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Media Democracy Day Strikes Back

By JasonDiceman in Media
Sat Oct 19, 2002 at 02:32:22 AM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

Our media system is undergoing a major transformation. Democracy and the public interest are emerging as the losers. Frustrated with sitting on the sidelines, people around the world have begun mobilizing for media democracy. Friday October 18th marks their second coming-out party: Media Democracy Day.


In 2001, media activists in Toronto and Vancouver organized the first Media Democracy Day with protests, panels and exhibits of alternative media. Since then, the campaign has grown and become international. This year, forums, protests, conferences, culture jamming, video screenings, bike tours and media trick-or-treating are being planned from Chicago to Barcelona to Porto Alegre, Brazil.

Why are people fighting back against the media giants? Because during the past decade, national and international media systems have been commercializing and concentrating at a lightning speed, threatening to destroy participatory, public-oriented media. At the top, AOL Time Warner, Disney, News Corporation, Viacom, Bertelsmann and a handful of other companies now control the majority of media content in North America. You can switch from CNN to HBO to the Cartoon network, or read from Time Magazine and Sports Illustrated, or watch a movie starring Mel Gibson or Wesley Snipes, or even attend a baseball game -- and never leave the domain of AOL Time Warner.

The effects of this media concentration have been overwhelmingly negative. Editorial diversity suffers, commercial interests suppress news, local-interest content is cut back, cross-promotional advertising is integrated into news content, and public-interest is ignored as governments cut public radio and television funding. Powerful commercial lobby groups are drawing up international media laws and regulations, creating a new system that is even more exclusive and self-serving.

These changes to our media system have far-reaching implications. They fuel pro-war rhetoric, bring advertising into schools and other public domains, encourage excessive consumption, increase cable and Internet user fees, censor or filter out non-mainstream views, support neoliberal, pro-business government policies and further racist, sexist, ethnic and other stereotypes. In many developing countries the media's role as a tool of government and elite interests directly inhibits democracy.

Media Democracy Day promotes alternatives to this elite-controlled commercial system. From public funding, to community radio co-ops, to Internet content sharing systems, to personal publications, to local bulletin boards and street posters -- media democracy is at the heart of modern culture.

Thousands of organizations around the world are working to guarantee the public's ability to participate in media. Charters are being drafted, policy suggestions are being written, software is being coded, technology is being developed, students are being trained and protests are being held. Community and grassroots groups are taking matters into their own hands, creating diverse media that represents marginalized elements of society. Civic groups are using donated cameras and computers, commercial software is being hacked and art is being made in support of a more democratic media system that better informs and empowers all members of society

The media democracy movement calls on individuals to educate themselves and others about the media, be discriminating and responsible media consumers, support and participate in noncommercial and community media, and pressure politicians to support public and community media, regulate corporate media, and maintain public access to diverse media content.

This Friday, October 18th, learn more, get involved and celebrate the growing international media democracy movement.
www.mediademocracyday.org.

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Poll
What is the best example of Media Democracy
o Graffiti/Bulletin Boards 3%
o Advertising/Classifieds 0%
o Web Forums/K5 Type Sites/Blogs 65%
o Zines 4%
o Speakers Corner 5%
o Google 12%
o Disney 8%

Votes: 115
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Media Democracy Day
o www.mediad emocracyday.org
o Also by JasonDiceman


Display: Sort:
Media Democracy Day Strikes Back | 86 comments (72 topical, 14 editorial, 0 hidden)
Hey, now (4.03 / 26) (#2)
by ubu on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 02:22:08 PM EST

You can switch from CNN to HBO to the Cartoon network, or read from Time Magazine and Sports Illustrated, or watch a movie starring Mel Gibson or Wesley Snipes, or even attend a baseball game -- and never leave the domain of AOL Time Warner.

This sounds sort of un-American. I mean, United We Stand. If we can't all be satisfied with sharing a common set of media values, what's the point of government-issued broadcasting licenses, anyway? You might as well argue that the government should just stop regulating the media the way it does, and give people the opportunity to say whatever the hell they want. Is that really what you want? Because it sounds to me like total anarchy, pandemonium, and chaos.

It's obvious to any thinking individual that we can't just have people say un-American things on national television like "I think the War in Iraq is unconstitutional and immoral". Just imagine the fallout in an environment like that, we'd never have the national resolve to do what we have to do domestically and overseas.

That's what Government is for in the first place, to keep things in line and make sure things don't go way out of wack. Sure, we get angry about excesses sometimes, but nobody claims our current government is perfect. That's why we have Democracy, we all get to put our 2 cents in (within certain restrictions) and pick the administration that will prosecute the War on Drugs, prevent future Sept. 11ths, and so on. Without that we'd be like sheep before the slaughter.

Frankly, it seems to me that all this whining about diversity is just an underhanded way of saying you want to be a misfit and a coward. Whose side are you on, anyway? America's or the Terrorists'?

Ubu


--
As good old software hats say - "You are in very safe hands, if you are using CVS !!!"
Off-topic, but (4.33 / 3) (#4)
by etherdeath on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 02:27:34 PM EST

You can switch from CNN to HBO to the Cartoon network, or read from Time Magazine and Sports Illustrated, or watch a movie starring Mel Gibson or Wesley Snipes, or even attend a baseball game -- and never leave the domain of AOL Time Warner.

This becomes literally true if you happen to be one of the people who are planning on living in the large AOL Time Warner apartment they're building at Columbus Circle in NYC.

[ Parent ]

Very nice satire (4.00 / 2) (#5)
by hamsterboy on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 02:27:40 PM EST

I was on the verge of writing a scathing rebuttal. :)

-- Hamster

Hamster
[ Parent ]

well done (3.00 / 1) (#7)
by jij on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 02:34:26 PM EST

:)

"people who thinks quotes are witty are fucking morons" - turmeric
[ Parent ]

Big Media, or, Who Reads What (4.80 / 42) (#9)
by wiredog on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 02:52:49 PM EST

  1. The Wall Street Journal is read by people who run the country.
  2. The New York Times is read by people who think they run the country.
  3. The Washington Post is read by people who think they should run the country.
  4. USA Today is read by people who think they ought to run the country but don't really understand the Washington Post. They do, however, like their smog statistics shown in pie charts.
  5. The Los Angeles Times is read by people who wouldn't mind running the country, if they could spare the time, and if they didn't have to leave L.A. to do it.
  6. The Boston Globe is read by people whose parents used to run the country, and they did a far superior job of it, thank you veddy much.
  7. The New York Daily News is read by people who aren't too sure who's running the country, and don't really care, as long as they can get a seat on the train.
  8. The New York Post is read by people who don't care who's running the country either, as long as they do something really scandalous, preferably while intoxicated.
  9. The San Francisco Chronicle is read by people who aren't sure there is a country, or that anyone is running it; but whoever it is, they oppose all that they stand for. There are occasional exceptions if the leaders are handicapped, minority, feminist, atheist dwarfs, who also happen to be illegal aliens from any country or galaxy as long as they are democrats.
  10. The Miami Herald is read by people who are running another country but need the baseball scores.
  11. The Spokane Spokesman-Review is read by people who need high grade tinder to fire up their woodstoves, and can barely get their cars running in this cold.
  12. SlashdotKuro5hin is read by clueless screen gazers that have yet to learn that it takes more than a half-baked opinion and routine typing skills to run a country.


