Where Is Nader?
I’ve been reading Extra! for about 10 years now; picking it up at newsstands, browsing it in area stores, recommending it to family and friends, and subscribing as well. One thing in particular has been bothering me lately about your publication. If you’re so committed to unbiased and fair coverage of the issues, then why has there been no more than the faintest peep from your publication regarding Ralph Nader’s campaign for president? How serious can you possibly be about your focus issues—“corporate ownership [!!], advertiser influence, official agendas, telecommunications policy, the PR industry, pressure groups, the narrow range of debate [!!], censorship and sensationalism”—when you continue to pretend that there are only two candidates for president in 2008?
You seem to have turned your back on Ralph Nader, and you seem to have turned your back on me. And there are still other candidates running from independent parties, too. Who are we supposed to turn to? Don’t you think the four principles agreed to by the four independent presidential candidates, including Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney, deserve to be reported?
Can you provide me with any reason why I might wish to re-start my subscription with you after you’ve fronted on USA like this?
I’ve been a subscriber to Extra! for a long time, so I thought this would be something you might be interested in writing about, or even doing an alert on.
Ralph Nader held a rally two days ago in Denver to demand that the presidential debates be opened up to opposition candidates. There were 4,000 people there (including me). Various celebrities appeared, such as Cindy Sheehan, Tom Morello (of Rage Against the Machine), Jello Biafra and Sean Penn. But the Denver Post, one of the two major dailies here, had no coverage of the event. Zero. Of course we know why—the corporate media doesn’t want to give coverage to those who attack corporations and the politicians they own. But shouldn’t we still hold their feet to the fire? Is that responsible journalism? Ignoring the leading opposition candidate to the government parties? Ignoring an event with 4,000 people?
I assume the same sort of blackout of Nader, and the Green Party campaigns of Cynthia McKinney, is occurring in the corporate media of other cities. I would like to see FAIR go after the corporate media on this issue.
Breaking the Corporate Media Monopoly
Glenn Greenwald (Extra!, 9-10/08) remarks that changing the way news is reported involves creating alternatives to how political news is reported. The purpose of any corporate media is to show a profit, not to educate the public. People will never be adequately informed if their principal source of information resides in organizations dependent on revenue derived from advertising.
Reduced postal rates for all publications which to do not accept advertising and are devoted to public affairs should be established. Certainly such publications deserve more support than the junk mail which clog our mail-boxes daily. Low-powered radio should be encouraged. A news room must be independent, perhaps incorporated as a non-profit separate entity, with appropriate tax breaks to the parent company.
The near monopoly of corporate-owned media must be broken. Many suggestions have been made in print and conventions. I hope you will frequently provide critical commentary to the coverage of such discussions.
Can’t Get Enough Extra!
I can’t get enough Extra!. Besides serving as one of the only clear-headed independent watchdogs over the messages our media feed us, you serve as a crucial chronicler of these times of media madness. Back issues should be a gold mine to social scholars in future eras wondering, “What were they thinking?!”
Moreover, FAIR’s “cultural memory” provides crucial context; it allows the average viewer (e.g., me) to pull together what is being said with what has been said before, providing context and revealing patterns and agendas invisible to the naked eye.
To all my fellow subscribers: If you feel as I do, the next time you renew, why not send a gift subscription to someone working in the media? It need not be a CEO or chief editor: Why not send Extra! to a second-tier person, someone in the next generation of media leaders?
Then send them an email introducing yourself and saying how much you respect their work and want to help them gain additional perspective on media issues. You can support FAIR in their important work while spreading their crucial message to people in a position to make changes.
Alternatively, we could each send a subscription to Chris Matthews.
More Explicit Shots, Please
In response to the letter of Charley McKenna, New York high school journalism teacher, in your September/October ‘08 issue:
Shove it! You advise Extra! to “take out all explicit shots at conservatives.” Shove it! I want more. You advise cutting out “laundry lists with agendas.” I don’t know what they are, but anyway, shove it! You say the writing in Extra! turns off your conservative students. Extra! is not for them. Conservatives cannot be convinced. They need to be hit over the head, hard.
Informing is good, which Extra! does better than most media. Igniting is better, which Extra! does in spades. Extra! is not doing journalism, which at this point is thoroughly corrupt. It’s doing honorable media criticism, and doing a sterling job.
“Still Taking the Pentagon’s Bait” (Extra!, 9-10/08) identified the GAO as the General Accounting Office. The congressional agency changed its name to the Government Accountability Office in 2004.