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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-17-09 05:00 PM
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The Dilemma we Face in an Era of Right Wing Control of our News Media
Most Americans do not share the values of the Republican Party, blue dog Democrats, or our corporate news media: Most Americans would like their government to provide a national health care plan; most believe that women should not be branded as criminals for choosing to have an abortion; most believe we should have laws to require a higher minimum wage than we have; the list goes on and on. So right wingers need something other than their policies to get the votes they need to win elections.

Our Founding Fathers, recognizing that a free flow of information is essential for the maintenance of democracy, enacted the First Amendment to our Constitution in order to address that need. Such a free flow of information would be instrumental in exposing the Republican Party and its allies for what they are.

But the virtual monopoly by supporters of the Republican Party on the ownership of major news sources in our country does much to stem the free flow of information. In the lead-up to the Iraq War, our corporate news media failed to explain to the American people that the Bush administrations case for invading Iraq was based on little or no evidence; even now they refuse to inform us in any detail of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilian deaths resulting from our invasion and occupation of their country.

During both the 2000 and 2004 elections they did everything they could to elect and re-elect George Bush to the presidency: They failed to follow-up on clear evidence that Bush had failed to fulfill his National Guard commitments; and they failed to explain to the American people that the proposed Bush tax cuts would benefit only our wealthiest citizens. In marked contrast to their protection of Bush, they did everything they could to destroy Gores and Kerrys candidacies: During the 2000 Presidential race, Al Gore, one of the most decent men to ever run for the U.S. Presidency, was recast as a liar and an egomaniac. His resounding victory over George W. Bush in debate after debate was recast by our corporate media as a humiliating defeat by repeatedly emphasizing his sighs, rather than the numerous Bush lies that were the cause of those sighs. In 2004, John Kerry, a legitimate war hero, was recast as a fraud, through the constant repetition of lies promulgated by an organization with close (but unrevealed at the time) ties to George W. Bush.

The rise of the corporate (phony) news media in the United States

Though national news in our country has always been slanted in favor of the privileged over the vulnerable, it has nevertheless long been recognized in our country that the use of the public airways is a privilege rather than a right. That is why, as early as 1927 our government began requiring licenses for use of the public airways, in the Radio Act of 1927, which was expanded in the Communications Act of 1934. Since then, the underlying standard for radio and television licensing has been the public interest, convenience and necessity clause, which is explained here by Sharon Zechowski:

The obligation to serve the public interest is integral to the "trusteeship" model of broadcasting the philosophical foundation upon which broadcasters are expected to operate. The trusteeship paradigm is used to justify government regulation of broadcasting. It maintains that the electromagnetic spectrum is a limited resource belonging to the public, and only those most capable of serving the public interest are entrusted with a broadcast license

But with the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, we began to see a rapid decline in the quality of the news we receive. By relaxing rules that prohibited monopoly control of telecommunications, that Act led to the concentration of the national news media of the United States largely into the hands of a very few wealthy corporations, to an extent never before seen in our country. This, more than any other event, has allowed the content of the news received by American citizens to be determined by a small number of very wealthy and powerful interests. Hence the pervasive blackout of meaningful news.

David Podvin and Carolyn Kay explain how Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric, put this process into play at NBC:

The new dimension that Welch introduced was the concept that the mainstream media should aggressively advance the political agenda of the corporations that own it. He did not see any difference between corporate journalism and corporate manufacturing Business was business, and the difference between winners and losers was profit From Welchs perspective, it was insanity for the corporate owners of the mainstream media to restrain themselves from using all of their assets to promote their financial well being. In general, he saw corporate news organizations as untapped political resources that should be freed from the burden of objectivity.

The implications for democracy

The implications for national politics have been quite unfortunate, as Democrats feel the need to move further and further to the right, lest they risk being ignored, mocked, or attacked by our corporate news media.

This situation is intolerable. A free and independent press, which provides unbiased accurate information to the people, is crucial to a healthy functioning democracy. When most of the press is under the control of corporate interests, which strive to tilt elections in their favor, democracy becomes nothing but a fig leaf. The result is not only a playing field tilted heavily towards the conservative (Republican) Party, but also that the more progressive (Democratic) Party is intimidated into moving way to the right. The American people suffer for that because the corporate interests are served at the expense of the vast majority of people.

