Celebrate July 4th By Declaring Independence From Corporate Media
Fed up with the mainstream media's omissions, distortions and refusal to challenge lies? 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 act to oppose corporate media and support independent media!
Media Challenge!, a project of peace and social justice groups, is joining with a number of media reform groups around the country who have initiated Media Liberty Week. We seek to turn around a corporate media dominated by pseudo-patriotic cheerleading and by megaphoning for the Pentagon and for Bush administration deceit instead of by journalism. The same TV and radio news buried pre-vote coverage of the FCC's recent decision giving giant infotainment conglomerates GE, Viacom, Clear Channel, Disney and News Corp. a green light to expand their already vast empires - and is mostly blacking out the fight to overturn the FCC vote in Congress. Schools and health-care systems are in deep trouble, increasing numbers of homeless and mentally ill haunt the streets, toxic waste and environmental plunder threaten human and species life, Attorney General Ashcroft is shredding the Constitution, and economic inequality has grown to proportions unseen since the age of the robber barons.
Now it's time to show our muscle. Here's what you can do:
1. There is a real chance that Congress will overturn the FCC's June 2 deregulation vote, but most urgent is that our Senators and
Representatives hear from us. Contact them this week and ask them to become co-sponsors of legislation that would overturn the FCC ruling (SB 1046 in the Senate, which backers are pushing for a vote on in July). You can identify and email them via http://www.mediareform.net/stopthefcc
or call the Capitol Switchboard - (202) 224-3121 - or go to www.congressmerge.com/onlinedb to find phone numbers and send e-mail. Californians should put particular attention on Sen Diane Feinstein, who is waffling. Senator Dianne Feinstein's offices: Washington (202) 224-3841; San Francisco (415) 393-0707;
Los Angeles (310) 914-7300; San Diego (619) 231-9712; Fresno (559) 485-7430.
2. Take your media activism to the doorstep of the national television networks: join Media Challenge! in calling for the resignation or firings of the TV Network News Chiefs for the distortions and omissions in their coverage of the war against Iraq. Contact them directly and/or write your local newspapers letters-to-the editors. For more information, see ww.projects4peace.org or read below.
3. Give your local paper a time-out. Suspend your subscription in a "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. When you suspend your sub, send the paper a note explaining why, and send a copy to email@example.com
4. Turn off your mainstreamTV watching for the week. Use the time you save by doing so and by not getting your daily paper to check out alternative news sources such as independent local weeklies and web sites like the Independent Media Centers (indymedia.org) or alternet.org, commondreams.org, democracynow.org, tomdispatch.org , tompaine.com, .mediachannel.org and www.zmag.org. Or 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.Also, 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.
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 in. Get organizations you're part of to endorse Indepence From Media Week 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.
MEDIA CHALLENGE! is co-sponsored by: Projects4Peace, ICUJP (Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace), Neighbors for Peace and Justice, Coalition for World Peace, Global Guardianship Initiative, Code Pink for Peace, Global Exchange, Peace on the Beach, Peace Warriors, LA International A.NS.W.E.R., Not in Our Name, Global Women’s Strike, Southern Cal. Americans for Democratic Action, Americans Against Pre-Emptive War.