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We need progressive broadcast news, and we need it badly.  I'm not talking about progresive talk radio; I mean a real news service that presents a side of the news the traditional media does not, and political reporting, as currently practiced, apparently cannot.

On the way to work at 5:15 AM, I listened to KNX, the big CBS-owned AM news station out of Los Angeles.  The host (we'll call him John) turned to the Buffet Rule vote held yesterday, and, talking with one of KNX's "political consultants," (we'll call him Bob) engaged in roughly the following exchange (paraphrased from memory):

"So the President is going to be making a speech today in which he will criticize the role of speculators in driving up oil prices.  Bob, isn't this just an example of election-year posturing on the Administration's part?"

"Yes, John.  This is just part of the Obama Administration's populist posturing, trying to position themselves better against the Republicans come election time."

There's a heck of a lot to unpack from that 10-second exchange, including the following:

- There was no discussion of the actual, and very significant, role of speculators in driving up oil prices.  Instead, all that was discussed was why the Administration was raising the issue.

- Even then, the rationale provided for Obama's raising the issue was dismissed as merely an election-year ploy, or "posturing".  There was no discussion of whether Obama actually believes that speculators drive up oil prices, or whether his administration thinks it's a big enough problem to actually address this year (or next).  The implication was that Obama was simply engaging in a bit of Romneying--saying what he thought needed to be said to get re-elected.  Worse, the exchange between John & Bob made the subject seem entirely trivial and not worth discussing, let alone bringing up in the context of a Presidential speech.

- And finally, it is obvious both Bob and John had no idea, or did not care, who was actually listening to them - commuters in their cars.  Commuters who spend a hell of a lot on gas on LA freeways every year.  KNX was effectively telling them "We don't care about your concerns, and we certainly don't care about how much you're paying for gas or how speculators are screwing you at the pump."  Worse, they're actually telling those same consumers not to even pay attention to the issue, as it's just so much election-year "posturing".  Not a real issue.  Just forget about it next time you fill up.

I have to emphasize that KNX is arguably a "mainstream" media outlet; they're not aggressively pro-Republican like Fox.  And yet, this is the kind of not-so-subtle Republican messaging that's crept into mainstream reporting these days, the kind of messaging that the American people are continually bombarded with day in and day out.  We need our own brodcast news to combat it and give people a fresher, more acurate, view of events.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock

    The road to Hell is paved with pragmatism.

    by TheOrchid on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 07:28:49 AM PDT

  •  sort of begs the question... (0+ / 0-)

    Is Obama going to try to do something about oil speculation?

  •  No We Don't, Because We Can't Get It At Any Time (0+ / 0-)

    foreseeable right now.

    What we need is to start working on progressive movement messaging infrastructure outside the major media.

    The rightwing revolution faced the same obstacle back in the 60's, and that's the first problem they tackled, long before almost any of us knew there was a movement at all.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 07:42:53 AM PDT

    •  I can get plenty of "what we can't do"... (0+ / 0-)

      ...from Republicans, thank you very much.  What you propose is worthy an important, and entirely consistent with what I'm proposing.  It's not either/or.  We have to have media outlets that a great number of people actually listen to, rely on, depend on, otherwise all of our messaging just vaporizes.

      Oh, and the rightwing revolution?  The revolutionaries control their own media empire now (e.g., Clear Channel Communications).  Their media empire distributes their message.  They followed my advice, and are winning.

      We absolutely need our own broadcast media.

      The road to Hell is paved with pragmatism.

      by TheOrchid on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 07:54:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  So when do you start? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TheOrchid
        The revolutionaries control their own media empire now (e.g., Clear Channel Communications).  Their media empire distributes their message.  They followed my advice, and are winning.
        RadioTVDeals.com: AM stations for sale

        I'm in for a few thousand bucks.

