Time To Also March On The Media?

That time has come again.

There will be a new march on Washington this Saturday, a ritual rallying of the anti-war army that will arrive by the busload as they have twice a year, once in the fall, once in the Spring for decades on issue after issue.

This month’s mobilization promises to be a big one because the war has lost public support with only a minority of Americans now endorsing it. The outrages we saw on television after the Katrina catastrophe has stirred even more anger.

For the first time, the Bush Administration seems on the defensive as its public approval ratings fall and some dissenting voices in Republican ranks begin to get heard.

Hence, the March on Washington.

You can almost predict the slogans we will hear and the stirring rhetoric from the stage. It will rouse but will it inform? Will it lead us into a deeper understanding and commitment?


Here’s the plan from the United For Peace and Justice Website:

Saturday, September 24 Massive March & Rally, Peace and Justice Festival, Operation Ceasefire Concert

Sunday, September 25 Interfaith Service, Training for Grassroots Lobby Day, Training for Mass Nonviolent Civil Resistance, National Meeting for Counter-Recruitment

Monday, September 26 Grassroots Congressional Lobby Day & Mass Nonviolent Civil Resistance at the White House

But, notice, how once again, most of the energy is aimed only at government, at the White House, at Bush and his boys (and girl, Ms. Condoleezza.) They are the target but, alas, they are only part of the problem.

With so many activists coming to town, and some staying for Monday, why not split them up into teams and smaller marches and bring some popular fury to other government institutions and interests that are complicit in the war and the policies that activists want to oppose.


Where is the march on the media? The media is the front face of the corporate interests who stage manage the government. In an age of globalization, challenging corporate power is as essential as lambasting governments

Washington is a media city, home to many major outlets including the Washington Post, the Washington Times and USA Today. Every network has a big bureau there. The National Press Building houses many media offices.

Washington is the home of the FCC , the federal agency which makes government media policy. It’s the base of the reactionary National Association of Broadcasters and cable industry.

It’s the center of lobbying by well-connected law firms and K Street influence peddlers who are paid big bucks to carry Big media’s water.

We all know that the war could not have galvanized the support it did without media collusion and complicity, a charge I document in my forthcoming book When News Lies, and film WMD (Weapons of Mass Deception. (wmdthefilm.com). Many others like Senator Byrd have denounced a media which fell for the war “hook, line and sinker.”


We all know how the media “merged” with the Pentagon’s pro-war propaganda effort and not just with its embedded journalist program.

We all know about the jingoism posing as journalism on the airwaves, the false claims, the contrived “facts” and, yes, the relentless ongoing deception.

We know this was also a war by media.

We know how few anti-war voices were on TV and how many conservative pundits dominated the discourse 24/7.

We know that the stream of lies continues. We know that their limited apologies and “Mea Culpas” were just ways of co-opting critics and pacifying the public.

So why not add some media targets in the mix so that marchers can express their disgust with media subservience and demand Truth as well as responsibility and accountability?

Back on February 15th, a small group that wanted to picket CNN were discouraged on the grounds that they would “alienate” the reporters. Did you see the pathetic coverage? They didn’t have to be alienated. They, like many corporate media outlets, already are-alienated from deeper truths and honest reporting.

In that period, the networks and not just CNN had become PNN-The Pentagon News Network.

It is time to recognize that the war in Iraq was not just a government crime. It was and is also a media crime.

Recently, in the Katrina coverage, we had a glimpse of media outlets off their bended knees speaking truth to power. Far too many are going back to business as usual.

We need to keep the pressure on, to move the media and press the press to play the role they should be playing in a democracy.

And to protest their performance when they don’t.

What do you say?

News Dissector Danny Schechter is the “blogger-in-chief” of Mediachannel.org. Comments to [email protected]

– Danny Schechter, News Dissector Editor, Mediachannel.org GLOBALVISION 575 8th Avenue New York, New York l0018 212 246-0202×3006

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