Earth first! We can strip mine the rest later.
The Rag (2.00 / 2) (#10)
by jbm on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 03:00:15 PM EST

The New York Post is read by people who don't care who's running the country either, as long as they do something really scandalous, preferably while intoxicated.

I disagree. The Post's readership is made up of non-boxing fans and cheap skates.

[ Parent ]

Yes, Prime Minister (4.71 / 7) (#23)
by Scrymarch on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 06:25:03 PM EST

An eerily similar evaluation of English papers ....

Jim Hacker: "Don't tell me about the press. I know exactly who reads the papers:

  • The Daily Mirror is read by people who think they run the country;
  • The Guardian is read by people who think they ought to run the country;
  • The Times is read by people who actually do run the country;
  • The Daily Mail is read by the wives of the people who run the country;
  • The Financial Times is read by people who own the country;
  • The Morning Star is read by people who think the country ought to be run by another country;
  • And the Daily Telegraph is read by people who think it is."
Sir Humphrey: "Prime Minister, what about the people who read the Sun?"
Bernard Woolley: "Sun readers don't care who runs the country, as long as she's got big tits."

Real Player link.

[ Parent ]

And after 20 years (none / 0) (#43)
by squigly on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 06:53:31 AM EST

It's still true.  We've just added the Independent since then.

[ Parent ]
Kuro5hin readers (none / 0) (#64)
by bwcbwc on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 10:52:24 PM EST

At least Kuro5hin readers are able to type.  That puts us a half-step ahead of most of the talking heads on the news networks.

[ Parent ]
Same old same old (4.25 / 4) (#12)
by CheeseburgerBrown on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 04:27:14 PM EST

Are the lessons of media literacy significantly different in this age than in any other? It has always been smart to consider sources, bias and allegiances when presented with information.

I think promoting awareness of the underlying structure of the big media systems is laudable, but it doesn't make much of a difference if people lack the basic skills (or motivation) to investigate things for themselves.

This is true whether the information hegemony is ruled by a handful of boardrooms, a clique of nations or a couple of powerful churches. Media agglomeration isn't really the issue, is it?


The opinions expressed in the comments above are not those of the author; they have been rented for the occasion of this writing from a neutral third party.<
But that's what Indymedia's all about! (4.00 / 1) (#50)
by greenrd on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 11:00:56 AM EST

it doesn't make much of a difference if people lack the basic skills (or motivation) to investigate things for themselves.

Firstly, it's unrealistic to expect everyone to. Secondly, Indymedia (in the general sense, independent media) teaches us to be critical of the mainstream media.

kuro5hin teaches us to be critical of Indymedia, which is also good. ;-)

As Indymedia develops its discursive features, I expect to see more interesting self-critical debate take place there.

Media agglomeration isn't really the issue, is it?

It is an issue, because media oligopolies and monopolies are one of the most dangerous kinds of trusts. Media influences how people think about the big issues of the day and their social attitudes.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

Evidence? (2.50 / 10) (#13)
by Keeteel on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 04:27:17 PM EST

I've continually heard over and over by people in my life (mostly uneducated college kids and their liberal parents) that the media is corrupt, can't be trusted, skews stories, serves higher interests, etc etc. Where is the evidence? I've been able to confirm sources on every example I've been given for proving media corruption. People claim with open media networks like K5 our readers are able to catch mistakes and correct them. It's flawed logic in that the major media sources have hundreds of thousands reading them, even more eyes peering at a journalist's accuracy. A major media journalist is much more likely to be a.) legit, b.) use sources and research instead of speculation and c.) defend his work factually simply because if a story is not reliable you'll have 10,000 people demand to get him fired.

I'm sorry, I don't buy this mass media corruption. If anything I'll see liberals slanting their stories in favor of their ill thought out politics but even so they provide sources backing factual information. In conclussion get over yourself with these conspriracy rants, and stop trying to change the world in to what you deem a utopia, the rest of us who do depend on the major networks deem stupid.

corruption (5.00 / 2) (#14)
by janra on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 04:47:41 PM EST

I'm not sure if what I see in the media is corruption or plain incompetence. Basically, every single news article I've read where I know even just the basics of the story first-hand has been riddled with errors.

A lot of the errors are stupid ones, too - like changing a person's age every article, and even having her age listed as two different numbers in the same article. Misspelling people's names. Getting facts mixed up. And that's not even getting into the spin put on the article.

Incompetence or corruption? I don't know. Personally, I think it's a mixture. But the end result is that since I don't trust the news media to report correctly on things I do know about, I'm very reluctant to trust them to report correctly on things I don't know about.


--
Discuss the art and craft of writing
That's the problem with world domination... Nobody is willing to wait for it anymore, work slowly towards it, drink more and enjoy the ride more.
[ Parent ]
Indeed (none / 0) (#29)
by Happy Monkey on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 07:25:38 PM EST

I've had the same experience. If I know the facts of a news report, then the report is full of errors. And yet, for some reason, I still seem to assume the other articles are correct. It doesn't seem possible, but I just might not be cynical enough...
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
Anecdote (5.00 / 2) (#17)
by epepke on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 05:40:04 PM EST

Back when I did research, I used to have to talk to reporters a fair amount. I can't remember a single instance of the associated media getting what I said even approximately right. The strangest case was where something I said about scientific visualization (making pictures of scientific data for the purpose of gaining insight into the data) would up in Runners' World to support the idea of imagining yourself running better to make yourself run better. I have no idea how it got there; I only know it did because of the University's clipping service.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Of course... (none / 0) (#37)
by nustajeb on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 11:10:18 PM EST

media bias isn't the number one complaint of conservatives or anything. Nope, just those liberals.

