IN A LENGHTY article for the Scoop website, journalist Alison McCulloch asks what we can do about "our own shallow corporate media." I don't wish to simplify her article in a few words - read it for yourself - but McCulloch says she has given up on the corporate news media, "finally having decided they do more harm than good." She now confines herself to a few selected media sites.
She also suggests that people should try giving up on the corporate media for a day or a week: "You’ll be happier, better informed and a lot more productive. You’re also likely to discover there’s very little “news” they produce that you really need to know."
I've been wondering if I really needed to know that there is a so-called 'terrorist threat' to New Zealand shopping malls and I have concluded that I didn't. The story provides neither legitimate news or information.
A video - the legitimacy of which has not been verified - calls for terrorist attacks on shopping malls in the United Kingdom and other western countries. The video mentions the Westfield mall in Stratford, London as a specific potential target, along with the Mall of America in Minnesota and the West Edmonton Mall in Canada.
Westfield has shopping malls all over North America, including six in Los Angeles alone. It is planning to build Europe's biggest mall in Milan, Italy.
But merely because Westfield has several malls in New Zealand we are also apparently under threat of a terrorist attack from supporters of the Somalian group Al-Shabaab.
Al Shabaab is a small and poorly resourced terrorist group that does not have the capacity to follow through on its threats and the purpose of the video is to draw attention to itself and its ideology. The New Zealand corporate media has generously provided it with the platform that it wants. It has also probably contributed to heightening the level of suspicion and hostility directed toward both the local Muslim and Somalian communities.
And is it a coincidence that this story has been given prominence by the corporate media shortly before the Government announces it will be sending troops to Iraq to assist in the fight against ISIS?
Allison McCulloch writes that, in absence of far reaching structural change to the corporate media, the sanest strategy is to simply boycott it. We can then be free from what she describes as the 'destructive noise' - like the destructive noise about a 'terrorist threat' to local Westfield shopping malls, for instance.