Media Reform Links

This page is my personal list of links to media reform advocates, plans, ideas, etc. The first (and perhaps only) post is the one that will contain the links and descriptions. If you want to reply, or know other links, please add a comment.

Saturday, September 06, 2014


News and Opinion Perspectives of Some People of Color

Black Girl Dangerous is the brainchild of writer Mia McKenzie. What started out as a scream of anguish has evolved into a multi-faceted forum for expression. Black Girl Dangerous seeks to, in as many ways possible, amplify the voices, experiences and expressions of queer and trans* people of color.
Black Girl Dangerous is a place where we can make our voices heard on the issues that interest us and affect us, where we can showcase our literary and artistic talents, where we can cry it out, and where we can explore and express our “dangerous” sides: our biggest, boldest, craziest, weirdest, wildest selves.

Colorlines is a daily news site where race matters, featuring award-winning investigative reporting and news analysis. Colorlines is published by Race Forward, a national organization that advances racial justice through research, media and practice.
Colorlines is produced by a multiracial team of writers who cover stories from the perspective of community, rather than through the lens of power brokers.

The Root is the premier news, opinion and culture site for African-American influencers.  Founded in 2008, under the leadership of Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr., The Root provides smart, timely coverage of breaking news, thought-provoking commentary and gives voice to a changing, more diverse America. The Root is a subsidiary of The Slate Group

Black Public Media - The National Black Programming Consortium is committed to a fully realized expression of democracy. We support diverse voices by developing, producing and distributing innovative media about the Black experience and by investing in visionary content makers.

Black Agenda Report - Every week at Black Agenda Report asks the questions and tells the stories that few others do. Founded by Margaret Kimberley, Glen Ford and Bruce Dixon in 2006, Black Agenda Report publishes 5 to 7 original articles each week.
News, commentary & analysis from the black left.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008



If you've read the previous post, you probably are wondering -- like I did -- "Just how much do these companies like GE, Disney, and Viacom actually own, and which parts of the American pie (and perhaps the global pie) do they have their hands in?"

I just Googled for it, and found it at

Their holdings are staggering within the media realm, though I'm wondering how to find out who's connected with the energy companies, the auto companies, the tobacco companies, banking, and other industries. I'm sure that info is out there somewhere, but possibly a bit more deeply hidden.

Monday, February 04, 2008


Media and Democracy Presentation for Class Last Month

I'm just posting this in case anyone sees fit to cull the good bits from it for their own pro-media-reform presentation.

Hello and welcome. Thanks for coming. Today, I'll first DELIVER my brief presentation, and then we can follow it up with QUESTIONS LATER.

I need to start by saying there is a real need for mass media reform in America, so that citizens can honestly communicate with one another.

There are THREE THINGS I'd like to highlight today...

Message 1: First, mass media exerts a strong influence on our decisions about what to purchase, how to vote, and even what has value. Therefore, no matter what your most important political issue is, media reform needs to be the second most important issue on your list.

Message 2: Second, in the last two decades, federal laws on media consolidation have been weakened. As a result, five major corporations now own/control this country's largest broadcast television networks.

Message 3: Third, our democracy depends on having well-informed citizens, or it just won't function. People vote according to the information they receive. If voters receive information from the mass media that is skewed in favor of large corporations, they are more likely to vote for candidates and issues that those corporations support.

Let me tell you more about my first point... Media reform is important for every American, regardless of your background. Without fair and equitable access to the mass media, its very difficult to get your point of view on an issue heard. For example, if a news show portrays a public event unevenly, there is no means available within the mass media for citizens to offer a countering perspective.

Let me tell you more about my second point... Disney, Viacom, GE, Newscorp and AOL-Time Warner have an unhealthy stranglehold on the state of mass media in the USA. The networks they own include ABC, CBS, UPN, NBC, FOX, WB and Telemundo. In addition to television networks, these large corporations also own most of the radio stations and daily newspapers. These media networks serve as easy PR tools for the companies that own them. This is because the viewers mistakenly think television messages are neutral, while the news and other television programs actually serve to benefit their holding corporations. In addition, the programs serve a dual purpose of luring people in, so they can watch the commercials.

The FCC has been awarding leases to use the public airwaves to these corporations for free, originally with the expectation that they would serve the public good by keeping the citizens informed. However, they now use this gift as a commercial advertising venture, and these corporations earn billions of dollars every year. Rather – and this is an important point – the public airwaves would be better used by the public for the improvement of our educational system, our politics, and our community communication.

