Bringing Out the Vast Potentialities of Our Media
Media reform -- our most urgent issue
The Foundation Stone of Democracy Ignored
Our most urgent issue.
How Germany Ensures Fairness in Broadcasting
In 1971, the Federal Constituional Court in Germany acted to safeguard the quality of programming, insuring that speech is democratically determined -- not market determined. It said:
"As a result of development in television technology, broadcasting has become one of the mot powerful mean of mass communications, which, because of its wide-reaching affect and possibilities, as well as the danger of misue for one-sided propagandizing, cannot be left to the free play of market forces."
The court also said, "Broadcasting is in the concern of the general public. It must be prosecuted in complete independence, in a nonpartisan manner, and be safeguarded against all forms of influence."[BVerfGe, 1971]
In 1981, the court said private broadcasters could only control a channel if the channel is "internally or externally pluralistic."
The court said a program is considered to be internally pluralistic if it provides a diversity of opinions and if its programs are "governed by an independent broadcasting council" with representative from the "socally relevant groups" of society, such as labor unions, consumer groups, environmental groups, professional organizations, churches, sports, culture etc.
These councils supervise the private license holders.
UNESCO (Thte United Natons Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization) calls this "the democratization of culture" and "the democratization of communications."
Rebuildling our culture brick by brick
How Might We Democratize Communications and Culture?
In the United States, the Communication Act of 1959 requires that individuals given a license to broadcast serve "public interest, convenience and necessity."
What the people in each area think and want -- and what they don't want -- is to be honored.
This is a marvelous legal opportunity to bring forth the democratization of communications and culture.
Here's a strategy for determining "public interest" -- the vision, wishes and dislikes of the people.
Every local broadcasting station could have a Council for Bringing Out the Vast Potentialities of the Broadcast Media charged with assisting private broadcasting license holders in determining "public interest, convenience and necessity."
The council might be made up of all university professors in that area, along with the journalists and scientists. This is the intelligensia from every relevant sector of society: historians, economists, political scientists, sociologists, engineers, environmentalists, medical professionals and much much more -- people abreast of the problems and solutions facing society.
(This structure would help the council be independent from government, which is important because government is so often under the thumb of vested interests at war with our best interests.)
This council might meet every three months to draft a Declaration of Public Interest that it submits to the local broadcasters.
Individuals and groups, such as Sunday school classes, labor unions, professional associations etc. could be encouraged to draft letters that the council considers.
The media, both educational and intertainment-oriented, is far too important to be controlled solely by wealthy vested interests if it is to be rich in vision, inspiration and education.
May we work tirelessly to build and strengthen our culture -- brick by brick.
What do you want to see on the media? I want to see wonderful inspirational examples before the children -- not imodesty and every vice known to mankind -- no bickering and arguing.
I would like to see a big big emphasis on character education -- anecdotes from biographies, parables, fables, tales and legends from across the world -- an international sharing of materials to promote the moral and social well-being and education of children. (Article 17 of The Convention on the Rights of the Child says, "States Parties recognize the important function performed by the mass media and shall ensure that the child has access to information and material from a diversity of national and international sources, especially those aimed at the promotion of his or her social, spiritual and moral well-being and physical and mental health.")
I would to see jewish folk dancing, jumpstyle and Russian dance at parties -- people having a really good time without drugs and alcohol.
I would like to see exercise classes every morning at a set time.
I would like to see sacred dance from around the world.
I would like to see alternatives to TV discussed often.
I want the media to encourage composting to rebuild our soils and counteract soil erosion.
I would like to see information about the importance of organic agriculture.
I want to see leadership for how to transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy -- and documentaries showing why this is important.
And of course, I don't want monopolization of political opinion. Democrats should have a place at the table to discuss their ideas about reform.
Each local area can have its own ideas and strategies and share ideas and media with other areas.
It's a dirty dirty system!
Free Air-Time for Political Candidates
"The United States is the only major democratic country that does not provide some free air time to parties or candidates," say Karen O'Connor and Larry J. Sabado in the college text, "American Government: Continuity and Change."
"Politics would be transformed beyond recognition if free air time were given to candidates," wrote Mary McGrory in the Washington Post. "Aspirants could rise up from their knees if they didn't have to spend so much time groveling for funds, 40 percent of which is eaten up with purchasing television time. The average Senate campaign requires $4.3 million; for a House seat, the going rate is $545,000."
Reed Hunt, who was Clinton's Federal Communications Commision Chairman said, "The average Senate candidate must raise approximately $15,000 a week, every week for six years starting the moment he or she is sworn in office."
