Sunday, June 17, 2018

Amy Goodman: The Media Is Absolutely Essential To the Functioning of a Democracy

Discernment of who to trust for our media resources is critical. All around us we are witness to the impact of misinformation, lack of information, and polarizing and toxic propaganda. Only looking through the lens of our side versus your side, left/right, conservative/liberal, democrat/republican, black/white, etc. can tempt any of us to be swept up in perspectives and belief systems which limit us in seeing the truth of larger pictures. And then we are vulnerable to becoming unknowingly invested and complicit in putting personalities before principles, in shedding truth for that which reinforces our explicit and implicit biases, and even in unconsciously experiencing the poisoning of our hearts and minds to the extent that we become actively complicit in that which causes great harm and suffering. I believe that the integrity of our resources makes all the difference in the world and how it is that we are, or are not, forces for peace, truth, compassion, wisdom, and love. Amy Goodman is among those whose integrity and courage, authentic investigative journalism, and passionate commitment to truth and justice has spanned her lifetime. May we all be informed and inspired by Amy Goodman and others who are the wise and vital voices of truth in these sad, scary, and dangerous times. Molly

With Amy Goodman, Portland, Oregon, 2017

 Illuminating Quotes From Amy Goodman

The media is absolutely essential to the functioning of a democracy. It's not our job to cozy up to power. We're supposed to be the check and balance on government.

As journalist, I'm responsible to the American people, not to the military of the United States.

But for the media to name their coverage of the 2003 invasion of Iraq the same as what the Pentagon calls it — everyday seeing "Operation Iraqi Freedom" — you have to ask: "If this were state controlled media, how would it be any different?"

War coverage should be more than a parade of retired generals and retired government flacks posing as reporters.

I really do think that if for one week in the United States we saw the true face of war, we saw people's limbs sheared off, we saw kids blown apart, for one week, war would be eradicated. Instead, what we see in the U.S. media is the video war game.

Who among us has any conception of the dimensions of shame that will befall us and our children when one day the veil has fallen from our eyes and the most horrible of crimes...reach the light of day?

Going to where the silence is. That is the responsibility of a journalist: giving a voice to those who have been forgotten, forsaken, and beaten down by the powerful.

Journalism is the only profession explicitly protected by the U.S. Constitution, because journalists are supposed to be the check and balance on government. We're supposed to be holding those in power accountable. We're not supposed to be their megaphone. That's what the corporate media have become.

[The media] are using a national treasure--that's what the public airwaves are. And they have a responsibility to bring out the full diversity of opinion or lose their licenses.

Independent media can go to where the silence is and break the sound barrier, doing what the corporate networks refuse to do.

I've learned in my years as a journalist that when a politician says, "That's ridiculous," you're probably on the right track.

So it is fair to ask, why not address the threat of climate change when it is still possible? Asad Rehman, of the international environmental group Friends of the Earth, who was in New York for the climate march, told me, “If we can find the trillions [of dollars] we’re finding for conflict whether there’s been the invasion in Iraq or Afghanistan or now the conflict in Syria, then we can find the kind of money that’s required for the transformation that will deliver clean, renewable energy.”

Beyond the borders of wealthy countries like the United States, in developing countries where most people in the world live, the impacts of climate change are much more deadly, from the growing desertification of Africa to the threats of rising sea levels and the submersion of small island nations.

The U.S. news media have a critical role to play in educating the public about climate change.

We must build a trickle-up media that reflects the true character of this country and its people. A democratic media serving a democratic society.

We have to protect all journalists, and journalists have to be allowed to do their jobs.

[The media can be] the greatest force for peace on the earth [for] it is how we come to understand each other.

People who are against hate are not a fringe minority, not even a silent majority, but are a silenced majority, silenced by the corporate media.

Go to where the silence is and say something.

