Sunday, February 27, 2011

Why We Need to Build Our Own Media, Part 3,362,489

The mainstream media has been thoroughly embarrassing themselves and tipping their hand with their coverage of the massive people's movement to stop right-wing extremists' attempts to cripple working families. There were numerous examples of this fact in the past week. First, the Sunday talk show circuit was stacked in favor of the Republican perspective on the fight going on in Wisconsin. Second, the mainstream networks gave very little coverage to 100,000 people rallying in Madison, Wisconsin yesterday in the snow! Compare that to the basically round-the-clock coverage of tea party rallies with less people.

And here in Missouri, we have an AP story about competing rallies that at least correctly points out that there were more people present in support of unions than those opposed. They put the numbers at 300 union supporters and 200 people who hate workers (my words, obviously, not the APs). However, the AP story incorrectly claimed that the pro-union rally was organized by unions. The rally was actually organized by while the big unions like the AFL-CIO, SEIU, and others held events in St. Louis and Kansas City. It's mind-boggling to me that the AP would get this wrong, since it indicates that they didn't even speak with the MoveOn organizer or with the labor unions. How can they be fairly reporting on these issues if they're not even speaking to the pro-labor organizers, to the point where they don't even know who organized the rallies?

Do I think the mainstream media has a right-wing bias? Not necessarily. They might have a right-wing bias, or they might have a "insider conventional wisdom" bias that is completely disconnected with reality. But either way, it's absolutely not acceptable and does anything but lead to an informed public. Progressives need to build our own vehicles to get the facts out, because the mainstream media is failing at the job.

By the way, that's exactly why a group of bloggers formed ForwardSTL, an aggregator designed to highlight progressive thought in the St. Louis region.

Update: Michael Bersin at Show Me Progress posted some photos of the rally. They show that the AP also badly overestimated the crowd size of the tea party attendance. It looks like about 50 people to me, tops. What a horrible hack job by the AP.

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