By Judith Marie Gansen
Is The Media "Liberal"?
Have you been wondering why our news seems to be changing lately to more "fluff" stories? Why few animal issues are considered newsworthy?
On a recent Bill Maher show, the country's leading environmental Attorney, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. said during a very gutsy interview that "in 1988 Ronald Reagan abolished the Fairness Doctrine which gave media an obligation to advance the public interest and to serve our democracy--the broadcast media."
He continued: "Since that time, six large corporations have taken over virtually all 6,000 TV stations in this country, almost all 15,000 radio stations and 80% of the 16,000 newspapers.
The news departments have become corporate profit centers so their only obligation is to their shareholders..... they air stories that appeal to pruient interests." (Translated: it's all about M-O-N-E-Y. It's about making money and protecting money and this often leaves out good journalism,
the TRUTH and in our case, animal issues that might upset a business that profits from animals).
These facts are all a matter of public record so our media is not "liberal" in spite of what some churches and politicians tell people. This has caused many problems when animal issues come up--it's much harder to educate people in a community when people believe this lie and won't read any newspapers.
This stranglehold on people's brains only allows in filtered information given to them--talk about "control freaks"! President Bush said once (paraphrasing) that he doesn't read newspapers. What a tragic waste of the human mind! I believe God wants us to think for ourselves and question things or He would not have blessed us with an inquiring mind.
Robert Kennedy, Jr. continues with even more frightening information--(paraphrasing) that our current administration believes in "dominion theology." They believe the world will end soon and so it is okay to use up all the earth's resources!
I nearly fell off my chair--the people running our country, the war and our lives--they believe this?
That must be why during an interview I once saw the President walk away saying (paraphrasing) "it doesn't matter, we will all be dead." But I thought in the Bible it says we won't know when the end will come and what about "hurt not the earth, neither the sea nor the trees?" But that particular Bible quote probably interferes with the profit margin, doesn't it? The impact of this on our health is scary enough--due to air pollution, asthma rates are doubling every 5 years now. Think of our children. Do we really need those jumbo sized cars and trucks? This administration is also allowing more mercury in our environment too which is a known health hazard. Think about what this means to the animals who can't exactly hook up an air purifier where they may live, call in a Haz-mat Team or call the Culligan man.
I have always believed in religious freedom and religious tolerance as well as the RIGHT of someone to either not believe or not practice as they choose. Religion is complex and emotional and ever so personal but intelligent people know that no one has all the answers--no one. It is arrogant to think otherwise. NO religion should attempt to control our minds. Sadly some people use religion now to hide their true motive, the oldest ulterior motive common throughout history--greed. More info:
CHRISTIAN RECONSTRUCTIONISM, DOMINION THEOLOGY AND THEONOMY or
I have noticed lately more and more "filtering" of the news. Our soldiers are being killed in a war yet the top stories at times have been what actors are divorcing. An oil spill happens and it makes the news but they no longer show the wildlife being killed from it. Is that because it would hurt the oil businesses? Or the fact our President wants to drill in the Artic Wildlife Refuge and is actively pursuing campaigns to drill and log in our ever-dwindling natural areas? Difficult questions are rarely asked of our politicians and debates have prior "agreements"--kind of defeats the whole purpose of debating, doesn't it? Even the late night shows like Dateline and 60 Minutes seem to be watering down their content. The truth may hurt about important issues but we need to hear it or we can't fix it!!
An excellent media watcher for the animals is:
http://www.DawnWatch.com or DawnWatch - An Animal Rights and Welfare News and Media Watch
Excellent organization: Reform our media:
http://www.freepress.net/index.php or Free Press
Good site for environmental news: UCS
The Importance of Media
Stop and think about how you perceive things in life--the media shapes and forms our perceptions about our world. Everything from politics to health issues, etc. In a free society, the media must remain independent and have the ability to criticize our government. This is one of our wonderful Bill of Rights, the Freedom of the Press. If we don't have that Freedom, we not only will lose our democracy but the animals will lose big time. If we worship business and making a buck over all else, truth will rarely be revealed and in our case, that truth will often be about animals and it needs to be heard. We must maintain a good system of checks and balances and not allow too much power in the hands of non-profits, the government, businesses and even the media. It's healthy that they can scrutinize each other publicly. It's good for our democracy that they act as "watchdogs" for each other since power tends to corrupt. Now, however, something is way out of whack.
Politics is totally about perception and the media plays a huge role in this. What happens when the media only reports the "terrorist" acts done by the very few in our movement and rarely the good things we do? It breeds fear and then when someone tries to begin an animal group in their community they are seen not as someone trying to help animals and people but as someone who law enforcement needs to watch. How sad and how clever of the opposition. Sort of like journalistic branding--if it's on the news and you get called a name, it must be true of everyone in that group. In some right wing publications they often refer to squirrels raiding birdfeeders as "greedy." A single word that colors the story and gives the perception that God's creatures are committing a sin. Are you and I "greedy" when we eat or are we just hungry? "Eco-terrorists" were recently thought to perhaps be responsible for fires in an expensive housing development--turned out it wasn't true, but by that time the story was no longer front page news and so fewer people saw the follow-up. How much did that damage the environmental movement?
The Importance of the Polls
There are polls everywhere now--are they truthful? Moveon.org had a page up awhile back about how the Gallup Poll (paraphrasing) is now owned by a man who believes God is somehow involved with the polls. You can draw your own conclusions. I personally believe that God has much more important things to deal with. I don't like polls at all because they often incorrectly influence people. I like to listen to both sides of any issue, do my own research from credible sources to find the real truth and then make up my own mind. This is the only way to help animals--or find the truth in any situation. If a poll result is taken by someone with a biased viewpoint, the poll will likely have bias and will then in turn influence some people who can't make up their minds who probably should not be voting then to begin with. Could the people running those polls be counting on that? It could swing an election. If people get polled on whether they believe in animal research or not, how can they even intelligently respond if all they hear on the news is that animal research finds cures for diseases instead of the all the down sides to it?
How Do We Fix It?
I have huge concerns about the increased levels of media pollution and the erosion of our civil liberties. If our country was swinging very far to the left you would hear a far different dialogue from me--I would be fighting just as hard to stop the far left. I believe in balance. Now that our country is losing it's balance, our animals and the environment won't have a chance. Our ability to be critical and speak out is being curtailed. Get informed, get active before the "neo-cons" control everything, including our press.
"The freedom of the press is one of the great bulwarks of liberty, and can never be restrained but by despotic governments."--George Mason, in the Virigina Bill of Rights, June 12, 1776 (The Giant Book of American Quotations. Carruth & Ehrlich, P. 125
Anything by Molly Ivins
Crimes Against Nature--How George W. Bush and His Corporate Pals Are Plundering the Country and Hijacking Our Democracy by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. (quote from back of book: "While condemning environmentalists as 'radicals,' they promote the radical notion that clean water, clean air and healthy loved ones are luxuries we can't afford." "They invoke Christianity to justify the rape of the land, violating manifold Christian precepts that require us to be careful stewards."
Who else have the neo-cons called "terrorists"? Oh, yes, those of us who speak up for animals. Yet, as I once said, the only terrorist act I have ever committed was to try new recipes on my husband! :) As they used to say on the X-Files, "The truth is out there"--but not apparently so much in our government or our media anymore.
Staff: Animals in Print (free online animal publication)