Funny how everyone thinks the entire media is biased in an alternative direction, as opposed to individual nodes.

[ Parent ]

Media Democracy Day is exactly for people like you (none / 0) (#53)
by greenrd on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 11:29:06 AM EST

I've continually heard over and over by people in my life (mostly uneducated college kids and their liberal parents) that the media is corrupt, can't be trusted, skews stories, serves higher interests, etc etc. Where is the evidence?

For a detailed academic text, check out Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, by Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky. You could also try John Pilger, Hidden Agendas; or the film about Noam Chomsky's work which is also called Manufacturing Consent; or some of the media or foreign policy articles on ZNet. That's just off the top of my head. I'm sure others can supply more references.

A major media journalist is much more likely to be a.) legit, b.) use sources and research instead of speculation and c.) defend his work factually simply because if a story is not reliable you'll have 10,000 people demand to get him fired.

Well no, actually, that's not always what happens, and even if it does that doesn't automatically imply that s/he will be fired. There are basically three types of problems: ommissions, misrepresentations, and outright lies. Outright lies are propagated about popular protests quite frequently (more so by national-level and US media than by local-level and UK media in my estimation), but in terms of other topics outright lies are not always in evidence - you have to look carefully for the other two factors. Here is a specific example of media corruption from the last full-scale War on Iraq (which has in practice never ended), very relevant to today. That's just one example. I've read many, many other examples in my life. You've just got to know who the good sources are for that kind of thing. This is one reason why independent media are so important.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

Michael Moore? (none / 0) (#69)
by RobotSlave on Sat Oct 19, 2002 at 01:40:33 AM EST

You're suggesting he's a good journalist? Are you aware of the fact that many of the scenes in his "documentary," Roger and Me, were fabrications filmed with scripts and actors, rather than authentic footage of unpremeditated events?

If you want to get your information from an entertainer known for misleading his audience, simply because you agree with his politics, rather than obtain it from credible journalists, you are free to do so. Just don't be surprised when people fail to take you seriously.

[ Parent ]

heh heh...liberal bias...heh heh (5.00 / 1) (#74)
by ttfkam on Sat Oct 19, 2002 at 11:27:59 AM EST

Anyone remember Whitewater?  Anyone remember the years and money wasted on an indepth investigation on real estate fraud that ended up not actually happening.  Thank god for Monica Lewinsky or Whitewater would not have come up with any wrongful doing at all.  Oh wait!  Lewinsky had nothing to do with real estate deals.  Shhhh!!!

Let's look at the recent presidents.  One was villified for smoking a joint (inhalation silliness notwithstanding) while the other has had a history of alcoholism and cocaine use.  One was constantly criticized for having never served in the armed forces while the other was AWOL from the national guard for two years.  One was a Rhodes Scholar while the other called Sharon "a man of peace" and makes us happy whenever he gets through a speech without making any mistakes.  One is seen as a compulsive liar while the other is...umm...seen as a compulsive liar.

As an exercise, search through major newspaper archives for criticisms of public figures.  Almost without exception, in most high-level positions, it is the liberal who is most lambasted.  Show me something on the scale of Whitewater focused on this administration.  By all means, check out the number of stories about ties to Halliburton compared to Whitewater.

Liberal bias indeed...

If I'm made in God's image then God needs to lay off the corn chips and onion dip. Get some exercise, God! - Tatarigami
[ Parent ]

for evidence read greg palast (none / 0) (#80)
by mreardon on Mon Oct 21, 2002 at 12:54:01 PM EST

how about this just off the top of my head.

I think Palast made an interesting observation when he said that Watergate was such a rare occurrence (of the media actually doing its' job) they made a film about it.:-)

If an award-winning investigative journalist says he found it impossible to work in his own country I have to ask myself questions.

[ Parent ]

Democracy? (5.00 / 2) (#15)
by Anatta on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 05:22:37 PM EST

Last time I checked, democracy had something to do with the will of the majority of the people dictating what they like...

The vast majority of people in "western" nations choose to get their information from places like CNN, the New York Times, BBC, USA Today, Le Monde, etc. Only a miniscule minority of people get their information from places like Kuro5hin, MetaFilter, IndyMedia, and the like.

So shouldn't a big happy party day like "Media Democracy Day" be celebrating CNN, the New York Times, BBC, USA Today, Le Monde, etc.: the majority's choice?


My Music

It's only democracy (5.00 / 2) (#16)
by leviramsey on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 05:29:40 PM EST

If the option you like was selected.

Silly goose.



[ Parent ]
Yes (none / 0) (#49)
by greenrd on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 10:50:25 AM EST

Well, this is the conventional notion of democracy, that the United States is a two-party democracy, and so forth.

But we can ask the question, what alternative offers the greatest degree of media democracy? Corporate oligopolies alone and untrammelled, or challenged by grassroots, decentralised independent media, in which anyone can become a journalist?

The ultimate example of the former is Italy, where Berlusconi owns both the corporate media and the government media. Of course people choose to watch and read Berlusconi's media - because of the lack of choice - that doesn't mean that they wouldn't go for other alternatives if more were readily available and publicised.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

Democracy is about participation, not just choice. (5.00 / 2) (#52)
by JasonDiceman on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 11:27:15 AM EST

Where people are not invited to speak their voice and participate in the creation of media, there is no media democracy. The choice of limited options as selected by a financial elite is not democracy.
Popularity is also not a measure of critical citizen decision making. The fact that FOX news is a popular source for infomation in the USA just means it is the most spectacular, enticing, and attractive, not the most respected and informative. No one voted for FOX, they just happen to stop flipping channels.

We must always keep in mind what is being measured when we claim something is popular. Just becuase some one looks at something does not mean they endorse it.

- JD --

[ Parent ]
The Extremist's Creed (4.60 / 10) (#18)
by kphrak on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 05:40:40 PM EST

At first I didn't intend to post this, but what the hell, I could use a few flames. :)

After thinking about the far-left and far-right publications I've seen, I came up with these four points to encompass the Political Extremist's Creed. Anyone who wishes to add a point is welcome; you just have to make sure it works for both far left and far right. Oh yeah, and anything that has something to do with compromise or reasoning can't be added.

If I'm of leaning x, and the opposite side of the spectrum is y,

1. My views are the views of x. They are universally good for all humanity, regardless of circumstances. They are upheld by God (assuming you believe in Him), history, and general morality.

