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The failures of the "progressive" media

This week George W. Bush faces a week of intense, non-stop protests. But you would never realize the importance or significance of these events if you relied on the corporate media or even the so called "alternative" or "progressive" media.

Bush and his administration faces a week of protest, first in the UK and then in Miami. To get the news as it happens, unfiltered by corporate editors and journalists, and untampered by money, follow  http://www.indymedia.org.uk/ and  http://www.indymedia.org.uk/ and  link to www.ftaaimc.org.
This week George W. Bush faces a week of intense, non-stop protests. But you would never realize the importance or significance of these events if you relied on the corporate media or even the so called "alternative" or "progressive" media.

At commondreams.org their top link ( http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/1119-01.htm) is to a story about the FTAA protests, reposted from the Miami Herald. The story is about how many "ordinary people"are involved in protesting the FTAA. Is this an important story? Yes, it is important to convey that people from all walks of life engage in protests in this country. Is this story an accurate reflection of what is happening? Absolutely not. First, it perpetuates the myth that most people that protest are somehow different from other people. I know several individuals who have traveled from Portland, OR to Miami, FL and I they are no different than people I know who didn't travel to protest. They work 40 hours jobs, own houses, have families, and their lives do not revolve around protesting. While some people do lead lives dedicated to organizing protests if all that ever showed up to protests were those people, they would be insignificant. It is always regular people that take time off from their lives to protest that make protests effective.

Furthermore neither that article, nor the one on workingforchange.org ( http://www.workingforchange.com/article.cfm?itemid=15992) that was linked from the michaelmoore.com must read section, nor another from commondreams.org ( http://www.commondreams.org/views03/1116-09.htm), nor one from the nation ( http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20031201&s=anderson) have any information on police harassment, surveillance, and intimidation ( http://www.ftaaimc.org/en/2003/11/904.shtml,  http://www.ftaaimc.org/en/2003/11/894.shtml,  http://www.ftaaimc.org/en/2003/11/862.shtml,  http://www.ftaaimc.org/en/2003/11/354.shtml), arrests and raids ( http://www.ftaaimc.org/en/2003/11/895.shtml,  http://ftaaimc.org/en/2003/11/889.shtml), or the restrictions in civil rights passed by the "Protest Ordinance" ( http://www.workingforchange.com/article.cfm?itemid=15992) that was linked from the michaelmoore.com must read section, nor another from commondreams.org ( http://www.commondreams.org/views03/1116-09.htm), nor one from the nation ( http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20031201&s=anderson) have any information on police harassment, surveillance, and intimidation ( http://www.ftaaimc.org/en/2003/11/904.shtml,  http://www.ftaaimc.org/en/2003/11/894.shtml,  http://www.ftaaimc.org/en/2003/11/862.shtml,  http://www.ftaaimc.org/en/2003/11/354.shtml), arrests and raids ( http://www.ftaaimc.org/en/2003/11/895.shtml,  http://ftaaimc.org/en/2003/11/889.shtml), or the restrictions in civil rights passed by the "Protest Ordinance" ( link to www.ftaaimc.org).

At least michaelmoore.com has a link ( http://michaelmoore.com/mustread/index.php) to uk indymedia ( http://michaelmoore.com/mustread/index.php) to uk indymedia ( link to www.indymedia.org.uk).

In fact, you would think that protesters fall into one homogeneous group and that they generically protest rather than the reality which is that numerous groups have planned numerous events and actions in Miami and across the UK in protest this week.

And I listed a few sites but nothing is different on counterpunch, inthesetimes, buzzflash, progress.org, or any other "progressive" news site ( http://directory.google.com/Top/News/Politics/Progressive_and_Left/). Even the progressive blogs, while containing some good information, also lack much of this information. Cursor ( http://cursor.org) has a link to a hilarious piece about "anarchists"( http://directory.google.com/Top/News/Politics/Progressive_and_Left/). Even the progressive blogs, while containing some good information, also lack much of this information. Cursor ( http://cursor.org) has a link to a hilarious piece about "anarchists"( link to www.sun-sentinel.com) and a couple of other FTAA Miami links but again, nothing of much substance about what is actually happening down there.

And the sad thing is that none of this surprises me because this is how it has always been. The so called "alternative" or "progressive" press basically just takes corporate media stories and tries to spin them to fit their agenda without ever questioning the underlying assumptions of the stories themselves. Nor do these sites ever get information about what is really happening on the streets of the United States and in other countries.

The choice for each site that wishes to present progressive news and analysis is to decide whether they want to support the continuations of the status quo, perhaps with a Clinton-esque democrat president, or would they rather represent the voices of the people who are increasingly being able to tell their own stories utilizing resources such as indymedia. This is a choice for the editors and for the journalists themselves. During the Sacramento Agricultural Ministerial in June we watched as amazing coverage was presented by biotech indymedia ( http://www.biotechimc.org/or/topic/sacramento/) and portland indymedia ( http://www.biotechimc.org/or/topic/sacramento/) and portland indymedia ( link to portland.indymedia.org. This was a decent story covering a number of aspects absent from other stories. But what was most telling was for the information that got out, the author also posted the material that didn't get past the editors thereby highlighting their own biases.

