Free Press community empowerment event in Hackensack Wed June 7 – all welcome!

FreePress - freedomWhat: Our Voices, Our Future: What Residents and Civic Leaders Want in Local Media
When: Wed., June 7th, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. (doors open at 6 p.m.)
Where: Johnson Public Library, 274 Main St, Hackensack NJ

Here’s what you can expect at the event: Free Press members, residents, journalists, and community leaders will be gathering to share ideas on how local media can better serve the public. You’ll get a chance to meet others like you, take action to address New Jersey’s local news crisis, and brainstorm about the steps we can take together to improve coverage in your community.

Big Media hates Lessig’s campaign message (get Big Money out of elections)

lessig campaign site header
Banner from Lessig Campaign Website
Who profits most when hundreds of millions of dollars are invested in funding political campaigns? Possibly it’s the media companies that get handsomely paid to serve up the ads that are bought with those millions.

So, it makes sense that Big Media is blacking out news and views about the candidate running on a platform to completely cut Big Money out of political campaigns. Harvard Constitutional Law Professor Lawrence Lessig’s platform is barebones simple: let’s reform US politics, beginning with getting Big Money out of political elections. This will make voting more egalitarian and Congress more accountable. From Lessig’s campaign website:

The Citizen Equality Act of 2017 (note: which Lessig is still drafting) is a package of reforms that would allow Congress to listen to voters instead of a few funders.

It changes the way we fund campaigns, ends gerrymandering, and protects the right of all citizens to vote.

These reforms will give us — finally — what we were promised: a government of, by, and for the people.

In his Atlantic Magazine article, Lessig shares thoughts about the election and his campaign. Well worth a read.

I salute Lessig for publicizing the importance of campaign finance reform, because we urgently need this in the United States. Our elections shouldn’t be for sale to the highest bidders.

Just 6 companies control 90% of the US media – and your perceptions

6 companies own 90% of media
Infographic by Jason of Frugal Dad
Seeing similarities in the news you read, view and hear – that’s no mistake. In fact, it might be inevitable, being that only six companies own 90% of all US media and all of the information we receive from it.

the 6 companiesDC Clothesline comments:

Today, ownership of the news media has been concentrated in the hands of just six incredibly powerful media corporations. These corporate behemoths control most of what we watch, hear and read every single day. They own television networks, cable channels, movie studios, newspapers, magazines, publishing houses, music labels and even many of our favorite websites. Sadly, most Americans don’t even stop to think about who is feeding them the endless hours of news and entertainment that they constantly ingest. But they should.

Good advice. The New York Times tells us how much those six companies control:

…in 1983, 50 companies owned 90 percent of the media consumed by Americans. By 2012, just six companies — including Fox (then part of News Corporation) and Time Warner — controlled that 90 percent…

232 controlFreePress cautions about why this should matter to us. Any lover of truth will immediately spot the problem with what’s happening on our news and information front:

Massive corporations dominate the U.S. media landscape. Through a history of mergers and acquisitions, these companies have concentrated their control over what we see, hear and read. In many cases, these companies control everything from initial production to final distribution.

Both FreePress and PBS offer interactive charts showing which channels and portals are owned by each of the six media conglomerates. Then, there’s the fabulous graphic by Jason at Frugal Dad from which the smaller graphics in this post were pulled. Changes must have occurred since it was created in 2011 – in the form of corporate merges, re-branding and similar transactions – but the overall situation it illustrates has not changed.

If we want change, we need to seek out better news and vote politicians like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren into office, who are not afraid to stand up to major corporations and demand that they stop abusing the lives and trust of the American people.

Related story:
Why Middle East conflict news is so anti-Israel

Why Middle East news is so anti Israel

In this well documented article, a former AP editor explains why all major media outlet’s Middle East reporting portrays little Israel as the big, bad oppressor of the long-suffering Palestinians – no matter what the truth is.

most important story on earth headline

For starters, the AP alone has over 40 staffers reporting on ME affairs. And, AP and all other major news outlets’ Middle East reporters are only allowed to write stories that reinforce the “Bad Israel – Oppressed Palestinians” legend. The editors of major media publications simply refuse to publish any other type of stories.

Furthermore, approximately zero major media reporters in the Middle East speak either Arabic or Hebrew, so the permanent ME press corps lacks the ability to gather the deep insider perspectives that would give them a truly informed, holistic view of what is actually going on … and maybe impassion some of them to reveal the truth even if doing so would blow up their careers.

This article is well written, informative and thought provoking. I hope you’ll read it.

Free press defender Joe Torres speaks at BCC Oct 2

Joe Torres @ BCC

Joe Torres @ BCCThere are times in history when the story of current events – what we know as news – enters a state of flux. New voices emerge to tell the stories of people and our world that are happening in real time. Today, we see this with YouTube, blogging, social media, community radio and TV. Periods of change can also be times of danger. People’s right to know must be protected and reporters must hold themselves responsible for present facts and truth without embellishment as far as they are able to discern them … in other words, the principles of expository journalism must be upheld.

Protectors of truth and ethics emerge to serve the people, and one high profile protector is Hispanic-American journalist, author and Eyewitness News reporter, Joe Torres. Mr. Torres will share his life and career experiences with students and the community at Bergen Community College on Thursday, October 2 2014 at 11am in the Ciccone Theater. Come and hear his story and thoughts.

Wikipedia tells us:

Joe Torres is senior adviser for government and external affairs for Free Press and the Free Press Action Fund (an advocacy arm of Free Press), a non-governmental organization for research and policy lobbying related to media reform. Free Press lobbies in Washington, DC and in the states, with the goal of supporting diversity and independence in US media. Torres was also deputy director of communications and media policy at the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and was a journalist for eight years.

…Torres is co-author, with Juan González, of “News for All the People: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media” (2011, ISBN 978-1-84467-687-3), a history of the American media with special focus on media outlets owned and controlled by people of color, and how they were suppressed—sometimes violently—by mainstream political, corporate and media leaders.