An article by Eric Alterman in The Nation makes this point. With respect to the so-called mainstream news media:

Its members consistently defer to conservative Republican Presidents with a history of deliberate deception, allowing them to define their terms Its members invite Republican Congressmen, known to be not merely unreliable but delusional, to lie about Democratic Congressmen. When challenged, they reply that they cannot be bothered to discern the truth

What might this have to do with President Obamas tilt to the right?

President Obama has (unfortunately in my opinion) been no exception to the Democratic Partys tendency to move to the right: He has exhibited little interest in prosecuting Bush administration officials for their many crimes, despite frequent criticism of those crimes in the past; he has continued the Bush denial of the right of habeas corpus to our detainees; his reversal of his pledge to release torture photos is reminiscent of Bush administration stances on government secrecy; he has escalated our war in Afghanistan; he has continued the Bush administration policies of bailing out Wall Street, despite the warnings of several progressive economists that such policies are dangerous and do not serve the public interest, while refusing to support comparable relief for ordinary citizens victimized by home foreclosures; and he has given numerous signs of backtracking on his campaign promise to provide a Medicare-like public option for health care to those who need it.

To be fair to President Obama, I feel certain that he must face tremendous pressure from our corporate news media, as well as his military and CIA, to do the things noted in the above paragraph. I have little doubt that if he hadnt done some or all of those things he would have been ruthlessly castigated by all of those entities. Even as it is, right wing forces have managed to successfully portray him, among certain segments of our population, as the most liberal/socialist President we have ever had. If he went against those forces too aggressively he would be embroiled in a vicious political fight. And it is also relevant that as our first black President he is susceptible to virulent racism among some segments of our population.

There has been a great deal of heated (to put it mildly) debate on DU about Obamas motivations for many of his actions (or inactions). I dont want to get involved in an argument over what his motivations are because I dont know what they are. But the following possibilities come to mind: 1) He has internalized the rationale of the right-center; 2) He has succumbed to the political pressure noted above; 3) He has some grand political strategy in mind, in which by giving initial ground on these issues he will build up political capital to the point where he will eventually be able to fulfill the hopes that many of us progressives/liberals had for him; and 4) some combination of the above.

My own feeling on the matter is that to the extent that options 1 or 2 apply, I am very disappointed in President Obama. To the extent that option 3 applies, I simply disagree with his approach though I cant be certain that it isnt the best one available. In any event, whether we consider him a disappointment, or whether we simply disagree with his actions, if we want to have any influence on our nations policies we should criticize those actions that we disagree with.

What to do?

Our corporate news media will attack progressives/liberals whether or not they aggressively fight back. So why not change the rules of the game and expose those corporate shills for who they are? If they want to attack us for that, fine. But theyre doing that anyhow, and I dont believe that they could do a better job of it than they are currently doing. I realize that some progressives might consider such advice to be reckless. But with an open fight between progressives and the corporate news media, at least Republicans will have a hard time trying to sound legitimate when they whine about the liberal media.

Not all politicians and journalists hesitate to tell the truth in the face of intense pressure not to do so. Representatives Kucinich and McKinney introduced Articles of Impeachment against George Bush, despite intense pressure not to do so. Whereas they took great risks in doing that, and probably hurt their political careers more than they helped them, those actions were nevertheless the right thing to do. By doing these things they helped (by how much is hard to say) to increase the awareness of the American people about terrible crimes, and thereby helped to keep these issues alive. Here are some more courageous examples:

John Quincy Adams long fight against slavery
Two years after failing in his bid for re-election to the U.S. presidency in 1828, John Quincy Adams spent the remaining 18 years of his life as a U.S. Congressman from Massachusetts. During that time he became the predominant opponent of slavery in the U.S. Congress, in the face of great political opposition, which included three attempts to censure him (See section on Resolutions for censure: Adams charged with gross disrespect).

The first occasion of an attempt to censure Adams arose when he requested permission to present a petition from slaves. The slaveholders became apoplectic at this suggestion, and some even wanted to expel Adams from the House for this great insult to their honor. In response, Adams eloquently defended the right of slaves to petition the government:

If this House decides that it will not receive petitions from slaves, under any circumstances, it will cause the name of this country to be enrolled among the first of the barbarous nations When you establish the doctrine that a slave shall not petition because he is a slave, that he shall not be permitted to raise the cry for mercy, you let in a principle subversive of every foundation of liberty, and you cannot tell where it will stop.

