Monday, March 06, 2006

Democracy NOW!

From their Website:

Democracy Now!'s War and Peace Report provides our audience with access to people and perspectives rarely heard in the U.S.corporate-sponsored media, including independent and international journalists, ordinary people from around the world who are directly affected by U.S. foreign policy, grassroots leaders and peace activists, artists, academics and independent analysts. In addition, the War and Peace Report hosts real debates - debates between people who substantially disagree, such as between the White House or the Pentagon spokespeopleon the one hand, and grassroots activists on the other.

For true democracy to work, people need easy access to independent, diverse sources of news and information.

But the last two decades have seen unprecedented corporate media consolidation. The U.S. media was already fairly homogenous in the early 80s: some fifty media conglomerates dominated all media outlets, including television, radio, newspapers, magazines, music, publishing and film. In the year 2000, just six corporations dominated the U.S. media.

In addition, corporate media outlets in the U.S. are legally responsible to their shareholders to maximize profits.

And U.S. “public” media outlets accept funding from major corporations, as well as from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Every Corporation for Public Broadcasting board member is appointed by the White House and confirmed by the Senate.

Democracy Now! is funded entirely through contributions from listeners, viewers, and foundations. We do not accept advertisers, donations from corporations, or donations from governments. This allows us to maintain our independence.

1 comment:

The Sleepless Knight said...

I was reminded that our own Bill Clinton did much for the media industry during his presidency. Below is a PBS link to a time line of media consolidation.

The slow long climb of media power and the reality that one of the chief constitutional safeguards has virtually disappeared, should be enough to frighten anyone concerned with individual rights. In many ways, Mr. Clinton was the best Republican the Democrats could have in the White House. Not only did he push for NAFTA, carrying the banner for his defeated predecessor, played a key role in the above mentioned monotheistic ownership of media, he then empowered his political enemies with the weapons to destroy him and his followers by failing to keep his own "weapon" sheathed.

But I digress.

When even the known liberal Summner Redstone, Chairman of Viacom and its media subsidiaries including CBS, switches loyalties and promotes the re-election of George W. Bush it doesn't take a Copernicus to figure our that the shepherd has ceded his flock to the wolves.

The Sixty Minutes blunder in their 2004 Air National Guard story which turned the revelation of Bush's service (or non-service) into a mockery. It's almost as though their attribution of total veracity of the story's leaker was done deliberately. They could just as easily mentioned that the document provided seemed credible and was worthy of further scrutiny. Once it was revealed that the forged document that CBS used to formulate their block buster story, the issue, a key one to help voters choose their candidate based on integrity, quickly died. It only took a few clicks to discredit the story, something the Sixty Minutes crew could easily have done to spare themselves this embarrassment.

The constitution is a strong document that will not just suddenly evaporate, but its principles can be eroded down and fissures can appear allowing all manner of assaults to its basic tenet. When its fortress, a free and robust press melts away, how long will it take for its complete emasculation to be completed.

Cooperation by the media or its distancing from true reporting vis-a-vis the Iraq fiasco enabled the administration to dabble in its little war game, if you call almost bankrupting the nation dabbling. The New York Times was quite helpful to Bush in their role of promoting fiction with regard to Iraq's WMDs.

I don't sleep well knowing that the Fox (News ) is guarding the chicken coop.