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
707-664-2588

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