Let me tell you more about my third point... Democracy depends on an informed populous. People vote according to the information they see and hear from others. Now, citizens in the US are guaranteed the right to free speech; however, this in no way guarantees the common person the same kind of mass free speech offered to corporations who control mass media. As an example, you could speak your truth to a group of friends and perhaps influence them on products to buy or who to vote for.

Or perhaps you could influence 1000 interested people in an auditorium, or even to 10,000 people through a page on youTube. However, this does not compare to a dressed-up news commentator who may speak with an air of authority to a million people passively watching television. The Internet may help a little, but the vast majority of Americans still make their voting decisions based on what they see on the television. If the people vote based on incomplete or skewed information, democracy is thwarted, and the true will of the people is not known.

To recap:

Monday, October 23, 2006


New Links and People, Courtesy of Orwell Rolls in his Grave

I'll start with a link to the Orwell Rolls in His Grave movie.

The director and man behind this film is Robert Kane Pappas.

Interviews with:

Charles (Chuck) Lewis, formerly of ABC News and 60 Minutes, currently of The Center for Public Integrity.

Professor Robert W. McChesney, from U of Illinois, author and keeper of

Mark Crispin Miller, Professor at NYU, author, active blogger.

Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont)

Vinent Bugliosi, attorney and bestselling author, on the Charles Manson trial, and on the stealing of the 2000 election.

Greg Palast, BBC investigative journalist who reported on the voting fraud in Florida, while the US media system intentionally disregarded and downplayed the story, because they had a lot to gain by having Bush in office.

Jeff Cohen, founder of watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, and former MSNBC producer.

Michael Moore, infamous gadfly.

Danny Schechter, TV producer, 20/20, author, founder of Globalvision.

Mark Lloyd, former NBC and CNN reporter, professor at MIT and founder of the Civil Rights Forum, who seem to have let their DNS registration lapse, so their homepage link now goes to a porn site. [editorial comment: imagine trying to call a friend on the line who missed paying their phone bill and being unpleasantly surprised by the sound of grunting and moaning. is this the digital nirvana we were hoping for? this is not even a question of regulation, but is a symptom of a system that will only care about decency when the money forces it to]

John Nichols, writer for The Nation, and author.

Aurora Wallace, assistant professor of Culture and Communications at NYU, and author.

Jeff Chester, head of watchdog group Center for Digital Democracy, and writer of a very interesting article on the underlying significance of the YouTube buyout by Google.


And only randomly related: here's a book I just came across about how "Bipartisan Elite" have stolen the future of the middle, and lower class, if not also many in the upper class, and how we can win it back. I haven't read it, but I'm adding it to my reading list.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Media Reform Tools

Educational Groups

Media Reform Network:
A national nonpartisan organization working to increase informed public participation in crucial media policy debates, and to generate policies that will produce a more competitive and public interest-oriented media system with a strong nonprofit and noncommercial sector.

Action Coalition for Media Education(ACME):
A coalition of teachers, scholars, students, journalists, public health advocates and community organizers who believe that today's media system is profoundly undemocratic.

Center for Media Literacy:,
Dedicated to promoting and supporting media literacy education as a framework for accessing, analyzing, evaluating and creating media content, CML works to help citizens, especially the young, develop critical thinking and media production skills needed to live fully in the 21st century media culture.

Media Education Foundation:
Produces and distributes video documentaries to encourage critical thinking and debate about the relationship between media ownership, commercial media content, and the democratic demand for free flows of information, diverse representations of ideas and people, and informed citizen participation.

New Mexico Media Literacy Project:
The largest and most successful independent, activist media literacy project in the United States. They deliver multimedia presentations at conferences, workshops and classrooms across the country and abroad. They also produce activist guides and educational materials, including CD-ROMs and videos, on a variety of media literacy topics


Beacon Press:
A non-profit, independent publisher of serious non-fiction books and high quality literary works founded in 1854. Beacon books seek to change the way readers think about fundamental issues; they promote such values as freedom of speech and thought; the importance of racial and ethnic diversity; religious pluralism; an anti-racist, anti-oppression agenda; respect for our environment; and the importance of the arts in a civil society.

