Remember the time right before Pennsylvania voted in their primary? Nichols recounted that period:
Two weeks before the Pennsylvania primary, all the media in this country---number one most mentioned individual was Barack Obama. Number two was Jeremiah Wright. He got more coverage than Clinton, McCain, President George W. Bush.
For every mention of the highest talked about issue---gas tax holiday---for every mention of that issue, Rev Jeremiah Wright was mentioned six times more.
Nichols closed saying, “We have a responsibility to say to big media now that we do not want a campaign built on racism. We want a campaign built on looking into both candidates’ eyes and asking what are you going to do for this country.”
I’m skeptical of Americans’ ability to challenge Obama since they wouldn’t dare tarnish a candidate that will be tarred and feathered with smears by Republicans and media pundits from now until November, but I do feel that we owe it to ourselves to push Obama to open up and be more progressive and open on the issues. He should be encouraged to take more courageous stances.
Robert "Biko" Baker from the League of Young Voters gave the next speech in the panel discussion.
Biko's work involves going into disenfranchised areas where people who do not get into college and are unemployed and do not vote live. He then works to energize them to vote and get involved in the electoral process.
Biko drew from the words of Gandhi by reminding us that we are the change we have been waiting for.
He expressed the frustration he and the people he is reaching out to our experiencing as a result of the media not talking about the issues affecting communities in this election.
...Not talking about the rising rates of violence that are happening not only in the inner city but on campuses like Virginia Tech. Why are young people all across the country embracing violence like never before? It’s going beyond racial and class violence. Not talking about what our society or economy or world is going to look like 30 years from now. Not talking about depression levels---unemployment.
Biko closed asking us to get our media to "give us the real talk." And he called for us to not stand for "business as usual."
David Sirota was the last to speak and the man who called on us to reflect the deepest on how we regard the media.
All too often, he said, we talk about the media in a "paternalistic way. The media gives us this. We want the media to do this. Please media hand down what we want from media Mt. Olympus."
The problem with this, according to Sirota, is that it disempowers us and puts us in a subservient role begging the media gods for something when in face we are now living in an era when we have more ability to be our own media than we have in the past.
This is why he called on people to "be your own media."
He also brought media down to a basic level saying it is just communication with people. He called community organizing media based on this qualification.