CENSORS or EDITORS?
by Peter Moss
" ... the productive peaceniks were stunned to discover that the national airwaves are restricted when it comes to alternative viewpoints. 'We initially wanted to run the ads across the country on the major networks' Cohen recalls. 'They all refused. It's OK for them to present one-sided news reports every day, but we can't even pay to get our message out there.'" Ben Cohen [of Ben & Jerry ice cream fame] quoted by Susan Green, 7 Days, 2-19-03, p. 22A. "Despite months of steady propaganda funneled through America's super-slick, pro-Bush corporate media, Saturday [Feb.15 anti-war demonstrations] proved that more people than anyone imagined see through the Bush B.S.," meaning it's oil-of-mass-pollution, not weapons of mass distraction. Peter Freyne, 7 Days, 2-19-03, p.16A. I would like to share some good news: On February 20, Reps. Branagan and Pillsbury introduced H.0244 titled "Providing Candidates for Elected Office Equal Access to Media." Few people will be surprised that the "super-slick corporate media" are censoring more than editing. Their attitude is: if you were in our place holding all the cards, would you serve the public interest or your self-interest as part of the wealthy power elite? They have a point, but it is neither free speech nor freedom of the press. It is blatant abuse, not democracy. They do have some powerful allies, in Congress and on the bench. What they lack is majority support, hence no binding national referendum on the war. Now I need some help from Vermont activists. The bill I have proposed would require Vermont broadcasters and press to edit but not censor alternative viewpoints and candidates.
The supporting arguments are on http://www.petermoss.org, under "Vermont Fairness Doctrine Law" and "Democracy, Not Bribocracy.".
Activists who support media fairness and equal access should ask Representative Judy Crowley, chair of the Local Government Committee, to schedule early hearings on H. 244, by calling 800-322-5616.