Those who have the power vs. those who don’t

The following is a response to the defensive post by one Mr. Aaron Weiss of KGW, itself a response to The Portland Mercury’s post about a lawsuit against Multnomah County Sheriffs Department. The lawsuit alleges that a prisoner who was not resisting received a beating by several members of the MCSO – and the lawsuit is backed up by video courtesy by the Portland Mercury of the beating.

Mr. Weiss of KGW took offense to Matt Davis’ allegation of “influencing public opinion” – if I understand it correctly, by KGW’s choice of someone to represent the side of Multnomah County. Mr. Weiss then makes the argument that KGW is just trying to show “all sides” and, since Multnomah County won’t comment on pending litigation, KGW had to find someone to speak for them.

…which got my dander up. I hate the “fake balance” that our media irresponsibly hides behind these days. I deplore what has become of the Fourth Estate. This is what I posted on KGW’s blog, on the Portland Mercury’s blog, and here, in case it doesn’t pass muster at the other sites.

[begin my comment]
What do I see on the tape? I see those with power using it against someone who doesn’t have it. I see precious few inalienable rights being upheld or protected.

The myth that “all sides must be represented” is one of the cancers eating away at our representative democracy. It’s based on a further myth that all opinions are equally valid.

Does it shock anyone that the opinions of those who have the power are going to be used to justify and validate their use and abuse of their power? It shouldn’t be “news” at all, so why waste time on it? Why give the opinion of those in power any more validity or airtime than absolutely necessary? Why seek out a spokesman for the authorities – pardon me, an ex-spokesman in this case – at all? Anyone with any adult awareness at all can predict the opinion of the people who have been given the public trust.

But the idea that our leaders get equal time with the victims of the abuse of power has been promoted by… our leaders and those who benefit from their continued authority.

“Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” is a better motto for the media, who likewise have been granted a public trust, but have abandoned it in favor of pleasing those in power.

Until the media puts aside the fake balance, gives short shrift to the opinions of the power brokers, fact-checks our governments actions, and begins simply reporting who has the power, for whom is the power being used, against whom is the power being abused, and what recourse is available to those who don’t have the power… our nation will continue to become a police state.

Not that I expect someone who has the power, like Mr. Aaron Weiss, to willingly and honestly report these things. Picking and choosing whose opinion gets validity by using up the precious minutes allocated by their corporate masters, while hiding their own opinions in an attempt to foil any accountability by the public, on whose behalf that trust was granted, tells me all I need to know about how KGW values that public trust.