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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
The news is being sold to the highest bidder, and the American people are being sold short. The monopoly over the media by large American corporations allows a select few people to control the information we receive.
"We the Media," a collection of essays, comments, facts, and contacts, analyzes the control corporations exert over the media but also offers victory stories and solutions the public can use to reclaim the media.
Compiled and edited by Don Hazen and Julie Winokur, "We the Media" brings together some of America's most provocative activists and critics of the media monopoly. Together they explore corporate control of newspapers, radio stations, cable stations, the publishing industry, and increasingly, the Internet.
Issues affecting people's lives are often ignored while the media perpetuates stereotypes and fails to adequately represent women and minorities within their news coverage and in their newsrooms.
Although women make up more than half of the world's population, last year only 15 percent of front-page references were to women. Malt liquor companies are profiting by targeting poor African Americans and Latinos. The mass media identifies Islam more as a region than a religion, coupled with such terms as "radical terrorists" and "fundamentalist." It's no wonder that in a 1995 Los Angeles Times poll, 45 percent of Americans agreed that "Muslims tend to be fanatic."
"We the Media" exposes corporate influence and media bias through charts and factual information such as this.
With the introduction of theTelecommunications Act, large conglomerates dominate every form of media with their conservative agenda and the government's consent. Still, many contributors to "We the Media" are optimistic that through grassroots organizing people can combat the corporate monopoly.
They stress that this battle will be fought on many levels. While producing and supporting alternative media liberates stifled voices, the message may not reach an audience if people allow corporations to dictate the legislature that governs the telecommunications industry.
Part of the grassroots campaign to preserve the First Amendment has to include lobbying the government representatives to impose strict regulations that will prevent corporations from further entrenching their power over the media while offering a public broadcasting system that reflects the values of American people.
The media monopoly is one of the biggest stories in the news today, but no one's covering it. "We the Media" advocates media literacy as a step toward the struggle against the corporate monopoly. Many of the contributors believe that in order to win back the airwaves, the cable stations, and print media, each of us must help to educate our neighbors, family, and friends before mass support can be realized. This collection of essays is a good first step—it will be up to each of you to continue the quest for a democratic media.—Tracy Frauzel