A dire need to support independent media

01/21/2010

It’s a new year and a new decade. Why not invest in responsible citizenship by contributing to consumer-supported media?

Approximately six corporations control the information the mass media audience in this country receives. While most outlets don’t distort as much as Fox, none will tell you what the audience won’t like hearing, or the advertisers, or especially the corporate owners. Much of what we citizens need to know in a timely manner does not survive these filters. What we are offered is limited to superficiality, spin and a stunning shortage of factual information. Why not give funding to the independents not obliged to special interests?

In the United Kingdom, the Chilcot Inquiry is currently investigating how the British were conned into participating in the Iraq War by the Blair Administration on the claim that Saddam Hussein had WMDs and posed a threat to that nation and, of course, our own, with whom Blair was in close collaboration. It now appears that the former prime minister certainly knew that the threat did not exist. It was about regime change, not self-defense. And, of course, the evidence of transatlantic efforts to mislead the public in both countries show coordination and collusion from the “dodgy dossier” alluded to by Colin Powell at the U.N. to the Downing Street memos, wherein the intelligence was to be fixed to match the policy.

And it was.

While it is admirable that our British allies pursue accountability, little, if any, of this inquiry has made it into the U.S. news, and those responsible here face no such grilling. Indeed, those in the media who supported the lies rest secure in their “punditry,” Bill O’Reilly, for example; and those who questioned remain exiled — Donahue, say.

And it’s all behind us, so who’s interested? But wouldn’t it be helpful if the public knew before such fateful decisions to spend trillions and spill the blood of at least a million humans, including thousands of our own?

Many here did. They knew as the “evidence” fell apart lie by lie, even before the start of the war. They knew, for example, because citizen-supported e-zine, Truthout, published CIA analysts’ complaints of pressure from Cheney’s office to back dubious intelligence, as well as other evidence that the fix was in. Why not send them a check so that they can continue to give the early warning we so badly need?

And instead of industry-funded disinformation on global warming and peak oil, why not support actual science on Richard Heinberg’s “Museletter”? Or give Democracy Now! a contribution. This Pacifica station provides a picture of dire conditions in Gaza, for example, that U.S. news consumers are systematically shielded from, but which inflame hatred and acts of terror. Even that embattled war horse Public Broadcasting System deserves your support as it struggles to program in-depth news with The News Hour, BBC World News at 5 p.m., Bill Moyers and various educational specials.

My list is hardly complete, and likely others would have their own, but honest, independent media hasn’t the resources to compete with the moneyed giants. If citizens are to have a chance to acquire the facts we need, to connect the dots and make good decisions as voters, we need to give them enough to do their jobs.

Margaret Morris, Ventura


Moomjean, the sometime conservative
So conservative columnist Paul Moomjean, who has never met a government welfare program he liked, is out of work and on the dole (Right Persuasion, 1/7).  I suppose I should say “receiving unemployment compensation,” but like Moomjean, I reject PC talk. I prefer to call a spade a spade — or in this case, a deadbeat a deadbeat. 

He hasn’t lost his anti-government bias, however. His latest complaint?  Them lazy gumment workers are hard to reach on the phone. Worse yet, they aren’t getting the dole check into his mailbox fast enough.

How incredibly rich. You couldn’t write satire better than this if you tried.

Rick Scott, Ventura


Intersection of doom
Recently, my boyfriend and I had an experience with the Ventura Police Department similar to the one Joe Cardella describes in last week’s letter “Why good men go bad” (Letters, 1/7). We were at the intersection of Santa Clara and Main Street, an intersection which we refer to as the “The Juncture of Death” due to its baffling array of lights and signage, where my boyfriend committed a driving faux pas, which will cost $261 along with the aggravation Joe so eloquently describes in his letter.

It seems reasonable to surmise that as a direct result of the taxpayers’ decision back in November to deny more funding for VPD, this fine organization has decided to generate its own revenue by more aggressively ticketing its citizenry. I strongly recommend that the Ventura Police Department remember for whom they work and also take note of the tension inherent in these days and times where greed is the order of the day and where rebellion is a strong possibility.

Julie Schaab, Ventura

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