2. The media and government are in the hands of evil, corrupt authority figures who espouse the cause of y. Increasingly, they're coagulating into a huge, sinister entity that oppresses everyone (for example, by advertising junk food or providing funding for welfare moms).

3. Average people are sheep. An average person is anyone who does not subscribe to all the views of x, which by default allows y to tell him/her what to do. If you're not with us, you are against us, although you've probably just been brainwashed by the media. To counter the effect of the media's vile propaganda, we must spread the truth.

4. Our movement is growing, never shrinking. People join our cause not because of propaganda, but because it's right. People are being told what to do by y, and it is the duty of x to liberate them so we can tell them what to do to make their lives better.

Why does this have anything to do with the article? Well, as I see it, an article that uses any point in the Creed is usually rubbish and should be treated accordingly. -1 at voting time for containing #2 and part of #3.


Describe yourself in your sig!
American computer programmer, living in Portland, OR.


#4 (5.00 / 1) (#24)
by godix on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 06:29:54 PM EST

"1 at voting time for containing #2 and part of #3."

And #4. In case you missed it, the last sentance is "This Friday, October 18th, learn more, get involved and celebrate the growing international media democracy movement."



Love, like god, only exist at orgasm and agnoy


[ Parent ]
You're right, I missed that :) [n/t] (none / 0) (#59)
by kphrak on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 02:29:11 PM EST


Describe yourself in your sig!
American computer programmer, living in Portland, OR.


[ Parent ]
Make this a K5 article (4.66 / 3) (#32)
by kholmes on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 09:15:26 PM EST

Go into more depth, perhaps by comparing actual articles that do this.

You'll get a +1FP from me.

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.
[ Parent ]

A modification (none / 0) (#39)
by epepke on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 12:14:23 AM EST

Should be "They are upheld by (isright(x) ? God : The Goddess)"


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Random Thoughts: (4.75 / 4) (#19)
by karb on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 05:42:35 PM EST

Public Media : So, the way to media independence is public-sponsored media that doesn't agree with my own (conservative) viewpoints?

The government is evil : But you think they should be more involved with media regulation and doling out money to worthy organizations.

The independent free market is not sufficient to guarantee the free expression of ideas : As written on an independent community-and-loving-editor-sustained news website?

Media Bias : Everybody proclaims this, regardless of political affiliation. It's because, no matter who you are, some media is biased away from you. If you are extreme left or right, you can even claim that _all_ the media is biased! Congratulations!

Censoring of non-mainstream ideas is bad : But my problem is that the news _insists_ on presenting opposing viewpoints, even if the opposition is some delusional confined to a mental institution.

Furthering stereotypes : So, the stereotypes CNN pushes of african-americans are more pronounced than those pushed of the government, mainstream media, and commercial interests in, um, your very own press release?
--
Who is the geek who would risk his neck for his brother geek?

Public Media (5.00 / 1) (#22)
by bigbtommy on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 06:18:42 PM EST

No, people demand democratic media - a chance to 'trail their own blaze' as it was: publishing their own news, being able to put over your views whatever political, religious or moral standpoint you are coming from.

Media has bias - all media - but as more and more corporations merge together, the chance to have a wide variety of biases gets destroyed. If you have 2,000 publications (or TV stations, radio broadcasts, websites whatever) owned by 2,000 different people you are going to get a wider selection of viewpoints than 2,000 publications owned by four or five large conglomerates (the AOL-TW's, Disneys and Rupert Murdoch's.

Censoring of non-mainstream ideas IS bad. By saying that you have a problem with the news insisting on presenting viewpoints, "even if the opposition is some delusional confined to a mental institution", then you are being judgemental of people. People should have access to a wide range of sources, both objective and subjective, professional and home-grown. As someone recentely wrote on K5 diaries, you get better conversation from some random schmuck on IRC than you get in Congress (or democratic forum of your choice) recentely. Personally, I think George W. Bush should be confined to a mental institution, and don't agree with many of his policies and his constant desire for "regime changes" etc. BUT I still believe he should be given the right to speak his mind. His views are as valid as mine - as we are both humans.

For what it's worth, Kuro5hin.org is a good system - a democratic discussion forum, with rating and moderation to boot.
-- bbCity.co.uk - When I see kids, I speed up
[ Parent ]

There's nothing democratic about media... (5.00 / 1) (#27)
by nustajeb on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 06:45:17 PM EST

But if you want to freely express your views, feel free to start your own weblog. If commercial news doesn't want to cover what you like, too bad. Watch something else. Write a book Start a private non-profit media outlet of your choice. Start a for-profit media outlet of your choice. Freedom is not synonymous with democracy.

[ Parent ]
Censorship is bad (none / 0) (#54)
by karb on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 11:30:09 AM EST

But just because somebody has an opinion doesn't mean it should be on the evening news.

I'm not certain being owned by a media conglomerate is that crippling, idea-wise, especially if you are supposed to be appealing to a fringe audience anyway. They are mostly about money, and if you can make AOL money by saying "screw AOL", I'm sure they'd be all for it.

Plus, media survives by having advertisers. They always have. I don't see how throwing giant conglomerates into the mix breaks the media any more.

I'm all for independent media. I thrive on it, in fact. I just don't want my taxes to pay for it, and I don't want regulation. I especially don't like to be told that independent media is 'better' because it has a different source of bias than mainstream media.
--
Who is the geek who would risk his neck for his brother geek?
[ Parent ]

What is media democracy, anyway? (3.50 / 4) (#28)
by docvin on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 06:49:38 PM EST

Under a "democratic" media, I guess that the people would be forced to vote on how they'd like each story to be covered. Maybe everybody would vote to elect an editorial board for The Newspaper, and this board would determine how best to cover each story. Media would be democratic! Everybody would think like the 51%! Of course, we couldn't allow anyone else to publish their own paper. Dissent from The Newspaper could not be allowed, because that would ruin the democratic nature of the media at large!

Hmm. Doesn't sound like that great a model to me. How about something called a "free media", where everybody is allowed to publish their own newspaper. Oh, wait... we already have this! Cool!

I can see what you're trying to promote in this crappy press release, but "Media Democracy" is a bad name for it. Maybe "community media" or some wanky name like that would be more appropriate.

But that gives me an idea ... (5.00 / 2) (#33)
by ukryule on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 09:36:40 PM EST

Maybe everybody would vote to elect an editorial board for The Newspaper, and this board would determine how best to cover each story. Media would be democratic! Everybody would think like the 51%!

Hey, I like this. So everyone votes whether to 'post' a story or 'dump' it - then once it's got enough post votes (picking a random value here, say 95 more posts than dumps), you publish the story to the front page of your paper. If it doesn't get as many votes, you can just put it in a section.