His efforts eventually resulted in 1844 in the repeal of the infamous gag rule, which had prohibited any discussion of slavery in the U.S. House of Representatives.

For more information on this story see William Lee Millers book, Arguing About Slavery John Quincy Adams and the Great Battle in the U.S. Congress.

Keith Olbermann takes on George Bush
During the Bush administration, Keith Olbermann was the most outspoken and highest profile news person to criticize and tell the truth about the Bush administration in unequivocal terms. I have little doubt that the first time he did that he took a great risk of losing his job.

One of many examples is his special comment on Bush lying us into war. Most Americans now know that George Bushs excuse for the invasion of Iraq, that their (non-existent) weapons of mass destruction posed an imminent risk to our country, was factually incorrect. But still, you rarely hear a politician or journalist say that Bush actually lied to us to bring us into war. Keith had no qualms about saying that:

You, Mr. Bush, and your tragically know-it-all minions, threw out every piece of intelligence that suggested there were no such weapons. You, Mr. Bush, threw out every person who suggested that the sober, contradictory, reality-based intelligence needed to be listened to, fast The fiasco of pre-war intelligence, sir, is your fiasco

Mr. Bush you destroyed the evidence that contradicted the resolution you jammed down the Congresss throat, the way you jammed it down the nations throat. When required by law to verify that your evidence was accurate, you simply re-submitted it

And as a final crash of self-indulgent nonsense, when the incontrovertible truth of your panoramic and murderous deceit

Bill Moyers to U.S. Military Academy: Before you Assume that I am Calling for an Insurrection
Bill Moyers is another journalist who tells the truth no matter what. Even in a speech to cadets of the Military Academy at West Point (from his book, Moyers on Democracy), he warned the cadets that our Iraq War troops were being used cynically for the furtherance of the Military-Industrial Complex:

The cheerleaders for war in Washington, who at this very moment are busily defending you against supposed insults or betrayals by the opponents of the war in Iraq, are likewise those who have cut budgets for medical and psychiatric care; who have been so skimpy and late with pay and with provision of necessities that military families in the United States have had to apply for food stamps; who sent the men and women whom you may soon be commanding into Iraq under-strength, under-equipped, and unprepared for dealing with a kind of war fought in streets and homes full of civilians against enemies undistinguishable from noncombatants; who have time and again broken promises to the civilian National Guardsmen by canceling their redeployment orders and extending their tours. You may or may not agree on the justice and necessity of the war itself, but I hope that you will agree that flattery and adulation are no substitute for genuine support.

Much of the money that could be directed to that support has gone into high-tech weapons systems that are useless in a war against nationalist or religious guerrilla uprisings that, like it or not, have support among the local population. We learned this lesson in Vietnam, only to see it forgotten or ignored by the time this administration invaded Iraq, creating the conditions for a savage sectarian and civil war with our soldiers trapped in the middle, unable to discern civilian from combatant, where it is impossible to kill your enemy faster than rage makes new ones.

And who has been the real beneficiary of creating this high-tech army called to fight a war conceived and commissioned and cheered on by politicians and pundits not one of whom ever entered a combat zone? The real winners of the anything-at-any-price philosophy would be the military-industrial complex

A rant from

Ive already expressed my view that our best way out of this dilemma is to meet our corporate news media head-on, in order to combat their lies and abuses of their privilege. I dont deny that this will take a great deal of courage. And since I have never been a politician or a journalist, I cant claim that I would have the courage to do this myself if I were in their position. But having said that, Ill end this post with some excerpts from a rant from, which I believe is right on target:

Incompetent journalists, criminally negligent journalists or liars who are complicit in the mass deception of the American people; there are no other ways whatsoever to describe the men and women who comprise the corporate news institutions of the United States.

Jesse goes on to make an offer to publicly debate any member of the corporate news media, and then continues:

The members of todays news media warrant outrage from the people of the world who have fallen victim to their despicable practices. With each new day brings new crimes while a false sense of reality is passed to the American people via our media. I (we) should be angry. The good people who are trying to address the problems with the media have been dignified, intellectual, soft spoken and IGNORED. IT IS TIME TO GET LOUD! It is time to get angry! It is time to stop the madness!

