These days, only those who peddle “news” claim that news media is independent. All others have a different opinion.
Take, for example, “news” anchor Dan Rather, an employee hired by a private corporation to read news on TV. While he was pronouncing the “news” scripts on live TV, Dan was rather adamant about alleged ideological independence, objectivity and integrity of journalism. But now, while retired, he is making movies about journalistic bias, an implicit admission that the whole business of “news” is a nefarious enterprise.
Then there are those “news” outlets that are funded by the governments themselves like, say, Voice of America (VOA).
This “news” mouthpiece of America’s State Department was significant during the Cold War because communists censored so much that VOA was a good source to augment one’s knowledge of the world. Not even during the dark days of communism did sober-minded people believe that what VOA peddled was the truth. Today, the situation with VOA is even worse because they have a mistaken belief in their significance by thinking that people who listen to them actually believe what they are saying.
Another set of outfits with the similarly mistaken beliefs in their significance are the NGO-funded “news” outlets. They claim that their truth is even “truer” then the government’s because they allege that their funding comes from Non-governmental sources.
Low and behold, though, even New York Times, a paper predisposed to sympathy to these NGOs, was brave enough to report that foreign governments use these NGOs, many of them attached to various “think-tanks”, to peddle their policy.
The agreement signed last year by the Norway Ministry of Foreign Affairs was explicit: For $5 million, Norway’s partner in Washington would push top officials at the White House, at the Treasury Department and in Congress to double spending on a United States foreign aid program.
If Norway can buy policy outcomes, then why can’t the Saudis or the US government itself? Why wouldn’t the Saudis peddle their policy in the Balkans when their Imam’s have promised these Balkanite Imams that they’ll get the US to recognize their violent fiefdoms “countries”?
Promptly, we saw European Crisis Center publish policy papers that were simply translated from the Saudi dialect into English, then spiffed up with “Executive Summaries” and other bells-and-whistles designed to give “scientific” merit to policies such as bombing of Serbs for defending their own sovereignty, imposing sanctions on Serbs for fighting Albanian Muslim extremism, etc.
Now that these wars are over, the West is, of course, interested in consolidating their gains they’ve gotten from Serbs, so outfits like the Crisis Center are supplanted by websites like Balkan Insight or B92 where the anti-Serbian purpose is the same.
With so much money sprinkled at these websites, they manage to flood the media with their invective, then sit back and pat themselves on the back that they are the only dog in town when it comes to “independent” media from Serbia. With that pat, they also believe that they have finally gotten these pesky Serbs on their knees who are now willingly, with open mouths, accepting their “news” ejaculates squirted at them.
These “NGO news” names often quip that someone like me cannot show that they are affiliated with any government because the sources of money cannot be traced to them. This quip is, of course, designed to claim that their news is fair, balanced and truer than anyone else’s … then again, who in the right mind has time and money just to prove how a nefarious outfit peddles free speech.
…and this brings us back full circle to the Serbian government themselves.
This year, the government sponsored news outlet, Radio Serbia, has been shut down. This media outfit was an inheritance from communist days when they were called Radio Yugoslavia and their primary audience was the short wave radio. With the short wave audience dead, Radio Serbia had hard time finding its niche so it wounded up itself dead.
Another communist remnant, Tanjug, is also on the chopping block and is slated to be shut down at the end of this month. The name itself is long-so obsolete and oxymoronic when proper policy for Serbia was to be the first in line to exit out of Yugoslavia.
However, just because these two communist fossils are shutting down, it does not mean that Serbia should neglect what the truth is in the news. Like all other governments, Serbia needs to open up its check book and buy themselves few think-tanks in Washington so they could peddle Serbia’s talking points on policy. Another venue is to open up additional websites, funded through third layer NGOs, that will intelligently provide some competition to these NGO-funded news outfits.
Serbia also has an excellent regional infrastructure to hire so-called “internet trolls” designed to shape the internet discussion and flood the internet with so much pro-Serbian news that utterings by places like Balkan Insight could be nearly mute links buried deep into Google back end.
The problem, though, is that Serbia itself has no clue what its national policy is. How can any government achieve anything if they aim at nothing?