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Friday, June 15, 2018

Why This Graph Falls Short In Portraying Media Bias in America

Posted by MARKETWATCH.COM with the question: "How biased is your news source?"
 Transforming Ourselves From a Propagandized 
and Polarized People To a Unified 
and Informed Populace

Recently I have again been reading and rereading the work of Riane Eisler. In my ongoing journey of seeking to lift more and more of the veils of blind spots, illusions, and ignorance, which I have absorbed in both my family of origin and our culture, the lens through which I experience myself, others, and our world continues to become gradually and increasingly more clear. Certainly, for me, this is a lifelong process of opening my mind and heart and living more consciously, compassionately, and courageously. It does take courage and support, I believe, to be all in to be rooted in a path of questioning, humility, curiosity, open mind, open heart, and a deep and unrelenting commitment to truth, compassion, and love.

When I first viewed this graph and article several months ago, I initially did not post it because of the limitations and inaccuracies which I saw. Now I am rethinking this and realizing that this is an important jumping off place to a much larger and needed conversation.
 
I do not believe that this portrays an accurate picture and that it is lacking in some significant ways. One, this piece is biased itself. It portrays news sources as falling more to the left or right, liberal or conservative, thus reinforcing the black/white thinking of the polarities of we’ve got to be either this or that. It is also my belief that this portrait of media bias is biased and limiting in the roots of its perspective which is through the lens of the model for Dominator culture. (Please refer to the work of Riane Eisler: http://rianeeisler.com/the-chalice-the-blade-highlights-of-international-impact/.) 

By putting MSNBC in the same category as The Intercept (https://theintercept.com/), we are also diverted away from how different these resources are in following the facts wherever they may lead. Investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill is certainly in a very different relationship with the truth of larger pictures than Rachel Maddow. While Rachel is aligned with and limited by the “liberal” lens, Jeremy’s commitment is to the facts wherever they may lead. Jeremy Scahill held Obama accountable for the injustices, the neoliberal policies, the dangers and threats under Obama's watch just as he does now with Trump. True, today's dangers are greater. And it is also true that does not lessen the need to report and follow the truth wherever the facts may lead.

It is also true that we did not get to this incredibly critical point in our human history overnight. There has been a long journey, one that certainly began before Trump, which has landed us as a nation and as a global community in so much in peril.

We Americans need to know what we don't know. We need to be aware that we certainly won't hear a peep on MSNBC about neoliberalism such as from resources like George Monbiot (https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/apr/15/neoliberalism-ideology-problem-george-monbiot). And we'll never hear the voice of Noam Chomsky on MSNBC, CNN, NPR, and other corporate owned mainstream media. (It isn't just FOX that misleads and misinforms and keeps us uninformed!) Yet these voices of integrity, truth, courage, and wisdom (such as this recent article https://www.truthdig.com/articles/the-chomsky-challenge-for-americans-in-understanding-our-dangerous-world/) are the most vital for us to hear and learn from. Otherwise we are in the dark.

There’s no category in this graph for facts, for true investigative journalism, for holding systems of power accountable rather than reporting for systems of power. It is also true, as Jeremy Scahill and others openly state, that we all have biases, and he speaks to the importance of mindfulness of our biases and their roots. Following the money behind any resource we tune into is also essential. This empowers us with the capacity to assess patterns of integrity or lack of integrity in reporting. 

It is striking to witness how very different stories are reported depending upon who is funding them. While NPR was still having interviews with those debating the validity and science of global warming, Amy Goodman was repeatedly and consistently having the voices of the scientists most knowledgeable about global warming on her programs. She was not giving air time to a false debate. And given the false debate funded by the fossil fuel industry that was promoted and perpetuated by all American corporate backed mainstream media for decades, is it any wonder that so many Americans continue to believe that human caused global warming does not exist? And to what cost to us all?

If we look deeply at all, it is easy to see that who we turn to for our information is critical. And being aware of both the limitations and the strengths of media resources, and the degree of or lack of propaganda, is vital. I have found that it takes time and ongoing effort to follow the money and discern the integrity of our resources. For those I have come to trust, it is only after I have witnessed a pattern of integrity and truth-telling that exists without any allegiance to any political party or Dark Money source.