Hey, another idea. To let everyone have their democratic voice heard, you can allow people to post their comments - and you could even let everyone vote on those.

Cool idea. Anyone fancy implementing it?

[ Parent ]

Ha ha... But let's do it with all media (none / 0) (#85)
by JasonDiceman on Sun Oct 27, 2002 at 01:05:22 PM EST

Yes, K5 is a great example of democratic media.  Now all we have to do is get every major media company to apply the model.

You can also check-out http://pub-comm.org for an example of the model applied to street level posters.

[ Parent ]

Nonsense (none / 0) (#51)
by greenrd on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 11:09:14 AM EST

Under a "democratic" media, I guess that the people would be forced to vote on how they'd like each story to be covered.

Nope, not forced. Given the option, maybe.

Maybe everybody would vote to elect an editorial board for The Newspaper, and this board would determine how best to cover each story.

Sounds good to me, if you modified it to have many different newspapers instead of one.

Everybody would think like the 51%!

That's not democracy, that's thought police.

Dissent from The Newspaper could not be allowed, because that would ruin the democratic nature of the media at large!

Same again, that has nothing to do with democracy. If you want to show that media democracy inevitably leads to some kind of Stalinism you're going to have to try harder, because a poor analogy doesn't even begin to cut it.

How about something called a "free media", where everybody is allowed to publish their own newspaper.

Inequalities in power translate into inequalities in access to the media, i.e. in access to get your message accross to the general population. Hence, so-called "free markets" are inherently undemocratic and that is why, as a socialist, I am resolutely opposed to "free markets".


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

Democracy (mob rule) is inferior to free market. (none / 0) (#67)
by xriso on Sat Oct 19, 2002 at 12:26:55 AM EST

[nt]
--
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)
[ Parent ]
Haven't you heard? (none / 0) (#68)
by xriso on Sat Oct 19, 2002 at 12:38:47 AM EST

If you actually do try to publish your own newspaper, the aliens working in the US government will zap you with their mind control laser and thus turn your newspaper into yet another brainwashing propoganda source. You'll never even have a chance to excercise your right to be heard. And then ... oh no ive said too much   fight the evil conspHELLO, WOULD YOU LIKE TO READ MY INNOVATIVE NEWSLETTER? WE HAVE ARTICLES THAT DISCUSS IMPORTANT ISSUES IN TODAY'S WORLD, SUCH AS CELEBRITY MARRIAGES AND SURVIVOR 7. THE FIRST ISSUE IS FREE!
--
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)
[ Parent ]
I've been looking for something like this (1.00 / 1) (#30)
by theElectron on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 07:30:39 PM EST

In 2001, media activists in Toronto and Vancouver organized the first Media Democracy Day with protests ... of alternative media.

Cool, where's the next gonna be held?

--
Join the NRA!

Got a white van? ;^) n/t (none / 0) (#61)
by ip4noman on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 04:16:57 PM EST



--
Breaking Blue / Cognitive Liberty Airwaves
[ Parent ]
Now that's just wholly inappropriate (n/t) (none / 0) (#75)
by theElectron on Sat Oct 19, 2002 at 02:03:59 PM EST



--
Join the NRA!
[ Parent ]
It's already global... (none / 0) (#84)
by JasonDiceman on Sun Oct 27, 2002 at 12:59:15 PM EST

Visit the actions and reports sections of http://www.mediademocracyday.org to see what kind of events have already happened in: Argentina - Australia - Bangladesh - Belgium - Brazil - Canada - Czech Republic - Europe - Germany - Indonesia - Italy - Netherlands - Philippines - Spain - United Kingdom - USA

[ Parent ]
Ownership of Media - Not Conspriacy Theories (4.33 / 3) (#34)
by gjd123 on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 10:44:48 PM EST

The media is not one big conspiracy theory running rampant across the globe, but there may be cause for some concern in regards to the ownership of most of the media outlets being held in relatively few hands as this raises greater possibility of undue 'influence' being placed on the content of the media, not necessarily to hide or misreport stories and headlines but to shade the opinions of the journalists writing these articles. As a case in point two Australians who combined owned a large chunk of the worlds media outlets Rupert Murdoch and Kerry Packer have repeatedly fired or transferred journalists who have reported stories that were unpalatable to the owners of these media outlets, this was even more pronounced in the influence that Packer placed on his editorial staff. The free market model of ownership of the media is not the issue, the prevention of a media monopoly or small cartel is.

No, it is (4.00 / 1) (#47)
by greenrd on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 10:41:39 AM EST

The free market model of ownership of the media is not the issue, the prevention of a media monopoly or small cartel is.

Unfortunately, the free market model also creates problems. Most but not all media organisations are profit-making corporations, thus they support the corporate viewpoint on globalisation because they are corporations. Likewise, it is difficult to get certain kinds of alternative views aired or published because of pressure from various powerful sources including advertisers (who will threaten to withdraw their patronage if an article is too critical of them), the Pentagon (who war reporters generally must stay on good terms with in order to be allowed access to footage and information), and of course politically-biased media owners like Murdoch. If you had lots of rich right-wingers like Murdoch owning lots of smaller media companies instead of News Corporation, that would still be a problem because of lack of diversity of opinion.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

press release: does that matter? (5.00 / 2) (#35)
by SocratesGhost on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 10:59:28 PM EST

it's interesting that people don't like a story because it seems like a press release. It would be one thing if they were trying to sell a product, but we can always strike it down if it's dull, uninformative, or poorly written. Yet, if a release is interesting, informative and well written, does the writer's motivation really matter? Aren't all articles which advocate a point of view a form of advertising?

Personally, I like the idea of an active and diverse voting queue that has a variety of viewpoints. A press release like this is to be encouraged.

About a month ago, a guy was writing the charter for an anti-DMCA lobbying effort and posted his first public draft for us to critique. If memory serves, that story made the front page. Does that have any substantive difference on the K5 readership than this article? Since he hasn't been heard from since that posting, I would say not. I voted his article up. I vote this article up for the same reason: I find it interesting.

-Soc
I drank what?


Depends on who you ask... (none / 0) (#36)
by nustajeb on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 11:03:55 PM EST

Personally, I like the idea of an active and diverse voting queue that has a variety of viewpoints.
A press release like this is to be encouraged.
That's your opinion and you can vote accordingly, but don't be surprised when others disagree and do the same. You vote up, they vote down, and whoever wins wins. This person obviously loves democratic media, and he's getting his shot right now.

