This insightful quote from Prof. Bob McChesney in 2004 has been a driving force for the Media and Democracy Project. McChesney has been a visionary working on solutions to improve media and democracy.
How Americans are informed about the world around them is not the evolution of a natural “media landscape”. Bob McChesney points out that “Our media system is the result of a wide range of explicit government policies, regulations, and subsidies”. One of the ways we can positively impact our media ecosystems is through our Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC has the potential to increase diversity of media ownership, expand broadband connectivity, promote Net-Neutrality, de-consolidation of media – and also save Americans money.
Join us at our next Zoom meeting (Monday 1/23) to find out what you can do about media policy-making at the FCC. Sign up: http://www.tiny.cc/madproject. We will talk with journalist and pro-democracy media advocate Sue Wilson to hear her insights and learn actionable steps.
Media in the news…
In light of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday last week: we feel it necessary to highlight the ongoing failures of major news outlets to effectively cover White Supremacy and Christian Nationalism – and the assaults they are making on our aspirational representative democracy. One example of this: White Supremacists such as Reps. Lauren Boebert, Andy Biggs (self-described nativists) are described by major outlets as “conservative” “hardliners” or “hard right“. These editorial euphemisms sanitize racism and the dangerous Christian Nationalist agenda. Another failure is that leading national outlets nearly ignored the status of the legacy of Dr. King on his birthday week and no substantial coverage of Republican assaults on voting rights of Black voters.
-NYTimes and Washington Post: with zero front page stories on voting rights, Dr. King or Black America for January 14, 15, 16.
-No in-depth articles about White Supremacy, structural racism.
-NYTimes turned Dr. King’s birthday front page over to Peter Baker to criticize Joe Biden about not doing more about voting rights of Black Americans (while simultaneously normalizing and whitewashing the Republican legislative war on voting rights of Black Americans across the country).
-Lack of a status update on the democratic participation/representation of Black Americans in American politics that Dr. King fought for.
Discussion of Dr. King’s legacy should not be relegated to an annual reflection around his birthday; but given how poorly corporate media has covered the status of his legacy – the failure to do so even on his birthday is worth pointing out – and respond to.
Examples of excellent articles that honored the legacy of Dr. King and that should have been given more visibility and promotion were by Jamelle Bouie “Martin Luther King Jr.’s Other Dreams” in the NYTimes (instead of Peter Baker’s) and a piece by Latoya Joyner in the New York Daily News on “Dr. King’s legacy means raising the minimum wage“.
With the 50th anniversary of the “Roe v. Wade” decision and women’s rights under increasing attack – we think it important to speak up and demand more accurate and informative media coverage about abortion rights and bodily autonomy. Use our guide (graphic above) to demand better media coverage. If you see abortion rights poorly framed as “pro-life” vs “pro-choice“, omission of women’s bodily autonomy, absent discussion of racism, criminalizing women’s healthcare, healthcare being denied etc… – reach out to the journalist, editor or outlet. You are not powerless – please see media folks as accountable allies – demand progress.
Your list of actions to help #FixMediaNow:
Action #1 Join us Monday 1/237:00pmET (always Zoom) http://www.tiny.cc/madproject as we chat with and learn from Sue Wilson about what we can do to support of a more pro-democracy media landscape and our FCC.
Action #2 Demand better more accurate coverage of Christian Nationalism, White Supremacy or abortion rights by sending an email, letter-to-the-editor etc.. (please share your submission with us).
Action #3Follow and engage with our @FixMediaNow and @MAD_Democracy pro-democracy Twitter teams. Help us to demand more pro-democracy coverage, amplify good coverage, and hold poor coverage accountable in real time. Follow us on Mastodon: http://journa.host/@MAD_democracy
JOIN US at our next event:
Please share this Newsletter. If you would like to speak at one of our meetings/nominate someone else – please reach out.
Milo, Jonathan, Brian, Holley, Cecily, Al, Carolyn, Noelle and the entire Media and Democracy Project
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