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June 1, 2013 (San Diego) –Access to information from truthful, unbiased media are cornerstones to democracy.  As KNSJ prepares to launch its public, nonprofit radio station transmitting from Descanso in East County, you’re invited to a forum on media justice hosted by Activist San Diego.

East County Magazine editor Miriam Raftery will be among the panelists at the forum on Monday, June 17 at 7 p.m.  at the Joyce Beers Community Center on Vermont Street (one block north of University Avenue across from Trader Joe's). 

Joseph Pulitzer  observed  back in 1883 that the media “should always fight for progress and reform, never tolerate injustice or corruption, always fight demagogues of all parties, never belong to any party, always oppose privilege classes and public plunderers, never lack sympathy with the poor, always remain devoted to the public welfare, never be satisfied with merely printing news, always be drastically independent, never be afraid to attack wrong, whether by predatory plutocracy or predatory poverty.”

But today, the major broadcast media and many print publications are owned by the very same corporations over which media should serve as watchdogs--and they have are far from impartial . Six corporations control the vast majority of our airways and more.  Consider this:

  • NBC’s parent corporation, General Electric, makes nuclear power plant equipment and military hardware used in wars, among other holdings. It is also affiliated with Microsoft and donated $2.4 million to get George W. Bush elected. 
  • CBS is owned by Westinghouse, which owns, designs, and supplies nuclear power plants.  Westinghouse has a media empire that includes 15 stations and 200 affiliates in the U.S., as well as sports and country music TV networks. It’s board of directors includes Frank Carlucci , founder of the Carlyle Group, which invests in defense, aerospace, oil, gas and wind energy, to name just a few of its vested interests.
  • Viacom International Inc. owns 20 major U.S. TV stations as well as many other media interests such as Nickelodean, Showtime, MTV, and Paramount Pictures, as well as Simon & Schuster Publishing. Viacom donated hundreds of thousands of dollars last year to both Democratic and Republican members of Congress.
  • FOX News, viewed in nearly 50% of U.S. households, is owned by News Corp and Rupert Murdoch, who serves on the board of Phillip Morris cigarettes, which donated $2.9 mililon to elect George W. Bush.  News Corp also 135 newspapers, 25 magazines, 22 TV stations, sports teams and airlines. 
  • ABC is owned by Disney, which donated $640,000 to George W. Bush’s presidential campaign and has holdingds in crude oil and gas. Disney also owns ESPN, Miramax and Touchstone Pictures, and numerous magazines.
  • Time-Warner TBS-AOL donated $1.6 million to George  W. Bush’s campaign and forged the largest merger in corporate history. It also owns the world’s largest music company, movie studios, several sports teams, and 35 magazines including Time, Fortune,  People and Sports Illustrated. 

Democracy Now host, journalist Amy Goodman, once observed that “the media can be the greatest source for peace.”  But how apt is that to happen when the major media is owned by corporations that profit off of war?  Similar conflicts of interest apply to issues across the board: can we count on a company with vested interests in energy companies to tell us the truth about energy issues or climate change?  And when companies seek to influence the outcome of elections with hefty donations to candidates in any political party, are the media outlets that they own rgoing to provide us with unbiased campaign coverage?  

In addition to the media justice forum, the ASD meeting will also include a discussion of the KNSJ radio launch, as well as election of officers for the nonprofit organization, an umbrella group that includes a broad coalition of causes.

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