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Time To Also March On The Media?

Posted in the database on Thursday, September 22nd, 2005 @ 15:53:29 MST (1600 views)
by Danny Schechter    mediachannel.org  

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That time has come again.

There will be a march on Washington this Saturday, a ritual rallying of the anti-war faithful who will come by the busload as they have twice a year, once in the fall, once in the spring, for decades, on issue after issue.

This mobilization promises to be a big one. The war has lost public support, with only a minority of Americans now endorsing it. The outrages we saw on television after the Katrina catastrophe have stirred even more anger.

For the first time, the Bush Administration seems on the defensive, as its public approval ratings are falling and dissenting voices are rising among the Republican ranks.

Hence, the latest march on Washington.

You can almost predict the slogans we will hear, and the shape of the stirring rhetoric from the stage. It will rouse us, yes, but will it inform us? Will it lead us into a deeper understanding and commitment?


Here’s the plan from the United for Peace and Justice website:

Saturday, September 24

Massive March & Rally, Peace and Justice Festival, Operation Ceasefire Concert

Sunday, September 25

Interfaith Service, Training for Grassroots Lobby Day, Training for Mass Nonviolent Civil Resistance, National Meeting for Counter-Recruitment

Monday, September 26

Grassroots Congressional Lobby Day & Mass Nonviolent Civil Resistance at the White House

Notice how, once again, most of the energy is aimed only at government, at the White House, at Bush and his boys (and girl, Ms. Condoleezza Rice).

But these targets are, alas, only part of the problem.

Other government institutions and interests are complicit in the war and the policies that the activists oppose. With so many people coming to town, and some staying for Monday, why not split them into teams and smaller marches, and bring some popular fury to these others?


Where is the march on the media? The media is the front face of the corporate interests who stage-manage the government. In an age of globalization, challenging corporate power is essential.

Washington is a media city. It is home to many major outlets, including the Washington Post, the Washington Times and USA Today. Every network has a big bureau there. The National Press Building houses many media offices.

Washington is also the base of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the agency that makes government media policy, of the reactionary National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), and of the cable industry.

It's the center of lobbying by well-connected law firms and K-Street influence peddlers that are paid big bucks to carry Big Media’s water.

We all know that the war could not have galvanized the support it did without media collusion and complicity, a charge I document in my forthcoming book, When News Lies, and my film WMD (Weapons of Mass Deception).


Responsible leaders such as Senator Robert C. Byrd (D-WV) have denounced the media for falling for the war "hook, line and sinker."

We all know how the media "merged" with the Pentagon’s pro-war propaganda effort and not just with its embedded-journalist program.

We all know about the jingoism posing as journalism on the airwaves, the false claims, the contrived "facts" and, yes, the relentless, ongoing deception.

We know this was also a war by media.

We know how few antiwar voices were heard on TV and how many conservative pundits dominated the discourse 24/7.

We know that the stream of lies continues. We know that the media's limited apologies and Mea Culpas were just ways of co-opting critics and pacifying the public.

So, why not add some media targets to the mix so that marchers can express their disgust with media subservience and demand truth as well as responsibility and accountability?

Back on February 15th, a small group of activists who wanted to picket CNN were discouraged on the grounds that they would "alienate" the reporters.

Did you see the pathetic coverage? CNN didn't have to be alienated. They, like many corporate media outlets, already are -- alienated from deeper truths and honest reporting.

In that period, the networks and not just CNN had become PNN: the Pentagon News Network.

It is time to recognize that the war in Iraq was not just a government crime. It was and is still a media crime.

The Hurricane Katrina coverage gave us a glimpse of what American journalism can be when it gets up off its knees and speaks truth to power. But far too many media outlets are returning to their dumbed-down business as usual. As Nikki Finke wrote in the LA Weekly, "the pictures of angry black men are gone, replaced by white politicians in suits."

We need to keep the pressure on, to move the media and press the press to play the role they should be playing in a democracy.

And to protest their performance when they don’t.

What do you say?

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