With dignity and fairness we (the media critics and watchdogs) tried to alert the public of the information being withheld by our news media. Dignified and standard methods of communication can not defeat the behemoth of false reality that emanates from our TVs We must become enraged! We must get loud!

He goes on to mention numerous things that have not been addressed by the corporate news media, despite repeated dignified and fair efforts to convince them to do so, including: stolen elections; the repeated lies about Al Gore; the creation of George W. Bush; Dick Cheneys secret energy meetings and his disturbing tendencies to increase executive privilege, increase government secrecy and eliminate accountability in essence pushing our government towards a dictatorship; unverifiable elections; PNAC; and the environmental terrorism and destruction of our political process by the Bush administration. Then he ends:

The fact is that the American public can not believe there is a reality other than the one presented on their televisions and radios. This, in essence, gives the broadcast media the power to control perceived reality. They abuse this power.

I am furious at the members of the media. You should be furious. You should feel rage. You should do something. At least spread the word! Pass my challenge around. Ill confront any one of these criminals. Ill expose them for who they are. I will speak at your schools, community centers, and places of worship, anywhere. We have to educate the public about the people who lie to them every day.

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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-17-09 05:04 PM
Response to Original message
1. Very well said, Time for Change.
It may be something of a blessing that the old forms of mass media are tanking right now. They have long ago forfeited our loyalty by abusing our trust.

I hope everyone who reads your posts finds one or more ways to support independent media and ways to be the independent media we need.

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rucognizant Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-18-09 06:52 AM
Response to Reply #1
16. The telecommunications act of '96
Also9 added a TAX in my phone bill!
A friend, who is a progressive thinker if not an activist, just returned from a trip to Scotland and Berlin. SHe was visiting relatives so had more access than a normal tourist.....and SHe was SHOCKED at how much MORE THEY KNOW about what is going on in this country then we know! Their news tells it like it is! And if you watch Deustch World News Journal, & Mosaic News at 10 on Link TV this is verified!
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-18-09 03:47 PM
Response to Reply #16
31. I watch both of those programs regularly instead of the dilute mess
they feed us here. :hi:
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-18-09 07:54 AM
Response to Reply #1
19. The Press Isn't Tanking, It's Been Sunk and Shut Down
The readers have fled in droves because the quality is now negative, the advertisers have responded by pulling their advertising money out of print, and now the publishers whine that they are losing money and shut down.

The same thing will happen to broadcast TV, then cable TV, and lastly to radio. Radio start up costs are not prohibitive by comparison, so the people have a chance to set up independent broadcasting. And anyone can play on the Internet.

The regulatory structure which permitted the consolidation of ownership will have to be dismantled and laws protecting the public interest in access will have to be structured before we see any renaissance in media.
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-18-09 03:48 PM
Response to Reply #19
33. They've signed (or bought) their own death warrant
and good riddance to them.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-18-09 08:57 AM
Response to Reply #1
20. Thank you EFerrari -- Very good point about independent media
I didn't talk about that in this post, but I did discuss it some in another post:

In that post I discuss a book by Robert McChesney and John Nichols titled "Our Media, Not Theirs"

McChesney and Nichols explain that before the needed changes can transpire, there must be widespread popular awareness of the problem. Speaking of some recent successes by alternative news media in Australia, they note:

Legislative victories are only one test of the Australian Democrats success, however. The real measure of their impact may well come in the shifting of attitudes toward media issues within Australia. By making media a central focus of their national campaigns and by forcing debates on subjects such as media ownership and related issues, the Australian Democrats have pushed media issues into the political debate and in what may be their greatest triumph onto the front pages.

And finally, there can be no democracy without radical reform of the news media:

Among global democratic activists, there is an emerging consensus that unless the road to democratic renewal includes structural media reform, that road will be a dead end street The issues are similar everywhere The forces of darkness large, profit-driven media corporations and their spoon-fed politicians and regulators work their commercial schemes everywhere. This is a global struggle.

In other words: News of the people, by the people, and for the people is virtually synonymous with government of the people, by the people, and for the people. We cant have one without the other. And until there is widespread recognition of that fact we will have neither.