Raising money for advertising has the potential for deeply corrupting the system. For instance, after the petroleum refining industry gave members of Congress $2,002,703 in 1993-1994, the House of Representatives barred the use of EPA funds to develop, issue or enforce air toxics standards for the petroleum refining industry, according to Joan Claybrook, the former head of Public Citizen.
These standards would have reduced hazardous emissions from 190 petroleum refineries by 68 percent and reduced total hydrocarbon emissions by some 750,000,000 pounds per year, according to Claybrook.
UCLA professor of law Daniel Hays Lowenstein says the great majority of campaign contributions are bribes "made to influence legislators."
The Supreme Court gave us a mandate to fix our dirty system. In the Buckley decision, the court said "facilitating communication by candidates with the electorate and freeing candidates from the rigors of fundraising" meet the general welfare clause.
Here the court was applying the principle to the public financing of campaigns. But certainly the principle would apply to free air time for candiates as well.
Who will lead the way?
Urgent Problem. Who Should Own Our Newspapers?
I would like to see community-owned newspapers overseen by our college professors who come together in a secret ballot to nominate -- then vote on -- candidates for a governing board that selects and oversees editors, journalists and other staff members. The college professors could also come together routinely to discuss issues with the governing board.
But it is imperative that these newspapers not be supported by advertising dollars.
Who will lead the way?
Bringing Down the Cost of Running a Newspaper
The cost of PAPER to print the daily news is very expensive. It is advertisers that foot the bill.
We clearly can not have this if the media is to be strong, independent and objective. As you should read in the essay below on Sweden's amazing media system, every newspaper for the Social Democrats had wide readership, nonetheless, they were in danger of closing because advertisers wouldn't support them.
The country of France addressed this problem by giving each person a device that allows them to get their newspaper online, electronically.
This would also help us save our forests -- a very urgent issue. We cut down a half a million papers each week just to print the Sunday paper.
Uninhibited and robust debate can be nurtured
A Look at the Amazing Media System in Sweden and What It Brought About
Media reform should be our priority issue.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.: Good Media Can't Find Good Funding
Media at its finest
Paying For High Quality Media in the U.K.
TV is not free in the U.K. You have to pay for a tv license, which is 142 pounds per year, or a bout 5.50 pounds per week.
This helps keep information fair and balanced and neutral. It is not as controlled by wealthy corporations, who can pull their support for advertising at any minute when it is a commercial interest.
There is a huge information deficit among Republicans.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.: How the Media is Not Adequately Informing the Public
An attack on neutral, unbiased news reporting
Enriching the Diversity of Opinons and Solutions
The country is rich in scholars who have immense potential to enrich our political debate.
I would like for our scholars to all learn to use Premiere Elements or Movie Maker to learn to put together high quality videos with music in the background, images (either still images or video clips) and narration.
There could be a forum similar to google groups where Scholars and concerned citizens could post high quality video clips -- comments on a discussion topic.
These clips might be submitted to a panel made up of our college professors that select the best of the best each day to be aired on a public television program put on the internet.
An attack on neutral, unbiased news reporting
Republicans Seek to Cut Funding for Public Radio and TV
House Republicans voted again to cut off public funding for National Public Radio, which would bring about repressive conditions that smother creativity and independent thinking by making journalists depend on businesses with vested interests, along with others, for their support.
"I'm a strong believer in the free market," said Rep. Doug Ramborn, R-Colorado. "I'd like to see NPR rework its business model and begin to compete for all of its income. NRP already receives a huge amount of funding from private individuals and organizations through donations and sponsorships. NPR can and should be entirely supported with private sources."
The measure must be approved by the House, which is controlled by Democrats who are standing strong against cutting off public funding of NPR.
"For those who claim they don't want content to tbe one way or the other on the political spectrum but to be honest and fair, right wing Republicans are trying to impose their view of what NRP shoudl be saying in the content of their programming," said Rep. Henry Waxman, D - Calif.
Already, the PBS Newshour is receiving funding from Chevron, Intel and BNSF Railways for funding, which is frowned on by many of the nation's communications scholars.
The health of democracy is reliant on independent media.
Counteracting hidden agendas and bias in news reporting.
False Information in Focus on the Family's Coverage of Health Care Reform
Below is an excerpt from Focus on the Family's Family News in Focus, Nov. 1, 2010:
Paul Howard with the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research: "The federal government will be spending more on healthcare. It is not going to fix any of the long term problems we 've got in the healthcare sector."
Steve Gurdol: "Analysts agree that the new health care law is the primary cause of the rising rates."
John Caldera of the Independence Institute: "Soon health insurance companies will have to have no pre-existing conditions and no way that they can decline anybody. Also, insurance companies will have no maximums to pay out. That all translates to you paying more for insurance."
