I'm going to guess that the odds are that the daily newspapers and the local TV stations where you live are Republican friendly. This means, that at some level, you're dealing with stacked odds against your candidates. The right wing paper or TV station may not spend $40 million producing a hit ad or documentary or "docudrama" attacking the democratic party and its leaders, but it will do smaller things-- give more positive coverage for the Republican, for the conservative incumbent. They'll hit the democratic candidate harder. They'll ignore the green candidate..
And forget about the mainstream media, except for Keith Olberman (god bless him. I hope he doesn't suffer the fate of Phil Donahue) Consider this morning, on the five year anniversary of 9/11. when the mainstream media feature a ceremony with George Bush, with somber baroque background music. Where is the coverage of the other side, asking questions, giving counterpoint? Where is the outrage that the goodwill the world offered the US was squandered, that the unity the US shared has been obliterated by partisan hate spewed by the right wing media?
As the 2006 Elections near, Don't Depend on the Mainstream Media (MSM) Local or National
Sure, you can write LTE's (letters to the editor) and you might expect one neutral article in the run-up to election day. But you might as well expect ABC/Disney to be running your progressive candidates' campaigns, if you expect your local MSM to be acting in a fair, evenhanded way. It ain't happenin'.
It is time to take the media into our own hands. It would be nice if we could start printing our own dailies. That's not happening either. But we can take a lesson from Tom Paine. We can print one page "common sense" newsletters and flyers and plaster them all over the place. Glue them to telephone polls and street light polls. Post them on supermarket bulletin boards, Put them on the seats of the local theater. Hand them out at your church, synagogue or mosque after services. Put them on car windows in parking lots of malls or churches. Put them in mail boxes.
Want to save money, take a standard 8.5x11 sheet of paper and format your common sense broadsheet to be half or a quarter the size and print on both sides. Get it done at a copy place for about a nickel a page. Better, find a supportive small business to copy it for free or at cost-- about two or three cents a piece.
Stand in public areas and hand them out. Walk along the street and put them under the windshield wipers as you walk past parked cars on the street.
Try to create local websites with local news and put the web URL on the broadsheet. Or have us set up a local page at OpEdNEws, where you can have your own page for your town, city, township or county. We already have pages for every state. Then, start posting articles or links to articles that reflect your political interests and perspectives. Just drop us a line and we'll add your own local page.
I'm not saying to stop writing those letters to the editor. But don't stop there. Tell the advertisers in the paper that you're not happy with the uneven coverage the paper gives to one party or candidate. Ask them to write to the paper, INSISTING (not asking) that the paper or TV station do a more even handed job with both news coverage and editorial coverage. Ask them to copy you with their letter to the paper or TV station. Ask the advertiser to support your "commonsense" broadsides, either with or without credit.
If your town is like most, there are probably a few right wing syndicated talk shows, possibly some local right wing radio, probably a few local religious stations, which are also right wing, played around the clock, but no progressive talk radio shows, or maybe you're in one of the 90 or 100 Air America metropolitan broadcasting areas. It's amazing that here in the Philly area, one of the five largest metro areas in the country, we don't have ANY progressive radio. It's amazing that in Philly, which voted over 80% for Kerry, there is no progressive talk radio. Frankly, I blame the Democratic machine. They don't want the voters thinking for themselves. They have a tightly controlled system, where voters do what the local committee people tell them, and they don't want voters becoming better educated and aware than they are. Believe me, Philly needs independent progressive media desperately. It is shameful that the Democratic leadership has failed to make it happen. The 80% of Philadelphians should get organized and insist that the advertisers who suppor right wing radio, TV and newspapers also support left leaning meda. To make that happen, it will probably be neccessary to take back the Democratic party from the machine politicians.
But that's my local thing. You may have a similar situation. While there are certainly sympathetic journalists, most mainstream media in the US are owned by right wingers, especially the stations and papers that are parts of bigger syndicates or conglomerates. It's up to you. YOU can do something. YOU CAN circumvent the usual uneven coverage. Get together with other politically aware and active people. Some can write the broadsheets. Others can run them off on their printers or at copy places. Others can glue them to signs, put them under windshield wipers, slip them under doors.
We are in a war-- a war against the middle class. Don't let the bastards win. Do everything you can to fight them. This is simple. Do it. when you do, Let us know about it. Post your broadsheet as a comment after this article Post your ideas for how to do it better as comments. Write articles about your work. We'll run them. I've started two new pages, on OpEdNEws-- Commonsense, and Media PROGRESSIVE-- just to cover citizen created and supported media.
Don't be worried about your writing skills. Just get out and do it. If you run off 50 copies, that's great, 100, better. Do whatever you can do.
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