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So why did journalism fail? One only needs to examine the financial industry’s elaborate programmes to cultivate the media to realise that journalists are confronted with significant conflicts of interest between their job as reporters and individual desires for recognition, access and advancement. Banks lobby journalists in the same way they lobby any other constituency: through measured public affairs departments, conferences and parallel marketing. Good journalism requires access, and there is a whole hierarchy of access, institutional ranks, and so-called information: who gets invited, who is asked to speak as a “media leader”, who attends dinners. How can a journalist resist the machine that treats him so well?
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
Acres of hemp grown by “patriotic‚” U.S. farmers in 1942 at the behest of the U.S. government:
A study suggested that the health effects of exposure to nuclear radiation at Chernobyl were no worse than ill health resulting from smoking and normal urban air pollution.
Greenpeace apologized after activists accidentally defaced the site of Peru’s 2,000-year-old Nazca Lines when they unfurled cloth letters reading “time for change” near the ancient sand drawings. “We fully understand,” the group wrote in a statement, “that this looks bad.”
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“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”