Can You Do Better?
I have been telling people how
important it is to exchange names and details and collect any names you can and
communicate after the rally because we CANNOT rely on the mainstream press and
the government or the big 'respectable' environment and social welfare
organisations, let alone the political parties, to represent us in this matter.
The French revolution would never have happened if the French had relied on the king's proclamations and the pulpit to communicate.
The PEOPLE have to start talking to each other and begin to see that they must take political responsibility because the commercial interests have totally overtaken the political process. I will be wearing on my person the two 'posters' below if the printing works out.
Please come up and introduce
yourselves if you want to participate in writing and reporting for
www.candobetter.net. I attach below a flyer I'll be handing on about why
Disappointed in government departments and ministers, environmental organisations often try to take their cause to the mainstream press. But this is usually just as problematic in the end. Why? Because the press, like the government, dictates narrower and narrower parameters for what they will designate as 'newsworthy'.
If you are using the press as a political forum, you need to be aware that the press is now so globally powerful due to its control of the market and market perception, that it controls elections and economies much more than ordinary citizens do. That means that it controls political parties, because parties rely on pleasing the mainstream press in order to get publicity of any kind. New political candidates, many of who must be better than the politicians now in government, come and go and disappear every year without your ever hearing of them.
NGOs and citizens need to consider that both the opposition and the government represent the interests of the commercial media and that even the ABC has to reflect the interests which the commercial media owners define. For instance it officially preserves the two party system which many of us refer to contemptuously as Tweedledum and Tweedledummer.
A very good, and scary example of this was here:
approach to election coverage focuses on the Government and official Opposition
on the basis that one of the two major parties will ultimately form government
and thus represent the principal points of view. Whilst not discounting the
views or policies of the other parties and independent candidates, coverage in
respect to such parties and candidates is determined on the basis of
newsworthiness. The Policies also note that the ABC reserves the right to
withhold free broadcast time to political parties, including those not currently
represented in the Parliament concerned, on the basis of the measure of
demonstrated public support for the party." Quote from an official ABC radio
response to a complaint in 2009. See: ďABC dismisses complaint claiming
privatisation not 'newsworthy' in 2009
Environmental groups have a similar problem to new political candidates - independents and parties. The problem is that the government and the press tend to use the inability of most environmental and other non-government groups to show that they have thousands of financial supporters as an excuse not to represent their concerns. Both the press and the government, if they were really socially concerned, would act to publish, publicise and help people organise over an important cause. But they don't.
It is usually difficult for NGOs to do their real work or for independent politicians to prepare their policies and simultaneously to find thousands of supporters, especially if they are just starting out. There may be thousands, indeed millions of people who potentially support a cause or a political swing against the status quo, but how do you find those people and how do they find you?
Neither the government nor the press will help you to become strong; they will only react to strength already acquired. Usually that strength can only be built up by groups with a strong commercial basis these days. It wasn't always so. In a small population where economic activity was more localised, people shared geographically common concerns and communicated face to face. These days people tend to form their opinions, even on local issues, from the dominant news-media, rather than asking their neighbours or attending local forums.
It has become so due to the commercialisation of our social infrastructure, the huge scale on which we now operate, and our reliance on government and the mainstream press to tell us what is happening. We rely on these mediums for communication. But they are not communicating on our behalf and the 'information' and 'news' they pass on is chosen according to different priorities than the public good. Clearly the ABC reflects the interests embedded in the status quo and does not seek or respond to public input in any consistent and significant way that might change this.
The commercial press also have many commercial interests apart from just selling papers or television shows, but it is not easy or indeed possible to know what most of these are at any time. What we must realise is that the commercial press is really like a lot of big interconnected corporations that are advertising products they want you to buy, using articles which will create an environment to increase the market for those products, raise the price of shares on certain commodities and products in the short term (so that they can be bought and sold), and manipulate opinion as to what is really important and what is really happening in the reader's environment. The press - television, radio and newspaper - has to a large degree - substituted a manufactured reality for ordinary interpersonal networking and the individual's forming of an idea of their political, social, economic and biophysical environment.
This manufactured reality which tells us things like 'Most people don't care about wildlife or animal cruelty', 'Most people agree with overpopulation and overdevelopment, considering it reasonable', 'most people benefit somehow from overpriced real-estate', 'it is okay to privatise water and other vital resources' - is actually the direct opposite of what most people think, but how would most people know that? In this way the mainstream press alienates citizens from each other because those citizens believe that few people share what are actually widespread values. Those values become taboo and we are all silenced.
www.candobetter.net wants to lift those taboos and publish real news. Send us your material and your stories.
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org