Big Media ‘Worth More Than a Warm Bucket of Spit?’

Having recently “published a report on 1,200 photos of U.S. torture that I have examined but the public at large has not seen,” activist David Swanson (AfterDowningStreet.org, 7/21/09) now relates how he

talked about the photos on a few progressive radio shows. I received calls from some advocacy groups that have been trying for years to get hold of these photos. But I received not one single inquiry from the corporate media. Even most good blogs ignored this story, despite a handful of prominent blogs promoting it. This started me thinking and fantasizing: What would the world look like if we had major media outlets that were worth more than a warm bucket of spit?

Imagine if the media monopolies were busted, a diversity of private outlets were free to compete, and public media were developed, including free substantive air time for election campaigns. Imagine media outlets with democratic accountability. Imagine media outlets that judged a story important if the majority of the public said so, and not if those in power said so.

The majority of the public favors single-payer healthcare. Corporate media outlets are crammed with endless, often pointless, stories about healthcare that never mention single-payer.

“Our existing media outlets (whose lead blogs follow more than bloggers admit to themselves) decide what’s important based on the preferences of a small number of powerful people,” says Swanson–“and the fact that these preferences almost always differ wildly from majority opinion does not lead to any rethinking of the acceptability of this approach in a democratic republic.”

For further imaginings on the potential of a non-corporate U.S. press, read the latest issue of the FAIR magazine Extra!: “The Future of Journalism” (7/09)