“News is what someone wants to suppress. Everything else is advertising,” said Reuven Frank, a former head of NBC news.
Insightful. And, incomplete. Frank’s comment reflects the widespread bias for either/or certainity. Either news or advertising. If only things were so simple.
Why? Because there will be voices, sometimes including your own, wishing to suppress the item. And, there will be voices, sometimes including your own, wishing to promote — to advertise — the item.
Which means all of us must connect the content of information with the source of that information if we are to understand it. And, we must look at our own values as we interpret both.
Consider, then, the information regarding the Bush Administration’s choice to outsource east coast port security to a company run by the government of the United Arab Emirates. And, the associated information that, prior to September 11th, the UAE government had important ties to terrorists and jihadists, while since 9/11 the government of UAE has taken steps to reduce such ties.
Now, include yourself and ask: For whom is this news? For whom is this advertising? And how do we govern ourselves — solve our most pressing and complex problems — when some see this as news and others as advertising? And, how do we do this together?