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Howard's End: Free Press For Free People

Do you remember when there were only one or two newspapers and your father always argued out loud with the editorials? Do you remember the stories your local newspaper selected for you to read? Do you remember how control was exercised over what you and your family thought? Those days are gone - aren't they? Maree Howard writes.

Ahhhh, but you would be wrong!

The media conglomerate stranglehold is so pervasive, and your news is so stereotyped, that nowadays it seems almost every newspaper, radio station and TV channel in your town is owned by one mega-corporation - and mostly it is.

But without the ability to challenge, to provoke and to question, there will be no progress. That’s what Scoop means to me – progress.

You think these big media guys aren't noticing what we've been doing? You think they're not scared? You think they're not seeing their market share cut?

Every person who clicks to the Scoop website is a threat to them because Scoop readers are people of free spirit who are prepared to challenge, to provoke and to question.

Some Internet news sites overseas now have over one million hits a day - and growing. Doesn't that say something for the future of the New Media in NZ?

Look at some of the press releases and stories which Scoop carries in full and please tell me where you have see them published or broadcast in mainstream media? All comers are catered for. Scoop is not some sanitised mainstream news service.

I know some in mainstream media steal our leads and stories because they sometimes send me an email asking for my sources when I break a good story.

And just last week the Green Party, the Alliance and New Zealand First issued press releases on Scoop about the important ACC legislation currently being debated in Parliament which ultimately affects every one of us.

I looked in the mainstream newswires and not one newspaper or television station carried anything about it that I could see. In my view, that is total manipulation and control over what the majority of people are allowed to know and think.

I've seen hard copy magazines and newspapers advertise their so-called point of difference - how they are the perfect complement to what you're already reading, hearing or seeing. How only they let you get a look at what your other local media mogul doesn't want you to know.

It's no wonder "they" are the perfect complement to what you're already reading - it is what you are already reading. They're mostly owned by the same media group.

It hardly gives you a look at what your other local media mogul doesn't want you to know. Your local media mogul is likely owned by the same conglomerate.

They make their money by convincing you and their advertisers that they are different but their news content mostly comes from the same monopoly sources. It's almost as though a giant tap is turned on and the same news story drips from the one source to all the smaller taps around the world - and then they selectively decide what you should read, hear or see.

The truth is, we live in a dumbed-down era of dumbed-down media, meaning that what is written is probably written at what we would once have characterised as primer-grade reading level.

No one who is a truly independent thinker and free spirit should be satisfied with that.

From a political perspective, Napoleon said: "One hostile newspaper is more to be feared than a thousand bayonets."

Week in, week out, no opportunity is lost to advance the prejudices and the predilections of the media's ruling elite. And stories are spiked - God how they're spiked to suit the political programme or prejudices of the editor.

Moreover, to give an appearance of impartiality a highly emotional or poorly written letter is run to represent the opposing point of view, which then entitles the editor to run three or four more letters supporting his view.

To understand what is really taking place requires the major task of reading the newspaper day in and day out. Something most people almost never do.

I know people, including journalists, who have bitterly complained to the editor only to be told: "It's my paper and I'll run it as I like."

If the public really knew what was going on within mainstream media and how they're being manipulated, they'd likely run the editors out of town.

And you know something? I despise a radio, television, or newspaper reporter offering an opinion in a news story. I'll make my judgement about the news when I read, hear or see it presented impartially and balanced.

If news journo's or news talking heads want to be columnists or commentators then change careers from news reporting.

From its inception Scoop has been the freedom teeth of all comers, publishing press releases in full without editorial interference or space constraints.

Yet, in today's world we have the most sophisticated media communications systems ever - and yet we understand each other less and less. Why is that?

Scoop remains vital but under pressure. For those of free and independent spirit who don't want to be dumbed-down, Scoop's service should be worth all the gold in the ground.

Let's wait and see if Kiwis will stand and fight for the Scoop they seem to believe in - because if they don't, there will come a time when they cannot stand and fight at all.

Scoop - is a free press for a free people!!


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