Archive for December 14, 2010
Plotting A Course For Iowa Media Activists
by Dave Bradley
One of the biggest problems that faces this country in my humble opinion is that there is a total lack of diversity of media opinion in this country. Like me, you have probably shouted at your TV or radio a time or two: “Tell the damned truth” or “Tell the whole story.”
If you have followed this column you will note that this is my major theme. Democrats have great ideas, but they must be sold and the media is the messenger. It is just that 95% of the media is owned by those who purposely bury or distort our message. They are in control of the media and as such package their ‘product’ to sell or not sell as they desire.
We need to at least control some media. The government will not simply hand over some properties. Since these are privately owned properties I can’t imagine any way it could be done.
Since this is the time of year for reassessment and renewal, it seems to me to be a good time to review and possibly plot a course for Iowa activists.
Print media: While this was the backbone of the Revolution, cost and speed of communication has made print media very tricky as the horse to ride. There are good magazines such as The Nation and Mother Jones. I would strongly suggest people subscribe to either or both as a good basis of progressive thought.
Television: Well, it is a very expensive proposition. I will openly admit I know little about telecasting. One avenue to explore is to make sure that if you have a local access cable channel progressives have at least a weekly program on it. Also, there are at least two good alternative programs on satellite and some cable companies. They are FreeSpeechTV (FSTV) and LinkTV. Sending them a few bucks could really help them expand their reach and improve programming. If you are not familiar with their services, I recommend that you check them out here freespeech.org or here linktv.org/
Radio: There may be some openings here. Low-Power FM (LPFM) which would have allowed local small radio stations to exist on unoccupied FM frequencies needed to be reapproved by the 111th congress. While the House passed the bill (Local Community Radio Act) back in early 2009, the senate has refused to budge on it. Like so many other bills in this session, a few senators have held up passage through the use of an instrument in the senate called “secret hold.” Because it is a ‘secret’ the identity of the holding senator is very difficult to unmask. As such the bill will probably end up buried. We have sent out many appeals to call Harkin and Grassley to see if the holder can be unmasked. I will ask again – please call Harkin’s office and Grassley’s office to see if the secret hold can be rescinded and this bill acted on. LPFM could be a game changer for us.
Internet: Well, there are really great possibilities here provided that internet neutrality is maintained. And that is not guaranteed. Next week (Dec. 21) is the next open meeting of the FCC. The first item on the agenda is “Open Internet Order:” There is much discussion whether the proposed rule will be strong enough. We need to keep internet neutrality in effect. Please add your name to the petition from the Save The Internet campaign
Internet neutrality opens the possibility of a much more accessible internet radio. With the invention of mobile internet, the probability that the next car you have may have access to internet radio is a good one. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to tune in progressive radio in your car?
This needs to be a major focus next year. Right now the progressive wing is much like the proverbial tree falling in the forest. If no one hears us, do we make a sound? I happen to believe that we are truly the majority, but we need to be heard.
E-mail Dave here
Dave Bradley is a self-described
retired observer of American politics “trying to figure out how we got
so screwed up.” An
Iowa City native currently living in West Liberty, Dave and his wife
Carol have two grown children who “sadly had to leave the state to find
decent paying jobs.“
[Note from the editors: To get started, check out previous BFIA posts on media; this is not a complete list]
Who owns your local radio station?
Radio Stations in Iowa
Iowa Broadcasters Association
The Public and Broadcasting: How to Get the Most Service from Your Local Station
The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio
Study: Localism Key to Correcting Conservative Talk Radio Imbalance
Is Conservative Talk Being Rammed Down Iowans' Throats?
Pew Research on Health Care Reform Validates Need for Media Reform
Grassley letter to Genachowski
Prometheus Radio Project
BFIA & Fallon Forum Take On Right Wing Talk Radio In Iowa
Dave Bradley's writings on the history of the stolen media:
in the Age of Consolidated Media
Our Message Out: Fighting Fire with FM (and Net Neutrality)
Great Surprise – The Telecommunications Act of 1996
Plane Facts About Media: What I Learned While in Flight
Brief History of Media Consolidation
on the Media in Iowa
Iowa Progressive Radio: This Week On The Fallon Forum
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Monday, Maureen McCue and Michelle Gin discuss Physicians for Social Responsibility's Coal Campaign. And in case there's any doubt, they're agin' it. Might have something to do with the fact that physicians care about folks' health, and coal's health-related liabilities are coming under increased scrutiny.
Tuesday, Steffen Schmidt and Arnie Arnesen discuss the political maneuvering we're starting to see as hordes of Republican presidential wannabees jockey for advantage in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Wednesday, Tom Litchfield, the State Deer Biologist, joins us to discuss the growing problem of prime deer-hunting land being bought-up by folks who live elsewhere. What effect is this having on efforts to control Iowa's deer population? What effect is the forest reserve tax break (which benefits many absentee landowners) having on rural counties' budgets? And is the Iowa Legislature likely to do anything about the problem?
Thursday, we're joined by retired ISU chemistry professor Bernie Gerstein, who has been on the Fallon Forum in the past talking about coal and climate change. Turns out Bernie has some pretty strong feelings on US foreign policy as well, and that'll be the topic of our discussion this time.
Also Thursday, I'm filling in for Bradshaw, and Frank Cordaro joins me at 1:00 to discuss a radical Christian activist's take on the meaning and message of Christmas. At 2:00, we'll dig into the class-action job discrimination case against Wal-Mart, which has grown from a half-dozen women to the largest such case in U.S. history. At 3:00, we'll discuss the NRA's proposal to require every Iowan to carry a gun (kidding . . . but seeing how far the NRA wants to go during the next session of the Iowa Legislature, maybe mandatory ownership is next).
On Friday at 1:00, Deb Thornton tries to convince me that Governor-elect Branstad should reject the $300,000 grant Iowa landed to support expansion of passenger rail. At 2:00, Chuck Raasch, who writes for Gannett out of Washington, DC, discusses his recent editorial: “Deficit? What Deficit?” And at 3:00, an undisclosed member of the Iowa Legislature is my guest as we talk about what's likely to happen on the Hill this session.