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Last night, on Piers Morgan, Abby Martin went off on corporate media propaganda.

Martin was bothered by seeing “the corporate media coverage almost wanting to revive the Cold War” and continuing to “warmonger and fearmonger the American people.” She asked Morgan, “Why do I have to work for RT to tell the truth about corporations and the US government? I mean, seriously, you guys are beholden to advertisers that you cannot criticize.”
She said that everybody had to step back and find a peaceful solution instead of buying into the corporate media propaganda. She drew an equivalence between RT's pro-Russian war propaganda and the American corporate media's and said that she had the support of her bosses despite her views.

The whole question revolves around editorial independence. It really depends on each organization, whether there is sufficient separation between the corporate interests and the journalistic interests of the venture. For a corporation that is beholden to its advertisers, like CNN, there is always a potential for conflicts of interest in its reporting. The job of the reader is to be aware of potential biases in reporting.

Everything depends on each individual story. The same organization may publish stories that are worthwhile journalism and then turn around and publish something that is propagandistic trash.

A lot depends on the smell test. Let's use an RT story from yesterday as an example. Yesterday, RT put up a headline alleging that it was the Euromaidan leaders who hired snipers to shoot on their own protestors so that they could blame it on their own government. There were immediate problems with this. First, it was from a second-hand source (the Estonian foreign minister) who said that he got it from one of the doctors there. That would have been a pretty big story had it been true. But I didn't diary about it because it was a second-hand source and the doctor in question would not have been in a position to know for a fact. It was simply conjecture on her part, even if she had been quoted accurately. It didn't pass the smell test for me. And another media outlet tracked her down and it turns out that she didn't say what the Estonian FM said she did.

Let's use another example -- Judith Miller. She dutifully reported the hysterical claims of the Bush administration regarding WMD's in Iraq without bothering to fact checking the allegations. It's OK to have political beliefs as a reporter, but for Miller, her right wing political beliefs and her access to Scooter Libby and other members of the Bush Administration were more important for her than her duty to report the facts as she saw them. Not enough people bothered to fact check her until it was too late. And over a million people died in Iraq as a result.

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