The New Progressive Movement and Media Diversity
By PETER PHILLIPS
Director of Project Censored
The Progressive Movement emerged among working people over 100 years ago as a counter movement to the negative effects of industrialization, business concentration, corruption, labor abuses, pollution and wealth inequality. Numerous changes occurred during the movement including: political reform, rights of recall, city planning/zoning laws, content label laws, labor/worker safety laws, aid to dependent children, and the recognition that poverty was often created by social conditions.
The Progressive Movement also included the creation of schools of journalism, whereby journalists were trained to present objective accounts of current events and address the many issues of power and inequality in society. At the turn of the century most cities had several newspapers, and the diversity and ethics of journalism made for lively coverage and competitive scoops on socio-political issues.
Today people share many of the common values associated with the Progressive Movement a century ago. Due process, grassroots democracy, freedom of information, equality, enviornmental concerns and human rights remain strong values among working people in the United States. Working people share common concerns regarding government/business corruption, globalization, international exploitation, the decline of living wage jobs and the loss of individual freedoms. Missing today however is journalistic coverage of the reasons and events underlying these concerns of working people. 98% of the cities in the U.S. have one daily newspaper and these are increasing owned by corporate chains. Gone is a diversity of competitive news sources and in their place are monolithic corporate systems that offer entertainment/celeberity news, crime, tragedy, and infomercials.
A small handfull of alternative independent news sources remain as some of the few exceptions to this national-mega-news system. This newspaper may be one of the few hundred independent news sources left in the country. It is a terrible tragedy and disservice to American democracy for our public to become the best entertained yet least informed citizenry in the world. However, we have evolved in that direction as the ratings driven corporate news media continue their dependence on public relations specialists for exciting sound bites and quotes. ( Real investigative reporting cuts in to profits margins) PR specialists work for the White House, government agencies and the top corporations. Their primary concern is to protect their employers special interests. In fact, more PR specialists work today than actual investigative reporters in the US.
Yet some hope remains, The New Progressive Movement emerging in the U.S. had it's tea party in Seattle, it's Concord in Washington D.C., and plans numerous actions in the immediate future. A powerful and unique feature of this new movement is the formation of independent media centers and the coordinated release of a diversity of news and information.
Independent media and the New Progressives realize that socio-political reform will not emerge without media reform. The New Progressive Movement (NPM) in the U.S. covers information and news and exposes the special interests interlocks of the top 200 corporations and Western governments in their quest for global control. Independent news gives heart to the continued manifestation of progressive values and the democratic systems. NPM allows unfiltered news and ideas to drift into the consciousness of working people from a diversity of sources. NPM is about empowerment and a belief and trust in the people united. Our great grandparents worked together across political parties to make the necessary reforms and build a stronger working class America. We can do the same and our actions will have implications for the entire world. Supporting independent media is an immediate political action to which we can all engage. Lets cheer, checkbook, and rebuild local independent media diversity for ourselves and the 7th generation. Doing so can save our hearts, our democratic process and our planet.
Peter Phillips is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Sonoma State
University and Director of Project Censored
Peter Phillips Ph.D.
Sociology Department/Project Censored
Sonoma State University
1801 East Cotati Ave.
Rohnert Park, CA 94928
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