Roundtable, Inc.:
Combining television, radio, web, books and supporting print with thoughtful partnerships among institutions of civil society across the country, Roundtable is able to ensure that popular media projects reach deeply into communities. In conjunction with productions, we coordinate workshops, panel discussions, screenings, and events to make social mission media have an impact.

Seven Stories Press:
An independent book publisher based in New York City, with distribution throughout the United States, Canada, England, Australia, and New Zealand.

South End Press:
A nonprofit, collectively run book publisher who work to meet the needs of readers who are exploring, or are already committed to, the politics of radical social change.

Common Courage Press:
Helps progressive ideas to find a place in our culture. The press provides a platform to spread these ideas to activists and ordinary citizens alike.

The New Press:
A major alternative to the large, commercial publishers, The New Press is a not-for-profit publishing house operated editorially in the public interest. It is committed to publishing in innovative ways works of educational, cultural, and community value that, despite their intellectual merits, may be deemed insufficiently profitable by commercial publishers.

Recommended Reading

- Barbara Kingsolver, essay: “The One-Eyed Monster, and Why I Don’t Let Him In”. This can be found in her recent book of essays “Small Wonder”, 2002 (Hardback from Harper Collins, Paperback from Perennial). The essay is 13 pages.

- Robert W. McChesney and John Nichols, “Our Media, Not Theirs – The Democratic Struggle Against Corporate Media”, 2002; in paperback from Seven Stories Press; 140 pages. This is a revised and updated version of their previous book, “It’s the Media, Stupid.” It includes forwards by Noam Chomsky, Barbara Ehrenreich and Ralph Nader.

- Noam Chomsky, “Power and Terror – Post 9/11 Talks and Interviews”; 2003; in paperback from Seven Stories Press; 133 pages.

- Noam Chomsky, “Manufacturing Consent”: 1993; two-tape VHS set or DVD from Zeitgeist Video; associated book (same title) from Black Rose Books, 264 pages.

- Neil Postman, “Amusing Ourselves to Death – Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business”; Penguin Books, 1985.

- Douglas Rushkoff, “Coercion – Why We Listen to What They Say”; Riverhead Books, 1999.

- Mark Cooper, “Media Ownership and Democracy in the Digital Information Age – Promoting Diversity with First Amendment Principles and Market Structure Analysis”; 2003; in paperback, self published via the Internet; 305 pages. A valuable reference book, although not bedtime reading. Extensive quotations, legal arguments, facts and figures; thoroughly researched and footnoted (the last 87 pages are footnote references). Available free online at

- Bill Moyers, Keynote Speech to the National Conference on Media Reform (November 2003); videotape distributed by Democracy Now.

- Article in Dec 2000 Harper’s Magazine about how Clear Channel Radio operates.

- Amy Goodman, two videotapes, “Democratic Media in Time of War” and “Democratic Media in Time of War and Elections”.

- Bob McChesney, “The Problem of the Media: US Communication Politics in the Twenty-first Century”, 2004, 367 pages.

- Amy Goodman, “The Exception to the Rulers”, 2004, Hyperion, 352 pages

- Lawrence Lessig, “The Future of Ideas”, 2001, Random House

Alternate News Sources

The Nation:
Makes an earnest effort to bring to the discussion of political and social questions a really critical spirit, and to wage war upon the vices of violence, exaggeration, and misrepresentation by which so much of the political writing of the day is marred.

The Progressive:
A journalistic voice for peace and social justice at home and abroad. The magazine, its affiliates, and its staff steadfastly oppose militarism, the concentration of power in corporate hands, the disenfranchisement of the citizenry, poverty, and prejudice in all its guises.
A public interest journal, which seeks to enrich the national debate on controversial public issues by featuring the ideas, opinions, and analyses too often overlooked by the mainstream media.

Air America Radio:
A collaborative effort that brings together a group of experienced radio entrepreneurs with a talented team of creative artists. A new voice in talk radio: a smart voice with a sense of humor. On air in Madison on 92.1 FM, and in Chicago on WNTD-950 AM.

Democracy Now!:
A national, daily, independent, award-winning news program airing on over 140 stations in North America.

Independent Media Center:
A collective of independent media organizations and hundreds of journalists offering grassroots, non-corporate coverage. Indymedia is a democratic media outlet for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate tellings of truth.

Brings readers the stories that the corporate press never prints, muckraking with a radical attitude.

