The United States’ alternative news and media: Do we really need all the analysis?

By Tyler Friederich

During my Thanksgiving break, which was excellent by the way, I happened to view an alternative news channel. I believe it was channel 9415 on Dish Network, but who knows. The program, entitled Liberty News, didn’t appear to have any commercials, thus avoiding what some people like to proclaim the “corporate media.” My best friend has been pleading with me for a couple of years to switch to alternative news outlets so that I wouldn’t be brainwashed with the “conservative” and “pro-American” media.

So, there I was on a Friday evening browsing through the hundred or so channels. I came upon Liberty News, with only one anchor giving the news of the day. Well, to say the least, I was intrigued and humored by this broadcast. Instead of delivering news, the fifteen minutes that I watched was devoted to a “Defense of the U.N.” However, instead of giving arguments for the UN’s defense backed up with facts or data, the anchor deliberately went out of his way to smash Fox News, Bill O’Reilly and the Hudson Institute.

One of the anchor’s arguments in defense of the United Nations pointed to the fact that between 1900 and 1945, hundreds of millions of people died from war. However, between 1945 and present, the number of millions dead decreased significantly. The anchor proudly congratulated the United Nations for their seemingly single-handed role in achieving this masterpiece. Never mind the fact that the atomic weapon was developed during World War II. Surely nuclear weapons and the concept of Mutually Assured Destruction didn’t have anything to do with the fact that there hasn’t been a World War III. No, the United Nations is the sole beneficiary for that feat.

In yet another ridiculous, albeit humorous attempt in defending the U.N., the anchor mentioned a poll conducted by the “right-wing” Hudson Institute which declared that the majority of Americans would like to see the U.N. disbanded if it continues to be inefficient.

I was expecting a somewhat intelligent debate between this anchor and the poll; instead I watched one of the most bizarre events on television. A cartoon-type graphic appeared with the Hudson Institute employees conjuring up a poll through some type of factory. Then contents were poured into an elephant where it was digested and then, well, you get the idea. The output was the results of the poll. I have no idea how this segment was supposed to change my mind on the United Nations – I have a feeling that the normal viewers of this program do not need to have their minds changed anyway.

Let’s face it – almost every single source of media will never be totally independent or non-partisan.

While I reject the notion that the corporate media controls how we think, I do realize that the corporate media is a powerful entity. But the public is even more powerful. We have the ability to choose which media we want to view – whether it be Fox News and the Wall Street Journal on the right, the New York Times and CNN on the left, or even those “independent” media outlets like Liberty News. Just ask basically all of the major newspapers, whose number of subscribers has fallen significantly since 2002.

The rise of Fox News, which debuted on Oct. 7, 1996, has transformed the media and, in my mind, sparked the blog phenomenon on the Internet. Instead of merely reporting the news, Fox and Bill O’Reilly began “news analysis” where lively debates and shouting matches often occurred. Now millions of blogs are at our disposal.

Whether or not the “liberal media” is to blame for the popularity of Fox News or the decline of newspaper subscribers is beyond me. But I have to wonder whether people really enjoy the news analysis and opinions afforded to us. Maybe we’re just getting too lazy to read the facts and analyze them ourselves.

But hey, don’t take my word for it.