Saturday, February 06, 2010



By Kevin Stoda

I was happy to see Senator Al Franken taking Comcast and NBC to task for their straight-faced lies to him and his office’s investigation of the largest merger in media in recent memory. He was merciless and noted how many different ways theses company’s lawyers were misleading the government in the current merger discussions—i.e. These two companies are not interested in fairness and good local journalistic access.

The Huffington Post got the whole story here:

However, the major problem in for all of us is the current collapse in America (and worldwide) of journalism as a wage-earning industry. This slide has been a decades-long crash in good journalistic media in the USA—a nation taken like a pig to slaughter in the recent wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. The new internet media may have sped up this crashing around us of good media in most places where it counts in America-but it is the whole scale disregard of the USA government in under-financing a free press that has led to the demise in America.

As Franken stated, “It matters who runs our media.”

Robert McChesney and John Nichols note that if we spent as much as is normal for good democratic countries to spend promoting a FREE PRESS, we would have in America a national budget of 23 billion dollars to underwrite all the good programming, journalistic access, and public access points in our communities. No wonder America is not in the top 10 democracies on Planet Earth according to many different evaluations made by social scientists and political economic institutions around the globe in recent years.

With the rise of independent blogging, the powers-that-be run the big media news networks like their own chiefdoms (thief-doms), are now really throwing journalism to the dogs—just as America falls and falls in world-wide rankings as a democracy.

Just today, I read David Lindorff’s article that “The US Government Has [actually] Lost Its Reason for Being”. That is sad and too often true. We need to start doing some things right, America

What we need for our FREEDOM of the PRESS to become reality is what and have been demanding for years.

FAIR stands for “Freedom & Accuracy in Reporting”: It claims that “Independent, aggressive and critical media are essential to an informed democracy. But mainstream media are increasingly cozy with the economic and political powers they should be watchdogging. Mergers in the news industry have accelerated, further limiting the spectrum of viewpoints that have access to mass media. With U.S. media outlets overwhelmingly owned by for-profit conglomerates and supported by corporate advertisers, independent journalism is compromised. Ultimately, FAIR believes that structural reform is needed to break up the dominant media conglomerates, establish independent public broadcasting, and promote strong, non-profit alternative sources of information.”
Meanwhile, “Free Press[net] is a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to reform the media. Through education, organizing and advocacy, we promote diverse and independent media ownership, strong public media, quality journalism, and universal access to communications.”

The founders of Free Press have argued that the “free press” or free media is a public good, like having good roads, right to an education, etc. They think localized moneys need to be spent by governments in the U.S.A. in order to return America to being a high ranking democratic state.

Who is to say that the increasing centralizing of media sources—FOX, Comcast, etc.—are the real cause of the world-wide stop of a historical march to more democracy each decade of my lifetime—till now.

When I was a teenager, the U.S. government sponsored through organizations and programs, like CETA, a means for small-town, inner-city, and down-out kids and adults to learn to work in small local access, TV, and radio networks, Many went on to careers in media and communication.

Now, the USA needs to do the same with our public access to training in the new media age with high standards of good journalism for many unemployed and underemployed peoples who desire to make America Great and Democratic.

We need such training programs all over America, so we will not get confused about what World and local realities really are—and run off and fight in a poor mountainous landlocked country for decades, i.e. Afghanistan . [Many of our congressmen and senators are very confused because they have grown up with the bad media system we have today. Stop this nonsense now. Reform reeducate and really train Americans to do and think with good information obtained by good journalistic practices. ]



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