FACT CHECK: The federal government is not expected to be paying more for healthcare.
The health care bill passed by Democrats, without Republican support, contains four cost control mechanisms that were devised by twenty-three prominent economists, including Nobel laureates and members of both Democratic and Republican administrations.
Here are the economists that devised the cost control mechanisms:
The cost control mechanisms the economists devised are not only projected to prevent double digit premium increases, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that these cost control mechanisms will also reduce the federal budget deficit by $143 billion over the next ten years and $1.2 trillion over the following decade.
There are many other serious problems the new health care legislation will address. Click here to read House Minority Leader Nancy Pelois's summary of how the plan will function.
Is Beverly LaHay's concern for America or for health insurance companies?
Concerned Women for America Spreads Misinformation About Health Care Reform
The website for Concerned Women for America said, "Over the next decade, ObamaCare is expected to add $10 trillion to America's already staggering debt."
The website also said, "ObamaCare is the government's biggest attack on economic inequality in three decades," adding that the legislation "contains $670 billion in tax increases."
FACT CHECK: The increases in taxes and fees in the new health care legislation do not increase economic inequality because they do not fall on the middle or lower income families.
Since 32 million additional people will now be able to go to the doctor, hospitals, medical professionals, manufacturers of pharmaceuticals, hospital equipment etc. will be reaping far more revenue and can afford to pay higher taxes and fees.
The super rich will also be charged a medical tax. This will pay for the subsidies for those who can not afford the cost of health care premiums.
And, as mentioned above, 23 prominent economists, including Nobel Prize-winning economists, have come together to devise four schemes to control the cost of health care. See the chart above.
This is projected to contain the spiraling cost of premiums while reducing the federal budget deficit by $143 billion over the next ten years and $1.2 trillion over the following decade, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
The need for a fairness doctrine
Phylis Schlafley's Eagle Forum Spreads Misinformation about Health Care Reform
Click here to here an ad spread by Eagle Forum opposing health care reforms enacted by the Democrats without Republican support.
The need for a fairness doctrine
Biased Deceptive Propaganda on Christian Radio
Click Here to hear a broadcast aired on Christian Radio in Birmingham, in which the broadcaster says that "democratic party policies do not help the poor. They hurt the poor. ... Republican policies help the poor more than democratic policies do."
The rich laugh all the way to the bank as they brainwash you. What is true is that Democrats not only help the poor -- they help the middle class as well.
Republicans are for "rugged individualism," which means you stand alone and can get no help from the government, whereas, progressives are for collectivism where we look out for one another (largely using high taxes on the super rich. Afterall, the gains in productivity have mostly been enriching those at the top -- not the workers. Spreading this money around will increase spending and stimulate the economy.)
Do you see that we need a fairness doctrine, where all sides of issues are discussed. The Red Lion Supreme Ct. decision says you have a right to suitable access to the media -- a right that can not be done away with by Congress or FCC.
All points of view are to be discussed -- not just the propaganda of the right wing billionaries.
Digging at the roots of our lack of progress
Jerry Mander Discusses Media Concentration
Dr. Jerry Mander, Pres. of the International Forum on Globalization, is one of the nation's most respected scholars.
A book by Ben Bagdikian
The New Media Monopoly
Dr. Bagdikian's book, the New Media Monopoly, courageously investigates how the media, almost without exception, is owned by a small group of self-serving wealthy individuals and corporations with vast interests to protect.
What we are left with, he said, are "vast silent domains where the ruthless demands for ever-increasing profits crush journalistic enterpise and block adequate coverage of the news."
Dr. Bagdikian is a Pulitizer Prize-winning journalist, emeritus dean of the University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and a former editor of the great Washington Post.
Below is a link to the preface and the first chapter of this book.
Click here to see the preface and the first chapter of The New Media Monopoly.
Click here to read an interview with Dr. Bagdikian on Public Broadcasting Service's Frontline.
A book by Joe Conason
Big Lies: The Right Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts Truth
The New York Times best-selling book "Big Lies: The Right Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts Truth" exposes the lies and hypocrisy behind conservative propaganda, such as their concern for morals and their claim that they know how to run the economy.
A book by Robert Chesney
Rich Media, Poor Democracy: Communication Politics in Dubious Times
This book shows how the media has become a significant anti-democratic force in the United States and, to varying degrees, worldwide.
Robert W. McChesney is the Gutgsell Endowed Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 2002, he co-founded Free Press, and served as its president until April 2008.
Below is a documentary video that is also called "Rich Media, Poor Democracy" which features Dr. Chesney along with Dr. Mark Crispin Miller, a professor of media studies at New York University who directs the Project on Media Ownership.
