Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Will traditional media catch up?

The immediate results of the blue wave that has cleaned America are now readily apparent: Rumsfeld's gone, Mehlman's gone, and Dubya has been humbled. Rove appears to have retreated to his lair, Cheney to his crypt (well, sort of).

We the people were felt on November 7th.

We can't say the same about the media. We can boycott and mount campaigns against station owners like Sinclair (remember that in '04?) who show obvious propaganda, but it doesn't always work (remember ABC's "Path to 9/11"?). See also, "Armstrong Williams."

Last week, even before the counting was over, the corporate media were trying to spin Democratic victories as conservative wins because all the Democrats who won were "moderates" or "conservatives."

Progressive strategists and bloggers have noted that trend.

Fact is, based on issues like ending the Iraq occupation, repealing massive tax breaks for multimillionaires, banning torture, joining the Kyoto Protocol, and getting the NSA out of our phone calls and e-mail messages, 27 of the 29 newly elected members of the House can indeed be considered progressives.

Media Matters highlight's Time's double standard here.

And there's the President, who openly lied about keeping Rumsfeld until the end of his term. Nobody effectively challenged him on that, and Tony Snow (you know, the guy yanked from Fox News (also known in some circles as the White House Farm Team), where he provided "fair and balanced political analysis") easily brushed it off in the daily gaggle.

The Democrats overcame an enormous amount of conservative smearing, voter apathy, outright and indirect attempts at voter suppression, and flaccid traditional media to win the midterm elections.

It took an absurd amount of hard work from the grassroots and netroots, along with blatant blunders from the right, to help Democrats capture Congress last Tuesday.

So it would appear that Democrats now control 2/3 of the government. Don't fall into that trap. The truth is, we only have half.

The traditional media is still made up of corporations who control the agenda. And most corporations have a decidedly conservative slant, from the top down.

News, to them, isn't information, it's a product. It is a commodity, bought and sold; it is not a public service. It's entertainment.

Consequently, what you see on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, CNN and others has been focus-grouped, marketed, massaged and packaged specifically to be consumed, not integrated into a well-informed citizen's daily life. Most of it - with notable exceptions - is a travesty of journalism.

So along with the work we still have to do in getting out of Iraq, reclaiming our civil liberties, stemming global warming and stopping torture, we also need to support organizations like FAIR, Media Matters for America, and Free Press.

We need to return to the Fairness Doctrine or find a stronger replacement. And we need to stop corporate media consolidation.

The "Fourth Estate "has always been our "containment field" for runaway government. In the years since Reagan, though, it has merely been a reliable mouthpiece of the right. That's a cheap recipe for fascism.

But progressives have momentum and the ear of the electorate - media reform is certainly within our reach if we have the political will to pursue it.

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