Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Passive role of media during the Holocaust

( An e-mail to a US Journalist and academician Laurel Leff, who had conducted a study on media role during the Holocaust )

Dear Laurel Leff,

It suddenly occurred to me to check what was media role in reporting the Holocaust. I was lucky to find about you, and your valued study !( http://www.dailyorange.com/2.8691/journalist-claims-media-covered-up-holocaust-1.1237448#.T07yDYcgcR8)It was an eye opening study. Holocaust was the most heinous crime of the modern age against humanity. If media hadn't  found it worth reporting to the world with the DESERVING importance, there is really something very seriously WRONG with this profession!

 The above referred link says: 

'American newspapers knew about the genocide occurring in 1940s Europe. They just didn't think it was front-page material. Although the newspaper founder, publisher and several staff members at The Times were practicing Jews of German heritage, they did not cover the events of the Holocaust with the right level of urgency'. It turns out that during those years, The Times published more than 1,000 stories about the death camps and murders happening in Europe. However, they were always on the inside of the paper, never the front page.

The consequences of not drawing attention to the Holocaust are profound ( you said)"It was never on the public agenda in a way that would pressure the government to do something"

Another Blogger Jessica writes on the same subject matter of your study:' Newspapers simply did not portray the news to the American public so that they could understand the full effect of the Holocaust. Perhaps, if the media had done their job and truly informed Americans, millions of Jews may not have been completely wiped from the earth'. 

My disillusionment about media's role in important world events was complete. During the slave trade period in early US, the earliest predecessors of media institution were partnering the evil practice. 
I have a newspaper clipping of an 18th century news paper from US  that carried a few classified advertisement for the sale of Negro Slaves. I understand that it was usual for newspapers of that period to carry such advertisements routinely !

The incident of media not adequately reporting about Holocaust, and their carrying advertisements for the sale of Negro slaves has close similarity - -it shows the clear face of the media profession. It does not exist for achieving any pious human goal. Their job ends in describing it, with all the subjectivity and prejudices of their world view. It is their subjective world that we are made to live with !

You have rightly mentioned:   "a fundamental of journalism is to get people to care. If you don't want to do that, don't be a journalist."

Media occupy a great slot in the world, but they are not really what the world think think of them. People build-up their 'selves' by developing a certain 'belongingness' to the world. Quality of the self of man is depended upon the quality of the world that media present. The job of world making is a job of central importance. 

Hence, there is a need for waking up the world about the great danger in keeping its blind faith in the media. Either the world should succeed in getting them to wake up, or at least a third party agency has to warn the world about the danger. Unfortunately, media has the monopoly over the mainstream world, and finding an equally effective agency to counter them is difficult. It makes the danger more severe !

Would want you to continue your good work in reinventing the media profession, by instilling greater values among its men. 

I am sure you would be interested in sharing my blogs on the theme of REINVENTING MEDIA, and my above mentioned communications with the media leaders. They are : http://mediaandcontentrelevance.blogspot.com/

Abraham J.Palakudy

A philosophic seeker and Researcher in the fields of Mind and Reason, Faculty of Reason, Polity, Media and Spirituality
contact : ajoseph1@rediffmail.com
Twitter: Voice of philosophy@jopan1

His profile and other blogs: https://www.blogger.com/profile/14249415589712707293