The fallacy of using “the public’s right to know” to support traditional media

It is a well accepted fact that once survival instincts kick in we will use anything and say anything in order to survive. This isn’t an instinct just regulated to men and woman as we have seen companies that are drowning in their own missteps and mistakes come out fighting using specious and ridiculous arguments as to why they shouldn’t be left to rot by the roadside.

Both the music and video, albeit movies or television, are famous for trotting out all kinds of dire warnings about how we will lose those industries if something isn’t done to save them. Things like a 3-strike law that will see people kicked off the Internet if they are caught “stealing” music or videos. Of course this is all under the assumption that these businesses are doing to save the artists involved from never being able to earn an income.

Then we have the news industry which is currently performing the waffle dance about going back to a paywall subscription system in order to save the news industry. After all without the corporations being able to make massive profits as they have in the past we all know that news will disappear forever.

One of the arguments that the news industry likes to trot out as a reason why we can’t afford to have their businesses go tits up is because with out the news industry the way it is now the public’s right to know is in danger of being taken away from them.



Besides the fact that there has never been a better informed public than ever before (as long as they are willing to get up off their asses to look for it) the idea that the news industry is our conduit to all that we have the right to know is stupid.

What it really boils down to is that the news we get is only the news that news organizations feel will bring them the biggest viewership numbers and what they – and them alone – decide they want us to see or read. There is no public right involved in any of this. It is all about them being the gatekeepers and deciding what is best for them – we don’t enter into the picture.