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izquierdista Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-17-09 05:36 PM
Response to Original message
2. Still it continues
Interviews with Republicans out of power outnumber the interviews of Democrats in power. Focusing on what Pelosi knew instead of about who actually made and carried out tortures. Keeping mum on the subject of single payer.
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bluestateboomer Donating Member (313 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-17-09 06:30 PM
Response to Original message
3. K&R!
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azul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-17-09 06:48 PM
Response to Original message
4. Excellent post. The media is the tool by which fascism captures and reigns.
Edited on Sun May-17-09 06:52 PM by azul
Unbelievable how the public buys this BS and lies and doesn't scream for change. Toxic bread and lurid circus in the privacy of your own tubular abodes? Prozac? Asleep in the baggage compartment?

The media was an investment in which liberals/labor could not match the spending of conservatives/capital. Then the capital absolutely corrupted congress and passed legislation to drop the rules governing independent media, and bingo, propaganda and lies from government and corporations, other voices excluded. Balance and independence lost.

How to change it? A start would be community radio stations spreading with help to compete.

Start a non-profit business (corporation) to help fund and provide materials and expertise to start up hundreds of local broadcasters? I would put up at least $1000 to help fund it, how about you all? (Use KVMR as a template and get their help to get it going.) ?

edit link:
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veracity Donating Member (993 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-17-09 07:24 PM
Response to Original message
5. America's Worst Enemy: The Mainstream Media - video

VIDEO: America's Worst Enemy: The Mainstream Media - An Explanation, A Challenge & A Solution

Regardless of the issue, the one thing standing between your cause and the resolution of your cause is the mainstream media. Today's media are in place to do one thing, create and maintain a false reality. They ensure that the actions of the ruling elite, government included, are kept out of the public conscience.

In this brief video Jesse Richard, Founder of, explains how media deception works and shows you how to see it for yourself. He issues a challenge to the collective body of the establishment media and he provides a realistic and achievable solution to the problem.

A key point made in this commentary is that the public has only been receiving news reports that are politically divisive. This creates a misconception that bias is the key problem with our media. This is a false perception. The key problem has more to do with what does not get reported than what does.

There are thousands of issues that are intentionally hidden by the establishment media. These issues are hidden because they would unite the nation against the ruling class and against our elected officials. The key point of this commentary is to awaken people into seeing how we are being manipulated.

Please post a link to this video in as many places as you can. Let us unite in liberty and take back our world from the ruling elite.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-18-09 10:51 AM
Response to Reply #5
23. Thank you for the video link
Do you belong to
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Wednesdays Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-17-09 08:16 PM
Response to Original message
6. K&R
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tabbycat31 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-17-09 08:30 PM
Response to Original message
7. k&r
very well said, should be recommended reading at DU.
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LongTomH Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-17-09 08:59 PM
Response to Original message
8. Well Said, Sir! As always!
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hay rick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-17-09 09:40 PM
Response to Original message
9. K & R
The American public need a new set of eyes and ears. Discrediting the mainstream media should be the drumbeat by which all progressives march, regardless of their agreement or disagreement on any particular issue. Great piece.
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snot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-17-09 11:01 PM
Response to Original message
10. Thank you; this has been freaking me out for years, but few on DU seem interested.
Like, anyone here ever heard of The Media Ownership Reform Act of 2005 (MORA)? Search that on DU.
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blm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-18-09 10:58 AM
Response to Reply #10
24. some on DU don't believe there are fascists in positions of controlling the newsmedia, either.
Edited on Mon May-18-09 10:58 AM by blm
Now, why would GE, a major defense contractor, want to steer American people into accepting a war of choice?

Hmmm....can't think of why a media corporation would do something like that.....can you?
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leftstreet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-18-09 12:02 AM
Response to Original message
11. K&R
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HCE SuiGeneris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-18-09 12:44 AM
Response to Original message
12. K&R
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tomreedtoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-18-09 12:58 AM
Response to Original message
13. Restore the Fairness Doctrine and break up media monopolies.
Those monopolies are disintegrating all on their own. Time Warner has split off a lot of its operations and is about to get rid of America Online. Rupert Murdoch's media empire is crumbling as its newspapers die.

Those monopolies need a push to fall. The old ownership limits (5 TV, 5 AM, 5 FM stations) made a great deal of sense and do so even more in this time. It would provide diversity of ownership and of attitudes.

