Friday, March 28, 2008

Progressive Media MIA at Key News Events

People in independent media who complain about lack of coverage for important stories by mainstream media need to look at the mirror, argues Sam Husseini of the Institute for Public Accuracy in an essay making the rounds. The problem, he says, is a failure to show up and challenge government officials at key news events. The result is that important stories like the recent Winter Soldier hearings, although covered by alternative sources, are ignored by the mainstream press.

For the full story, check out “Blackout of Winter Soldier Hearings Exposes Weakness of Indy Media” at Alternet.

Husseini points out that John Nichols, The Nation's "Washington Correspondent," is based in Wisconsin, while The Progressive hasn’t replaced its DC editor. “Last year Mother Jones magazine proclaimed in an email heralding the re-opening of its Washington office (the office was closed about a decade ago): ‘This Changes Everything’,” he writes. But despite some informative blog postings, he says that it’s not having much impact.

He also criticizes Pacifica Radio, Democracy Now! and Free Speech Radio News, noting that these progressive radio outlets rarely send reporters to ask tough questions at news conferences on Capitol Hill. This echoes recent comments on a Pacifica listserv. “We are not educating,” writes Kevin White, “we're spoon feeding what they already know and are already comfortable with. And then we label it ‘Radio for Peace’."

Independent media need to do more than preach to the choir, says Husseini. “The most obvious thing to do is set up the structures to question and scrutinize officials,” he concludes. “It will not only lead to a broader dialogue, but will force independent media to get to specifics, to not rely on demonizing Bush and sloganeering. This is the way to get to the truth: challenge, scrutinize, repeat.”

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