I was responding to an e-mail last night, explaining that most of us are aware that a large part of the media's complicity with the Republican agenda has to do with their wealthy/corporate ownership.
To make a long story short, I said that as long as the media corporations and their parents are still driven by the good old-fashioned profit motive, there is some chance of either activist (protests; boycotts of the parent company's products) or market/Darwinian (declining ratings due to inferior product) pressures having some success. But if their sole purpose is to serve as propaganda outlets, then there's not a whole lot we can do, at least not directly. I don't hold out a lot of hope for the revival of the Fairness Doctrine; my expectation is that it would be manipulated and gamed so that "balance" would be represented by a moderate Republican viewpoint opposing a fanatical right-wing extremist one, or possibly a fanatical left-wing extremist who would be used to paint all Democrats asraving nutcases.
The idea that makes me most excited, however, is that of an alternative news network that reports all the stories the rest of the media avoids. I think such a network could have a lot of
success - consider just how many juicy scandals the MSM has passed up out of political loyalty or simple fear. I think people would be all over it, and would savor the feeling of being in the know. I'm partly inspired by the anecdotal stories I read in Eschaton comments, about fellow liberals who have clued reasonable-but-underinformed Republicans in on some of the things "their" leaders have been up to, and the sense of dawning realization that they kindle. I think there are a lot of people who sense that they're not getting the full story, but don't know where to find it.
Notice that I said "alternative news network" up above, not "liberal news network." Tempting as it is to just create a liberal version of Fox News, dedicated solely to pro-liberal reporting, spin, and punditry, I would like to see the alternative network dedicate itself to more objective reporting, but without the false "balance" seen in the news today. It should have conservative contributors (preferably real ones, and not wingnuts), and it should feel free to report on stories that are unflattering or embarrassing to liberals and Democrats. I know that would sting, especially since the right-wing would use it as the ultimate unimpeachable source - "Even the liberal news network says Al Gore's beard looks stupid!" - but it would go a long way towards establishing credibility with the non- die-hard liberals who we need to reach.
I would also like to see an emphasis on in-depth factual analysis over opinionated punditry and Runaway Bride fluff, and a commitment to getting to the truth instead of just reporting what each side said and calling it a day (think The Daily Show with less funny and no Moment Of Zen). It should have some respected old-school newsies like, say, Walter Cronkite and Helen Thomas on its board of advisors to keep it honest. And, oh yeah, I sure would love to see Richard Clarke as the resident
on-air terrorism expert.
To sum up - if we believe that objective reality has an anti-Republican bias, then objective reality should be all we need to strive to present. I happen to also believe that it will prove more compelling than the fantasies and distractions offered up by the so-called news networks today - and better yet, if the other so-called news networks have any profit motivation at all,they will fall all over themselves trying to copy the formula.
By all means, let them.
Are you listening, Mr. Soros?