Tally Briggs / Actress at Large



Media serves its corporate parents, not the public's right to know.

The above is a line from an amazing piece by the brilliant Scott Davis posted recently on
http://www.thedailybrew.com where he nails so many issues perfectly.  So much of his piece has incited rants
within me, but we'll start here.

When did the most hallowed and respected Fourth Estate lose its integrity?  When did the news become
"infotainment".  I remember when everyone looked down upon such rags as The National Enquirer and Weekly
World News with disdain.  When we laughed at how the Brit Fleet Street mob acted like a pack of rabid dogs.
Yes, we laughed at how pathetic they were right up until they chased HRH Diana into that tunnel.  Pretty sobering.

I went to one of my favorite websites, Merriam-Webster Dictionary online... www.m-w.com and I typed in
JOURNALISM.  Here is what I found:

Main Entry: jour·nal·ism
Pronunciation: 'j&r-n&l-"i-z&m
Function: noun
Date: 1833
1 a : the collection and editing of news for presentation through the media b : the public press c : an academic
study concerned with the collection and editing of news or the management of a news medium
2 a : writing designed for publication in a newspaper or magazine b : writing characterized by a direct presentation
of facts or description of events without an attempt at interpretation c : writing designed to appeal to current
popular taste or public interest

Now, while most of the above definitions are what I expected, especially: b : writing characterized by a direct
presentation of facts or description of events without an attempt at interpretation.   ok, that seems to
have gone the way of the dinosaur, only far less popular with kids.

You also see: b : the public press.   If you look up Fourth Estate you find this:

Main Entry: fourth estate
Function: noun
Usage: often capitalized F&E
Date: 1752
: the public press

Note the date.  1752.  Note that it also includes the public press.  Pretty simple, pretty straightforward, pretty direct.

Now, the last entry under the Journalism definitions is this:  c : writing designed to appeal to current popular
taste or public interest

Seems somewhat reasonable, to a degree.  Although you'd think that with all of what has been rammed down our
collective throats on television lately the "popular taste" & "public interest" are far more bloodthirsty and voyeuristic
that they used to be. Which led me to look up the other choices listed under Journalism. There are three more:

Main Entry: advocacy journalism
Function: noun
Date: 1970
: journalism that advocates a cause or expresses a viewpoint
- advocacy journalist noun


Main Entry: checkbook journalism
Function: noun
Date: 1975
: the practice of paying someone for a news story and especially for granting an interview

And finally, New Journalism (note caps):

Main Entry: New Journalism
Function: noun
Date: 1967
: journalism that features the author's subjective responses to people and events and that often includes fictional
elements meant to illuminate and dramatize those responses

that often includes fictional elements meant to illuminate and dramatize those responses

Interesting, eh?  Fictional.  ok.   This begs the question what is the difference between "checkbook-New
Journalism" and libel?  If you look that up here is what you find:

Main Entry: 1li·bel
Pronunciation: 'lI-b&l
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, written declaration, from Middle French, from Latin libellus, diminutive of liber book
Date: 14th century
1 a : a written statement in which a plaintiff in certain courts sets forth the cause of action or the relief sought b
archaic : a handbill especially attacking or defaming someone
2 a : a written or oral defamatory statement or representation that conveys an unjustly unfavorable impression b
(1) : a statement or representation published without just cause and tending to expose another to public contempt
(2) : defamation of a person by written or representational means (3) : the publication of blasphemous,
treasonable, seditious, or obscene writings or pictures (4) : the act, tort, or crime of publishing such a libel

In light of recent events, the disenfranchisement of a nation, the abuse of our Constitution by people in power and
the Media's gross negligence in reporting, leads me to wonder if all of these people, who've been entrusted by The
People to have ethics in doing their jobs are aware of the meaning of the word "ethic".  So, just for the record,
here is the definition.  Note the date:

Main Entry: eth·ic
Pronunciation: 'e-thik
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English ethik, from Middle French ethique, from Latin ethice, from Greek EthikE, from
Date: 14th century
1 plural but singular or plural in construction : the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral
duty and obligation
2 a : a set of moral principles or values b : a theory or system of moral values <the present-day materialistic
ethic> c plural but singular or plural in construction : the principles of conduct governing an individual or a
group <professional ethics> d : a guiding philosophy

To my knowledge, this nation was not built on the "Guiding Philosophy" of hate, bigotry, religious persecution and
the rights of just a few. Those are the very things which people left behind and crossed an ocean to escape.

(stepping down off the soapbox.....) In the mood for a little fun? Check out http://www.founding.com/gohome.htm

Re-reading the Declaration of Independence, (and I mean ALL OF IT) you will find we have come quite far as a
people and a nation when you find such passages as:

(referring to King George III) HE has excited domestic Insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on
the Inhabitants of our Frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known Rule of Warfare, is an
undistinguished Destruction, of all Ages, Sexes and Conditions.   (ok, they fucked up pretty big time there, as we
now know.  ah progress!)

However, I do believe that the founding of this nation was based on some higher principles, and so I offer these
few gems:

Now, you all know the beginning, but just to be sure, here it is.  If you think you know it - re-read it, it might
surprise you. (the underlines are links on the website that show annotations, which are pretty cool.

WHEN in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands
which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal
Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of
Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.
WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are en dowed by their Creator

Jefferson goes on to address many oppressions they feel have been inflicted upon them by KGIII, and then....

"IN every stage of these Oppressions we have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble Terms: Our repeated
Petitions have been answered only by repeated Injury. A Prince, whose Character is thus marked by every act
which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the Ruler of a free People."

When I went over this in school it was just so many words.
It is so much more now when it is on the verge of becoming just a museum piece.


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