Restoring the Fairness Doctrine would require local stations to provide time for responsible comment on the station's editorial positions and program content. Requiring stations to justify their licenses through documented outreach to the community's interests, which used to be required, would make stations responsible to their communities, not to a corporate oligarch.

This issue isn't "sexy." It won't get public support. Most people don't know what stations they're watching anyway. But it will be the base of any genuine democratization of the media.
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Lorien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-18-09 11:54 AM
Response to Reply #13
26. There are plenty of unwitting dittohead soldiers on DU who are against
the restoration of the Fairness Doctrine. They are filled with GOP corporate media myths about what the Fairness Doctrine was. To be clear:

News reporting today:

"Some say that the so called Fairness Doctrine created a police state that curtailed our first amendment rights to free speech"

News reporting when the Fairness Doctrine was enforced:

"Republicans say that the Fairness doctrine curtails free speech, while Democrats maintain that the Fairness Doctrine is needed to restore balance to opinion in the mainstream media, where conservative voices dominate the airwaves. John Doe from the independent non partisan think tank says " our research into this issue does indicate that there has been a substantial narrowing of opinion in the mainstream media since President Reagan abolished the Fairness Doctrine in 1987. Conservative opinions on the issues are now voiced nine times as often as more left leaning opinions on both network and cable outlets. The voice of the left is nearly nonexistent on talk radio in most markets, with left wing commentators making up less than 10% of the market share. It is possible that by limiting the Left's access to the media the Right has profited politically over the past 22 years".

Another difference between then and now; political opinion was labeled as such. If Bill O'Reilly or Keith Olbermann read a news story about a woman giving birth to eight children nothing would change. If either went into a tirade about how irresponsible the mother was the word "opinion" or "editorial" would appear somewhere on the screen. Back in 1949 the FCC did understand that television and radio were powerful mediums that do have the capability helping to form public opinion. The fairness doctrine was enacted to ensure that these forms of communication would not become propaganda tools for a single party or group. The FCC understood that it was important to differentiate between FACT and OPINION. Most news programming was broken into two segments; the FACTUAL reporting (see the sample, above) which attempted to present as many sides of a story as possible, as factually as possible, and the EDITORIAL segment; usually at the end of the news hour in which different commentators were given a few minutes to voice their views on a news item while the word "opinion" or "editorial" was left on the screen (usually below the commentator or in the upper right hand side of the screen). This reminded viewers that they were watching a biased take on the news-something that would not even occur to most self proclaimed "dittoheads" today.

Many here maintain that reinstating the Fairness Doctrine is not needed as long as media monopolies are broken up. While most here would agree that monopolies have caused us harm, it is also important to remember that corporations have historically not done a very good job of policing themselves. Witness the current economic crisis; many different banking institutions of all sizes were involved, and they all engaged in questionable practices because that's simply how business was being done. Bottom line; they could get away with it. Corporate entities will always align themselves with political parties or candidates who will promise deregulation, union busting, lack of environmental oversight and the like, so they cannot be expected to give fair and equal time to those who do not promote their corporations agenda. Like banks, the media requires a bit of oversight. Had it not been for that oversight during the Vietnam war it's hard to say how much longer the war would have dragged on; pressure from the public put an end to the madness. Had the Fairness Doctrine existed during the build up to the iraq invasion would it have been allowed to proceed? Voices were raised against it here and around the world, but were they heard by mainstream Americans? If not, do we still have free speech, or are we all relegated to "free speech zones" where only our neighbors can hear us? The abolishment of the Fairness Doctrine muzzled those who would speak against corporate interests, and the results of this censorship has been devastating.

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xmtrman Donating Member (2 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-18-09 02:33 AM
Response to Original message
14. Direct Action Gets the Goods
As it is said, "Freedom of the press belongs to those who own the press". The answer is very straightforward: put your own transmitters on the air and join the Free Radio movement. Forget about licenses, this movement has been going for over 15 years in the US. The FCC has very little enforcement budget left. Go to freeradio dot org and we will show how to put your own FM broadcast or TV broadcast station on the air. Cover your neighborhood with 10 watts and your town with 40 watts. Turn on, tune in, take over!
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-18-09 01:46 PM
Response to Reply #14
29. Thank you for that information
I don't have the technical expertise for that kind of thing, but I'm sure that many at DU do.