It needs to be noted and I am also struck with who is left out of this chart. One major omission is Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman https://www.democracynow.org/. This is one resource, like The Intercept, which is comprised of authentic investigative journalists. There are people interviewed by Amy who call out the lies, the misinformation, and the silence related to critical issues of many of the resources listed in the above graph. This does not mean that CNN and MSNBC and PBS and BBC don’t do some excellent reporting, they do, and they are certainly not on the higher end of propaganda like FOX is. But there is a level of what can be more subtle propaganda there just the same. 

We simply won’t hear in these mainstream media resources how it isn’t just Russia who’s interfered in our elections it’s also the United States that has been interfering in elections and overthrowing democratically elected leaders in other nations for over the past 100 years. How else could our country have come to this place of having 4-5% of the world’s population while having 25-30% of the global natural resources? I once thought that we enjoyed the abundance we have in America simply because we earned it, we are entitled, we are exceptional. That's a harmful bias I can clearly see and own today. And one that I have been working on transforming for many years now.

So, yes, there are biases everywhere. But my question is, which resources are the ones that are comprised with investigative journalists who have a profound commitment to truth? Which are there to report for and on behalf of systems of power and which are the ones consistently holding power accountable? Which media resources have veins rooted in Dark Money, and which are actually free to report the facts without being beholden to anyone but the populations they serve? Which go only up to a certain point in their reporting and then stop? And which consistently cross over those lines and go to where the silence is? Therein lies the truth of who we can trust.

It is also certainly vital to ask which media resources are reflective of the need for our species to evolve in a direction which supports and respects life rather than destroys it? Which have biases rooted in the model of Dominator systems of belief and which are rooted in the values of Partnership? Which refuse to give weight to the need for “balance,” giving validity to the false “debate” ― the lie about things like global warming when the debate in reality is long over? We’re the only developed nation still having this toxic, deadly, and dangerous “debate.” 

What I seek again and again is to follow the money and the integrity behind the resources of information that I chose to follow. Koch has tragically gotten it’s tentacles even into PBS, which is certainly why the voices of those such as Jeremy Scahill and Noam Chomsky and countless others will never be found there and why, in the midst of good reporting, we will also find those interviewed whose alignment with the propaganda of Dark Money is a threat to us all. 

It’s hard and takes a lot of effort in our country to engage in an ongoing process of discernment of who to trust and who not to trust. We need to be mindful that even when some important facts may be presented, other incredibly important ones of a much larger picture are left out. This process of ongoing discernment is deeply important, and most especially when so much is at risk, including the future for all of our children and grandchildren and future generations.

The problem also, of course, does not all just exist "out there." These times ask of us to do a searching and fearless moral inventory of our own biases. Uncovering our blind spots, our implicit and explicit biases, the ways we've been pulled into belief systems that serve to harm rather than heal and help, how we've put personalities before principles instead of principles before personalities, how we've been fooled by those we thought we could trust all this and more takes a great deal of courage to face. And this is the ethical, moral, and necessary journey that is calling to each of us to ground ourselves in more deeply. 

We all need each other in this great transformation from being a highly propagandized and polarized people to becoming a unified, informed, and awakening populace. It is time for us to seek individually and together the next evolutionary step into our greater wholeness as a species. It is time.

It comes to me to end with a few relevant quotes. May we be brave-hearted and inspire and support one another in growing in our passionate commitment to truth and doing our part ― no matter how large or small in working toward a more just, sustainable, peaceful, and loving world. All the children of all the species are counting on us.
 
Bless us all,
Molly

*****

 The most violent element in society is ignorance. 
Emma Goldman
 
Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth. 
Albert Einstein

During times of universal deceit, telling the truth is revolutionary. 
George Orwell

No people can be both ignorant and free. 
Thomas Jefferson 

Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world. 
― Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed

We don’t set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people’s hearts. 
Pema Chödrön

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. 
Archbishop Desmond Tutu

The media is absolutely essential to the functioning of a democracy. It's not our job to cozy up to power. We're supposed to be the check and balance on government. 
  Amy Goodman
 
With Amy Goodman