Another from the inbox, this, an excerpt from Jane Fonda’s speech to a conference on media reform: A Powerful Media Can Stop a War (What would the world look like if the female half of the population had an equal share in the media?) Edited to ad a link to her full speech at YouTube.
Media must be the defenders of democracy.
We need a media that strengthens democracy, not a media that strengthens the government. We need a media that enriches public discourse, not one that enriches corporations. There’s a big difference.
When we talk about reforming the media, what we’re really talking about is creating a media that is powerful, not a media that serves the interests of the powerful; a media that is so powerful that it can speak for the powerless, bear witness for those who are invisible in our world, and memorialize those who would be forgotten.
A truly powerful media is one that can stop a war, not start one.
As Bill Moyers said at this very conference last year, “the quality of democracy and the quality of journalism are deeply entwined.” But when the media does not reflect the vibrant diversity of the people on this planet, both the quality of journalism and the quality of our democracy suffer.
At this National Conference on Media Reform, our shared goal of creating a truly progressive, democratic media — vital, fair, investigative, and truth-telling — is ultimately unreachable if we do not address the persistent, pervasive inequalities that exist in media. These inequalities exist even outside of mainstream media, even in the alternative and independent press.
The existence of independent media has been severely threatened. We’ve seen a new concentration of media ownership in conservative hands, and the erosion and elimination of federal regulations that promoted a diversity of viewpoints. This has weakened our country — morally, physically, and spiritually.
The Free Press has done a great deal to show how people of color have increasingly been marginalized as media monopolies grow. It’s shown how ownership of television and radio stations by people of color is at its lowest levels since the government began keeping track; how a scant 13 percent of newspapers in this nation employ people of color in the same percentage as their readership; and how issues affecting diverse communities have been underreported and ignored.
But the media environment that is overwhelmingly white is also overwhelmingly male. And a media that leaves women out is fundamentally, crucially flawed.
Why? Simply because you can’t tell the whole story when you leave out half the population.