Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Which Side Will You Support In The Struggle For Media That Serves The People?

A tariff on newsprint, the consolidation of local t.v., and activists who promote the very corporate "news" platforms designed to silence their voices are salient features of today's information landscape. 

This video making the rounds demonstrates the chorus of t.v. talking heads parroting identical talking points about "fake news" apparently without a trace of irony. It was shared by the Progressive Truthseekers page on spybook with the explanation:

Sinclair Broadcast Group is the largest owner of local TV stations in the country. They inject the plutocrat governments political views into local news throughout the world and spread unified propaganda messaging as showcased here.
Did I mention that Sinclair recently bought up the bandwidth used by Harpswell Community TV in Maine -- a channel that has regularly aired the "This Issue" interviews conducted by peace activist Bruce Gagnon? His show offers a critique of corporate government rarely if ever heard on mainstream media or even the so-called Maine "Public" radio, television and websites affiliated with NPR.

Then there's the "Bad News" shared by Chris Busby in alternative newspaper the bollard this month. Busby details the corporate control steadily creeping over print journalism:

Here in Maine, the fate of the print news media — whose coverage drives much of what we get from radio and TV news — has never been more precarious. One wealthy individual, junk-mail mogul Reade Brower, now owns nearly every daily newspaper in the state and most of the weeklies. And while the industry clings to the edge of a cliff, a group of plutocrats much richer than Reade (including Trump, Bezos, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross) are stomping on its fingers...
The timing is interesting, coming just weeks after the newsprint tariff kicked in, and the same month that Alliance Press hiked its printing rates by 8 percent (3 percent of which is specifically to offset cost increases caused by the tariff, according to a letter sent to the printer’s customers). With newspapers already operating on razor-thin margins, a price hike of nearly 10 percent in their second-largest expense (after employee compensation) is a de facto death blow. 

Here's what I intend to do about the throttling of alternative media by corporate agents.

Let's say I see an essay by one of the Parkland gun violence survivors that interests me. "I tried to befriend Nickolas Cruz. He Still Killed My Friends" by Isabelle Robinson examines the claim that if Nik Cruz were not socially isolated, he would not have turned into a mass murderer. 

I read the essay and decide it is an interesting examination of this aspect of the current crisis in school shootings. Definitely worth sharing with my network as a way of supporting the important perspective of its teen author. Problem is, it was published in the New York Times.

You know, the media organization that helped lie us into the Iraq War, the war on terror, and continues to support Israel's attempted genocide of the Palestinian people -- I could go on, but you get the idea.

I completely understand why a teenager would want to publish in the NYT to reach its enormous audience. I'm not criticizing her for that. But I am predicting that, if Robinson remains active in the struggle for gun control, she'll realize that feeding the beast of corporate media is not in the best interest of her cause.

Then I start searching for an alternative source to share.

It's harder now that Google changed its algorithms to make sure that corporate media tops the list no matter how many times I've visited alternative new sites. (Yes, I could use DuckDuckGo or another alternative search engine. Why I don't is the subject for another day.)

It takes a few minutes of digging but I do find one: "She was nice to the boy who bullied her. He still turned into a mass shooter" by Mark Shrayber on Upworthy. Now I have this information in a form I feel like sharing.

Yes, it does have Robinson's words framed by journalistic commentary. For example,

The first time Isabelle Robinson met Nikolas Cruz, he knocked the wind out of her and smirked as he watched her cry.

I'm ok with that. I helped get Robinson's message out there, and I didn't add to the revenues of the corporate shills at the NYT.

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