What We Pay For!

Michael W. Lammers II,
"We get what we pay for… What am I getting at here? We have all heard this phrase before and we all understand what it means, right? But…, do we really understand what this phrase means and all that it really implies especially where a "free" press is concerned?

I'm going to make an uncomfortable assertion one that some of us would rather sweep under the carpet.

Many of us don't!

We want a "free press" and someone has to pay for it. All too frequently we see the results of our "free press".

News stories that could have a negative effect on a Newspaper's or Periodical's advertisers get "edited" or placed in a column buried on page F 109 or somewhere between that quaint story about Mrs. Smith's prize winning petunias or the winner of a "local" spelling bee whose parents make large contributions to Bob Jones University while the 5 car pileup on the freeway gets the largest headline on the front page.

Why is it however that news about the funding for a "special education" program or a "bill" requiring affordable and accessible housing for some folks who are less fortunate gets buried where readers who are strapped for time have to spend precious time to find it?

Why are the "Best" writers and reporters used for the "sensational" front page story which in one way or another is a repetition of countless previous stories like it and why are the worst writers and reporters used for local political reporting?

Who pays for our "free" press and how does the placement of their advertisements affect the placement of meaningful and meaningless news stories and how does this affect the reader's lives and their political choices?

Mmmm… Remember, that great two page story about that expensive new luxury car that starts on the front page of section D in the Sunday paper?

That's a great advertisement, isn't it?

Oh my, wait a second, what happened to that story about rising gas prices, or the one about drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge?

What about the one that would tell us about hazardous air pollution levels that travel toward us from large distant cities? Anyone remember Kyoto?

That's interesting, a proposal to relax environmental restrictions on Oil companies is buried too, but the proposal to reduce gasoline taxes and thus lower the price of gasoline is right there on the bottom of the front page.

Yes, there is a "Santa Claus" and he or she will format the news to maximize the advertiser's profitability. Now there's a faint glimpse of the obvious."

/As ABCNews goes mum on Iraq?
//A Media-Opoly