Affirmative Action for Liberalism
As most of you probably already know, The National Conference for Media Reform was held in Memphis, Tennessee a couple of weeks ago. I really can't believe that this will realistically gain much traction; but with Democratic control of Congress, you never know.
The idea that diversity of opinion isn't available to people, in this day and age of the internet, is absolutely ludicrous! Go to YouTube and run a search for "George Bush" and you tell me how many anti-Bush videos come up. To suggest that conservatives dominate information outlets tells me that you are so far out in the left field fringe, you have only yourself to blame for feeling like your voice is being plutoed.
If we're going to instigate media reform, why don't we start with the drive-by media with their liberal-agenda-driven news stories and anti-war bias? The audience pull of the major news broadcasters and national newspapers in being able to reach people is much larger than the audience share that tunes into FOX News and talk radio.
The fact is, the National Conference for Media Reform is not interested in fairness in the media. According to Cliff Kincaid (who was in attendance) of Accuracy in the Media, what they are interested in, is shutting down outlets for conservative voices. Just look at who funded this event: George Soros, Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Overbrook Foundation, Quixote Foundation, Progress Foundation, and the Haas Trusts. It's Orwellian newspeak to refer to your organization as "Free Press", when its aim will bring about the exact opposite of the stated intentions.
The Revolutionary Communist Party was on hand as an official exhibitor, along with the Newspaper Guild, Consumers Union, Mother Jones magazine, and Pacifica Radio. Also on hand, was the 9/11 truth movement. You know it's bad when Hillary is considered "too conservative" to have books on hand by her and about her:
While the Democratic Party and its political leaders were embraced by most of the participants and usually met with standing ovations, the official conference bookstore didn't offer any books by or about Hillary Clinton. I was told by the bookstore owner that that she was perceived as too conservative by this crowd and that those books wouldn't sell.One book on hand is titled "10 Excellent Reasons Not to Join the Military". And yet we are told not to ever question the patriotism of those on the Left; nor accuse them of not supporting the troops. Certainly there are those on the left who are patriotic and who are supportive of our military; but they find alliances with those who are neither.
On the other hand, books by Senator Barack Obama and Al Gore were prominently featured. Books by Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Mikhail Gorbachev, former White House reporter Helen Thomas, and Webster Tarpley, a former associate of Lyndon LaRouche, were also available. Tarpley, an "expert" on how 9/11 was a U.S. plot, was a featured guest for two hours on Air America, the liberal radio network now in bankruptcy because of bad management and dismal ratings.
A special screening of the film "Reel Bad Arabs" was held, in order to argue that Arabs and Muslims deserve more favorable coverage from the media and Hollywood. The film is narrated by Jack Shaheen, who recently appeared on Al-Jazeera English making charges of anti-Arab media bias.
Now look at this list of speakers and performers:
Jonathan Adelstein, FCC commissionerand you tell me with a straight face that all those in attendance want to expand free speech, equalize the playing field, and make sure that talk radio pundits like Laura Ingraham "stay on the air" (as congressman Maurice Hinchey claims).
Ben Bagdikian, author, The Media Monopoly
Duncan "Atrios" Black, blogger
Eric Boehlert, author and journalist
David Brancaccio, PBS
David Brock, Media Matters for America
Adrienne Maree Brown, Ruckus Society
Jeff Chester, Center for Digital Democracy
Rosa Clemente, R.E.A.C.Hip-Hop
Jeff Cohen, writer and media critic
Steve Cohen, U.S. representative
Flavia Colgan, MSNBC commentator
Mark Cooper, Consumer Federation of America
Michael Copps, FCC commissioner
Malkia Cyril, Youth Media Council
Davey D, DJ and hip hop activist
Phil Donahue, television host
Deepa Fernandes, WBAI and Radio Rootz
Laura Flanders, Air America
Linda Foley, Newspaper Guild-CWA
Jane Fonda, actor and co-Founder, Women's Media Center
Wayne Ford, Iowa Brown & Black Forum
Kim Gandy, president, National Organization for Women
Dan Gillmor, Center for Citizen Media
Danny Glover, actor and activist
Juan Gonzalez, New York Daily News
Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!
Al Green's Gospel Choir
Robert Greenwald, Brave New Films
Maurice Hinchey, U.S. representative
Ben Hooks, civil rights leader
Janine Jackson, FAIR
Rev. Jesse Jackson, civil rights leader
Van Jones, Ella Baker Center
Gene Kimmelman, Consumers Union
Eric Klinenberg, author, Fighting for Air
Sonali Kolhatkar, Afghan Women's Mission
Mark Lloyd, Center for American Progress
Rev. Tim MacDonald, civil rights leader
Ed Markey, U.S. representative
Joan "McJoan" McCarter, Daily Kos
Robert McChesney, president, Free Press
Bill Moyers, journalist and Author
John Nichols, journalist
Alex Nogales, National Hispanic Media Coalition
The North Mississippi Allstars
Geneva Overholser, University of Missouri
Chellie Pingree, Common Cause
Anthony Riddle, Alliance for Community Media
Paul Rieckhoff, Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America
Jay Rosen, New York University
Bernie Sanders, U.S. senator
Danny Schechter, news dissector
Andrew Jay Schwartzman, Media Access Project
Gigi Sohn, Public Knowledge
Norman Solomon,media critic
John Stauber, Center for Media and Democracy
Matt Stoller, MyDD.com
Makani Themba-Nixon, Praxis Project
Helen Thomas, Hearst Newspapers
Jenny Toomey, Future of Music Coalition
Gloria Tristani, former FCC commissioner
Cenk Ugyur, The Young Turks
Patric Verrone, Writer's Guild of America, West
Noah Winer, MoveOn.org Civic Action
Tim Wu, Columbia University
Rev. Lenox Yearwood, Hip-Hop Caucus
Congressman Hinchey points out that the Fairness Doctrine was instituted back in 1949 as a means to prevent fascist governments to enable a single ideology to dominate, as it did in places like Hitler's Germany. But what he doesn't acknowledge, is that we live in a vastly different world today than we did 60 years ago. Today, we have access to more information and more choice; not less. And to seek government regulation of the airwaves of the kind Representative Hinchey and Senator Bernie Sanders are calling for, "sounds absolutely Soviet", as Ingraham says in her interview with the congressman.
What a dishonest facade! Can they honestly believe they are advocating for "fairness in the media" and not for stifling conservative speech, through government restriction? Their idea of "balance" is"progressive ideology". Anything that isn't, sounds rightwing conservative and partisan, to them.
While listening to Michael Medved discuss this last week, he gets the typical caller (funny how 90% of Medved's callers are those who disagree with him and how Ingraham debated on her program with Congressman Hinchey, and yet talk radio is accused of not allowing for liberal voices to air their opinions) who makes the same failure of distinction between straight news, and opinion journalism. Talk radio doesn't pretend to be nonpartisan, straight news. The LATimes, CBS News, and all their ilk does.
You can find videos of many of the major speakers, here. Cliff Kincaid observed during his interview on Laura Ingraham last Thursday, that Jesse Jackson, who has such a prominent voice in the media, at the end of his speech, then goes on and plugs his radio and tv program!
Special thanks to Greg at The Political Pit Bull for providing me with audio to The Laura Ingraham Show.
Resources from Accuracy in the Media:
The Plan to Silence Conservatives
Congressional Liberals Bare Plan to Muzzle Conservative Speech
Casting Pearls Before Swine
Marie's Two Cents