority of people, they almost certainly don’t understand a word of what they are saying themselves.
All this makes the mass media a dubious source of information at the very best.