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Storm the 4th Estate’s Bastile

It's time for doing, rather than complaining.

I’m new to this, and not nearly as eloquent as some of you, but I can’t be silent any longer.

A Call to Action:

For the last several months I have read numerous entries and lamentations decrying the obvious media bias wrt coverage of Sen. Obama and everyone else. It’s time we stop complaining and do something about it before we lose all of our rights to dissent. Given the latest hit piece by the New York Times (NYT) on Cindy McCain and the expected ad nauseum coverage of Powell’s endorsement, we need to act NOW. Our very freedom depends on it. My proposals aren’t necessarily going to make a material difference before 4 Nov. The most important action we can take over the next 3 weeks is to get out and vote on 4 Nov. regardless of any poll, exit or otherwise. I’ll post more on that later. However, I have several ideas that can make an impact on the media now and going forward. Fox News is currently running a report about The New York Times’s less than ethical approach to gathering information from her 16 yr. old daughter and her friends. There is little hope that the ombudsman will do anything. However, we can do something and should do something.

All media rely on advertising for the bulk of their income. The wider the circulation or larger the viewership, the more they can charge for advertising. I say we all come together and identify one network and one major newspaper and hit them HARD.

a. TV: i. NBC is the weakest of all the major broadcast networks. I recommend we do everything allowable by law to further reduce its viewership. One of the easiest things is to simply never “turn your dial” to NBC. Go cold turkey. No Law & Order: SVU, no “Americas’s Got Talent”, no “Meet the Press.” That may mean having to give up a show or two. Many are available for viewing online now. Substitute that. A Nielsen study from 2006 indicated most American households watch ~ 8 hrs of television a day. This is troubling in and of itself, but, I digress. Michelle Malkin has already indicated NBC must cut $500 million from its budget. This ship is already taking on water. A six month boycott might just finish it off.ii. Identify the advertisers. Write them and let them know why you are boycotting their network and their products. Here is a link to a short list of advertisers: http://shameonnbc.blogspot.com/2007/04/nbc-advertisers-to-boycott.html. GE and Microsoft are also advertisers. GE does business with Iran. GE needs more than a little wake up call anyway. Let them know that you demand their journalists adhere to the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics. Cite specific examples. iii. Investigate the feasibility of filing a civil tort action based on journalistic fraud wrt “throwing the election.” Once you have read the code of ethics, you will see, they provide ample evidence within a 1 hour news cycle to offer a compelling case. At a minimum, someone to look into filing a case on behalf of poor old Joe the Plumber given his 4th amendment rights were annihilated.iv. Begin hammering your broadband provider as to why you should have to pay for a broadcast network that you don’t watch and that violates the journalistic code of ethics. Remember, the insult to injury here is that we pay for them to insult and lie to us.v. Write your Congressman and Senators re: protecting the sanctity of elections from journalistic fraud. As Sen. Obama said, just because it is an individual right guaranteed by the Constitution, that doesn’t mean government can’t regulate it. If he can restrict our gun ownership, we should be able to demand adherence to the code of ethics. Let them know millions of us know what’s going on and that we are watching their (in)action. This is a tricky one because they are likely to use this as a means to forward their agenda of the Fairness Doctrine, but that little gem will have to work both ways.vi. Dump your stock from the holding company that owns NBC. I know there are a lot of good values out there now. Request your mutual fund or 401 k remove GE and Microsoft.vii. Swell the ranks of the Media Research Council. They have numerous online petitions to sign regarding specific examples of media bias. They currently have ~140,000 signatures. We need to increase that number to the millions. http://www.mrc.org/takeaction/takeaction.aspb. Newspaper/Print: My personal preference is to go after the New York Times. I noticed today when I went to Starbucks that they offered the Washington Post and the New York Times. I told them I was more interested in the Wall Street Journal. I’m not sure how big of an impact removing the NYT from the all the Starbucks would be, but I think it would have an impact. It’s the equivalent of removing Fords from all the rental car lots. The Times is also seeing a decline in revenues which they blame on the “economy” and transition to Internet advertising. (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/24/business/24times.html?_r=3&ref=media&oref=slogin&oref=slogin&oref=slogin) I say hammer them in print and in their Internet advertisers. This list is 2 years old, but seems to track with today’s online version of the paper- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1658482/posts.i. Identify the advertisers. Write them and let them know why you are boycotting the newspaper. See the above link. Let them know that you demand their journalists adhere to the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics. Cite specific examples.
ii. Investigate the feasibility of filing a civil tort action based on journalistic fraud wrt “throwing the election.”
iii. Write your Congressman and Senators re: protecting the sanctity of elections from journalistic fraud.
iv. Dump your stock from the holding company that owns the NYT.

v. Again, join the ranks of the Media Research Council. They have numerous online petitions to sign regarding specific examples of media bias. They currently have ~140,000 signatures. We need to increase that number to the millions. http://www.mrc.org/takeaction/takeaction.asp

This is going to take a concerted effort on the parts of millions of us. Individually, the sacrifice is small. As a whole, the impact is huge. We call it lobbing “a shot across the bow.” Each of the organizations can be broken if we exercise “death by a thousand cuts.” We have given the media our power for too long. There are groups trying to create alternative online media outlets e.g. “pajamasmedia” and “Break the matrix.” However, these will take time. If there are any lawyers reading, I am very interested in your thoughts on the viability of a tort action. Lastly, if you find any of these suggestions worthwhile, please forward this link. Thank you.

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