The Corporate Mainstream Media completely missed the Alternative State of the Union press conference and seminar conducted at the Democratic National Committee by the 62 member Congressional Progressive Caucus, The Nation magazine and The Institute for Policy Studies on the morning of Bush 's SOTU speech. The total lack of coverage by major broadcast media outlets, cable news, major newspapers and C-SPAN demonstrated clearly that the "liberal media " is a myth.
The event highlighted a comprehensive legislative Agenda completely opposed to that of the Bush Republican majority currently controlling Congress. Prominent progressive Congressional leaders presented a program of reform proposals on economic issues, foreign policy, health care, labor issues, environmental policy and civil liberties often more accurately reflect the majority opinion of the American public than that of George W. Bush. The public deserves to be exposed to the alternative views that were presented. The media poorly served the American public by ignoring the event and the proposals presented. Will they correct these oversights or were the oversights deliberate political sabotage by the Corporate Mainstream Media?
Congresswomen Lynn Woolsey and Barbara Lee co-chair the Congressional Progressive Caucus. The other 62 Congresspersons who are members include such prominent Democratic leaders as Jan Schakowsky, Jim McDermott, Sherrod Brown, Cynthia McKinney, George Miller, Pete Stark, Bernie Sanders, Maxine Waters, Henry Waxman, James McGovern, Danny Davis, Barney Frank, Dennis Kucinich, Jerrold Nadler, Tom Udall, John Conyers,, Charles Rangel, Louise Slaughter, Bobby Rush and Jesse Jackson, Jr. If the Democrats take control of Congress after the 2006 elections, fully 10 House Committees and 34 Sub-Committees would be chaired by Caucus members. Almost a third of all Democratic Congresspersons are members of the Progressive Caucus.
At the Alternative State of the Union conference, detailed plans to withdraw from Iraq were discussed. An entirely different approach to energy independence was presented. Measures to both protect civil liberties and effectively combat terrorism were discussed in detail. The economic collapse of the American middle class, the distressed condition of American workers and the Republican "war on the poor " were emphasized and explored at length.
Bush 's budget deficits and many policy failures were discussed by members of Congress like Maxine Waters, Barbara Lee, Danny Davis, Lynn Woolsey, Pete Stark, Dennis Kucinich, etc. The Editor of The Nation, Katrina Vanden Heuvel joined the discussion. They discussed a broad variety of social ills and proposals from the progressive community that offer benefits to the vast majority of American citizens instead of an elite few.
The Nation magazine devoted an entire special edition to proposals from the Congressional Progressive Caucus called An Alternative State of the Union: Paths to Renewal. In that edition, 20 members of Congress each wrote articles on specific legislative proposals and public policy issues. Marcy Kaptur wrote about Saving Small Farmers. Raul Grijalva penned Coming Clean & Green. Sheila Jackson Lee wrote on Accountable Corporations. Bob Filner wrote Model Healthcare which presented a much wiser plan than Bush 's State of the Union proposal. George Miller examined Employee Free Choice about workers being able to more easily unionize free of corporate intimidation. These issues have been largely ignored from the progressive point of view. It is unfortunate that only The Nation is giving these proposals the kind of serious, prominent coverage they clearly deserve! Many may become law shortly after the 2006 or 2008 elections.
The event was covered by some progressive media outlets including both Air America Pacifica radio. It was attended by some really important figures in the anti-Iraq War movement including Cindy Sheehan. This writer was present to represent Democratic Talk Radio. Missing were the reporters representing our major dailies, television and cable news.
I urge all citizens to research the Alternative State of the Union proposals and publicize them widely. Activists should demand an explanation from all Corporate Mainstream Media outlets for their lack of coverage of progressive political figures, events and proposals.
Written by Stephen Crockett (co-host, Democratic Talk Radio http://www.democratictalkradio.com ). Mail: P.O. Box 283, Earleville, Maryland 21919. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org .
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