It is April already, spring is upon us here in Central Oregon, and it is beautiful outside. It is the sort of weather that makes it impossible for me to remain inside, dutifully typing away on the computer. So things might get a little bit quiet around here, and I apologize. I started several posts here in the past week, only to set them aside after a paragraph or two to go play outside. And, I confess, I’ve also been pretty distracted by my fictional endeavors too. I’m increasingly anxious to get this novel finished and published! There is never enough time to get everything done.
I mentioned starting a few posts this past week, and I decided this morning to just combine a couple here rather than go back to finish them. As I said, the weather is beautiful, way too nice for me to spend much time here!
First, the Panama Papers, released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) last Sunday. Everyone is talking about them, there’s plenty of good posts out there analyzing the coverage, and I don’t really have anything to add. But, I do want to say that there is a lot of speculation being tossed around because the leaked data itself isn’t available to the public. Of course the leak is being framed and micro-managed to serve someone’s (or many someones’) purposes. Rolled out like a thriller novel or movie, (I’m sure that’s already in the works) to grab our attention and point that attention in the direction desired by those managing the release.
The fact is, leaks happen. They come in all shapes and sizes, and for many reasons. How they are framed and spun can be quite telling. The very fact that the Panama Papers leak is getting so much media attention is telling. Obviously it was a ‘safe’ leak in the sense that it is unlikely to make anyone in real positions of western power too uncomfortable. Here is an interesting perspective by Eoin Higgins on why that might be the case. Also consider this article on the ICIJ’s website describing what looks like a possible cleaning up of any suspicious evidence in Nevada by a Mossack Fonseca owned company. And remember that this data was leaked to the journalists a year ago. That’s a pretty fair amount of time for damage control.
What should be demanded of this international consortium of journalists is a full release of the data to the public, to be searched and analyzed freely. But so far, we are only allowed to view the information through a certain media lens, just as has often been the case with big leaks in the past. Perhaps this leak will follow the same course as Edward Snowden’s, with the ICIJ destroying the Mossack Fonseca data to protect the source and the journalists, as was the case with Snowden’s data and the Guardian. But don’t worry, there will surely be copies of the information safely stored elsewhere, to ensure ongoing reporting, as needed, on things that are useful to serve powerful agendas.
Which leads me to the incredible idea of media that isn’t funded by large corporations and powerful elites. If investigative journalists could be freed from those ties, they would be free to report information without framing it to fit a narrative dictated by those powerful sponsors. A leak such as this Mossack Fonseca one could be released to the public, allowing everyone to see the information, and determine their own conclusions. The reality today is that the media serves only the less-than-one-percent of the population to manipulate and control the rest of us. Because they own it.
So why don’t we, the people, fund our own source of information? Of course, there are many great sources for independent news and analysis available for anyone taking the time to find them, and there are plenty of willing supporters supplying well earned donations to those sources. But why not help fund something even bigger? Something that might actually give all those independent sources a larger platform in order to reach a much larger audience. A real chance to counter the corporate owned media and their dictated narrative. Why not?
The Kickstarter campaign for Newsbud is down to the final six days. The total amount donated is nowhere near the goal, but the donations have continued to come in daily. If the Kickstarter campaign had more time, I think the goal would be reached, but it is limited to sixty days by the crowdfunding platform. There is certainly support for such an idea, as is demonstrated by the nearly $190,000.00 pledged as of this posting. We may not make the goal in six days, but I hope that the support for this idea will remain strong. If at first you fail, try, try again, right?