Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Through a Glass Darkly: What to do about the Media

There have been some very significant changes to the media business over the last two to three decades. Media are deeply enmeshed within the megacorporate world. They are themselves big businesses - even while particular working reporters are not all themselves of that strata. For ideological and inter-penetrating financial/business reasons, media are much more a part of the problem that we face today than they are part of the solution.

We cannot as an impeachment movement count at this point on getting a fair hearing and fair coverage overall from the media. (We elaborate on why this is so in ITP, particularly in Chapters 2, 8 and 14). There are individual instances where we will get some decent coverage, and we should continue to strive for the best coverage we can get. But we cannot rely on building our movement through getting a major part of our message across via corporate media news. During the 1960s media coverage of the anti-war movement, the civil rights movement, the women's liberation movement and so on were important in helping to make the social impact that these movements made, even while this coverage had sharp limitations and problems. But the radical right did not take this lying down. They recognized that they were taking it on the chin and plotted in the early 1970s to alter this media picture - and thereby the political landscape - dramatically. They have accomplished their goals with spectacular success (with W and Cheney as their crowning glory), mainly through investing tens of billions of dollars in creating their own right wing media empire (Fox News, Clear Channel, etc.) that today overall sets the terms for corporate, mainstream media's coverage of events.

What then can we do? What can we do about what amounts to a wall that is largely blocking our message getting out to the people? If you were to read/view the mass media only, you'd think that the desire for impeachment are the ravings of a few malcontents rather than the sentiments of 58% or more of the people. Imagine how much larger that 58% would be if more Americans actually knew that their government was daily torturing people and all of the other egregious things that Bush and Cheney have been doing?!

What we can do and must do is run around that wall, rather than banging our collective heads against it, and appeal directly to the people by taking advantage of the areas that we do have strength in. One of these - the elephant in the room - is the fact that we do have the majority of people on our side, even now in the absence of very much of the truth actually getting out to the people. We need to find ways to express this power visibly so that it can become a self-regenerating, gathering whirlwind. As the demands for impeachment become more visible, more people will step into the fray and this in turn will embolden others who are now holding back. A cascading effect is a real possibility. The utter bankruptcy of the system and criminal individuals that we face will be deeply and profoundly exposed - they will not be able to stand the light of day if torn from the shadows that are now protecting them in the form of the Rush Limbaughs, Bill O'Reillys and the oh so cooperative Washington Post et al.

While concentrating our forces in large demonstrations such as the upcoming March 17 march on the Pentagon is extremely important, we must also find ways to carry out actions in a highly decentralized, localized fashion that because of their ubiquity become in effect a national event with national consequences. I am suggesting here, for example, a national day of wearing our politics on our sleeves: a day that we get as many people as possible to wear T-shirts for Impeachment. If even 5% of those who support impeachment were to do this, wearing T's, armbands, hats, freeway blogging, etc., we're talking millions of people. An action on this scale won't depend for its success on media coverage.

Here are places you can order T's right now! and here and here.

You can start right now spreading the word. You will make 3-10 new friends everyday you wear this out in public.

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