imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Cracking the Media Walls

by Norman Solomon Saturday, Nov. 08, 2003 at 6:42 PM

A key advantage held by the Right is a "mass-media echo chamber," from which stories are spun via outlets like the Washington Times, Rush Limbaugh, the Wall Street Journal editorial page, the Weekly Standard and Fox News. Progressives have nothing comparable at the national level.

Cracking the Media Walls

Norman Solomon, Dissident Voice, November 06, 2003

The major news outlets are like walls with cracks. The confining structures of big media loom large every day -- yet progressives have countless opportunities to find, utilize and widen the cracks in the corporate media's barriers to democratic communication.

Steadily worsening concentrations of ownership and the hefty clout of advertising combine to severely limit the range of information and debate in news media. Ongoing pressures -- economic, ideological and governmental --constrain the work of mainline journalists, whose efforts routinely suffer from skewed priorities and self-censorship. A profit-driven ideology of the "free market" is in sync with the agendas of top management and advertisers.

In recent years, progressive media projects have gained momentum. But the tilt against truly independent media and wide-ranging discourse is extreme in the United States. While no individual or single organization can take on more than a fraction of the necessary endeavors, the overall work to create a democratic media environment must run a gamut.

Sustained challenges to the corporate media and support for alternative media outlets can reinforce each other with continuous synergy -- to establish, sustain and expand progressive media organizations; to spread deft criticism of rancid mass media; to push for better reporting and much wider debate in mainstream media; to fight for structural reform of agencies like the FCC; to lambast, debunk and satirize the insidious junk that so often passes for journalism and cultural uplift.

The horrendous media problems are multifaceted. Our solutions must be, as well.

In the long run, no campaign for basic media reform can succeed apart from a broader progressive movement -- and vice versa. The degradation of journalism and mass entertainment is entwined with pervasive corporate power that chokes virtually every facet of this country's political and social life.

Media criticism becomes profoundly useful in combination with media activism. Too often we've held onto theories about what is and is not possible. But analysis and action become much more powerful when they constantly inform each other -- when assessments shift because of on-the-ground experiences that benefit not only from the results of trial and error but from insightful up-to-date analysis.

Securing stable funding

Along with theory and practice that keep enhancing each other, we need a lot more resources for the media tasks ahead. Many left-leaning foundations remain hesitant or unwilling to fund media work, and the ones that do often are leery of backing media endeavors that seem overly combative or ideological. Not so the right-wing foundations and corporations that sink millions of dollars a week into aggressive media-savvy propaganda outfits like the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute and the Manhattan Institute. Likewise, intensely ideological media organs like the Murdoch-owned Weekly Standard magazine are able to gain national prominence and maintain influence thanks to large subsidies from right-wing backers.

As a fundamental matter of social-change strategy, progressive media institutions -- including groups that focus on improving mainstream media coverage as well as on building radio, TV, video, print and Internet projects --merit support to narrow the gaps between their skimpy resources and the huge budgets for right-wing media. This is especially important because the left has to navigate media terrain that's appreciably less hospitable.

Echoing one another

One of the political right's key advantages is the mass-media echo chamber. Many a spun story and loopy canard bounces around the walls among outlets like the Washington Times, Rush Limbaugh's radio show, the Wall Street Journal editorial page, the Weekly Standard and Fox News. Frequently, from there, the dubious stories and simple-minded polemics flood into mainstream talk shows, daily papers, slick magazines, broadcast news outlets and cable TV networks.

Progressives have nothing comparable in terms of nationwide echo chambers. And the disparity often makes a pivotal difference. It's not nearly enough to put out a powerful exposé or release a cogent analysis in a few print outlets or on some Web sites or on a few dozen radio stations -- or to briefly surface in a large national media venue. Such achievements, while important, are insufficient. They need to draw strength from each other -- utilizing the best material available across the progressive board -- while simultaneously finding ways to reach broader audiences, including via mass media, where cracks in the corporate walls beckon.

