Some people argue that it's just the "free market" at work, and if people don't like it - then don't buy it. But we need to look at how information is controlled and disseminated in society. Edward Bernays was arguably the father of "public relations" and he helped to change public opinions and attitudes with regard to women smoking cigarettes. Capitalist owners and inventors can ensure that a two-way process occurs. Firstly, you sell a product in order to address the needs and desires of consumers. And in the process of doing this - you achieve the second process; you start to SHAPE the needs and desires of the consumer. You help to cultivate different niches of public consumption and realms of knowledge. Thus, gradually - you also start to shape the very parameters in which public debates actually occur too.
This is a process that Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman elaborated on in their seminal work "Manufacturing Consent", and a synopsis can be found on Wiki..excerpt:-
Using the propaganda model, Manufacturing Consent posits that corporate - owned news mass communication media — print, radio, television — are businesses subject to commercial competition for advertising revenue and profit. As such, their distortion (editorial bias) of news reportage — i.e. what types of news, which items, and how they are reported — is a consequence of the profit motive that requires establishing a stable, profitable business; therefore, news businesses favoring profit over the public interest succeed, while those favoring reportorial accuracy over profits fail, and are relegated to the margins of their markets (low sales and ratings).
Now, in my own humble opinion....we need to think about the issue of responsibility. True, the people who buy these newspapers share some responsibility in terms of feeding the NI beast. However, you could also argue that the NI beast has helped to shape the peoples' opinions over time. The working and lower middle-class portion of the population generally have been cultured to see news as more of an infotainment or titillating experience. Mind you, the general standard of all print media has declined over the years. Ultimately, how do we REACH these NI readers with better and more factual information, or more balanced articles which also cater to their current desire for titillating stories in-between? Sure, they could go on the internet...but then a lot of people also just refer to their known brands on the internet too. And the news on captive-market sites such as Yahoo (with it's email market) and MSN (Hotmail, etc) is often only from a small assortment of corporate-owned outlets. And when sifting through Google News; people are confronted with a variety of stories from various sources - often with half-truths and bits and pieces of a story that require quite a bit of work sometimes to piece a more cogent and sensible narrative together. Even on Google News - some things just get buried fast. In my experience as a journalist (writing for Today's Zaman newspaper) I have often had to source things from news reports rather than direct individual sources (people, institutions, etc). In the case of news reports, I often find that specific newspapers report something very interesting and important in a brief article and then no longer report on it ever again (only for the story to be picked-up, elaborated on, etc by another newspaper - sometimes across the world).
The internet has certainly offered a lot of potential for a more informed public - but there is a lot of crap out there, and a lot of good stuff too. The tyranny of vast information (and agendas)...and a lack of enough knowledge. Perhaps the best place really is for people to simply contribute news articles on internet fora dedicated to journalism, and then free-lancers or professionals can go over them as objectively as possible (and post very brief synopses\key-points distinguishing each article) and the person can just make their mind-up when they want. A tool that managers or participants in such fora could use is that of Google trackers that email you new web-page creations under the name of whatever topic you choose to keep track of. Perhaps even a small subscription fee could be employed by such a website...Hmm...
There is one website that offers timelines of events pieced together by dedicated researchers for free:-
It is a good research tool, given that the authors basically write timelines sourced with claims taken directly from mainstream news articles and books, rather than the authors inserting their own opinions or analysis. However, the main problem is that it is a bit too verbose and the topic-list focuses on history. A version that keeps up with daily news would really need to be a large project, and also financed by a donation-based system. However, the History Commons website does allow you to view news-stories within a specific timeline topic as it appears per month. Ideally, my proposed site would have an RSS feed which people could check everyday and thus get updated synopses of news articles from around the world on very specific topics of interest to the users of the site (which could be very broad indeed in range). People could see synopses and thus get as broad a range of perspectives on a news-topic as possible, but they could also click on any article to read more if they chose to.
Mind you, there still needs to be a way to popularise such fora. Sadly, I lack the capital to do so such a thing.
Heck...maybe such a fora\website already exists...but, thanks to the excellent marketing control of information; I have not heard of it yet.
"There is a lot of explosive information that has come out in the main stream press but it comes out buried. As a casual observer of the news I'd never have noticed any of this stuff. You might find one important bit of information in a newspaper and another bit of information off the news shelf. Then if you start to put all those obscure stories together you end up with an almost completely different narrative for just about any area relating to 9/11" - Paul Thompson, researcher at HistoryCommons.org and author of The Terror Timeline book.