Welcome to DU :toast:
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eppur_se_muova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-18-09 04:57 PM
Response to Reply #14
39. Bookmarked! And welcome to DU!
"The FCC has very little enforcement budget left" ... yeah, what a shame things worked out that way :sarcasm: -- I know Obama's plate is overloaded right now, but I really wish he would take some action on the media. Of course, it doesn't help that his nom for the FCC chair has STILL not had a hearing!
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Joe the Liberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-18-09 03:19 AM
Response to Original message
15. K&R good read. n/t
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Mari333 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-18-09 06:58 AM
Response to Original message
17. k and r
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The Wizard Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-18-09 07:12 AM
Response to Original message
18. Great post that spotlights the wrench
in the gears of a free society as prescribed by our founding fathers in the First Amendment.
We are slowly becoming aware that what we get as news is fascist propaganda as envisioned by Josef Goebbels.
Pox News is a glaring example of it, but it merely serves as a diversion from the fact that the corporate media produces very sophisticated propaganda.
With time more people are turning to alternative sources.
The same thing happened in the Soviet Union. People knew they were being fed a crock of shit and Pravda, TAAS and Izvestia became a national joke. Shortly thereafter the Soviet Union collapsed.

From a post last week:
The radical right and their media handmaidens become less relevant with
every attempt to take down Democrats at every turn. Their reason to
exist is unimportant to the vast majority. They have a niche audience
that shrinks with every convoluted utterance. When mustard on a
cheeseburger is news, they have no reason to exist. Our newspapers are
failing because they've lost credibility with the readers from giving
the Bush cartel a free pass. TV news is propaganda, designed to soften
the brain and keep the populace ignorant.
Pox (deliberate typo) News is just a glaring example of low brow
infotainment disguised as news, appealing to the weak minded and easily
The right wing propagandists have left the real world and are flailing
wildly as if in a death throe.
The pain brought upon us by the Bush cartel is making more and more
Americans aware that their living standards have been reduced, and more
people are understanding they don't have the luxury to remain ignorant.
Nobody really cares what Republicans have to say, unless it's under oath.
Nobody really believes what Republicans have to say, even if it is under
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-18-09 02:54 PM
Response to Reply #18
30. You paint a hopeful picture
I sure do hope you're right about that. :toast:

What you say is consistent with the fact that more and more people are turning to the Internet as their primary source of news: From 13% to 40% in just 7 years:

We can't let them take that away from us!
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Raster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-18-09 09:41 AM
Response to Original message
21. I cannot recommend this post enough!!!
As Marine One lifted off from the White House law to carry Tricky Dick to his final flight on Air Force One back to San Clemente, he mulled over his dramatic fall from grace and blamed, not himself or his illegal, treasonous acts. No, he blamed the media for exposing his crimes. The nest of vipers he left behind: Ailes, Atwater, Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc. learned their lesson well. Control the media, control the message. And so it goes...

America's vaunted Fourth Estate, guardians of liberty and government watchdogs, have become the Fifth Column--accomplices and collaborators.

Again and again, thank you Time for Change!
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-18-09 04:13 PM
Response to Reply #21
36. Thank you Raster
Interesting story about Nixon. Our country would be vastly different today if we had a news media like we did then.
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Echo In Light Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-18-09 09:44 AM
Response to Original message
22. I've posted this a gazillion x: The Myth Of The Liberal Media
Many of these articles show who owns what, which is what largely determines how our "news" is managed, and in whose interests:

Project Censored: /
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-18-09 03:51 PM
Response to Reply #22
35. As long as the right wing has control of corporate-press, that won't be reported!!!
OTOH, many don't believe anything unless they see it or hear it on the idiot box!!!

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Raksha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-18-09 11:46 AM
Response to Original message
25. K & R - I especially appreciated this part...
Our corporate news media will attack progressives/liberals whether or not they aggressively fight back. So why not change the rules of the game and expose those corporate shills for who they are? If they want to attack us for that, fine. But theyre doing that anyhow, and I dont believe that they could do a better job of it than they are currently doing. I realize that some progressives might consider such advice to be reckless. But with an open fight between progressives and the corporate news media, at least Republicans will have a hard time trying to sound legitimate when they whine about the liberal media.