[ Parent ]
voting and comments (5.00 / 1) (#38)
by SocratesGhost on Thu Oct 17, 2002 at 11:17:44 PM EST

Before I vote, I usually check the comments to see what kind of debate the topic has started. More than once, my vote has been influenced by a good point that someone else has made about the article. I just don't want those views to be the only ones heard about press releases in case there's someone on the fence about voting for this article. I respect your opinion. I just don't want it to be the only opinion heard.

Although there are others who have said, "it's a press release, -1", they haven't really described what was wrong with it being that, or wrong in any other way. For some voters, it seems that unless you have a comment history, you're not even allowed to post a story. It's almost as though you have to put in your dues before you're even allowed to contribute to the site. It smacks of xenophobia and it limits the potential for this site.

Try it sometime. Write something you think is a good article and then post it under some a brand new ID that's never been used. Don't post any messages to it and don't reply to any comments; just fire and forget. I'd suspect it would be voted down because people would suspect you have an ulterior motive, and whatever that motive is, we don't want that here.

Frankly, I don't mind if you don't reply or have a comment history; your article should be able to stand on it's own merit. Are we voting on the story or the person?

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Yeah, but... (none / 0) (#42)
by docvin on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 02:37:32 AM EST

Do we really want k5 to become a clearing-house for non-profit press releases of all sorts?

I think any content on k5 should be purpose-written for k5. That means no press releases, no spam, and no Grade 5 papers about sapphires.

[ Parent ]

Participatory Media?? (none / 0) (#41)
by Lobby Quirk on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 12:31:38 AM EST

Why are people fighting back against the media giants? Because during the past decade, national and international media systems have been commercializing and concentrating at a lightning speed, threatening to destroy participatory, public-oriented media.

I was just wondering if you could maybe back this up a bit. I don't really see that "media" has ever been a participatory activity. Watching television or listening to a CD is (dancing or playing air guitar notwithstanding) a passive activity for the most part. Really, the only choice involved in watching a TV program is the choice to watch/not watch it in the first place.

Also, I would add that the mass media is public oriented. If it weren't, they wouldn't be making any money off of advertising.

Don't feel attacked or anything. I liked the article. Just would like some clarification of these points.

Cheers,
Ryan



Good points. Two responses... (5.00 / 1) (#83)
by JasonDiceman on Sun Oct 27, 2002 at 12:54:00 PM EST

Has the media ever been a participatory activity?

The original statement in the article (which should also be credtied to Josh Lerner of MDD Toronto) over-simplifies a very complex issue. Participation in the media has varied from time and place. The introduction of call-in radio in small towns would have been a big boost. The networking of radio into national programming would be a decrease. The introduction of desktop publishing was pro-participation. The concentration of newspaper publishers, and the subsequent firing of journalists, was anti-participation. I think the main point is that know matter what kind of media we have had before, we need more particiation in the media now.

"...mass media is public oriented."

I would have to disagree. The media is market oriented, not public oriented. Decisions are made in terms of what is good for profits, not what is good for people. People are considered consumers rather then citizens. This is not just a philosophical or retorical difference, it's a difference of decision-making criteria, and thus effects what kind of messages are publicized and what kind of ideas are promoted.

If the media were public oriented there would probably be more articles about eating healthy, conserving energy, saving the environment, avoiding debt, and caring for ones community. But instead we get ads for Burger King, articles about the newest SUV, pull-out sections for Credit Cards and columns about corporate entertainment. Public interest and market popularity are not the same thing.



[ Parent ]
How do you make a democratic media.... (5.00 / 1) (#44)
by Tezcatlipoca on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 07:22:35 AM EST

... if you as a group (Indymedia) have already decided the slant and bias of how are you going to report things?

And how do you square the impartiality any news organization should aspire to with demonstrating against something as a representative of said media organization?

Can you spell "conflict of interest"?

0wr F4th3R, wh0 0wnz h34\/3n, j00 r0x0rs!
M4y 4|| 0wr b4s3 s0m3d4y Bl0ng t0 j00!
M4y j00 0wn 34rth juss |1|3 j00 0wn h34\/3n.
G1v3 us th1s

Your sig is retarded <n/t> (3.00 / 4) (#56)
by Fon2d2 on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 12:23:51 PM EST



[ Parent ]
I like the sig <nt> (3.00 / 2) (#57)
by Edgy Loner on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 12:42:50 PM EST



This is not my beautiful house.
This is not my beautiful knife.
[ Parent ]
Why the sig is great (3.66 / 3) (#66)
by xriso on Sat Oct 19, 2002 at 12:23:06 AM EST

It pisses off people like you.
--
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)
[ Parent ]
Thanks. (1.50 / 2) (#72)
by Tezcatlipoca on Sat Oct 19, 2002 at 04:42:28 AM EST

To make retarded things is a gift of God that not everybody can manage to do so gracefully as truly yours.

0wr F4th3R, wh0 0wnz h34\/3n, j00 r0x0rs!
M4y 4|| 0wr b4s3 s0m3d4y Bl0ng t0 j00!
M4y j00 0wn 34rth juss |1|3 j00 0wn h34\/3n.
G1v3 us th1s
[ Parent ]
+1FP: 10,000 biases together make free speech! (5.00 / 2) (#58)
by ip4noman on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 01:33:07 PM EST

How do you make a democratic media if you as a group (Indymedia) have already decided the slant and bias of how are you going to report things?
If you can demonstrate what this bias is, I'd like to hear it.

Democratic media is all about giving everyone a voice, so whether you are talking about Public Access Television or Community Radio or Indymedia, they each give ANYONE a voice. I don't think you will find a consistant "bias", there are 10,000 different biases in the Democratic Media movement, and these all sum to be: Free Speech, something dearly lacking in the for-profit commercial media.



--
Breaking Blue / Cognitive Liberty Airwaves
[ Parent ]
Perhaps one of your problems is... (none / 0) (#78)
by Josh A on Sun Oct 20, 2002 at 01:05:07 AM EST

that you seem to still believe that "impartiality" is something "any news organization should aspire to"... how dreadfully modernist.

---
Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney


[ Parent ]
Nitipicking words (3.16 / 6) (#45)
by SanSeveroPrince on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 08:00:31 AM EST

Main Entry: de·moc·ra·cy
Pronunciation: di-'mä-kr&-sE
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural -cies
Etymology: Middle French democratie, from Late Latin democratia, from Greek dEmokratia, from dEmos + -kratia -cracy
Date: 1576
1 a : government by the people; especially : rule of the majority

Democratic media is exactly what we have now: majority rule. The majority happens to be comprised of idiots who want to be told who to be, how to be and when to croak, and that's what they get.

