News Release

Behind and Beyond the Media Reform Movement

JOHN NICHOLS
Nichols is co-founder of Free Press, which organized the three-day National Conference for Media Reform that began today in St. Louis. Nichols said today: “The conference is taking place at an interesting time. The public is becoming more aware of the administration’s attempts to manipulate the media, Congress has begun to move against the administration’s use of fake news, new revaluations are coming out about the administration’s attempts to manipulate PBS, and perhaps most crucially, many people are dismayed by the diminutive coverage of the war in Iraq.” Nichols is co-author of Our Media, Not Theirs: The Democratic Struggle Against Corporate Media and editor of the just-released Against the Beast: An Anti-Imperialist Reader.
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EDWARD S. HERMAN
Professor emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania and co-author of The Global Media and Manufacturing Consent, Herman said today: “It is hard to reform the old media structures, made more difficult by the political and media developments of recent years. A good deal more effort needs to be put into going around the increasingly undemocratic establishment institutions and developing new media and independent institutions. Reform and pressure are still worthy efforts, but should not dominate progressive media programs. The Internet still has great potential for democratizing the media, but we have to develop ways of broadening outreach beyond already-knowledgeable groups. Existing community institutions like community radio need to be revitalized. Also, other groups need to enter the media fray — it’s been tragic that the trade union movement has not taken up building media institutions.”
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MARK LLOYD
Lloyd is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress focusing on communications policy issues. Some of his recent articles include “When They Abolished the FCC,” “A PBS We Deserve” and “Who Owns the Media?”
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INJA COATES
Executive director of the group Media Tank, Coates said today: “Since its merger with AT&T Broadband, Comcast now reaches 40 million homes in 35 states across the country. Its dominance is felt in cities across the U.S., where the cable giant claims 70 percent of cable customers in the nation’s 20 largest metropolitan areas. Meanwhile, cable rates have risen more than three times the rate of inflation, with rate hikes in Philadelphia of 5 percent or more annually. In Philadelphia, where both Comcast and Media Tank are based, Comcast has yet to set up public access channels even though that was supposed to be a condition of setting up the cable system in the first place. We are working with other groups to ensure Comcast lives up to a ‘code of conduct’ on consumer pricing, customer service, worker rights, community access TV, and open access Internet.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167