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Original Political T-Shirts

I made this shirt because...

Liberate the Media!

Liberate the Media! t-shirts
© 2002 CONTEMPL8 T-SHIRTS. All Rights Reserved. See "Note" below.

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Why I made the t-shirt "Liberate the Media!"

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!

Liberate the 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?

Sinclair, 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/

Even public 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!

Clear 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 signal interference.

Pirate radio 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.

Independent 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.

All movements 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 is justified.

Further, without 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).

The founders 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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Back to Top of Page   Note: The fist-camera element of the "Liberate the Media!" design is derived from the Toronto Video Activist Collective ( TVAC) logo. Although the fist-camera element of the "Liberate the Media!"design is slightly modified from its original form in the TVAC logo, and the greater "Liberate the Media!" design is an original creation of CONTEMPL8 T-SHIRTS, still the express permission of TVAC was requested in good faith and received from TVAC for use of the fist-camera element in the "Liberate the Media!" t-shirt design.