So much is at stake
Fox News: Not Fair and Balanced
The vast potentialities are amazing
Technologies to Help Us Collaborate Across the World
CLICK HERE to see technologies
that will enable us to COME TOGETHER.
The video above discusses the vast potentialities of web conferencing software, such as Adobe Connect and Google Hang Out for enabling scholars, concerned citizens to come together -- across the globe -- sometimes with members of congress -- to view documentary videos or other multi-media and hold discussions.
When it is your turn to speak, people will see and hear you!
Our nonprofit organizations from across the country ought to come together, routinely, so we pull together on issues.
The software might be used by citizens across the globe to discuss a book they've all read that week.
The software could also be used by citizens across the globe to discuss character education curriculum. A person from Malaysia might show a clip from a classroom where a teacher is teaching character education.
I also envision the software being used to search out -- or create -- high quality video dramatizations of compelling stories of harmony, tranquility, purity and respect from across the world for a character education channel on TV. A person from Japan, Bali, India, Sweden or Germany might show a video clip from a special children's program and hold discussions.
Videos from across the world can then be ordered and downloaded. (We need to ask Bill Gates to create us a software that allows communities to create their own cable channel.)
Scholars from across the world can even come together using Adobe Connect to create a documentary video together -- or write an article or book together.
On the left could be a document that shows what has been written so far and they could discuss what could be added, then someone types it in then re-uploads it for all of them to see.
They could come together to discuss problems, such as how we might remake the way we make things. For instance, one could show images of ways tables can be made without using wood --- to preserve our forests. Or what materials can replace plastic so that we don't poison the water.
The Adobe Connect software can also be used to enable families to come together, though they are scattered across the world. On the left could be a youtube video of cousin Susie's two-year_old baby playing with the dog.
I wonder if I could use the software to sing with my old friends from Birmingham, who are thousands of miles away from where I now live. (Mike and Dale and John all play the guitar.) (If I had a synthesizer, I could play a tune along with them while holding down a button that sounds like a violin.)
We an also use Google Connect to provide technical assistance with people in developing countries -- maybe to teach them or fellow scholars how to create documentary videos, using Premiere Elements, and Adobe Photoshop.
Adobe Connect might also be used by Natural Food Co-ops in teaching cooking classes. A woman from India might show a video of a cooking demonstration and then people can ask questions and make comments.
You can find Youtube videos to help you learn how to use Adobe Connect or some other web conferencing software, such as Google Hang Out.
Leadership in local communities is needed
Will Our Media Destroy Our Culture -- Or Lift It Up
Now moral decline is spreading to the entire globe.
It's like a handful of hollywood executives over-ruled the will of parents across the entire globe, who don't want their children seeing certain things.
Think about some of the errotic material that has been aired on TV. Do you think any mother and father in any country across the globe would carry on like that before their children?
Hollywood is seducing our youth -- teaching them unbridled lust.
How might we democratize culture -- before its too late?
We need to work, on a local level, to control the media broadcasted into the homes of our local area -- media that can really compete with Hollywood -- that teaches our children how to have a really good time without destroying the values that protect the family unit -- the values that safeguard the stability of our most intimate and precious relationships.
It's going to take a lot of courageous effort by a lot of people -- a lot of discussion and a lot of leadership.
On a local level, we need to discuss the purpose -- the agenda -- of our media.
Here are several of the reforms I suggest. We need to have broadcast licenses awarded on a local level -- not by far away people in Washington D.C..
We need an intelligent strategy for how to select a governing board to oversee our broadcasting stations -- perhaps selected by our college professors.
We don't want government selecting the governing board, government can be desperately corrupted. In England, the queen selects the governing board. It makes her one of the most important individuals on this earth.
We need frequent meetings to discuss the cable providers that will be allowed to service our communities. Cable providers are selected by the local government.
Perhaps communities can even create their own cable company -- carefully selecting what is broadcasted -- searching the world over to find documentaries on the environment, health and political reform, as well as compelling stories of harmony, tranqility, purity and respect.
We need wonderful stories for children that impart our values. (I collected about 100 stories -- many from Asian countries. There are parables, fables, tales, legends and anecdotes from biographies.)
We need an international sharing of materials to promote the moral, social and spiritual well being of children.
How will we support the media? In England, the BBC, which is shown on four or five channels, is supported by license fees -- not advertising. (In Europe, the social democratic parties are strong on this. They don't want control of information by corporations or other vested interests -- some of which are desperately corrupted.)
An alternative to TV.
We Must Create Media That Really Competes With Hollywood
Here you see media that teaches our youth how to have a good time -- without destroying the values that errode the family unit -- the values that safeguard our most intimate and precious relationships.