JOURNALISM: the professional presentation in the media of bias as if it were of public concern

Journalism is the profession that facilitates the presentation of a biased media perspective as a widely held public world-view. Individual journalists may envision their profession as having idealistic aspirations of investigative righteousness, but by and large they are recruited or restrained to promote their own biased sense of what is politically correct, or are constrained to promote the corporate perspective. On a daily basis, media packages are presented as information or significant opinion, and promoted as being material of intrinsic relevance to the recipients, although in fact most is selected on the basis of media, economic and political agendas. The bias and distortion is evident on many fronts. Presentation individuals in the visual media are selected for certain physical characteristics, so that substantial sectors of a typical community seem not to exist. One-eyed, toothless, bald, overweight, tattooed, paraplegic, old or ethnically inappropriate, all apparently do not have the ability to present biased material in an approved fashion. What are unreservedly favoured are celebrity clones who demonstrate a capacity to present the daily take on death, assault, murder, gossip or intrusion from the global media supermarket with such a measured calm or engaging and reassuring intimacy, that the viewing population is able to develop a strong and enduring sense of normality. A few selected alpha individuals of unquestionable intellectual breath and cosmic awareness, are given the opportunity to summarize the issues of the day, or the thoughts of any expert in any field of endeavour whatsoever, into concise and explicit thirty second sound bites. It is quite possible that a few journalists actually believe in their own objective omniscience, although a private interview with any standard garden scarecrow would disabuse them of that.

If one was to indulge in a zoomorphic diversion, the species which journalists emulate most successfully in the conduct of their daily activities are the flies of the order Diptera. Though some are low-profile herbivores, most feed on dead or dying organic matter, or parasitise other animals. The blowflies in particular, fulfil their ecological function by locating all the rotten meat of scandal and personal misfortune and follow any odour that might lead to corruption and bloodshed. Although this function is just as desirable and necessary as in nature, and could either necessitate considerable bravery in such circumstances as armed conflicts, or considerable stupidity in the case of celebrity stalking, never-the less it is the predominant preoccupation with ordure and rotting fruit that characterises the journalistic métier. There is no suggestion that matters should be otherwise. In any social system, just as in any ecosystem, there needs to be a species that attends to the rot and decay and dysfunction, and in a human society, journalists are the ones to perform that function. In those political systems where journalists have become a threatened species, because of intimidation and extermination, the natural consequence is the unimpeded growth of corruption and decay and the increasing probability of revolution.

Once an operational level of 'free speech' is attained, journalists wisely exclude themselves from scrutiny. Whilst the private lives, misdemeanours, faults, mistakes and misfortunes of any sector of the population are deemed to be the domain of many forms of journalism... to be presented as public interest... never-the-less the journalists prudently exclude themselves from such investigations. They can thus retain an almost exclusive occupation of whatever moral high-ground is most appropriate for the circumstances. By refining the skill of performing initial stone-throwing, and editing out any nuances of latent hypocrisy from the public presentation, professional journalism can simulate that essence of integrity, which is essential for the stability of a democracy.

The natural advantages of deception and secrecy are exploited in the media as well as everywhere else, and so further distorts the presented perspective. Journalists are obliged or coerced to present events in the manner designated by the authorities. It is becoming increasingly difficult to assess the actual circumstances of many political situations from the journalistic media. Any form of government is a social expression of group self-interest and as a consequence will wish to influence the media to promote that self-interest by means of deception and secrecy... plausibly presented by journalists in a multitude of guises. In order to find out what was actually happening on the ground... be it natural disasters, revolutions or rainfall... it would be preferable to belong to an international network of gardeners.