We like to complain about the corporate media, but too few of us support independent media. Across the internet, low power AM and FM stations, cable access and in publishing a great many have risen to take up the challenge first heralded more than 40 years ago by Gil Scott Herron’s “The Revolution will not be televised,” and reinvigorated by the Occupy Movement.
There are reasons for that. The high profile so-called Progressive media sources, like Al Gore, NPR, MSNBC and others on an all too short list have either betrayed true progressives and liberals, or attempted to co-opt them altogether for nakedly partisan purposes. Discontent among young voters who flocked to groups like Occupy, or environmental groups, or the I can’t breathe justice rights issue was abandoned or mocked by the democrats, revealing pure political motivations while abandoning the real base of the Progressive and Political movements.
Commentator Thom Hartmann has brought a pale indignation, and who can sit through another ill-prepared debate he holds with a right winger who reveals Hartmann’s willingness to go to great links in bending to the illusion of “gentlemanly” dialogue. Leslie Marshall couldn’t suck up to right wing propagandist Sean Hannity more in her desire for face time on FOX. Ed Schultz, who during the Madison protests in 2010-11, emerged as possibly challenging the media hegemony of the right is now all but…no, he’s forgotten. Stephanie Miller’s cogent arguments, when she attempts to make one at all largely amounts to her saying “Duh!” MSNBC simply is moving the nation to the right more slowly and under the costume of progressivism. The nominally progressive WCPT recently lost the only environmental show in Chicago, hosted by Mike Nowak, creating a monumental void in an already underrepresented segment of the market. NPR and the local Chicago community channel WTTW have all swung decidely to the right, wishing not to confront or run afoul of the right wing, corporate coup in washington DC.
Nowhere in this so-called liberal media are substantive discussions on climate change, race and immigrant justice, XL keystone, Enbridge, net neutrality or the TPP. the abandonment of those issues by the dems, I believe, has driven many from the party.
Hopeless? Not so much. Messaging however requires the involvement of citizens on several fronts. The first is in fighting to protect internet neutrality. It is the last true media still available for the unfettered, unfiltered voice of the people. Second, is to support and engage local, non-corporate and alternative media. Tune in. It is easier than you can imagine now. Access to Q4 radio can be done now from virtually any device. I listen daily in the car from my smart phone. There are others in Chicago as well, creating some of the most interesting, best informed and innovative programming on the air. Or you could listen to the same old boring crap on Chicago radio; all of it careful scripted and crafted to follow editorial dictates by media magnates in bed with one of the two political parties dominating power and money and messaging in America.
Finally, the Left muust learn to message like the right. Here is where we win. Here is the perfect opportunity to be a smart ass, because behind our sarcasm are deep truths and realities. Behind their flimsy bumper sticker lines are veiled ideals of greed and privilage, and a fundamental inhumanity that leaves the poor, the minorities, the elderly and the handicapped depserate, forgotten and abandoned.
They like phrases like Reagan’s smug retort, as he and his administration laid the groundwork for the slow and careful corporate take over of our nation and the theft of its wealth-from the mouths and pockets of the people. “The scriest words in the English language, I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” Hmm, you mean like FEMA, the CDC, Social Security, the FAA, paved roads and safe food?
maybe if we shot back with equal disdain and smarminess, like: “I’m from the government and I’ve been sold to the highest bidder!”
How about, I’m from the corporation and I’m selling you what you once got for your tax dollars.”
Perhaps this, I’m from the corporation and I get paid twice, once in subsidies and also from you!”
Or there’s this: I’m from the mega-church and I’m here to help; please surrender your soul.”
And my favorite: “I’m from the media and I’m the millionaire who speaks for the middle class.”
Listen Saturday’s from 11am-1pm to WC Turck, Brian Murray and guests on Chicago’s real alternative media, AM1680, Q4 radio, streaming at www.que4.org.
WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. He is currently working on a new book “Shoot Down: An unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com
The Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) is a conservative think tank with offices in Chicago and Springfield, Illinois, and member of the State Policy Network. IPI is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as of 2011. IPI is also a member of ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force and Education Task Force. Senior Budget and Tax Policy Analyst, Amanda Griffin-Johnson, presented model legislation (the “State Employee Health Savings Account Act”) to the HHS task force at ALEC’s 2011 annual meeting. Collin Hitt, Director of Education Policy, is a private sector member of the Education Task Force representing IPI. He sponsored the “Local Government Transparency Act” at the ALEC 2011 States and Nation Policy Summit. In its 2006 annual report the Cato Institute states that it made a grant of $50,000 to the Illinois Policy Institute. The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank founded by Charles G. Koch and funded by the Koch brothers.