I think that what all these good-intentioned liberaloids really want is 'Anarchic Media'....

----

Life is a tragedy to those who feel, and a comedy to those who think


Democracy requires deliberatation (5.00 / 1) (#81)
by JasonDiceman on Sun Oct 27, 2002 at 11:47:01 AM EST

Any system that makes its decisions without critical and inclusive deliberation can not be considered in any way democractic. Decision-making based on what people tend to stare at (i.e. Neilsen ratings) is not democracy; its marketing.

I would suggest a democratic media is one where editors are replaced with inclusive deliberation and voting. K5 is probably the best examnple of this in practice, but it's only an early attempt at a methodology that will be matured with time.



[ Parent ]
Socialism? Communism? All about funding: (4.20 / 5) (#60)
by ip4noman on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 04:12:42 PM EST

Public Access Television is my big issue now. I'm trying to bring a public access television facility to Binghamton NY.

Someone just wrote in an online magazine which services Broome County: "Your ideas are dangerous. You want to us to pay for your devilish activities with our tax dollars".

While his statement is incorrect (Public Access is usually paid for by a Franchise Tax levied upon the Cable Provider, NOT by a general tax on citizens), is does illustrate a common misconception about Community Media in general: that it is Evil Socialism, that somehow, some bureaucrat puts a gun to your head and makes you pay for something that you don't like. To which I have a several point response:
  • Pay for Public Media by a Tax on Monoply Profits

    OK, certain capitalists criticise all taxes, especially on businesses (fancy that). That's not a free market, that's regulation.

    Yes, I've read Harry Browne, but sometimes government *does* work (NASA's moon landing, DARPA's internet), and sometimes a highly regulated monopoly is better than competition.

    My best examples are public works and public utilities. We don't need 2 roads going to the same place, and two sets of tolls. Roads are very destructive to the environment, and who likes dropping coins in the basket? There should be a monopoly on road construction (whether the state or a single corporation) and it should be highly regulated and it's operations monitored and open to public scrutiny.

    Let's look at cell phone companies. Sure there are free-market arguments for multiple companies providing redundant infrastructure, but there are costs. Certain places I've lived have had 3 cell phone towers on the same tiny plot of land. I would argue that these are ugly, destructive of trees and wildlife (for phone and power lines), and emit microwave radiation which many argue has toxic effects upon biological tissue.

    So I argue that in the case of Public Utilities and Public Works (roads, sewers), should be highly regulated monopoly franchises. These monopolies are actually rather common in America. Now, these *could* be charatered as a not-for-profit corporations, but rarely are.

    Now, profit creates a possible feedback loop. If the regulated for-profit monopoly kicks back these profits in the form of overt or subtle bribes to the legislature, then they all have an incentive to back off on the regulation, and increase profits for all. The only thing is, the public is ultimately the source of the profits, and are probably the ones getting screwed by the lack of regulation. (I assume that this regulation is acting in the public interest).

    So I think a tax on the profits of for-profit regulated monopolies is a nice control mechanism, and especially when it funds something that counters the effects of such a monopoly. Like a tax on truckers would pay for road improvements, like a tax on tobacco might pay for cancer research, a tax on the profits of a monopoly media provider going to pay for Community Media should seem reasonable to anyone.

  • Pay for Community Media by User Fees

    Public Access TV is ideally a tax upon the profits of the monopoply Cable Provider. However, they most often get away with passing this on to the subscriber. This morphs it into a something new, a "User Fee" which even the most conservative minded, free market capitalistic CATO-head usually promotes.

    If we pay for public access by a property tax, it forces every property owner to underwrite it. Most people who criticise socialism find this model distasteful. But if television consumers, the ones that are enjoying the benefits of television programs, are the ones that pay for the production via the license fee, and if they have a choice (they don't have to buy the license), then it is free-market economics at work.



But here is something remarkable that you probably haven't considered: The Commercial Media is paid for by a hidden tax on consumer goods!

Dig: In England, citizens pay for a television license from the state. But in America, we don't pay subscriber fees for the local news, or for CNN. But how does it get paid for?

Advertising! Ever wonder why the name-brand corn flakes cost $2.50 and the generic costs $2.00? Because that 50 cents pays for advertising. The hidden advertising cost on the price of a new car might be $700-$1000.

So, this hidden tax on ALL consumer goods which are advertised (food, drugs, cars, computers, etc.) pays for the salaries of Peter Jennings, Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, Wolf Blitzer, and even Jim Lehrer.

Now here is what is bizarre: Our entire so-called democratic process is paid for by this hidden tax on consumer products! (Since candidates' compaigns are mostly paid by corporations, who then purchase ads in the for-profit commercial media)

Talk about evil socalism!

Commercial Media fails to inform, it fails to educate, and it fails to show the entire range of debate on issues of the gravest importance.

So, I don't care if it's paid for by a tax on monopoly profits, or by user fees. It's time for something different.

--
Breaking Blue / Cognitive Liberty Airwaves
Good point (none / 0) (#62)
by nomoreh1b on Fri Oct 18, 2002 at 05:53:29 PM EST

The grant of broadcasting rights with few fees/requirements is one of the worse examples of a public asset being used for private gain.

[ Parent ]
Public Works (2.00 / 2) (#70)
by xs euriah on Sat Oct 19, 2002 at 03:42:27 AM EST

but sometimes government *does* work

My best examples are public works and public utilities.

I agree with several points presented within the article, as well as within your post. In fact, the general crux of the argument, I feel, is sound.

However, stating that public works "works" is not exactly a truism, and may prove to be a poor example.

Perhaps better than privatization, public works tends to be plagued by heavy bureaucracy and slow change.

Further, I prefer public works to privatized, but again believe that it remains a poor example evidenced by the leaden inefficiency and lower standards present in many cities.



[ Parent ]
Point is well taken (5.00 / 1) (#73)
by ip4noman on Sat Oct 19, 2002 at 06:42:41 AM EST

Yes, I have seen ineffeciencies and corruption in public works previously (like the construction company that the councilman's brother owns gets the contract, etc). But IMHO, this indicates the need for greater public scrutiny.

While I agree with the libertarians with many things (OK, just one thing: drug legalization), I do not see that privatization of every government service is the right solution.

