Tuesday, September 5, 2006

AN ACQUIESCING PRESS

This is a bit of a post-Labor Day lament.

WHO BUTTERS THEIR BREAD? The mainstream and local news media is an interesting animal. Let's just say they think they know who butters their bread. They would rather measurably pander ideological pabulum and give place for local organizational heads to self-justify their non-leadership than responsibly address the core of community problems.

TRAGIC UNDERSTATEMENTS. Case in point: reading the Labor Day edition of the Indianapolis Star, significant facts to the contrary, one would have come away with the impression that everything's peachy and on the verge of getting better for workers and the Central Indiana workplace. All the Star editors could bring themselves to write is that Indiana's economic recovery is "not lifting all boats." How tragically understated.

WHO'S CONTROLLING THE LOCAL MEDIA AGENDA? Don't Indianapolis area citizens deserve more than this? But they won't get it. Not as long as the region's profiteers do all they can--including demanding much adieu about their strategically-selected self-serving philanthropic giving--to bring influence against livable wage proposals, minimum-wage raise legislation, health care benefits for all workers, fair treatment of immigrant workers, and to shift the focus away from corporate executive excesses in the face of alarmingly-growing statewide poverty.

ACQUIESCING TO BUSINESS INTERESTS. The free press, which could play a significant role in exposing such thinly-disguised bullish influence peddling and assist in documenting the steps toward a more equitable community, instead acquiesces to ideological power. Instead of telling the truth, they join in reporting finely-turned half-truths designed to selectively highlight exceptional cases to confirm their own and others' self-protecting, self-promoting prejudices.

CONNECTING THE DOTS. But denial will eventually be broken. The Star and the mainstream media will eventually report the impacts of the region's business and industry leaders ignoring what is going on in the daily lives of struggling laborers. They will eventually have enough overwhelming evidence about local poverty, employment, crime, and education, and housing statistics and stories to connect the dots that lead back to long-denied livable wages, decent benefits, and worker opportunities. Hind sight will be 20/20. But now is the time and opportunity to name the core issues and begin to address them. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

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