Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Calling time on the corporate media

David Edwards, one editorial half of the ever-challenging Media Lens, asks today at the ML board:
Time to abandon the corporate media? 
It's something we've proposed in the past. Imagine if all our favourite dissident commentators - Chomsky, Pilger, Greenwald, Hedges, Moore, Klein, Weisbrot, Jay et al - deprived the corporate media of their support and worked under a single cooperative umbrella sending out everything completely, 100% free, as we do. How much global public interest and support do you think they'd generate? I think it would be huge.

It might persuade other corporate dissidents to 'defect'. And here's the real thing, because none of them would need to worry about upsetting corporate gatekeepers, they could all be totally honest in their analysis, notably about the media (even the best of them are not, currently, for 'strategic' reasons relating to corporate inclusion). That would make their analyses even more honest and interesting. People would love it even more, attracting even more support.

And when you look at climate inaction, it's clear that the attempt to change the world through corporate inclusion has been a spectacular failure on even the most obviously crucial issue. Does anyone really believe it's going to improve?

Between the mass distortions peddled by state media like the BBC and what passes for a 'progressive liberal-left' media, has there ever been a more pressing need to develop something truly alternative?

And bear in mind that the working foundations for it are all essentially in place with already vibrant non-corporate online media outlets like Real News, Democracy Now, ZNet and, of course, Media Lens itself.

The fact that the most substantive part of public exposure to news, information and comment is also online, rather than in print, suggests a massive new opportunity for shifting decisively now to something truly radical in its independence and outreach.

While it's good to read, for example, a Greenwald or Milne piece at the Guardian, dissident output is still carefully policed and compromised by corporate-liberal constraints.

And that process of token media inclusion and incorporation is vital in maintaining popular control and passive acceptance of the whole system.     

Consider the alternative: the same kind of writers and even less inhibited analysis coming from a 'Free Media Co-operative'. Why would that have any less of a global following and impact?

And just think of the radical publicity in itself as corporations and advertising-dependent media tried to take it down.

As the forces driving war, poverty, austerity and, most pressingly, climate change continue their rampant destruction of people and planet, the need for real citizen journalism should be seen as an emergency task. 

Alarming times. Exciting times.


John Hilley said...

Thanks to David Edwards for this response (posted at ML board):

Thanks John. Reading that it occured to me it could be a counterpart to WikiLeaks. Instead of leaking information, we leak radical journalists from the corporate media: MediaLeaks.

Every serious dissident has enormous respect for the way Assange and Bradley have put themselves on the line to save lives. How many corporate journalists are willing to put even their careers and corporate salaries on the line? They may not even have to take a pay cut - a Best of the Best radical media collective would attract huge, global support. It would include exposure of the corporate media as a central focus, making it impossible for the corporates to compete in honesty. It would have a virtual monopoly on honest commentary.


Michael Stephenson said...

This would only create fewer mainstream thinkers reading their views.

Sure, we'd be able to boycott The Guardian etc but "we" are the converted. Sure a few pro-Israel people would follow too so they can argue in the comments, but they don't even read the articles anyway.

If you really want to shame the corporate media pick a topic, like drone strikes, raise money to hire to hire a couple of teams of war correspondents, with cameraman and sound engineer, and try to visit every single drone strike show the aftermath in the kind of detail the corporate news do for the Boston bombings, daily, for a whole year.

Make the videos available online, and promote them at MediaLens, Democracy Now, here.

This shaming effect of doing their job correctly would be far more effective than a boycott.

It will be expensive but that kind of money can be raised on kickstarter, with enough promotion.