I made the t-shirt "Liberate
Liberate the media so we won't need to "liberate"
more countries! We'll know there's no WMD's before 1000's of people
die and billions of $ are spent if the media does its job and asks
the tough questions!
media from the huge conglomerated corporations that own it! Did
you know that manufacturers of weapons of mass destruction own some
of the media? Westinghouse, a nuclear weapons manufacturer, owns
CBS. General Electric, also a nuclear weapons manufacturer, owns
NBC. Both are also major players in the nuclear energy production
industry. I wonder if you'll get both sides of the story from NBC
or CBS when it comes to news about the nuclear energy industry?
a huge oil company, owns over 60 major network broadcast television
stations. They might own your local CBS, NBC, ABC, or FOX station.
You can find out more about Sinclair, including whether they own
your local stations, at http://stopsinclair.org/
television and radio are not immune to corporate influence. Their
programming is much better than commercial broadcast programming,
and is almost totally free of advertisements (if you don't count
the underwriting mentions, and sometimes even short ads in recent
years). However, the corporate underwriting of these media can undermine
their independence and thus their ability to tell the whole story.
You don't get the whole story about genetically modified organisms
(GMO's) on PBS and NPR for the most part. I would guess that this has something to do with
the fact that Archer
Daniels Midland Company (ADM), a purveyor of GMO's, is a major
underwriter of both.
All this being
said, public media is critical to our democracy. Make sure to support
it with your money if you can, so that hopefully they take less
corporate money. Local level public media is the best. Local independent
radio stations usually play the best music in town, have the best
news and public affairs shows and the most diverse programming in
general. Stations like KFAI in Minneapolis
(90.3 FM, and 106.7 in St. Paul) are awesome!
Channel, a corporate radio monster, now owns over 1200 radio
stations all over the US. The great majority of these stations were
obtained by the company after the 1996 Telecommunications Act. Clear
Channel homogenizes programming on its stations, which reduces the
local content, diversity and quality of programming.
Low Power FM
is part of the solution to this. It is not a panacea, but it helps
organize neighborhoods, social and political movements, and bring
hyper-local programming to the ears of people all over the US. Unfortunately
the FCC has not been willing to
let Low Power FM work as well as it could. Major broadcast networks,
both commerical and public (NPR should be ashamed!), have lobbied
the FCC hard to prevent Low Power FM from being what it could. They
would like to see it squashed completely based on phony claims of
stations exist in many communities in the US, and all over the world.They
are independent and unlicensed (illegal) radio stations. They operate
in defiance of the FCC and its strict rules governing broadcast.
These DIY radio outfits range from stations that play non-stop music,
to some who have a bunch of different programming. Some operate
24 hours a day, and others only sporadically. Check out Free Radio
Twin Cities at 93.1 FM if you are in Minneapolis.
For more information
about pirate radio, visit DIY Media.
This website has a wealth of links to sites that deal with pirate
radio as well as many other media related websites dealing with
the full range of media issues.
media is a critical part of the recipe for democracy! The great
majority of the media in the US, or more importantly the media that
reaches the most listening ears, is corporate media. Corporate media
has a horrible record. Most people are aware of the corrupt nature
of large corporations generally (though some are better than others,
and there are some good, responsible corporations out there). But,
many people fail to recognize that the same corrupt nature exists
in the corporate media. People often don't even consciously realize
that media companies ARE corporations (or they forget that they
are) or are OWNED by corporations. Their behavior is just as governed
by the bottom line profit motive as the behavior of other corporations.
They often operate to the detriment of the public interest, even
though it is the traditional charge of the media to put protecting
the public interest at the pinnacle of their priorities.
for change must focus on the media: reforming it if possible, holding
it accountable always, and educating citizens to be media literate
(or skeptical of the information that they get from the media),
and further taking direct action to create alternative media and
to expose media malfeasance and corruption if necessary. There are
so many different movements for change (civil rights, antiwar, women's
rights, indigenous rights, environmentalism, labor, to name a handful).
What has become clear in the last couple decades is that without
good media, none of these movements can ultimately succeed. They
can't get accurate information about their struggle out to the same
number of people as corporate media propaganda reaches on a consistent
basis. Without accurate and thorough information about these movements
reaching a large portion of society these movements will remain
marginal, or fall victim to manipulation.
When the public
does not receive accurate information about movements, how can you
expect them to support those movements? When newscasters paint anti-globalization
protesters as misinformed violent people how can you expect the
population to support them? When the media only tells the side of
the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the
police, it is hard for the public not to take the side of the WTO
and the police and to feel that the repression unleashed on the anti-globalization movement by law enforcement
good media, the citizenry can be robbed of their constitutional
freedoms and not even realize it. This has happened to a great extent
since 9/11 with the Patriot Act and other measures. The media has
been largely asleep or too busy parroting the Administartion's line
to critically report about actions taken since 9/11 that jeopardize
civil liberties (athough this has begun to change to some extent).
of the US knew well that a free press is essential to democracy.
According to James Madison, "A popular Government without popular
information or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a
Farce or a Tragedy or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern
ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own Governors, must
arm themselves with the power knowledge gives."
Read more about
attacks on civil liberties and the media's poor job of reporting
about it here.
You can read
more about the inherent biases of the media here.
Learn how you
can participate in the media reform movement from Free
Press, a new organization born out of the First Media Reform
Conference that was held in Madison, Wisconsin in November of 2003.
Become the media
at any one of the over one hundred Independent Media Centers. The
global hub of these IMC's is WWW.INDYMEDIA.ORG.
UPDATE December 2007 :
The FCC just changed the media ownership rules so that Clear Channel and other media conglomerates can get even bigger and independent media can become even smaller. More specifically, long standing rules that did not allow a corporation to own both a major newspaper and a major TV channel in the same city or market have been scrapped. So now there's less point than ever in channel surfing to see a different take on a news event, because more and more the same script will be read by the "journalist" on each channel or radio station, and your "local news" in Minneapolis will be written by some schmuck in San Jose. Find out more here at StopBigMedia.com.
Learn or teach Media Literacy here.
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