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Friday, Jun. 27, 2003 at 12:08 PM
Independence from Corporate Media Week
Celebrate July 4th by Declaring Independence from the Corporate Media!
SAN FRANCISCO - June 18 - Fed up with the mainstream media's lies, omissions and distortions? It's time to send them a message: we're not taking it anymore. During Independence Day week - June 30-July 6, 2003 - join with thousands of others across the country and put your daily newspaper subscription on hold, turn off your TV, and act to support independent media!
The last six months have exposed more clearly than ever before what's wrong with the corporate-controlled media most Americans rely on to explain the world:
*Before, during and even after the attack on Iraq, our media have been dominated by pseudo-patriotic cheerleading. Instead of giving the Bush Administration's case for war the critical scrutiny it deserved, and explaining why most governments and the vast majority of the world's population - including moral leaders like the Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, and the Pope - opposed the attack, they functioned mainly as megaphones for the White House and the Pentagon. Only now - after thousands of lives have been lost and billions of dollars wasted - are most Americans hearing what they could and should have been told from the outset: the government's case for war was nothing more than a tissue of deceit.
*The media tried to bury the Federal Communications Commission's recent decision giving giant infotainment conglomerates like Viacom, Clear Channel, Disney and News Corp. a green light to expand their already vast empires. If they covered it at all, it was only when the grassroots opposition to this latest corporate powergrab grew too big to ignore - and after the media behemoths had already bought their majority on the FCC.
*Our schools and health-care system are collapsing, the homeless and mentally ill haunt our city streets, toxic waste threatens the future of children in hundreds of neighborhoods around the country, Attorney General Ashcroft is shredding the Constitution, and economic inequality has grown to proportions unseen since the age of the robber barons, but most of the media are more interested in Laci Peterson, movie-star gossip and "reality" TV.
*We get only slanted and sensationalized reports from Israel and Palestine - huge headlines about suicide bombings in Israel, for instance, but next to nothing about the violence, repression and humiliation Palestinians endure daily. And the desperate poverty, hunger and disease that are the lot of most of the world's 6 billion people hardly ever make our news.
Yet this year has also shown that there's a growing movement for change- the millions who marched to oppose the war, the more than 500,000 who took the time to speak out against the FCC's "deregulation" plan, the thousands fighting back against social-service cutbacks and police abuses in cities across the country.
Now it's time to show our muscle to the media. Here's what you can do:
1. Give your local paper a time-out - suspend your subscription in a mass "vacation hold" for the first week of July. Most daily papers make it easy to do - nowadays you can probably do it in seconds on your paper's web site, or just call the circulation department. If they ask you to donate the papers you're passing up to an education program, just say no - making the paper instead extend your subscription for a week will make the owners pay for their lies and distortions, and in the long run that will do a lot more good for the school kids than a week of free copies. When you suspend your sub, send the paper a note explaining why, and send a copy to firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Turn off your TV, or check out what's available on your local public-access channel and on pioneering alternatives like Free Speech TV (DISH Network Channel 9415 - info at www.fstv.org) and WorldLink TV (Channel 375 on DirecTV and 9410 on the DISH Network - info at www.worldlinktv.org). On the radio, look for a Pacifica affiliate, one of the 140 other stations that carry Democracy Now's daily news broadcast, or another independent station.
3. Use the time you save by not getting your daily paper and not watching network TV to check out alternative news sources such as independent local weeklies and web sites like the Independent Media Centers (indymedia.org), AlterNet (alternet.org), Common Dreams (commondreams.org), Democracy Now (democracynow.org), TomDispatch (tomdispatch.com), TomPaine.com (tompaine.com), and ZNET (www.zmag.org). Or just go to your local library or independent bookstore and pick up a book that will give you the kind of in-depth information about issues that is sorely lacking in corporate news stories.
4. Become a media activist. There is a real chance that Congress will overturn the FCC's June 2 deregulation vote, but our Senators and Representatives need to hear from us. Please contact them this week and ask them to support the legislation that would overturn the FCC ruling. Tell them we need to strengthen our media ownership rules, not eliminate them! Call the Capitol Switchboard - (202) 224-3121 - or go to www.congressmerge.com/onlinedb to find phone numbers and send e-mail.
Or take your media activism to the doorstep of the national television networks: join Media Challenge in calling for the resignation of the TV Network News Chiefs for the distortions and omissions in their coverage of the war against Iraq. For more information, see www.projects4peace.org
5. One more thing: the more people take part in this action, the harder it will be for the media moguls to ignore. So send a copy of this message to your friends, neighbors, and co-workers, and urge them to join the fun. Get organizations you're part of to endorse the vacation hold, or at least to send copies of this message to their members.
Independence from Corporate Media Week is brought to you by Citizen Works, CodePink, Free Press, Global Exchange, Media Alliance, Media Challenge, Prometheus Radio Project, Reclaim the Media, and others.
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