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Media Reform: Action For Change

Six more suggested fixes

Danny Schechter: (www.mediachannel.org) "We can't fix America without: • fixing the media system,   loosening media concentration,    • promoting media literacy education,  strengthening diversity of perspective,    • building independent media outlets and  challenging the phlegm of mainstream media  with some of our own.

What can be done to help achieve

reform?

(Perspectives from Moyers and Schechter)

Journalist Bill Moyers: (His full speech was originally published by Common Dreams) "So what do we do? What is our strategy for taking on what seems a hopeless fight for a media system that serves as effectively as it sells – one that holds all the institutions of society, itself included, accountable? ... What I know to be real is that we are in for the fight of our lives. I am not a romantic about democracy or journalism; the writer Andre Gide may have been right when he said that all things human, given time, go badly. Moyer's list of action options: "There’s plenty we can do. Here’s one journalist’s list of some of the overlapping and connected goals that a vital media reform movement might pursue. 1. Engaging the mainstream - not retreating from it First, we have to take Tom Paine’s example – and Danny Schechter’s advice – and reach out to regular citizens ... carry the fight to radio talk shows, local television, and the letters columns of our newspapers. As Danny says, we must engage the mainstream, not retreat from it. We have to get our fellow citizens to understand that what they see, hear, and read is not only the taste of programmers and producers but also a set of policy decisions made by the people we vote for. 2. Maintaining an open and free internet We have to fight to keep the gates to the Internet open to all. The web has enabled many new voices in our democracy – and globally – to be heard: advocacy groups, artists, individuals, non- profit organizations. Just about anyone can speak online, and often with an impact greater than in the days when orators had to climb on soap box in a park. 3. Fostering a truly community-based, media/public opinion environment … We must fight for a regulatory, market and public opinion environment that lets local and community-based content be heard rather than drowned out by nationwide commercial programming. 4. Countering media monopolization - limits on ownership We must fight to limit conglomerate swallowing of media outlets by sensible limits on multiple and cross-ownership of TV and radio stations, newspapers, magazines, publishing companies and other information sources. 5. Expanding non-commercial media We must fight to expand a noncommercial media system – something made possible in part by new digital spectrum awarded to PBS stations – and fight off attempts to privatize what’s left of public broadcasting. Commercial speech must not be the only free speech in  America! 6. Gaining greater control, ownership and content opportunities for those marginalized We must fight to create new opportunities, through public policies and private agreements, to let historically marginalized media players into more ownership of channels and control of content. 7. Supporting/encouraging tougher approach in mainstream journalism Let us encourage traditional mainstream journalism to get tougher about keeping a critical eye on those in public and private power and keeping us all informed of what’s important – not necessarily simple or entertaining or good for the bottom line. Not all news is “Entertainment Tonight.” And news departments are trustees of the public, not the corporate media’s stockholders.

Online Videos on Media

HOW THE MASS MEDIA FAILS US VIEW: Bill Moyers' revealing words on how media monopolies fundamentally limit viewpoints & public understanding and in effect control our understanding of the wider world ... while selfishly and unscrupulously abusing their power and influence. (In the 2nd half of video) At:   http://youtube.com/watch?v=wlIVL2dh2 zI VIEW: Frontline's important 2007 series 'News War' available from the U.S. Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) - a case study in how the media has failed to both inform the public and reject the 'Orwellian' language, lies, spin & deceptions of the Bush government: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontl ine/newswar/view/