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Kill the Messenger: The Media’s Role in the Fate of the World

This is a rebroadcast of Uprising that originally aired August 10, 2011

The board of News Corp, Rupert Murdoch’s embattled media conglomerate, met in Los Angeles this week. It was the first meeting since the phone hacking scandal broke in the UK, shaking the media empire’s foundations like never before. But according to writer and radio host Maria Armoudian, News Corps’ “True Scandals” are much worse than the phone hacking revelations. Armoudian cites how News Corp has spent years pushing climate change deniers in its media outlets and as a result, influenced large swathes of the public into accepting the fallacy that greenhouse gases have no effects on the planet. In her new book, “Kill the Messenger,” Armoudian explores how the media’s role in society has contributed to violence. She closely examines this through several case studies, most notably during the Rwandan genocide, where local media outlets pushed the perception that the destruction of the Tutsi population was a social good. However, Armoudian also points out in a detailed analysis, that media can play significant positive role in terms of democracy and human rights. For example, in Senegal, a national media campaign against the custom of female genital cutting (FGC) led many local communities to abandon the practice. Additionally, the advent of the internet and its multiple digital platforms for information dissemination has created a new dynamic in media. The revolutions of the Arab spring have shown that citizen journalism through social networking is playing an increasingly large role in shaping society. Ultimately, the central question of Armoudian’s book “Is it possible to use the channels of media to construct great societies and fulfill human potential?”

GUEST: Maria Armoudian, author of the book, “Kill the Messenger: The Media’s Role in the Fate of the World,” host of the Insighters heard on KPFK on Sundays at 12 noon