During the last few years, progressive advocates and independent journalists have learned a lot about how to realize "multiplier effects" among a wide array of media. When astute strategizing and cooperation flourish, we're finding ways to reach many people -- sometimes millions or tens of millions -- with information and analysis that otherwise would be confined to a relative few. The potential for further developing such productive media synergy is enormous.

In the process, what's needed is to strengthen the many progressive media organizations that have been developing skills, infrastructures and cooperative spirit and to grasp what is clearly possible -- mutually supportive operations that cross-pollinate across extensive media terrain and propagate resistance to the status quo's deadening and often deadly corporate priorities.

Spreading the burden

While regularly affecting the content of major media outlets, the progressive media movement needs counter-institutions that can inspire and sustain many people for the challenges ahead. No one media project is a potential solution by itself. No silver bullets need apply. At the same time, progressive funders ought to provide long-term support for an array of media work. By now, there are enough track records out there to supply empirical evidence of impressive results.

We urgently need to boost the resources and improve the coordination of progressive media work. Sure, by definition, corporate media and their allies inevitably have big bucks that dwarf the outlays of anti-corporate crusaders. Extreme imbalances in funding come with the media territory. But in his fabled confrontation with Goliath, even David needed a slingshot. Long-term progressive media projects of all descriptions need at least minimal resources along with savvy strategies to put up a strong fight and make appreciable headway.

Meanwhile, our guiding ethos should be notably different than the right wing's preferred mode of top-down centralism. It should be possible for progressives to attain the creative advantages of sharp analysis, institutional growth, coordinated planning and agile cooperation while encouraging a decentralized, democratic, grassroots approach to social action.

Hanging together

Along the way, we should resist temptations to rely on a few left heroes on the mass-media battlefields. In the mid-1990s, while working on the launch of the Institute for Public Accuracy as a national consortium to get progressive voices into media, I received some advice to concentrate on grooming a few "superstars" to become regulars on national television. But the Institute opted for a different approach: to develop a roster of many hundreds of policy analysts -- including researchers, authors and other experts from academia, public-interest groups and grassroots organizations -- representing a deep reservoir of knowledge and insights that routinely go untapped in the mass media.

This approach doesn't just move forward a few individuals and organizations; it widens the bounds of media discussion on a regular basis, not merely on occasion. Media outreach that successfully reflects the breadth and depth of progressive constituencies is more effective at being persuasive -- and more capable of withstanding the right wing's demonizations of a few individuals or accusations of elitism.

A process already underway places scores of different progressives on national television each season, along with hundreds of appearances on a variety of radio programs. Best of all, many of those analysts remain in producer Rolodexes, so their voices will be heard again and again. Clearly, a lot more can be accomplished to move progressive advocates into mainstream media on a regular basis.

Overall, what's needed in our society -- and what a progressive media movement should strive for -- is a kind of media ecology that recognizes and promotes authentic diversity. This diversity holds great promise: not because of any mechanistic or PC concepts but because tremendous human capacities and insights, routinely excluded from major media, are always present in the United States and the rest of the world.

Right now the cracks in the media walls are much too thin and much too scarce. The long haul of our struggle involves bringing down the institutional barriers that, in effect, soundproof much of the media world and muffle the First Amendment in the process. We can chip away at those walls and replace them with vibrant democratic discourse.

About the author: Norman Solomon is Executive Director of the Institute for Public Accuracy ( and a syndicated columnist. His latest book is Target Iraq: What the News Media Didn't Tell You (Context Books, 2003) with Reese Erlich.
Report this post as:

Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 2 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
You forget, BA... nonanarchist Saturday, Nov. 08, 2003 at 7:38 PM

Local News


lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Xyloglossie attitudinale A23 8:07AM

Shadowgun Legends Hack and Cheats A23 7:24AM

What does the Quran Say About Islamic Dress?? A21 4:15PM

Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée A20 11:22AM

The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion A20 7:14AM

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

Amy Goodman interview on cell phone safety A08 10:29PM

Mesa, Arizona police officer kills unarmed white man A08 9:50PM

Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes A08 9:48PM

Paraphysique de l'autorité A08 12:11AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy