Dear YC: I wholeheartedly support this and strongly recommend these books as required reading for anyone seeking to change how media works in our society.
1. Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media by Noam Chomsky & Ed Herman
2. Taking the Risk Out of Democracy: Corporate Propaganda versus Freedom and Liberty by Alex Carey
I realize these have an "anti-corporate" bent to them but they are truly good analyses and well worth reading with at the very least a critical eye. As Carey documents, it is the corporate sector that has developed much of the modern tools of manipulating mass opinion.
More than mere fact checking, I think you will find that the chief challenge to achieving sustainable independent media is the business model. Advertising necessarily biases media towards at least the class interests of advertisers (if not any particular one), or else it would go out of business. Meanwhile it has trained readers to not pay the full price of quality content. This is a fundamental problem.
Another challenge is that companies have business models that support their own PR and lobbying while ordinary citizens do not. That is unless they are organized and combined resources, but with the dissipation of unions there is no strong popular economic counterpoint to corporate PR. This is part of our news system as well.
I very much hope some good work can be done here, with a sober and clear understanding of the fundamental challenges.
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