Media Lens

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Description from the website

correcting for the distorted vision of the corporate media
MediaLens is a response based on our conviction that mainstream newspapers and broadcasters provide a profoundly distorted picture of our world. We are convinced that the increasingly centralised, corporate nature of the media means that it acts as a de facto propaganda system for corporate and other establishment interests. The costs incurred as a result of this propaganda, in terms of human suffering and environmental degradation, are incalculable.
In seeking to understand the basis and operation of this systematic distortion, we flatly reject all conspiracy theories and point instead to the inevitably corrupting effects of free market forces operating on and through media corporations seeking profit in a society dominated by corporate power. We reject the idea that journalists are generally guilty of self-censorship and conscious lying; we believe that the all-too-human tendency to self-deception accounts for their conviction that they are honest purveyors of uncompromised truth. We all have a tendency to believe what best suits our purpose - highly paid, highly privileged editors and journalists are no exception.
MediaLens has grown out of our frustration with the unwillingness, or inability, of the mainstream media to tell the truth about the real causes and extent of many of the problems facing us, such as human rights abuses, poverty, pollution and climate change. Because much modern suffering is rooted in the unlimited greed of corporate profit-maximising - in the subordination of people and planet to profit - it seems to us to be a genuine tragedy that society has for so long been forced to rely on the corporate media for 'accurate' information. It seems clear to us that quite obvious conflicts of interest mean it is all but impossible for the media to provide this information. We did not expect the Soviet Communist Party's newspaper Pravda to tell the truth about the Communist Party, why should we expect the corporate press to tell the truth about corporate power?
We believe that media 'neutrality' is a deception that often serves to hide systematic pro-corporate bias. 'Neutrality' most often involves 'impartially' reporting dominant establishment views, while ignoring all non-establishment views. In reality it is not possible for journalists to be neutral - regardless of whether we do or do not overtly give our personal opinion, that opinion is always reflected in the facts we choose to highlight or ignore. While we seek to correct corporate distortions as honestly as possible, our concern is not to affect some spurious 'objectivity' but to engage with the world to do whatever we can to reduce suffering and to resist the forces that seek to subordinate human well-being to profit. We do not believe that passively observing human misery without attempting to intervene constitutes 'neutrality'. We do not believe that 'neutrality' can ever be deemed more important than doing all in our power to help others.
We accept the Buddhist assertion that while greed and hatred distort reason, compassion empowers it. Our aim is to increase rational awareness, critical thought and compassion, and to decrease greed, hatred and ignorance. Our goal is not at all to attack, insult or anger individual editors or journalists but to highlight significant examples of the systemic distortion that is facilitating appalling crimes against humanity: the failure to communicate the truth of exactly who is responsible for the slaughter of 500,000 Iraqi children under five; the silence surrounding the motives and devastating consequences of corporate obstruction of action on climate change; the true nature, motives and consequences of 'globalisation'; the corporate degradation and distortion of democratic society and culture. Our hope is that by so doing we can help all of us to free ourselves from delusions. In the age of global warming and globalised exploitation these delusions threaten an extraordinary, and perhaps terminal, disaster - they should not be allowed to go unchallenged.
We have to acknowledge the debt we owe to Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky, and in particular to their brilliant (and largely ignored) text, Manufacturing Consent - The Political Economy of the Mass Media. (Pantheon, 1988) We recommend Herman and Chomsky's "propaganda model of media control" as a basis for understanding the manner in which truth is filtered from, rather than consciously obstructed by, the modern media system.
We hope that this website will help to turn bystanders into compassionate actors. As historian Howard Zinn has written:
"Society has varying and conflicting interests; what is called objectivity is the disguise of one of these interests - that of neutrality. But neutrality is a fiction in an unneutral world. There are victims, there are executioners, and there are bystanders... and the 'objectivity' of the bystander calls for inaction while other heads fall."
"I recommend a new website edited by... [writers David Edwards and David Cromwell], whose factual, inquiring analysis of the reporting of Iraq, Afghanistan and other issues has already drawn the kind of defensive spleen that shows how unused to challenge and accountability much of journalism, especially that calling itself liberal, has become. The address is"
John Pilger, New Statesman, March 22, 2002)


"Media Lens gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Barry Amiel and Norman Melburn Trust, the Lipman Miliband Trust, the Foundation de Sauve, the Marmot Trust and a number of individual donors." [1]

Contact details

David Edwards, Editor
David Cromwell, Editor
Email: editor AT

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. How is Media Lens funded?, Media Lens, accessed June 26, 2008.