Saturday, June 18, 2005
QUOTES: "Conyers at Media Bias Forum: 'Independent Press Under Assault'"
Quoting U.S. Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Mich.:
"I opened with a statement summing up the problem of a media that
generally fails to report on the failings of the Administration, and that
when it does, faces threats of retribution and repercussion as Newsweek
recently learned. I also referenced a Congressional Research Service Study
I released today which found that sensational stories like the .runaway
bride. were receiving wall to wall network coverage, while important
policy stories like the .Downing Street Memo. were all but ignored.
Bradblog has the full text of my statement."
THE BRAD BLOG: "Conyers at Media Bias Forum: 'Independent Press Under Assault'"
7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594
Los Angeles, CA 90028
About Brad Friedman...
Brad is a freelance writer, investigative blogger, software designer and all
around trouble maker. He broke the story of the "White House Website
Scrubbing" amongst other stories, and has been closely following the story
of "GRAND THEFT AMERICA" since Election Day at his site, The BRAD BLOG,
which can be read -- when it's not being overwhelmed by traffic -- at
Still wanna know more? His personal webpage is at www.BradFriedman.com
You may Email him here. He may answer.
Blogged by Brad on 5/24/2005 @ 12:49pm PT...
Conyers at Media Bias Forum: 'Independent Press Under Assault'
Says Mainstream Media Unwilling to Accurately Report on Admin, Scapegoated,
Facing Retribution if They Do
Opening Statement cites alt media sources BRAD BLOG, DailyKos, RAW STORY &
Air America in 'forefront' of those 'willing to be speak truth to power'.
Though John Conyers Forum on "Media Bias and Freedom of the Press" today on
Capitol Hill continues, live broadcasting via Air America has concluded for
the time being. C-SPAN's cameras...
[Conyers_MediaForum.jpg] Though John Conyers Forum on "Media Bias and
Freedom of the Press" today on Capitol Hill continues, live broadcasting
via Air America has concluded for the time being. C-SPAN's cameras were
there and will hopefully be broadcasting in full sooner, rather than later.
We hope to shout out when a time is scheduled on C-SPAN for the broadcast or
when it is made available for streaming via their website.
[Franken_MediaForum.jpg] In the meantime, Conyers' office issued his opening
statement this morning via a Press Release. He decried the current assault
on the Mainstream Media, their lack of willingness to report stories
critical of the Administration in power, posited how different things would
be if it was the Clinton administration who had lied the world into war, and
cited The BRAD BLOG, DailyKos, RAW STORY and Air America as alternative
media sources in the "forefront" of those "willing to speak truth to power".
He went on to say, that "these voices are too few and too diffuse to
overcome the blatant biases of our cable channels and the negligence and
neglect of our major newspapers."
Here is his prepared opening statement in full:
Rep. Conyers Says Independent Press Under Assault
Urges Media To Challenge Authority At Congressional Forum
Washington, DC; Congressman John Conyers, Jr., Ranking Member of the House
Judiciary Committee, delivered the following statement today at a
Congressional forum examining media bias and the future of a free press:
"There are few institutions in our nation today that are capable of
operating as a check on the abuses of one party rule - one is the
filibuster; another is an independent judiciary; a third is a free and
unbiased press. All three of these institutions are under assault today.
Last night the Republicans came within an inch of obliterating more than two
centuries of precedent supporting the minority's right of debate. The
triggering of the 'nuclear option' may have been delayed for the time being;
but the message has been clearly delivered by the Majority - in the future,
you exercise your rights at your own peril.
Anyone who witnessed the shameful Terri Schiavo debate knows that the
Judiciary is under attack in this country. With Tom DeLay threatening to
'hold judges accountable' and Senator Cornyn rationalizing violence against
what he calls unaccountable judges, there can be little doubt the
Congressional Majority can and will use their authority to discipline judges
who stand in the way of their extreme right wing agenda.
As for freedom of the press - the subject of today's forum - all you need to
do is turn on the television, open up the paper, or listen to the radio to
appreciate the extent our so-called fourth estate has fallen. The vast
majority of the mainstream media is not only unwilling to accurately report
on the failings of the Administration, but the few who do have fallen victim
to scapegoating and retribution.
We have turned from breaking stories like Watergate and the Iran-Contra
scandal to celebrity journalism. As the Congressional Research Report I am
releasing today proves, major events that shape our democracy and impact our
lives routinely receive scant and belated coverage, while the most trivial
matters that were once the last stories on Inside Edition or A Current
Affair now dominate the airwaves.
In the lead up to the Iraq war, every minor leak supporting the
Administration's contention that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction
was trumpeted on page one. Stories challenging these assertions and
discussing the final reports of weapons inspectors concluding there were no
such weapons, however, were banished to a few paragraphs in the middle of
dailies. Such incidents have become the rule, not the exception, during the
Bush Administration, particularly after 9/11 and in the face of a massive
consolidation in media ownership.
Can you imagine the media uproar ten years ago if the Clinton White House
had given a fake journalist operating under a fake name unlimited access to
the White House? Does anyone think for a minute that the Washington Times
would have ignored stories about paid propaganda coming out of the Clinton
Education Department, or if a Democratic Secretary of State had turned tens
of thousands of Republicans away at the polls in a critical swing state?
Would most of the major papers have buried stories detailing secret
agreements to invade Iraq, billions of dollars in missing reconstruction
funds, or fantasy war stories spun by the Defense Department if a Democrat
were responsible? Consider what Bob Novak or Bill O'Reilly would have said
if Mike McCurry had browbeaten them about their use of anonymous sources, or
the Secretary of Defense had warned the press to 'be careful what you say'
as Donald Rumsfeld had done. You know the answer as well as I do.
There are a few alternative sources willing to speak truth to power. I first
learned about the now infamous Downing Street Memo on Daily Kos. Bradblog,
Raw Story and Air America have been at the forefront of our ongoing national
election scandal. But these voices are too few and too diffuse to overcome
the blatant biases of our cable channels and the negligence and neglect of
our major newspapers.
Thomas Jefferson wrote 'our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and
that cannot be limited without being lost.' Let me remind those in the
media, by failing to exercise your rights and duties to challenge authority,
you risk losing not only your integrity, but the nation's trust and respect.
And to those in the Administration who would blame the press for their
misdeeds and the media for their failings, I would ask you to be careful
what you say. You cannot preach democracy abroad if you don't respect the
constitution and freedom of the press in our own country."