The Flying Pickets group continued to protest the continual Pro-war, Corporatization and corporate control of the media [by picketing Minnesota Public Radio in St. Paul]. …
Even more telling however, was the reaction of workers, reporters and volunteers of MPR to the protest. Many agreed that the media in general, and MPR and NPR in particular was indeed biased in it’s reporting. … One in particular stated “you know, I never thought about it but you guys are right” when explained that the purpose of the protest was to highlight the complete lack of Anti-War commentators such as Cornell West, Michael Parentti or Noam Chomsky and their analysis in any of the media, including MPR.
One of the executives, Thomas Keighen, gave this reporter a tour of the MPR operation. This gave us the opportunity to air our grievances with and the reason why we were at MPR. Mr Keighen listened respectfully however disagreed with the idea that MPR was indeed biased and pro-war in it’s reporting and analysis of current events.
In the current warmongering political environment I think it’s important to keep up pressure on actual media outlets, in addition to mounting protests against war. The media and those who work in it can actually be very sensitive to criticism — they’re not so hardened as politicians. Most reporters, editors and producers really believe in the ideology of objectivity, even if they acknowledge the practical difficulty of being utterly fair and giving voice to “both sides of the story.” Given the strength of the objectivity ideology, one of the most damaging criticisms you can level against a journalist is that she is biased or too subjective. It’s the accusation that the media and press are most likely to put effort into disproving — sometimes by actually improving their coverage.
Further, focusing light on the media also challenges others to think about the messages they’re receiving, rather than simply reacting to an anti-war message. Someone who nominally supports war on Iraq may give a little more thought to his position if he’s given reason to analyze the data and information that lead him to that position.
Finally, I have to give some credit to the MPR executive who took time to have a dialogue with the protestors rather than simply ignore them (or, worse, call the cops to have them ejected). The public media, like MPR, is utterly compromised by its reliance on corporate underwriting and government funding, so it’s unrealistic to expect a miraculous turnaround. That’ll happen when Dick Cheney advocates giving up on oil. But small changes are not out of the question, nor is the value of raising the question in the first place.
(link via Infoshop News)