        -7.75 -4.67

        "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

        There are no Christians in foxholes.

        by Odysseus on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 09:36:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Actually, if you Google... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Odysseus

          ..."radio stations for sale" you come up with quite a few sites like the one you link to!  I was actually surprised there were so many stations up for sale, or lease (including one here in SD).  I'm going to take a stab at drawing up a business plan, but since this isn't my area of expertise, it'll take a while.  Once I get a working draft together, I'll throw it out to the community to see (1) who's interested, and (2) what comments everyone has.

          Thanks for your comment!

          The road to Hell is paved with pragmatism.

          by TheOrchid on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 10:54:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Hello! We're working on exactly that! (0+ / 0-)

      Could use some help. I know, I know. "It's just you yahoos yacking on internet radio. And, not very good at it at that!" Fine, fine. But, "activist radio" has been our theme from Day One, attempting to crank out dozens of activist radio stations from sea to shining sea. I provide local "OWS Radio" for our local yokel OWS group to keep everyone up to date and provide a sort of General Assembly for those that can't be there physically. So, as I said, we could use the help.

  •  No I think: (0+ / 0-)

    "- And finally, it is obvious both Bob and John had no idea, or did not care, who was actually listening to them - commuters in their cars.  Commuters who spend a hell of a lot on gas on LA freeways every year.  KNX was effectively telling them "We don't care about your concerns, and we certainly don't care about how much you're paying for gas or how speculators are screwing you at the pump."  Worse, they're actually telling those same consumers not to even pay attention to the issue, as it's just so much election-year "posturing".  Not a real issue.  Just forget about it next time you fill up"

    That not only do they KNOW their audience is commuters paying thru the nose for the gas to drive their cars, but they are trying to subliminally gin up the outrage of selfsame drivers who are paying thru the nose and giving them a target with a big bullseye. President Obama.

    My 2 cents anyway

    •  When Obama was the one raising the issue... (0+ / 0-)

      ...of speculators driving prices up?  Hard to see how they were making Obama the target here.

      The road to Hell is paved with pragmatism.

      by TheOrchid on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 08:09:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  And no mention of America's 'Car Culture'? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus
      And finally, it is obvious both Bob and John had no idea, or did not care, who was actually listening to them - commuters in their cars.  Commuters who spend a hell of a lot on gas on LA freeways every year.  KNX was effectively telling them "We don't care about your concerns, and we certainly don't care about how much you're paying for gas or how speculators are screwing you at the pump."  Worse, they're actually telling those same consumers not to even pay attention to the issue, as it's just so much election-year "posturing".  Not a real issue.  Just forget about it next time you fill up.
      Now, a truly Progressive station would have used that opportunity to discuss why all of these people are tied up in cars in the first place, why realistic alternatives such as telecommuting and sensible mass transit don't exist, and why Peak Oil is consigning Happy Motoring to an evolutionary dead end.

      "Tell me something, it's still 'We the people', right?"

      by radabush on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 08:39:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Start by 'de-corporitizing' the airwaves (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheOrchid

    The primary problem is not that we don't have Progressive Broadcast News so much as we have a broadcast media that is exclusively corporate-owned and controlled - directly violating the FCC mandate for serving the public interest.

    I've long advocated the solution of making the "public airwaves" truly public again by limiting the issuing of over-the-air broadcast licenses for radio and television to non-profit community and educational institutions only.

    As far as I'm concerned, Clear Channel/iHeartFascism, News Corp, Disney, Gannett and their ilk should be restricted to subscription-based pay services such as satellite, cable or pay-per-view internet streaming. If people want to have their intelligence insulted, they should have to pay good money for the privilege.

    Meanwhile, for the rest of us, let a thousand KPFAs bloom across the country...

    "Tell me something, it's still 'We the people', right?"

    by radabush on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 08:29:37 AM PDT

    •  I think a better approach... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus

      ...is for Progressives to incorporate, corporatize, and out-compete the players you mention, rather than restricting them, but I hear what you're saying.

      The road to Hell is paved with pragmatism.

      by TheOrchid on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 08:58:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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