Patrick Chalmers, former Reuters journalist and the author of “Fraudcast News: How Bad Journalism Supports our Bogus Democracies”, presented on the 3rd annual Positive Money conference in London.
Patrick used to be the London Markets reporter — on precious metals and FTSE — for Reuters. He explained why he himself didn’t get money:
“Why didn’t I get money?” Answer: “I didn’t have to! But I didn’t know I could get it, no-one was asking me to get it, and my day-to-day job was trying to find out what a derivative was and how it related to gold.”
And then he listed some further reasons why the journalists and the media don’t understand money:
– Journalists are no smarter than the rest of us.
– They flock to those in power — and he said, “power” can also be expressed in terms of huge amounts of wealth, rather than a formal position.
– It’s not in the interests of those in power to speak to journalists about how money is made and its consequences.
– They are under no pressure to understand from editors (who don’t understand either).
– The audience isn’t clamouring to understand where money comes from. They might not even know that they do not know.
– They are understaffed and under pressure, which leads to fast writing. This situation doesn’t lend itself to deep thought.
– They are pack animals, there are few real contrarians.
– They have their own ideology — which is often that of the paper.
– Fear of backlash (flak).
What we can do, he said was to monitor them, critique errors and omissions, lobby to improve coverage, and find and share alternative media. We can also become the media. We can learn how to be the media ourselves. We can self-educate, stage film screenings and debates, champion local innovation, and engage in citizen journalism.
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Positive Money is a not-for-profit research and campaign group. They work to raise awareness of the connections between our current monetary and banking system and the serious social, economic and ecological problems that face the UK and the world today. In particular they focus on the role of banks in creating the nation’s money supply through the accounting process they use when they make loans – an aspect of banking which is poorly understood. Positive Money believe these fundamental flaws are at the root of – or a major contributor to – problems of poverty, excessive debt, growing inequality and environmental degradation. For more information, please visit: http://www.positivemoney.org/