All Governments Lie

WHERE: Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Ave, Huntington, NY

WHEN: 7:30, Wednesday, June 14

As its title suggests, this film exposes government lies and intrusiveness. But it also shows the influence of investigative journalist I.F. Stone on a future generation of reporters.

Please click on the following link for an informational flyer:

All Govts Lie LIMTF flyer

And you may wish to view the trailer at the film’s website:

All Governments Lie

Producer Jeff Cohen

Here is a quote from Wikipedia:

Jeff Cohen is a journalist, media critic, professor, and the founder of Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR), a media watchdog group in the US. He is associate professor of journalism at Ithaca College, where he is endowed chair and founding director of the Park Center for Independent Media. He was formerly a lawyer for the ACLU and authored or coauthored five books that criticize media bias, mainly written with Norman Solomon. He was a regular commentator for Fox News Channel‘s Fox News Watch, for MSNBC and CNN, and appears in Outfoxed, a documentary critical of Fox News, and other documentaries.

Here’s Jeff’s website: Jeff Cohen – Media Critic

Question-and-Answer Session with Prof. Jeff Cohen, June 14, 2017 “All Governments Lie” Cinema Arts

 

Jeff not only traveled for hours that day, flying from Denver and then driving from LaGuardia Airport in rush-hour traffic to meet with us, but he spent about an hour after the film answering questions from the audience. His answers gave us a mind-boggling picture of what is going on in the media world.

We at the Long Island Media Task Force are indeed grateful for sharing his time, talent, and amazing knowledge with us, and all of the audience that evening!

As much as we would wish to summarize all the nuggets he gave us, here are just a few of the issues he touched upon during the Q&A.

 

  1. Support for Independent Journalism

Independent journalism has always been subsidized by the United States government: newspapers, whatever their political orientation, enjoyed discounted postal rates, allowing wide dissemination of a great many viewpoints.  But modern-day electronic media has not received equivalent subsidies.

Newspapers are the greatest source of real journalism, but because their revenue has steadily declined due to internet competition, and because online journalism receives no subsidies, there’s a lack of resources for investigative reporting. So media outlets must always keep the needs of their advertisers in view. This has led scholar Robert McChesney (Univ of Illinois) to the conclusion that society must find a better way to fund independent journalism.

Norway is an example of a country that’s “information rich”, in that many different viewpoints are allowed to flourish. In Norway all newspapers get a government subsidy, whatever their views.

Independent news media organizations are growing as a legitimate alternative to corporate-controlled news, and they can reach millions of people in one hour. You can go online and see Common Dreams, Alternet and dozens of other really good sites.  Without independent media, there wouldn’t have been Bernie. Or the current political ‘resistance’.

  1. The need for Net Neutrality

The biggest problem is that Trump is wanting to end Net Neutrality. On July 12 there will be an internet-wide “National Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality”, co-sponsored by many online groups. (For more info: http://act.freepress.net/signup/internet_nn_july_12/)

Independent news media outlets depend heavily on the Internet to bring their message to the public. The loss of Net Neutrality would allow internet providers to throttle back service to small independent news groups in favor of major corporate websites for those customers who pay higher fees.

  1. Corporate and big-money influence on news coverage and political ads

There’s a handful of corporations (e.g. fossil fuel, nuclear) which are totally subsidized from the government – it’s all going to just a tiny elite.  Presently, newspapers are largely dependent on corporate ads, and so the corporate media elite – plus the telecoms – have become very cozy with the political elite.  Thus we can hardly count on corporate media to give us the straight news. For example, MSNBC is owned by the Comcast Corporation. And since Comcast is one of the biggest opponents to Net Neutrality, MSNBC rarely mentions that topic.

Long Island hedge-fund billionaire Robert Mercer, who manages the Renaissance Fund, contributed $500,000 to support the candidacy of John Fazio in New York’s 19th congressional district last fall. In the last few weeks of the campaign, ads attacking his opponent, Fordham University professor Zephyr Teachout, were suddenly flooding the airways, and appear to have been an important factor in her defeat. Teachout had been leading in the polls up until Mercer’s media money bomb, and had enjoyed strong support from Sen. Bernie Sanders.

To illustrate media bias: the 2015 annual Tyndall Report, which tracks network evening news programs, tallied the number of minutes given to the various political candidates, specifically on ABC’s “World News Tonight”. The result was that a total of 81 minutes of coverage was devoted to Donald Trump, and only 20 seconds to Bernie Sanders – that’s all year. There’s also a revealing quote from CBS president, Les Moonves:  “Donald Trump may not be good for the country, but he’s great for CBS.”  Can “ratings-driven” mega-corporations be trusted to inform the electorate with accurate and relevant news?

  1. Both political parties have played a role in allowing large corporations to dominate the news.

During the Republican era of deregulation in the 1980s, de-regulation and looser FCC enforcement allowed broadcast media to be less accountable to the public. Then, under Democratic Pres. Bill Clinton, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 allowed big corporations to control a larger share of the news media in any community. (Even though Republicans had written the bill and were largely behind the Telecom Act’s consolidation of media ownership.)

  1. While the Democrats were in power, they gave the media system to that tiny elite.

A right-wing meme we often hear is that ‘both parties are the same, because they get their money from the same corporations and industries’.

But we’re at a turning point. Corporate Media is losing its legitimacy. Newspapers and TV are losing advertisers, who are now funding internet sites instead.  There’s a running joke about the Washington Post: “You never know on what page they’re gonna bury the front page story.”

Local media has collapsed (especially TV). But online hyper-local content has really zoomed and there are great news sites out there now that get people debating each other in communities.

Society as a whole needs to fund news outlets – not advertisers.

  1. Thoughts on the 2016 election.

Trump was the perfect candidate for tens of millions who are glued to their TV. Look at his background in World Wrestling.

Hillary lost because she wasn’t convincing as a ‘change agent’.

 

And lastly:

All that young people have ever seen is ‘predatory corporate capitalism’.

Reference to Naomi Klein’s new book “No Is Not Enough”. It shouldn’t all be about resistance. The swing voter wants to know what you’re for.  (One of Klein’s suggested strategies is to smear Trump’s brand, because that’s how he makes most of his money.)