Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Still choking on propaganda

How ironic that Indymedia seems to be plagued by the very problems of those organizations it claims to resent the most. Just as the proponents of globalism, including the likes of the WTO and NATO, Indymedia has encountered a similar fate. Obviously begun with worthwhile intentions, each of these organizations has however become so overcome with differing directions and internal confusions that it is increasingly difficult to determine what those intentions may have ever been. While the faults of the former organizations are much more brazen than those of Indymedia, I still hold that, while its potential surely exists, Indymedia (in its current state) must undergo much change to its infrastructure in order to provide what I believe is its basic mission, a means of access to those news stories we typically do not encounter. While Indymedia does make these articles readily available, they seem to be either hastily written with little attention given to the global importance of the event in question or so completely biased I began helplessly choking on the propaganda shoved down my throat. While it is obviously much easier to provide only one side of a story, in order to be taken seriously, I believe Indymedia may find it beneficial to request article submissions to attempt a discussion of the opposition.

In addition, when I tried a simple search regarding the topic of my final project, harm reduction, I was bombarded with a multitude of articles with absolutely no relevance. After refining my search, I was provided with a mere one thousand irrelevant articles. While I did find one interesting article concerning the Thai government’s recent decision to continue their fruitless war on drugs (sound familiar anyone?), the article was surprisingly brief and did not touch on any of the country’s policies surrounding AIDS prevention that are actually quite in touch with its large sex worker and IDU population. Even more troubling, those reading this article with no previous background on the topic may experience feelings of resentment directed toward the wrong government. Thailand has made many advances in harm reduction and AIDS prevention while our government is still working to hide the fact that such epidemics even exist. Needless to say, after reading this article as well as many of the other haphazardly organized topics, I stopped reading. Just as I turn off the television when U.S. army propaganda infiltrates my senses, I quickly exited Indymedia with the ominous fear of another organization looking to taint the innocently ignorant on their never ending quest for pure knowledge.

While I am disgusted with our country’s media “coverage,” I found the articles of Indymedia to be no better. It seems Indymedia has forgotten the fundamental fallacy that two wrongs do not make a right. Just because the U.S. media is severely biased and often silent on key global issues, that does not grant Indymedia the provision to do the same. I had hoped that such an organization would provide a media source that demonstrated how global news should be relayed, yet, sadly, it seems Indymedia has fallen into the same trap that America’s detested corporate conglomerates have, choosing only those stories that serve only to fill another agenda.

3 comments:

Caroline said...

I hear your frustrations, with the "propaganda" from the other extreme side. But I don't think you should blame Indymedia for your futile research. Honestly, what exactly do you mean by "harm reduction"? Do you mean physical or mental, environmental or communal, cultural or social?? I think that's waaaay too broad of a topic. If you want scholarly information on AIDS (one type of harm), then do a scholarly search through legitimate databases, or at least the WHO website. You can hardly expect to get both sides of the story when you're on a site that's obviously one-sided. Just a suggestion...

mhofsommer said...

I think that one important thing to remember when reading news from sites such as indymedia is that they are promising to be independent which does not necessarily mean unbiased. Simply because indymedia is gathering their news stories from sources other than large news and media corporations does not mean that their stories will be any less biased. On one part of the site, I was looking at how to have your IMC's (Independent Media Center)news published and no where does it call for even handed reporting. I think that indymedia is a good source of unconventional news stories but not the right place for looking for both sides of a story. Unfortunately with all the new avenues where people can get their news from, more work must be done to guarantee the quality of that media.

Mackai said...

I agree that indymedia does seem extremely biased but I saw it as more of an extremist response to the larger corporations' version of news coverage. I'd love to find a site that was completely unbiased but I think those are hard to find given that alot of research and reporting is funded by people to are directly affected by the things we read about in the news. I think that sites like indymedia provide a good counterweight in terms of news coverage, its really just up to the readers to take everything with a grain of salt.