Summary: A Project is being launched to reclaim the media. Contact information is below. This if you are a mainstream pro-Gore/Democrat, hit "delete" now; this won't be of interest to you If you are a progressive/activist interested in real democracy, read on...
Are you pleased with the coverage of the mainstream media? The closed debates, the "spin" on the current situation? The "spin" on the environment, WTO, etc? No..??
There is something we can do about it. But letters to the corporate-run media are not enough. Letters to get the King to be nicer aren't the ultimate solution, which is to have democracy instead of a King, and same goes for media.
Demonstrations aren't the ultimate solution, either, for the same reasons: the SECOND we stop protesting (even if the protests are effective to get a bit of an improvement in the coverage by CNN etc of news), the SECOND we stop, they go back to their usual behavior, because they HAVE to.
Saying they have to is not making an excuse for them, it is taking seriously the analysis of capitalist media -- they are not free to do as they wish -- they must please their advertisers, shareholders, etc. They are SICK institutions. Do we treat the symptoms and ignore the illness? Or do we try to do something about the illness?
The way to address the illness is to create non-corporate, non-advertiser-based, non-profit maximizing, institutions of media which have a mass (10s to 100s of millions) audience potential. To create democratically run/owned/controlled media which have that kind of mass audience potential (see my previous post); that is the answer. While I respect protests of CNN etc, they are ultimately not the answer; you can't get a dog to meow, and you can't get a profit-based investor-owned, corporate-hierarchically-managed, advertiser-dollar-dependent TIGER to act and behave like a democratically controlled/owned/run LAMB.
Tigers hunt and kill by their nature. That is what a Tiger is. Unless you replace the tiger with a lamb (or have some super science to genetically modify it at the most fundamental level into being an herbivore) Protesting that the Tiger is not peaceful and instead that it hunts and kills, doesn't change it's inner nature, its inner drive and tendencies to go back and run its biased news the way a "tiger" would...
We will NEVER succeed in getting "alternative views" as a regular part of news on corporate-owned advertiser-based media institutions.
We need alternative media institutions which are "alternative" in structure, but not also 'alternative' in today's sense ("the alternative press") of reaching a very small audience -- we must be able to reach a mass audience in the 10s to 100s of millions -- the general public.
EconomicDemocracy.org has a proposal to do this (the proposal does not ignore community, micropower, those without internet access etc -- there is a fruitful cross-fertilization and interplay and mutual support between this proposal and these other, worthy causes; see the article)
If you are interested, come to EconomicDemocracy.org and click on "sign up now" (or click here and you will be put on a (few-time) announcement list about the project.
"Electronic Activism Revisited: The Revolution Will Be Webcast" is now available at:
Reclaim the Media: The Revolution will be Webcast
(Written 1999-2000, and the reality is still unfolding today..and still some unmet potential)
(The title is borrowed from the piece Electronic Activism which I wrote in 1992 on the heels of co-founding UseNet's moderated misc.activism.progressive in March 1991. This is the first major update since the 1993 Electronic Activism II which circulated across the internet world at that time)
A full featured "forums" section has been installed on EconomicDemocracy.org for participating in on-going discussions and planning aimed at modifying, improving, expanding, etc, the visions in the Webcast article and soon to be released related project -- and then specifically for planning, coordinating, and making it into reality -- we don't want to just talk -- some forums will be dedicated for discussion, and other forums will be ~specifically~ dedicated for the planning-and-carrying-it-out, on an on-going basis. Ideas on co-linking with other progressive/democratic-radical lists/forums are welcome.
We hope to see you on EconomicDemocracy.org ! Click here to join us.
It's not "Reform versus revolution", it's about being involved in concrete, pragmatic steps which have "revolutionary" long-term effects helping birth a more democratic and peaceful, free and just future.
Co-founder, March 1991, UseNet's misc.activism.progressive
Author, "Electronic Activism" (1992), "Electronic Activism II" (1993)
Organizer, EconomicDemocracy.org (home of Electronic Activism Revisited (EAR 2000-))
PS -- Please spread the word via our tell a friend feature on EconomicDemocracy.org
NEW the article The Revolution will be Webcast which offers not pure theory but a strategic vision for accoplishing these aims, is available here. Print it out and share, then send us feedback via the Forums or email.
``an alternative media institution (to the extent possible given its circumstances) doesn't try to maximize profits, doesn't primarily sell audience to advertisers for revenues (and so seeks broad and non-elite audience), is structured to subvert society's defining hierarchical social relationships, and is structurally profoundly different from and as independent of other major social institutions, particularly corporations, as it can be. An alternative media institution sees itself as part of a project to establish new ways of organizing media and social activity and it is committed to furthering these as a whole, and not just its own preservation.'' from What Makes Alternative Media Alternative? By Michael Albert