WHY WON’T CORPORATE MEDIA COVER VOTING INTEGRITY ISSUES?
Mellissa Scott, has been privy to much of the latter part of the twentieth centuries high profile news events spanning her tenure with News magazines like 60 Minutes, 20/20, Nightline, and Dateline. During her hour long conversation with Voice of the Voters host MaryAnn Gould, she shared not insider knowledge about specific events, but insight into the ways of the Fourth Estate and how modern media is evolving.Learning of the hierarchy of the five estates (In ascending order; clergy, nobility, middle class, the press, then leaving everyone else to fall into the fifth estate, “my home turf”.) , made for the perfect segue to her statement that “the press of late has served the upper class”. Yup, given how few corporate families now lay claim to ownership of the mass media, the rarified air of owning a media outlet(s) makes them indeed the upper crust. In a juxtaposition of then and now, she spoke of how one of the more prominent of the founding fathers saw the potential influence of the fourth estate, “Democracy as he (Thomas Jefferson) saw it, could be under minded by the commercial media”. Is it any wonder that the Declaration of Independence was such a compelling document? Jefferson and his peers understood the foundational basics of democracy. Very little of what they committed to paper was based upon speculation, they understood the cause and effect of the democratic process. What in god’s name has happened that modern “leaders” are so clueless about the basics?
Continuing the discussion along the lines of media and those that they serve, Ms. Scott noted that “the beginning of where America was overwhelmed by commercialism” was in the post WWII baby boom era. Those of us that are baby boomers can attest to the shift in priorities that is conveyed by mass media. It has pissed us all off to no end, with little meaningful outcome. Frustratingly, a byproduct of all of the shifting priorities and perceived realities is that much of the responsibility for the upkeep of American democracy has been vacated by those that should be most involved, the American people. Her observation that, “US citizens have given up the reins” is emblematic of and supports the adage , “we have met the enemy and it is us”.
Ms. Scott responded to Mary Ann Gould’s question about, “How do we do this ourselves”, by explaining the need for citizen involvement. Using the story of Paul Revere as being a perceived lone historical player, she explained that he was actually one of a community of players that had a grand plan to execute. “Citizen journalism is about talking amongst ourselves ‘ was Scotts assertion, and it is “Time to start seeing themselves as part of a group”. In the case of those of us swept up in the struggle for voting integrity, our “group” is actually many disparate groups waging common purpose battles in theaters of action all across America. Our disparate groups need to coalesce into an instrument of blunt force trauma, and direct that energy at the heart of the problem. Remember…a good big dog will beat a good little dog no matter how much fight is in that little fella”. Size matters.
Mary Ann’s guest then discussed how corporate media is very concerned that “Kids are doing “content” (programming) from their garage” and “People are conversing without the media”. Blogging, mission specific websites, personal websites are all platforms available to the common man that could in certain instances grow into a bully pulpit. That scares those that are presently the 800 pound bullies. “The new media…is the opportunity for just about anybody to have their own network, just like ABC”. Well, maybe almost just like ABC, but without the money and porno star looking female anchors”. Yeah, the LOOK of the mass media as changed along with its “fair and balanced” mission statement.
Keeping the conversation on the topic of the “New Media”, Ms. Scott explained that the “US is years behind with streaming programming”. She pointed to how European systems have been real time interactive for years on their cell phones. Supporting the shift in media power, she said that, “Newspapers are playing catch-up to the Internet”, “which is a real shift in the way that we get information”. Bottom line is that times are a changing, and no one has a crystal ball. But I do believe that her assessments are intuitive and dead-on based upon her understanding of the industry. Her long time familiarity with the processes of the mass media gives her a real leg up on sensing change.
Again pointing an accurate finger at Americas citizenry, Ms. Scott said that, “American citizens have the father knows best attitude. The Government will protect us, we should trust the fatherly government was her analogy. And along with the voting crisis of the first part of the 21st century fate threw in a grand diversion in the form of a war against Islamic lunatics. Our eyes were on so many balls that dropping a few was expected and tolerated. It was political triage, and the voting process was selected for immediate surgery. That urgency brought about the flawed rationale found in the Help America Vote Act, and its deficient sibling, the Elections Assistance Commission. Clearly, the modern father is not that wise kind man of 1950’s television land. The modern “father” is a drunkard , or was a drunkard (literally) and should be arrested for child endangerment.The dawn of the 21st century delivered an arm full of challenges for America, and the entire planet. Ms. Scott confessed that the brave new media world is one where she says, “I cannot get this story (voting integrity) in the major media”. Cruelly coincidental it was that America found herself fighting off Islamic lunatics just after having a voting catastrophe that planted great big ole seeds of doubt in the minds of American voters. That war on terror thing with all of the concurrent threat alerts ad nauseam served as just another distraction that allowed the profit motivated forces to sway the thinking of those people charged to define the mission statement of the Help America Vote Act. From that point where HAVA became law, Americas voting process was screwed.
The fatally flawed rationale of HAVA combined with the fatally flawed nature of the computer style voting machines created a landscape where disaster became the norm. “The machines are like toys” said Mary Ann’s informative guest. “It’s not effective” and, “The citizens are being dismissed” were points well taken from the 60 Minutes veteran. The influence of legislation like HAVA and their bastard children like the Elections Assistance Commission is pervasive and negative in the extreme. They have grown powerful so quickly and their power is of such sweeping scope that one decision on their part can negate, or bring about millions of grassroots man hours of work. Ms. Scott is completely aware of this reality and says, “How democracy is being undermined is the responsibility of each and every citizen”.
She correctly pointed out that the state of Pennsylvania may be the next Florida this coming November, only without the hanging chads! IT IS NOT TOO LATE FOR 2008! Pennsylvania can still be saved if we work quickly. I am going to take Mellissa at her word that the corporate media will not cover voting integrity as a national crisis issue. Thus, it is up to us to make the fuss all by our lonesome.
Call the Governor of Pennsylvania.
Call the Commissioners of Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
Call the Governor of Pennsylvania no matter which state is your legal domicile. This is an AMERICAN CRISIS, and all Americans have a right to be heard and a duty to speak.
Governor ED RENDELL…717-787-2500
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