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Every now and then, our representatives need a little prompting. A little “it’s-not-so-hard-to-do-the-right-thing” reminder. And in the fight to make room on the radio dial for more local community radio stations, it seems to be working.
*To see post with video, go to this link.
March 18, 2009
This is a re-post from SilentPatriot on Crooks and Liars. Check it out, then read the Greenwald Salon posts from over the weekend -- very much worth the full read of both posts (links provided)
So I'm back in NYC after a wonderful weekend of media reform in Memphis Tennessee. There were over 100 panels, dozens of speakers, and 3,500+ activists at the National Conference for Media Reform - and it was inspiring to see all these people who care so much - and who are doing so much - about these issues.
There were a lot of issues discussed this weekend, but let me suggest a few that I think will be the most important in the coming year:
I just listened to two great speakers, Paul Rieckhoff of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, and Helen Thomas. Thomas, of course, is the 50+ years-of-service presidential reporter. Rieckhoff was one of the first veterans to come out against the war.
Rieckhoff made a really good point: "there is a real distrust of the media in the military." I don't think we liberals and citizen journalists have even yet figured out how to communicate to the people actually fighting the war why this is wrong.
I think maybe we reflexively blame the soldiers for this, saying 'oh, the military's blinded them,' or 'oh, they just don't have perspective on the situation.' But I don't think that's fair. The failure to communicate these wars' injustice is our fault, something Helen Thomas touched on when she asked: "Where are the aggressive, take-no-prisoners reporters?...Where are the voices?"
I don't have a solution, but some answer is necessary, because as Thomas said: "You can't have a free country without a free press."
So Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT the only self-proclaimed Democratic-Socialist in the Senate) just spoke and you can watch it here in a few hours. Sanders made a really good point, something to keep an eye on this Martin Luther King Day.
Any news report on Dr. King this Monday will probably show a clip of his 'I have a dream' speech, and will talk about how his fight for racial equality will still goes on. What the news reports almost certainly won't mention is that Dr. King died organizing people against the Vietnam War. No news report is going to tell how he tried to unite the races to fight poverty, homelessness, and economic inequality.
MLK is meant to be a reflection on the causes Dr. King fought for, and an imperative to do more. Instead the media uses it to pat us on the back for a job well done
(note- this was originally uploaded yesterday morning, but never seemed to appear on the blog. sorry! - Brendan)
So I'm here in Memphis at the National Conference for Media Reform, which just opened with a speech by Bill Moyers (you can check out a video of the speech here in a couple of hours).
First, the good news: Moyers is going to be back on the air in a few months will Bill Moyers' Journal. I hope I wasn't the only one lame enough to spend some Friday nights watching NOW - having this guy back on the air will be a real treat.
Yesterday I posted on Net Neutrality, one of the hot-button issues in the media reform world right now. Another issue looming on the horizon is government surveillance. We already knew that President Bush was listening in on international calls and monitoring bank statements, but now his administration might be digging through our mail.
In a pretty routine Postal Service bill, President Bush appended a signing statement reserving the right for "physical searches specifically authorized by law for foreign intelligence collection."
What does this signing statement mean? no one's really sure, but in the worst case it might be a back-door justification for some current spy program. We already know our emails and phone calls are not safe, why should our snail mail be any different? it's just one of the many troubling actions of this President, and something we media reformers need to fight.
As a lot of folks already know, last week the FCC okayed a merger between AT&T and BellSouth, creating a $130 billion telecom company that dwarfs Verizon, it's main competitor.
Now, no one (except the companies themselves) likes these kinds of deals - fewer companies means less competition means less innovation and higher prices. But at least one good thing came out of the deal: a strong protection of net neutrality.