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Media Reform and Democracy

A compliant media

Don Watson: "When journalists ignore abuses of the public language by people of influence and power, and reproduce without comment words that are intended to deceive and manipulate ... when this happens journalism ceases to be journalism and becomes a kind of propaganda." ['Death sentence: The decay of public language']

Times of universal deceit

George Orwell: "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." ['Politics and the English Language'] Nicholas Johnson (former USA FCC commissioner): "The choice you never know, is the choice you'll never make." Thomas Jefferson: "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance." America (The Book): "Yes, our press has never been freer, its status never quo-er."

Quotable Quotes (1)

(On the depths to which the US media have fallen)

Danny Schechter (Find more at www.mediachannel.org): "Where did our democracy go? It became a media-ocracy when we weren't looking ... Why are the institutions envisioned .. as tools for strengthening democracy undermining it?  ... At its heart .. it is our media system that flattens our debates, distorts our perception, corrupts our language, narrows our alternatives, limits our understanding, even as it massages and entertains our brains, reflecting the commercial and political agenda of those on high. We are one nation under television, swimming/drowning in the digital stream, e-mailing ourselves to death, connecting through cell phones, camera phones, walky-talkies, pagers, PDA's and all the new toys ... We are yakking away, but what do we have to say? ... We live through our remote controls without realizing how remote is our own control as we choose between the choices we are given ... Is this progress or regress. How do we know?  We do know that it is not working for us ... How can you have any kind of democracy if the people are not informed, not being informed, and in fact being under-informed .. by a system that dumbs it down when we need it to smarten us up? ... We can't fix America without fixing the media system, loosening media concentration, strengthening diversity of perspective, promoting media literacy education, building independent media outlets and challenging the phlegm of mainstream media with some of our own. Issues are not issues unless and until they are on TV.  TV or not to be, that is the question." [Extracts from 'Our mandate, making media matter', published in 'What we do now', Melville House Publishing, 2004]

More Quotes

Newspeak and thought 'Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought?' - George Orwell: '1984'  Marketing and truth 'The influence of marketing shows itself in advertising and commerce, where we would expect to find it, and in politics and war, where its presence should surprise us ... Marketing has no particular concern with the truth ... Awareness is the only defence against (this) creeping plague ... (of abuse and manipulation of public language).' - Don Watson, Death sentence: The decay of public language Journalists and truth 'Respect for the truth and the right of the public to truth is the first duty of the journalist.' - Code of conduct, International Federation of Journalists (And there can be no respect for the truth without respect for the way language is used.) Real news'? “When the journalist-historian Richard Reeves was once asked by a college student to define ‘real news’, he answered: ‘The news you and I need to keep our freedoms.’ - Bill Moyers, Address on Media Reform, 8 November, 2003 Quotable Quotes (2): More key quotes on media reform and democracy.  What can be done to help achieve reform: Moyers and Schechter.  R. Crumb and A. Carey on the media's influence.