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Media Reform and Democracy

Language control

The one critical freedom 'There is one freedom on which all other liberties depend – and that is freedom of expression, freedom of speech, of print. If this is taken away, no other freedom can exist, or at least it would be soon suppressed.'   -   Polish philosopher, Leslie Kolakowski (Quoted by Bill Moyers) The control politicians & corporations seek by defining language ‘People say that if you can define the language that’s used, you can control the issue.’ - Charlie Rose, PBS, 22 June 2007  Action, not media conferences and PR “I don't want to see anybody do anymore goddamn press conferences. Put a moratorium on press conferences. Don't do another press conference until the resources are in this city ...  Don't tell me 40,000 people are coming here. They're not here. It's too doggone late. Now get off your asses and do something, and let's fix the biggest goddamn crisis in the history of this country.” New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin,  CNN, 2 Sept 05    Misinformation sticks "That half or more Americans think Iraq was involved in the 9/11 attack - perhaps the most media-covered event in our history -- stands as a horrific indictment of U.S. media today."  - Jeff Cohen, founder of the media watch group FAIR (www.fair.org)

Monopoly control

Monopoly ownership constantly expanding A study by Mark Cooper of the Consumer Federation of America reports that two- thirds of today’s newspaper markets are monopolies. And now most of the country’s powerful newspaper chains are lobbying for co-ownership of newspaper and broadcast outlets in the same market, increasing their grip on community after community. - Quoted by Bill Moyers, Address on Media Reform, 8 November, 2003

Quotable Quotes (2)

(On media reform and the depths to which the American

media have fallen)

 Bill Moyers  (To read full text, visit www.commondreams.org):  [From Keynote Address to the National Conference on Media Reform, 8th November, 2003]  The cause of liberty itself “...God knows we need some “media reform.”  I’m sure you know those two words are really an incomplete description of the job ahead … the realities we face should trigger alarms. Free and responsible government by popular consent just can’t exist without an informed public … Let me rewind and say it again: democracy can’t exist without an informed public. So I say without qualification that it’s not simply the cause of journalism that’s at stake today, but the cause of American liberty itself … Freedom and freedom of communications were birth-twins in the future United States. They grew up together, and neither has fared very well in the other’s absence. Boom times for the one have been boom times for the other." Today's threats - secrecy and trivialization "… Consider where we are today. Never has there been an administration (other than that of George W Bush) so disciplined in secrecy, so precisely in lockstep in keeping information from the people at large and – in defiance of the Constitution – from their representatives in Congress. Never has the so powerful a media oligopoly – the word is Barry Diller’s, not mine – been so unabashed in reaching like Caesar for still more wealth and power. "Never have hand and glove fitted together so comfortably to manipulate free political debate, sow contempt for the idea of government itself, and trivialize the people’s need to know." No need for conspiracy theories - it's more collusion on its own accord "… You need not harbor the notion of a vast, right wing conspiracy to think this more collusion more than pure coincidence. Conspiracy is unnecessary when ideology hungers for power and its many adherents swarm of their own accord to the same pot of honey. Stretching from the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal to the faux news of Rupert Murdoch’s empire to the nattering nabobs of know-nothing radio to a legion of think tanks paid for and bought by conglomerates – The religious, partisan and corporate right have raised a mighty megaphone for sectarian, economic, and political forces that aim to transform the egalitarian and democratic ideals embodied in our founding documents.  Democracy's best friend With no strong opposition party to challenge such (authoritarianism), it is left to journalism to be democracy’s best friend. That is why so many journalists joined with you in questioning Michael Powell’s bid – blessed by the White House – to permit further concentration of media ownership. If free and independent journalism committed to telling the truth without fear or favor is suffocated, the oxygen goes out of democracy. And there is a surer way to intimidate and then silence mainstream journalism than to be the boss." Source of Bill Moyers' quotes: http://www.commondreams.org/views03/1112-10.htm Quotable Quotes (3): More key quotes on media reform and reviving journalism.   What can be done to help achieve reform: Moyers and Schechter. R. Crumb and A. Carey on the media's influence.