Newseum. one-sided museum of journalism history

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“The people have a need to know. Journalists have a right to tell” is the message carried by the Newseum – America’s “most interactive museum” where five centuries of news history meet. I went in and came out blinded and impressed, but once the glaring of shiny exhibits settled down in my eyes and memory, I couldn’t let go of the feeling, that I’ve been somehow deceived.

Newseum 075 The place is magnificent. 6-7 floors, 14 major galleries and 15 theatres, including an unforgettable 4D video experience, telling the tale of American journalism with bullets flying at you and planes crashing at your feet (its actually 3D with moving chairs and occasional breaths of artificial wind). The galleries cover journalism and news history, photography, development of news technology, documentaries and newspaper clippings.

Big and most impressive exhibits included Pulitzer Prize Photographs Gallery, Berlin Wall Gallery, Memorial Exhibit for courageous journalists who died on duty and a “Freedom in the World Map” by Freedom House, where Armenia is marked as “not free.”

With all its brilliance, the Newseum was somewhat disappointing. The museum, which makes a point of highlighting the importance of quality journalism, ‘people’s right to know’, had some really one-sided expositions.

Watching the samples you’d think its only Americans who fought Fascism in World War II and that it’s only the Soviets who had the nuclear bombs and threatened the world’s security.

I understand that this is the heritage of cold-war era U.S. Journalism – it was one-sided and not completely up to the notch at times. If a similar museum were to built in Armenia or Russia, it would probably be even more one-sided.  But than again, how can I trust your 9/11 gallery or photos about Iraq and Afganistan wars once you’ve lost all credibility in my eyes?

Anyway, this is just a museum, and a lovely one at that. I’d say it’s a must see in Washington DC, but be careful – it’s not as journalistic as it seems.

Regardless, I’m sure I took out the right message from my Newseum experience today: “The people have a need to know. Journalists have a right to tell.”

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8 thoughts on “Newseum. one-sided museum of journalism history

  1. All the news reporting is done through the prism of the interests of the public in a particular society – the A-bomb or threats to the world’s security articles are written for the American public who were indeed threatened by the Soviet A-bombs. The 9/11 was an attack on America and has had an effect (initially being very angry but now more suspicious about Arabs and Muslims).

    The biggest problem for journalism is to report things that are not really wanted by the public. News items before the Iraq war that went against the propaganda line of the Bush administration were published but the people were not interested much. Cheney still insists that Saddam was behind 9/11 (Bush has admitted that his information was faulty) and still a major chunk of the Americans believe that.

    What I’m trying to imagine is the exhibit where you use a 4D experience. My guess is it was about a WW2 reporter in the Pacific.

    1. The 4D exhibit was a short documentary film about 20th century U.S. journalism. It included World War II pictures and was really cool with bullets flying at you and warplans crashing at your feet. You ought to go see it Nazarian, you really should… and not just the 4D thing, but the whole of the Nuseum.

  2. To sum it up in one sentence, you got a small glimpse of US regime 24/7 propaganda which is passed as investigative reporting and news to the gullible US public and the world.

    Keep the people dumb, uninformed, misinformed, ignorant and in fear of a bogeyman at all times, you have full control over them.

    People should be boycotting such propaganda, not encouraging others to take part in it and to advance it.

    As for the information regarding 9/11 false flag operations mentioned above by Nazarian, the “information” was fabricated by the Bush-Cheney regime to suit the long-established US policy. Bush implemented policies of his predecessors. This has been the case with all US wars, clandestine, false flags and covert operations against any country whose leaders do not bow down to USA. When there is no threat and no enemy, they fabricate a bogeyman and dehumanize leaders of other countries they want to attack and eliminate. When the “Communist” bogeyman no longer existed, they came up with a new never-ending bogeyman called “Terrorist” or “al Qaeda” and “Wars OF terror”. Now, they can attack any country, at will, around the world because of imagined “terrorists”, as they are already doing in various parts of the world. Yet, most believe the propaganda coming out of the axis of evil, USA-Israel-UK and their allies.

  3. Thanks for the tip, Artur. I’ve added the Newseum to my list of things to do when I’m in DC in a couple of weeks. I have no idea if I’ll manage to do all I want to do when I’m there, but I’ll try.

    Have a fun and interesting trip!

    1. You too have a safe trip, Myrthe! It’s great you’re going to the DC. I find the place fantastic, although a little boring :D

  4. Thanks! I’ll be visiting friends, so I’ll have fun even in a boring city, I guess. ;-) I have good memories from when I was in DC 17 years ago, so I’m looking forward to returning.

  5. Just a note that I have added the Newseum to my iPhone application called Mused. Having been there I can tell you that the Newseum is really fascinating, and worth a visit. But as the author points out, it’s not necessarily an ode to true journalism. There’s a lot of smoke and mirrors, just like the big media.

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