you are concerned about the state of the union,
you should be concerned about the state of the
week, CBS television censored free speech by refusing
to sell airtime to the MoveOn Voter Fund for a
political ad during the Super Bowl. The ad is
critical of the Bush Administration's run-up of
the federal deficit.
- owned by media giant Viacom - says it doesn't
run "controversial" ads during the Super Bowl.
But it plans to air a White House drug policy
spot during the game. The last such ad linked
marijuana smoking to terrorism... hardly uncontroversial.
is no coincidence that the White House and the
FCC are pushing through new media ownership limits
at the behest of CBS - efforts that activists
and public interest groups have been fighting.
CBS/Viacom spent over $4 million lobbying Congress
in the last four years alone.
is playing politics with the right to free speech:
another example of media monopoly's chilling effect
on democratic debate.
need your help to spread the word about CBS and
the growing media crisis. Many members of Congress
continue to fight further media consolidation
because millions of Americans have pressured them
to do so. This recent insult proves that we need
forward this email to everyone you know who cares
about free speech and democracy.
go to http://www.mediareform.net/media to learn
more and sign up to be a Free Press E-Activist.
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It's easy to subscribe and unsubscribe.
Press is a national nonpartisan organization working
to increase public participation in crucial media
policy debates, and to generate policies that
will produce a more competitive and public interest-oriented
media system. Information online at http://www.mediareform.net
join us as we build a media system that serves
the public interest, not just corporate interests.
Our democracy depends on it.
truly, Robert McChesney Author, Professor Founder,
A Quick Overview
corporate monopolization of media is increasingly
playing a critical role in the declining quality
of American democracy. Instead of a diverse, skeptical,
independent and competitive media system - the
kind envisioned and promoted by the nation's founders
- the media give us dumbed-down low-quality journalism
(devastating, because corporate television is
the lens through which the vast majority of Americans
understand the world); skyrocketing commercialism
with increased ads per hour on TV and radio, product
placement on TV and movies, on billboards, in
schools and other public spaces; corporate-sanctioned
self-censorship (a la Dixie Chicks and Bill Maher);
a narrowing range of debate; abuse and atrophy
of copyright law; and wholesale giveaways of public
resources, among others. Today, few question the
role the media now plays in undermining - rather
than nurturing - democracy and civil society.
Freedom of the Press was inscribed in the First
Amendment to the Constitution, it was regarded
as a social right of all citizens in a free and
self-governing society to have a well-funded,
uncensored and lively media system. Our media
today remain the direct result of government policies,
but no longer are the policies the result of informed
public debate. Instead they are made quietly and
corruptly behind closed doors by self-interested
commercial parties, where lucrative monopoly rights
to TV and radio channels and copyright extensions
- for example - are doled out with no return to
Press (www.mediareform.net) is about returning
to the classical notion of Freedom of the Press:
otherwise democracy and self-government are unthinkable.
We must renew the founding commitment at the grassroots
and on Capitol Hill to establishing the basis
for a viable free press instead of letting powerful
special interest lobbyists fight it out behind
Saul Alinsky said, "To defeat organized money,
we need organized people."
Stay up to date on news relating to media reform
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P.P.S. Support media reform by becoming a Free
Press Action Fund member at: http://www.mediareform.net/support.php
Posted: January 23, 2004