Democratic Underground  
Time To Go After the TV Newsmedia
October 24, 2002
Judith Foster

Maybe we've been barking up the wrong tree. Starting back in the bad old days of Clinton's impeachment by Congress our representatives have pretty much made it clear that they don't hear or care about what their constituents say or feel.

Again and again they've ignored the flood of telephone calls and emails and letters which have unequivocally stated what the American people overwhelmingly want. Our elected representatives have chosen to ignore the choices of tens of thousands of people they have sworn to represent. Once elections were over the majority of representatives forgot their campaign promises as well as forgetting what their fundamental job is - to represent the American people. The few that are true to their constituents and their campaign promises end up being ignored by the TV media.

The concerted effort by online organizations such as MoveOnPAC and Not in Our Name as well as other organizations have served to give the American people the power that their elected representatives have denied them. So, if our representatives aren't interested in listening, then the people must take their fight to another front and against what might be the real enemy. The TV media.

If activist organizations such as Not In Our Name and Move On as well as information websites such as Buzzflash, Media Whores Online, American Politics Journal, Democratic Underground, etc., and other websites can reach people and can also represent the voices and the wishes of people worldwide on important impacting political issues, then they can use this power to fight against the worst enemy of a democratic and free society, which is the propagandizing of the TV news media into a venue used for the service of a political party ideology.

Society's right to get truth in journalism is the most important weapon against the enemies of freedom. An informed people are a people who have the most fundamental element of true freedom. Whether they do anything to practice their right to dissent or not is their right, but the choice to do so is paramount.

These online organizations have shown that the potential power of using the internet to reach individuals as well as tens of thousands or even millions of people is a fact which is being actively developed in our modern society. Whereas before the internet each person had to rely on local newspapers, on weekly or monthly magazines, and the daily news for information, the internet has changed that in a way that has revolutionized the processing of information to a level never before imagined. Someone can sit at their computer on any given day and read articles published on that same day in newspapers all over the world by simply clicking on links, using search engines or going to web pages from their favorite publication or news outlets.

This is amazing and the implications of the uses of this medium are staggering in their revolutionary impact on the medium of worldwide communication. One of the impacts that is already being felt and appreciated is the ability to virtually connect every single internet user to groups of like-minded people from every part of the world at any time.

Everyone knows the value of writing a letter to editors or to corporate higher management as a form of criticism, or to critique, or to thank for or correct articles or to just post a comment. If internet organizations have mobilized tens of thousands of people to contact their representatives, as well as other organizations and governments and have gotten results, then why not organize a comprehensive and concerted movement to write emails and letters and make telephone calls to the news conglomerates, their editors and the individual journalists of the TV media.

It's time they felt the pressure of our dissatisfaction at their degeneration into the propaganda arm of the current Whitehouse residents. It's time for those of us who understand what is happening as our government slides into the unconstitutional and fascistic practices of secret tribunals, unlimited warfare at the whim of one unelected man, as well as the obvious catering to the political biases and ideological practices of corporate owners to put the pressure on those TV media companies to tell facts, truth and complete information about the news.

More and more Americans are disgusted with the incessant 24 hour coverage of a single topic because it is controversial or salacious at the expense, for instance, of the much needed coverage of the real and present danger of the shredding of the Constitution and the implications of this by the administration.

The American people didn't need to know every agonizingly embarrassing detail of Monica Lewinski's graphic version of her mostly imagined affair with Bill Clinton at the expense of over $40 millions dollars, paid for by us the taxpayers, and also at the liability of real news. This pathetic affair was not in any way a menace to the security of the United States, nor is it correct to claim that the American people had the right to know. That argument only applies if the news is something that impacts our lives in some meaningful way, such as national security. I defy anyone to explain satisfactorily that any issue around Monica had an impact on anyone's security as an American. Had she been a spy who had managed to get the President to divulge top security information then the scandal would be warranted.

Americans are not stupid and they know the media shouldn't be in the business of pursuing more than the truth about topics, issues and just plain news. The claim is that it's all about competition and that they are giving the American people what they want. So they feel they can be like The Jerry Springer Show? Many of us don't watch Jerry Springer, but we feel OK with it being aired because some people want to watch his show. It's their Constitutional right. When I tune into a news program I don't want to watch a Jerry Springer wannabe show, I want the news which is the type of program they claim to be, and I want facts and complete and unbiased coverage and I want to be able to trust that I'm getting what I want. It's time for the TV news media to start being professional again. It's time for the American people to let the news conglomerates know they will be out of business unless they start doing their jobs and stop using the media as a conduit for their own political agendas.

For example, it's time for those who believe in Al Gore (count us in the millions) to demand that CNN, FOX, CNBC, MSNBC, et al stop promoting their obvious political bias and ideological agenda by dismissing Gore's speeches against the current administration. They are there to cover the news, and Mr. Gore's speeches and statements were and are newsworthy. It isn't a matter of choice for these TV stations to decide for us whether Al Gore is worthy of factual coverage or not. It's not their job to dismiss him in tone or by innuendo. I reserve the right to do that (or not to) myself after I have heard the most complete and comprehensive coverage of the speech.

What about the OJ trials? (Which I won't force anyone to relive so I won't expand upon them). Suffice to say there were other things happening in the world at the time. Gary Condit's political life was ruined needlessly. So what if he isn't very likable? At the time his constituents were perfectly happy with his record. They voted him out based solely on the TV news media treating his passing involvement with Chandra Levy as if he was already her convicted murderer. Just as they ruined Richard Jewel's life who was, in fact, a heroic man who probably saved many people's lives yet the mainstream media treated him as if he was a terrorist of the same ilk as Timothy McVeigh. They should have questioned the FBI tactics and they should have been professional enough not to stalk Mr. Jewel or convey their obvious prejudices against him. They should have given a balanced story, protecting Mr. Jewel's rights as best they could, instead of violating every law as well as violating plain decency.

And their coverage of the Washington DC sniper could appear to be criminal if one thinks about what it means to aid and abet a murderer. If having every talking head and self-appointed pundit spewing opinions as if they knew what they were talking about isn't playing right into the fantasies of this murderer, then what is? Does the American public need to hear 24 hour reporting about how there's no new news or developments, but still the TV media stay on the story by putting on every possible "expert" theory they can to cram down our throats?

Oh! - and lest I forget, can We the People, via one or all of these online organizations please pressure the TV media into getting rid of the damn tickers! If it's newsworthy enough to make it onto the ticker, then it must be newsworthy enough for them to do what they are paid for and report it.

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