This book is about media transparency and good-faith attempts of honesty by both the sources and the gate-keepers of news and other information that the mass media present as being unbiased. Specifically, this book provides a theoretical framework for understanding media transparency and its antithesis--media opacity--by analyzing extensive empirical data that the authors have collected from more than 60 countries throughout the world. The practice of purposeful media opacity, which exists to greater or lesser extents worldwide, is a powerful hidden influencer of the ostensibly impartial media gate-keepers whose publicly perceived role is to present news and other information based on these gate-keepers’ perception of this information’s truthfulness. Empirical data that the authors have collected globally illustrate the extent of media opacity practices worldwide and note its pervasiveness in specific regions and countries. The authors examine, from multiple perspectives, the complex question of whether media opacity should be categorically condemned as being universally inappropriate and unethical or whether it should be accepted—or at least tolerated—in some situations and environments.
I. Truth 1. Truth is Essential in Democratic Societies, but again What is Truth? 2. We View Truth Through Unique Lenses and from Multiple Sources 3. The Mass Media Have a Critical Role in Presenting Truth 4. The Public Relations Practitioner Likewise Has a Critical Role in Presenting Truth 5. Media Practice or Media Opacity? II. Mass Media Opacity-Global Data about Media Practices 6. Bribery in National and Regional Traditional and Online Media 7. Interpersonal, Intra-Organizational, and Inter-Organizational Levels of Corruption 8. Direct and Indirect Influences on Media 9. Monetary and Non-Monetary Compensations 10. A Normative Theory of Media Opacity