Lessons for Developed Countries About a Free Press

by Mark Antony Rossi 

America started losing it’s free press in the 1990’s when digitalization and the internet became household tools common, persuasive and inexpensive. We have always had a leftward bias in our media but most people and politicians did not take it too seriously. Many figured it was the aftereffects of college keg parties and hippie idealism of Woodstock professors. We were wrong not to counter it then and it has now grown to be blatantly recognizable and even extremely anti-democratic in practice. Recently, of the so-called journalists were caught lying about a hack that never took place because he was nabbed spouting negative nonsense of the President of the United States. Normally, this would be free speech but not when you are set to be a debate moderator of a Presidential Election.

This deliberate act shows how low journalism has sunk in America. Stories and investigations only appear against one side of the political debate. That “journalist” was “suspended” but the damage has been done from a long line of so-called respected journalists from Dan Rather, faking stories to Charlie Rose propositioning women with the same timing as breathing. This is supposed to be an arm of defense against tyranny and foul play from a government and instead has become a tool to be used to further divide the population and misinform the voting citizenry.

As a writer, I constantly preach against aping the poor rhetoric and bad writing of lazy journalists and corrupt politicians because in the end it cancels independent thinking and leads to skewed perceptions of a reality that might not actually exist. Do we have a racial prejudice problem in America? Yes and unlike most countries that have similar issues, America has a long record of trying to combat it through, church, state, and business sectors of society. We haven’t stood still and continue to make progress every day despite a mainstream media that would have you believe there are race riots every day while people are in chains.

America is such a rich country our poor often have more and live better than the middle class of nearly half this planet. So I say to you developing countries if you do have to have a true measure of freedom in your societies be careful about allowing social media giants to have a major say in your internal affairs, your cultural news, or even business sector. America has made this mistake and with the continued closing of major newspapers and media news outlets we are stuck with social media giants that now attempt to dictate to the population what they should think, how they should feel, yes, how they should vote. They actively censor bad news from their protected parties and politicians while feeding the masses fear and confusion.

I pray upon the conclusion of this election, America and other developing countries, rein in these dangerous monopolies who now have the power to shape a society in many ways none ever expected to witness. It went from a cute face to a monster image. It went from a cute gaggle of words to the voice of freedom choked by digital dictators. These malignant corporations are not solely at fault.

Some of the blame lies with the business of journalism. You can’t sell advertising in papers no one wants to read. My cat box might be happy with the Sunday edition but why read boring predictable bias every day by the same people who live one way and tell us to live another? How can you trust the news to not be fake news when journalists wear five-thousand-dollar suits and expensive designer brands and fight for television coverage far more than the truth for the people. A vacuum occurred and social media stepped right in.

Some of the blame lies with the people. Instead of chatting with people in person, we chose to instant message and like every idiotic thing ever said by a human being in our collective existence. We gave the social media corporations our loyalty, patronage, and practical digital servitude. Now they seek to alter society to fit their preconceived notions of how we should worship, think, and behave in a world they claim is better, smarter, and safer than two decades ago. But how is this world they are creating better than 1980?

In 1980 my television didn’t look back at me. In 1980 my phone did not listen to my conversations and send ads to my screen showing me products previously discussed in the privacy of my home. In 1980 my computer did not show commercials manufactured by foreign governments to influence my elections. And in 1980, China and Russia, didn’t believe they have moral superiority to my system of government or how to conduct relations with each other. To my friends in developing countries, I say this, your freedom will be at stake if you allow these forces to enter your society without lawful supervision, without ethical consideration and without ensuring your sovereignty is protected beyond reproach.

Upon reflection, I wonder if America’s national security interests are much better served not building a Wall on the borders of Mexico but perhaps building walls against social media intrusions into our society and individual lives. We spend so much time worrying about illegal aliens and not enough time protecting the Republic against illegal hacking attacks both foreign and domestic. I think we made a grave mistake. As I speak social media giants are literally deciding what news I should read or what manner I should write about the great political debate of the day. I am told I should worry about China’s influence over there but there is much cause for concern about worrying about China’s influence right here in my homeland. Are you in charge of your own affairs? Find out before you make the mistake America has made — find out before it’s too late.

Mark Antony Rossi is a poet, playwright and author of the bioethics volume “Dark Tech” now available from Amazon. His most recent plays have been produced in Liverpool and New York. He also hosts a podcast called Strength to be Human.

One Comment

  1. Well said, Mark. And all valid points.