June 8, 2008

Bloggers, keep sloggin'. There's a long way to go.

As long as the NY Times and other big media prefer regurgitating whole bucketfuls of corporate PR to muckraking and reporting the realities of our education landscape, we have to make it our business to rail against the dissolution of the First Amendment and fill in the holes as where we can.

You can count on the Free Press organization to be one of the standard-bearers in this war against truth-telling. Important speeches are being made at their National Conference for Media Reform this weekend in Minneapolis. Bill Moyers gave the keynote. He called the media reform movement "the most significant citizens' movement to emerge in this new century," and until they post a transcript of it next week, you can listen to it at this video link.

Coming down pretty hard on corporate news, Dan Rather shines a spotlight on what happens when reporters ask the tough questions:
These questions are met with what is now called, euphemistically and much too kindly, what is now called "message discipline."

Well, we used to have a better and more accurate term for "message discipline." We called it "stonewalling."

. . . But when a tough question is asked and not answered, when reputable people come before the public and say, "Wait a minute, something's not right here," the press has treated them like voices crying in the wilderness [Chancellor's, are you listening?]. These views . . . become lone dots — dots that journalists don't dare connect, even if the connections are obvious, even if people on the Internet and in the independent press are making these very same connections.

He answers the big question, what the press (and by extension, the rest of us as well) are going to do about it, with a call to be on the alert for news media bowing to undue government influence. The internet, he says, must remain free so that journalism doesn't have to pass through a corporate filter. Corporations can't have "preferred access . . . to this unique platform for independent journalism."

To me, that includes the bloggers, who are doing real reporting from the inside of real schools.

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