The media is not accountable

Political power is a big deal, but [media] power is a bigger deal. At least the politicians are accountable to the voters. Those who write the editorials and those who write the columns, they simply are unaccountable. They’re free to impose their cultural politics in the name of freedom of the press….

Oh my God, Jesse Jackson just said something fucking BRILLIANT right there.

Think about this for a moment. If there’s a bad politician, you can vote against her in the next election. If you don’t like a political party’s principles, you vote against their candidates.

What do you do about bad media?

I’ll tell you what. How about not reading/watching/listening to it? How about complaining (constructively) to the editors, station managers, etc? How about demanding better? How about saying: you’re not giving us the information we want and need to be better citizens. How about leading the political conversation instead of allowing someone else to set the agenda?

I can say so much more on this, but it’ll have to be done in a longer post on another day. The bottom line is: DO NOT be passive receivers of shitty media. Say something. Do something. Don’t just sit there and take it.

UPDATE: Not surprisingly, Jesse Jackson didn’t exactly come up with this idea on his own. If the comment here by “knowbuddee” is accurate, Malcom X was concerned with it as well, because he said this:

The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.

Accurate? What say you, dear reader?




  1. Anonymous December 30, 2010

    Anna: Now that I am free of the bonds of legacy media I love to see this kind of discussion. My take: The Olbermanns and Stewarts (and yes the Fox pundits too) are bringing back the individual strong voices — and all should be heard…the issue is whether traditional “editorial boards” with institutional agendas are even relevant any longer. Just my take. TC

  2. Anna Tarkov December 31, 2010

    It’s funny that you bring up these loud, raucous pundits (though I’m not sure why Stewart is thrown into the mix) when the quote that prompted my post and indeed where my thoughts were as I wrote it, related to local media, not national. Jesse Jackson was of course talking about Chicago media in particular, but the same could probably be said of the media in many other cities and towns.

    As for those national pundits though, their voices should be heard but there needs to also be some mechanism for helping an ordinary citizen sort through the clutter, determine who’s telling the truth and who’s not, etc., etc. We just don’t have that right now.

    As for whether editorial boards are relevant, I think they could be. They aren’t in their current state of course, because they write their editorials from up on high without any clue as to how their opinions are formed, any conflicts of interest, etc. And most importantly, readers aren’t part of the dialog. Every column is like a lecture, with no questions taken at the end.

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