Friday, October 16, 2020

Take a Stand #3: Free, independent press is worth protecting

"Take a stand” is a on-going series articulating beliefs which deserve more of my action.

Taking a stand #3: We need a free, independent press. We need journalism we can trust to bring us facts and truth. We need net-neutrality to guarantee the free flow of information.

Action: Subscribe to Mother Jones; donate to Democracy Now!; pay attention to attempts to end net neutrality, and reduce time on Facebook and Twitter through a social media fast on Mondays and Thursdays.


This stand was prompted by a podcast from  When Truth Is Dangerous: The Power of Independent Media featuring the leaders of two of the most successful independent news agencies in the U.S.:
  • Monika Bauerlein is the groundbreaking CEO and former Co-Editor of Mother Jones, which since 1976 has stood among the world’s premier progressive investigative journalism news organizations.
  • Amy Goodman, host and Executive Producer of Democracy Now!, has won countless prestigious awards, including an I.F. Stone Medal for Journalistic Independence Lifetime Achievement Award and the Right Livelihood Award. She has co-authored six bestsellers, including Democracy Now!: Twenty Years Covering the Movements Changing America
  • Neil Harvey, Host and Consulting Producer
Podcast Highlights:

MB: The only way we are going to have journalism that serves the democracy that it is a part of is for the public to take ownership of it.

MB: Speaking of the history of corporate journalism.“Like any profitable activity, the people who were doing it, the people who owned the profit-making, wanted to do more of it, so there was an incredible amount of corporatization and consolidation. 

NH: A handful of mammoth of media monopolies now dominate the mindscape with familiar names such as AT&T, Comcast, Viacom, CBS, and Disney. Not only does this media concentration stifle freedom of speech it also throttles a diversity of counterpoints.

NH: In 2017, under intense lobbying by media monopolies, the Federal Communications Commission overturned net neutrality. Although the Internet was created and paid for by US public tax dollars, it’s now controlled by giant corporations. The information highway will start to act more like a toll bridge.

(The FCC's Restoring Internet Freedom Order, which took effect on June 11, 2018, provides a framework for protecting an open Internet while paving the way for better, faster and cheaper Internet access for consumers.

NH: Amy Goodman and her team began broadcasting in 1996 as the only daily election show airing on public television and planned to wrap it up after the election was over. Instead, it was a free and open internet that allowed Democracy Now! to flourish. 
AG: But there was more demand for the show after than before. I mean, it was a way of getting grassroots, global voices out there.
NH: The early Internet mantra that “information wants to be free” gave way to web and social media platforms that are now some of the biggest corporate monopolies in history, such as Google and Facebook. The public town square is not in their business model, and they have siphoned away the majority of advertising money that funded traditional journalism. Nor do they pay to use the news gathered and produced by media outlets. 
These digital media platforms are also largely unregulated, and not subject to standards of journalism. In reality, their main profit center is your data, which are now the most valuable commodity in the world. 
MB: So the way Facebook makes a profit is the more people spend more time on the platform and share and like and engage, the more money they make by them being the people who do the bundling of eyeballs and selling them to advertisers.

*** Previous Stands:

Taka stand #1: I believe that we white people created Black Lives Matter out of over 400 hundred years of treating people of color as if they didn’t matter.

We did it to black people, native Americans, Chinese, Muslims, Jews, Indians, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and others that don’t fall into the white, supposedly-Christian, used-to-be majority.

Action: Apology and resolution to be more outspoken
As a white person, I sincerely apologize to all people of color for not working harder to end the injustice that has gone on for far too long.

Take a stand #2: I believe all consenting humans have the right to love whom they love and their private relationships should not be restricted by laws or religious pressures.

Action: Apology and resolution to be more outspoken
As a heterosexual person, I sincerely apologize to all non-heterosexual people for not working harder to end the injustice that has gone on for far too long. 

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