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Network News Boycott: Save Your Soul

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We 've known for a long time that the mainstream media cannot, by and large, be trusted to tell the public the whole, unadulterated truth. And yet, most of us still tune in to CNN as we drink our morning coffee, or allow the NBC evening news to trickle in as we sit down to dinner.

Enough already.

Just as the right has taken over the mainstream media, we have taken over the alternative media. As network owners and producers inch closer and closer to turning the nightly news into an endless propaganda mill in order to curry favor with whoever is in the White House, we have an increasing responsibility to use what we have built to tell the American people what is going on here and in the rest of the world.

With serious and popular news outlets like the Guerilla News Network, AlterNet, and TomPaine (just a few among a great many, including this one), and a domination of the blogosphere, we now have the tools we need to deliver honest and complete news coverage and hard-hitting political commentary to the entire world. We don 't need the traditional outlets to provide endlessly looping coverage of bombs being dropped (but not the people they are dropped on), celebrities being arrested (but not convicted), and politicians lying (but not being held accountable) anymore. It 's all a game, invented to keep us from thinking about what life is all about and about what the media is really intended to do.

A free and unencumbered press should serve as a check on the government --it should praise it when it is deserved, but should primarily serve the public by investigating corruption and abuses and giving the people the information that they need to form conscientious opinions. A forum for critical analysis, an outlet for individuals and groups to speak truth to power. The internet information revolution is underway, and it grows in influence every day ...

But this reformation is not yet complete. As long as we are still drinking our daily CNN Kool-Aid, we are supporting a corrupted and intellectually dishonest system of nonstop infotainment. Even traditionally "liberal " mainstream media outlets like The New York Times are beginning to fade into obscurity, with independent bloggers investigating stories and freelance journalists getting to the important stories that the networks skip right over.


I wrote a few days ago about the Progressive Revolution. I believe that we are in a state of crisis in this country, and that what we have set in motion in the past six years will ultimately result in a violent backlash of public support for progressive ideas and a change in the American political landscape. As the quote goes, this revolution will not be televised. It will, however, be driven by the passionate progressives who, often out of their own fervent wish for a better future rather than for payment, work tirelessly in front of computer screens for hours every day and on the ground as volunteers to get the message out to as many people as possible. We do this because we have a vision of what this country is meant to be, what it can be, and because we know that if we don 't do it, no one else will.

We must not let our media be less to us than the mainstream media. The mainstream media is a mill which produces entertainment thinly veiled as information. We know this now, we 've known it for years, and we must take a stand.

Our nation 's founders enshrined the right of the freedom of the press in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution because they wanted the press to serve as a check on the powers of government. In a society where everything from water to iPods to surrogate mothers to skyscrapers is for sale, the mainstream media is a product that is bought and sold.

Save your money. Save your mind. Save your soul.

 

Katherine Brengle is a freelance writer and activist.

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