We don't need redundant sewers or redundant electric grids or redundant phone lines or redundant roads. These things are very costly in terms of raw materials and environmental destruction, as well as money costs.

Another very dangerous thing is the privatization of jails, something we are seeing more of lately. As soon as building and running prisons becomes a profit-seeking operation, the lawyers and judges and police will become investors, and may even base their retirement funds in "stockade stock".

This creates a positive feedback loop, a mechanism that both concentrates wealth and power, and oppresses innocent people. A most dangerous thing indeed.

--
Breaking Blue / Cognitive Liberty Airwaves
[ Parent ]
Paying (none / 0) (#79)
by Ken Arromdee on Mon Oct 21, 2002 at 12:20:36 PM EST

Nobody *has* to buy those particular goods in order to watch television. It's perfectly legitimate to go to the store, get that box of generic corn flakes, and not pay the extra cost for the commercially advertised product.

There's a big difference between paying for something because you choose to and paying for something because it's taken out of your taxes.

Pay for Public Media by a Tax on Monoply Profits

Taxes are passed along to consumers. So the effect of taxing a monopoly product is that all the bad things about monopolies become true of those particular taxes too. If you want cable, you *must* use this particular company--there's no other choice. Now, it becomes "If you want cable, you *must* use this particular company and support someone's public access channel--there's no other choice".

[ Parent ]

There are no generic automobiles (none / 0) (#87)
by ip4noman on Thu Oct 31, 2002 at 12:33:37 PM EST

Nobody *has* to buy those particular goods in order to watch television. It's perfectly legitimate to go to the store, get that box of generic corn flakes, and not pay the extra cost for the commercially advertised product.
True, but I would say that trying to live your life buying products which are *not* advertised would be as difficult as trying to avoid products containing animal products. There is no such thing as a generic car, for example.
There's a big difference between paying for something because you choose to and paying for something because it's taken out of your taxes.
There is not much difference. Today in the United States, it is a fact that the people underwrite the corporate media by (essentially) an advertising tax levied upon consumer goods by corporations. Consumers MUST pay this tax whether they watch TV or not.

In England, the people pay for television via a license fee. In Canada, the Film Board is underwritten by property taxes. In each case, the people, most people or all people, are paying for media production. But in the United States, there is a complete deficit of democratic media, and a great lack of diversity of opinion on important issues. This is why we need Public Access to the Airwaves, no matter which funding model is chosen.

--
Breaking Blue / Cognitive Liberty Airwaves
[ Parent ]
Oh, darn those dastardly corporations! (2.00 / 1) (#65)
by xriso on Sat Oct 19, 2002 at 12:20:22 AM EST

They should stop brainwashing the public with their evil evil evil evil mass media. But they'll never do it because they're run by money-grabbing greedies.

I mean, at least let the "little people" have a shot at brainwashing the public for once.
--
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)

Sounds like fun (5.00 / 1) (#71)
by epepke on Sat Oct 19, 2002 at 04:10:11 AM EST

In 2001, media activists in Toronto and Vancouver organized the first Media Democracy Day with protests, panels and exhibits of alternative media.

But, tell me, how do you organize a protest at your own shindig? It seems to me that CNN and Fox should do the protests, holding signs that say "Alternative Media Bad!"


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


Two perspectives (none / 0) (#76)
by calimehtar on Sat Oct 19, 2002 at 08:14:51 PM EST

The democratization of media is important so that alternative viewpoints get some representation. Just like freedom of speech, it should be a fundamental right and a cornerstone of society. On the other hand, there is such a thing as the tyrranny of the majority. Get a bunch of non-specialists together on a website (like k5) discussing a subject which requires some specialization (like the israel/palestine conflict or democratization of media, say), and you'll see the comments and even the stories quickly galvanize into opposing groups who each choose to ignore evidence which disagrees with their viewpoint, and believe fabricated evidence which supports it. Simply talking and voting will not turn up real answers. This is why we have an establishment media -- groups of people whose sole occupation is to did up evidence, check facts, debate and ultimately give us the tools necessary to form a reasonable opinion. If a movement for the democratization of media is necessary, then freedom of speech in America must have fallen on hard times -- corruption and laziness has destroyed our faith in the media, and the government is trying to take free speech away from us.

What specialization? (none / 0) (#77)
by Josh A on Sun Oct 20, 2002 at 12:56:26 AM EST

Solving the Israel/Palestine conflict requires no specialization, only a willingness to give New Jersey to the Palestinians as a new homeland. Hell, we don't need it, and it may even be bigger than Israel.

---
Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney


[ Parent ]
Perspectives towards agreement (5.00 / 1) (#82)
by JasonDiceman on Sun Oct 27, 2002 at 12:22:50 PM EST

"...the comments and even the stories quickly galvanize into opposing groups who each choose to ignore evidence which disagrees with their viewpoint, and believe fabricated evidence which supports it."

Within a competitive and individualist culture, free discussion tends towards a competition of ideas and a polarization of perspectives. Speakers focus on difference rather then agreement. But within a consensus driven culture where people are tought from childhood to always work towards agreement, this polarization and fragementing of ideas is much less pronounced (Scandanavia being an example).

You can also imagine that depending on the structure of the communication, different results will come about. For instance, a courtroom is based around the assumption of only two sides to a debate, any third or fourth perspective is not presented as an option. Within a media system that fragments readers to different maganizes, newspapers and channels, the audience becomes accustom to only reading opinions that compliment their own, and thus polarization is promoted.

If you want a media system that will work towards informed consensus, it needs to promote factual evidence, critical examination, rational deduction, sensible explanations, human values and most of all: agreement. The more we point out and celebrate agreement, the more cooperative society will become and the more constructive the democracy. As a related example: when was the last time you saw a cover story about the peace movement or Palestinian and Israeli cooperation? I'd be willing to bet that the high majority of people would prefer to promote stories about cooperation then war. But under the current system, we are not ever asked to vote on what we want to promote, and thus the cycle of violence, coverage and support continue.



[ Parent ]
agreement yes, but democracy? (none / 0) (#86)
by calimehtar on Sun Oct 27, 2002 at 08:17:34 PM EST

Okay, I don't know how I ended up arguing against democracy, but here goes anyway (just promoting the blind dialecticism of communication, I guess). I don't see where asking people what they want to hear in the media implies resolution of conflict. I think the commercial media could just as easily achieve that if it wanted to. This is a cultural problem that cannot be solved by simple democraticization of media.

[ Parent ]
Media Democracy Day Strikes Back | 86 comments (72 topical, 14 editorial, 0 hidden)
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