“Organised Flak Filters: The Silent Threat to Modern Journalism”
In today’s world, journalism faces a multitude of challenges – the rise of fake news, the decline of trust in the media, and the advent of digital journalism, to name a few.
However, one of the less talked-about challenges is the issue of organised flak filters. This refers to the organised efforts of interest groups to influence and control the news media through strategic attacks and objections aimed at journalists and news organisations.
One of the most notable examples of this is the case of climate change reporting. Climate change denial groups, such as the Heartland Institute and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, have been accused of using organised flak filters to attack journalists and scientists who report on climate change or support climate action. The groups have been known to send out press releases, call journalists, and use social media to discredit reporters and their sources.
The impact of organised flak filters can be significant, especially for journalists who work in areas where they already face a high level of pushback. As investigative journalist Lewis Raven Wallace writes in his book “The View from Somewhere,” “Flak can derail stories, block promotions, and keep journalists and stories out of the public eye.”
One significant challenge with organised flak filters is that they can create a chilling effect on journalists and news organisations, who may be reluctant to publish stories on controversial issues or take strong positions for fear of facing such attacks. Additionally, the rise of digital journalism has made it easier for organised groups to attack journalists and news organisations through social media.
However, despite these challenges, there are ways for journalists and news organisations to push back against organised flak filters. As Raven Wallace writes, “Journalists who encounter flak would be wise to regard themselves not as solitary soldiers but as members of a collective.”
One way to do this is to band together with other journalists facing similar attacks and support one another. Additionally, being transparent about any conflicts of interest or biases can help to discredit attacks from organised groups. Finally, cultivating a diverse array of sources and perspectives can help to ensure that reporters have a wide range of views to draw from and can counter organised flak filters’ claims more effectively.
Overall, organised flak filters present a significant challenge to modern journalism by creating a chilling effect on journalists and news organisations. However, by banding together, being transparent, and cultivating diverse sources, reporters can push back against these attacks and continue to report on important issues of our time.
Authored by Nana Jantuah
Media Practitioner/Broadcast Journalist /Business consultant
- Raven Wallace, Lewis. 2019. “The View from Somewhere: Undoing the Myth of Journalistic Objectivity.” Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
- Mooney, Chris. 2012. “The Science of Why We Don’t Believe Science.” Mother Jones, May/June.
- Hoggan, James and Richard Littlemore. 2009. “Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming.” Vancouver: Greystone Books.