You are SO right about that! They will attack progressives, liberals and pretty much ALL Democrats (except DINOs) whether or not they fight back. There are a lot of Democrats around, including two presidential candidates, with the scars to prove it. So why DON'T they fight back, and openly criticize the media on the air? Are they afraid they wouldn't be invited back? Even the corpomedia couldn't maintain credibility if they had all Republicans on the talking head shows at a time when Democrats control both houses of Congress AND the White House.

They have to maintain the illusion of objectivity in order to retain what little credibility they have left. Not the reality of course, but the illusion. They couldn't do that if they responded to challenges by blackballing liberals completely. Then the game would be up, and they'd all go the way of Pravda.
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-18-09 03:50 PM
Response to Reply #25
34. Corporations are also subject to license renewal considerations . ..
something which was a great threat to them in the Nixon years as he wielded government

as a weapon -- and presumably in Bushco years.

OTOH, it's not something they'd be much worried about with Democratic administrations, IMO.

Nor would I want them to be.

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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-18-09 04:39 PM
Response to Reply #25
37. Very good point about them needing to maintain the illusion of objectivity
If Dems fought back more, it would be a lot more difficult for them maintain the illusion of objectivity without actually maintaining some real objectivity. Whenever Dems fail to fight this they just add credibility to the RW propaganda.
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BlancheSplanchnik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-18-09 12:07 PM
Response to Original message
27. BIG K&R. Media and airwave monopoly--one of my biggest "issues"
Edited on Mon May-18-09 12:07 PM by BlancheSplanchnik
I've read Neil Postman's "Amusing Ourselves to Death" and am now reading Susan Jacoby's, "The Age of American Unreason".....

Can't wait to read this (not to mention the excellent sources TfC always provides)!

Thank You!!!!!!!!!

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Ignis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-18-09 12:19 PM
Response to Original message
28. Always well written, always well researched.
Edited on Mon May-18-09 12:19 PM by Ignis
Thanks for posting this, TfC! :hi:
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-18-09 03:47 PM
Response to Original message
32. Corporations BUY government/elected officials -- if you want it to end . . .
you have to work for public financing of campaigns --

and barring all corporations from any participation in our elections --

Cripes, a private corporation is running the presidential debates!!!

The electronic voting machines have helped steal elections since the late 1960's . . .

with corporations using the large computer which first came in to report -- predict

and call elections!

The last I heard, the companies producing and supplying these machines were crimals,

dedicated to helping the Repugs "win." --




1-202-224-3121 - gets you to the Congressional Switchboard where you can ask for any

Senator and any Rep --

Not toll free --
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-18-09 05:14 PM
Response to Reply #32
40. Yes -- Campaign finance reform needs to proceed concurrently with media reform
Both are essential to democracy. And of course election reform as well.
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-18-09 05:29 PM
Response to Reply #40
41. Anti-trust laws have to be used . . . to break up corporations . . .
monopolies --
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pmorlan1 Donating Member (763 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-18-09 04:41 PM
Response to Original message
38. Establishment media terrible
I did a blog post today about the Washington Post running stories all weekend highly critical of Nancy Pelosi and yet not one of the stories mentioned that the Post did a front page story back in 2006 where they reported on a former CIA deputy inspector general who accused the CIA of lying to Congress during their briefings (the exact thing Pelosi claimed). I'd say that's a relevant piece of information but the Post evidently didn't.
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Annces Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-18-09 08:03 PM
Response to Original message
42. good post

I wonder how some of those reporters justify their not being top notch at what they do, like Andrea Mitchell. Some of them are smart enough.
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clear eye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-19-09 07:48 AM
Response to Original message
43. Uhh, Fairness Doctrine, anyone?
The MSM has always been tied with the corporate establishment, but the complete shut out of opposing viewpoints has been the result of the combination of monopolization of newspapers and the revocation of the Fairness Doctrine for TV and radio which forced the management of MSM to at least air the opposing views, even if they didn't exactly give them equal time as they were obligated to. Simply hearing a viewpoint on an MSM outlet, no matter how briefly, gives it credibility especially when it must be aired uninterrupted whenever the corporate viewpoint is aired. How would Limbaugh, et. al. fair under those rules?
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