International Herald Tribune:
The premier international newspaper for opinion leaders and decision makers around the world. In an era of information overload, those who both make and track decisions on the global level depend upon the IHT as the most complete, credible and concise daily newspaper in the world.

Harper’s Magazine:
An American journal of literature, politics, culture, and the arts published continuously from 1850.

The Guardian Unlimited:
The online presence of The Guardian Newspaper, founded in 1821, with a long history of editorial and political independence.

The Onion:
Arguably the most popular humor periodical in world history, with scathingly funny commentary on world events, human behavior, and journalistic convention.

The Daily Show:
Satire -- the most important television show ever, with the most important guests, hosts, and news – current event news, pop culture news, sports news, entertainment news -- of all time.

Listener-sponsored community radio station in Madison offers a whole host of programming.

Investigative news radio.

Media/Advertising Watchdogs

News about the News. Views on the News.

Media Carta:
A movement which ultimately seeks a new human right for our information age, one that empowers freedom of speech with the right to access the media -- The Right to Communicate. Also features several Adbusters commercials which the major networks refuse to air.

PR Watch:
Offers investigative reporting on the Public Relations industry, to help the public recognize manipulative and misleading PR practices by exposing firms that work to control political debates and public opinion.

Challenges abusive stereotypes and other biased images commonly found in the media. Media Watch, which began in 1984, distributes educational videos, media literacy information and newsletters to help create more informed consumers of the mass media.

Wisconsin Democracy Campaign:
A nonpartisan political watchdog group working for clean government and real democracy. To carry out this mission, WDC tracks the money in state politics and works for campaign finance reform, media reform and other pro-democracy reforms.

SourceWatch: (formerly
A collaborative project to produce a directory of public relations firms, think tanks, industry-funded organizations and industry-friendly experts that work to influence public opinion and public policy on behalf of corporations, governments and special interests.

Awareness Alerts
Sign up for mailing lists to monitor what is going on in courts, congress, and behind the scenes in the media:

Political Action/Advocates

Media Access Project:
A non-profit, public interest law firm which promotes the public's First Amendment right to hear and be heard on the electronic media of today and tomorrow.
Working to bring ordinary people back into politics. A catalyst for a new kind of grassroots involvement, supporting busy but concerned citizens in finding their political voice.

Common Cause:
A movement propelled by the focused and concerted grassroots lobbying activities of Common Cause members and reinforced with professional lobbying on Capitol Hill

Communication Rights in the Information Society:
A campaign to ensure that communication rights are central to the information society and to the upcoming World Summit to the Information Society.

Media Democracy Legal Project:
A group working to use constitutional legal process to attain democratic governance of our publicly owned airwaves in accordance with the democratic ideals of our U.S. Constitution. MDLP stemmed from the work of UUs for a Just Economic Community, along with other groups.

World Association of Community Broadcasters:
An international non-governmental organization serving the community radio movement, with almost 3,000 members and associates in 106 countries.

Chicago Media Action:
An activist group dedicated to analyzing and broadening Chicago's mainstream media and to building Chicago's independent media. Chicago Media Action monitors and analyzes media in the Chicago area in order to expose the economic and political interests which control them, and also seeks to democratically empower and organize the working-class to challenge corporate control of major media, and to create their own media.

A non-profit organization working to involve the public in media policymaking and to craft policies for a more democratic media system.

A global network of artists, activists, writers, pranksters, students, educators and entrepreneurs who want to advance the new social activist movement of the information age, with an aim to topple existing power structures and forge a major shift in the way we will live in the 21st century.


· Start an LPFM station
A collective of radio activists. A group of people who have started a small non-profit organization committed to creating the best opportunities possible for the public in the LPFM ruling. Also serve as a microradio resource center offering legal, technical, and organizational support for the non-commercial community broadcasters.

· Give direct feedback to media providers or advertisers, via email, mail, or phone.

· Find out how your representatives stand on these issues, and contact them often:,

· Share your opinion with the FCC:

· Study up and converse about media issues/groups with friends and family, or even people you’re less-acquainted with.

· Gather (and circulate) a list of local alternative media, and local FCC hearings, etc. Get on an email alert list if possible, to stay abreast of the latest happenings. Buy books as presents.

· Support a local radio program, or get on one, or submit material.

· Donate time, money, or good ideas to any of the groups above.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." - Thomas Jefferson


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