If I had the ability to post to the progressive media or convince them to convey and carry certain information I would give the following information:

Bush and his administration faces a week of protest, first in the UK and then in Miami. To get the news as it happens, unfiltered by corporate editors and journalists, and untampered by money, follow  http://www.indymedia.org.uk/ and  http://www.indymedia.org.uk/ and  link to www.ftaaimc.org.

And then I would ask that they make their coverage and reporting more inclusive and not rely so heavily on the corporate media whose ills they regularly speak out against and whose corruption by financial interests is well-understood.

okay 19.Nov.2003 23:29

independent reporter

Next time I'll use endnotes for the links.

yeah but as bad as the progressive media is 19.Nov.2003 23:37

corporate whore voyeur

It just can't compare to this:
Jackson, Limbaugh, Lewinski - LBJ, WTC - torture, fear, money
Jackson, Limbaugh, Lewinski - LBJ, WTC - torture, fear, money

damn straight! 20.Nov.2003 00:02

AJ

exactly right. Its sad when something like this Jackson thing is placed above whats really important in the world. Then again, I couldnt trust CNN FOX etc as far as I can throw them. Im a poor thrower too. I have not seen ANY footage of protests or anything in the past 2 days except MJ stories on every single news show and about 3 times in each show. Its ludicris that ppl would care so much about it! "I dispair of human nature sometimes too"

target the media 20.Nov.2003 00:06

citizen unbound

Yep, it's true - progressive or alternative media just isn't very effective on the whole - it just doesn't have the reach that is needed. We need to infiltrate and poisen the corporate media hog.

er 20.Nov.2003 01:05

nonliberalias

duh, thats why were at this site.

no 20.Nov.2003 02:04

citizen unbound

What I want to express is that while it is good that there is an alternative support base - there is no chance of deep progressive change without changing the media - we have to infiltrate the large media corporations from within, sabotage their control by greedy capitalists and get the whole truth out. The media controls the minds of all these americans voting for shrub and listening to flush limbaugh. Alternate media (obviously) just isn't enough - it's time to take charge and take over, no more running behind the back of corporate media and dodging government interference - it's shameful.

Pretty soon America will be like Italy is right now - where everything is owned and controlled by Berlusconi who writes the laws that make him money and keep him legal, brainwashes the people into submission, and intimidates other politicians. Oooops, it IS already like Italy.

So I'm saying - don't stop doing the Indymedia thing - just realize that it isn't enough and that without overthrowing corporate media - there is really no chance for progressive change.

"diversity of tactics" 20.Nov.2003 03:05

Sue Donim

I agree with "citizen unbound," that a variety of tactics are needed. There is a place for indymedia, as well as Counterpunch, as well as The Nation, as well as media "insiders" who see the problems with the corporate media and work from within it to do good (subversive) work. There's also a need for people to stop consuming as much "media" altogether and get out in the world and experience reality directly more often. Perhaps the last one is really the most important of all.

To Citizen Unbound 20.Nov.2003 07:36

Sam Rose samuel.rose@voyager.net

Citizen Unbound,

I agree with you to a certain extent about change.

I want to express that I have a bias that "all change begins on 'local' levels". And thus, I think that real change will happen when people are educated about the dynamics of modern media, of technology, human epistemology, and of emergent human systems in general. Average, non-academic people need ways to learn about media ecology, systems theory, futures studies, knowledge management and visualization tools, and general media analytics. If the social engineering projects of the media don't work on the individual people they are targeted at, then the whole system will fail.



I created the Billions of Minds Project partly to try and teach people how to analyze what they are being fed by the media, and to help people create and use tools and techniques to understand what they are being fed by the media, corporations, and government. Furthermore, I want to help people understand "why" media . corps, and government are doing what they are doing, and "why" people react to media messages the way they do on biological, psychological, and social levels.


Also 20.Nov.2003 08:13

Sam Rose samuel.rose@voyager.net

Hats off to "independent reporter" for spending the time to raise a valid issue.


Sam Rose


To sam rose 20.Nov.2003 21:00

citizen unbound

Unfortunately, it's very easy to brainwash people - whoever controls the media with control the hearts and minds of the majority. Also, some people are just not intelligent enough to learn about epistemology, etc...

Also, the infiltration of christian institutions is paramount - although I think that most Americans think of themselves as Americans first and Christians second - probably not consciously though.

Not really relating 20.Nov.2003 21:57

prescription

I think of myself as American first, cristian never. When am I represented? NEVER! Thanks for half-thinking the viewpoint.

to: prescription 20.Nov.2003 22:59

citizen unbound

I was trying to say that I believe that the nationalistic viewpoint is stronger for most Americans than the religious viewpoint - that's all.

Yes, it would be nice if a non-christian morality was more represented, I agree.