FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: News For All The People - Speaker Luncheon

 

Speaker Luncheon with Juan Gonzalez and Joe Torres Benefiting Media Literacy in San Antonio

We here at the Media Justice League have some exciting news to share. Thanks to the generosity of the San Antonio Current and The Twig Bookstore we can now offer our speaker’s luncheon for FREE to the first 50 people to RSVP. Yes, you can save that $20 you had set aside but RSVP soon as seats are sure to fill quickly. You certainly can’t beat the value.

For FREE you can meet our featured speakers Juan Gonzalez and Joe Torres, aurthors of the book, “News for All the People.” Get your personal copy signed. Tour the offices of San Antonio’s favorite alt-weekly, The Current and meet publisher Michael Wagner. Plus, share lunch with some of San Antonio’s finest journalists, public relations professionals and community leaders. Did I mention this is all FREE? Proceeds from the Twig’s book sales will benefit the Media Justice League’s ongoing media literacy programs throughout South Texas.

This is an opportunity for everyone in San Antonio who makes media, consumes media, and cares about media to come together.

October 26, 201111:30 AM Meet the authors, book sales, and signing. Noon-1:00 PM Lunch and Program.

915 Dallas Street, San Antonio, Texas 78215 MAP
Limited Space - RSVP Suggested - LINK TO EVENT: http://bit.ly/pexKvt

More about our speakers:

JUAN GONZÁLEZ is a two-time winner of the George Polk Award for commentary, is a former president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. He is a columnist for New York’s Daily News, and co-host of the nationally syndicated TV and radio news show Democracy Now! His previous books include Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America, and Fallout: The Environmental Consequences of the WorldTrade Center Collapse.

JOSEPH TORRES is the senior advisor for government and external affairs for Free Press, the national media reform organization. Before joining Free Press, he worked as deputy director at the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and was a journalist for several years.

The Book: News for All the People offers a sweeping account of the class and racial conflicts in American news media, from the first colonial newspaper to the age of the Internet. Based on years of archival research and up-to-the-minute reporting by veteran journalists and media reform advocates Juan González and Joseph Torres, News for All the People reveals how racial segregation in the media distorted the news and highlights numerous examples of how publishers and broadcasters actually fomented racial violence through their coverage.

Fast-paced, story-driven and replete with portraits of individual journalists and media executives, the book weaves back and forth between the corporate battles and government policies that built our segregated media system—as when Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover gave a radio license to the KKK—and those who rebelled against that system, such as Pittsburgh Courier publisher Robert L. Vann, who led a national campaign to get the black-face comedy Amos ’n’ Andy off the air.

This event is being cosponsored by the San Antonio Current, Democracy Now!, Free Press, and San Antonio Association of Hispanic Journalists (SAAHJ). Reservations are encouraged. For more information contact DeAnne Cuellar at 210-896-9141 (deannec@texasmep.org) or Leticia Medina at 210-291-8753 (leticiamedinatx@gmail.com).

OccupySanAnto, OccupyTheWorld: The Common Thread

For the last few weeks, the airwaves, radio frequencies, and cyber highways have been inundated with coverage of Occupy Wall Street and its iterations across the nation. Our most prominent news outlets have by turns scoffed and marveled at the movement. There is no denying that Occupy Wall Street has gained momentum. And how. Here in San Antonio, the coverage of, involvement in, and reaction to #OccupySanAnto are as varied as anywhere else. Major news outlets will have you believe that the bulk of occupiers are directionless, bitter, renegade protesters who are unable to articulate what their grievances are, much less what they demand anyone do about them. Anyone who bothers to attend any of the Occupy protests or do a little research, however, will find a common thread. Occupiers, at Wall Street and in cities across the nation, are pulling at this thread and unraveling the carefully devised lies that a fraction of our population has benefited from tremendously while the overwhelming majority languishes in debt and a faces a bleak economic landscape.

Since the collapse of the housing market in 2007 and the subsequent billions of dollars spent on bailing out banks, investment firms, and insurance giants, the economic crisis this country is mired in has wreaked havoc on the lives of millions of Americans. Well, on millions of low- and middle-income Americans I should say. There is a small percentage of Americans who have not only managed to keep their jobs and their amassed wealth but they’ve managed to increase that wealth exponentially. As a matter of fact, the top 1% of Americans owns roughly 42% of the nation’s wealth. Mother Jones put together a series of charts and graphs that clearly illustrate and explain the inequity in wealth distribution. The implications are astounding. The Haves don’t just have more money and more stuff, they have power. All this wealth translates into policy-making power that is then wielded by enormous corporations and finance giants.

Christopher Ketcham, writing for Orion Magazine, observes that “the One Percenter in his Wall Street tower…creates ‘value’ by tapping on keyboards and punching in algorithms. He makes money playing with money, manipulating abstractions. He manufactures and chases after financial bubbles and then pricks them. He speculates on mortgages, car loans, credit card debt, the price of gas that keeps the real economy moving, the price of food that keeps the labor pool alive, always hedging his bets so that he comes out ahead whether society wins or loses.” These “financial nihilists” don’t care to invest in any kind of sustainable future; their vision doesn’t extend to building out much-need infrastructure or exploring alternate forms of energy or devising systems to address resource scarcity. The One Percenters seemingly care only for the immediate returns on their speculations, to the detriment of a great number of Americans. 

The Occupiers are pushing back because they recognize that, in this case, the collective power of the people may just match the power of those who control the purse strings. We should recognize that just because individual protesters may care more or less about any one given issue, that doesn’t mean that there is no unity. As individuals, with individual concerns, individual philosophies, and individual upbringings it makes sense that differing views don’t coalesce immediately and seamlessly. We all can, however, agree with Henry George, author of Progress and Poverty, when he proclaims: “It is not enough that men should vote; it is not enough that they should be theoretically equal before the law. They must have liberty to avail themselves of the opportunities and means of life.”

Sadly, we live in a society where a lower economic status means less freedom in terms of job, education, and health care prospects. This realization is at the core of what drives many protesters day after day and this realization is what we should be talking about more. We should not allow the Occupy discourse to be dominated by comments like this one left by a San Antonio viewer: “…seriously….this about the dead beats wanting the people who worked hard to become wealthy and expect them to ‘share’ there [sic] hard earned monies, if they want that type of government then they can go to china, russia etc.” Errors in grammar, word usage, and syntax notwithstanding, this sentiment manages to convey how little analysis is being applied to the movement at large. In 1911, at the height of monopoly finance capitalism, Woodrow Wilson observed, “all our activities are in the hands of a few men” who “chill and check and destroy genuine economic freedom.” One hundred years later and the destruction continues.

Leticia Medina is happy to fight the fight at the Media Justice League alongside equally dedicated folks. Leticia may be reached at leticiamedinatx at gmail dot com.

Who cares about digital inclusion?

It’s net neutrality and universal broadband pledge week and, in all honesty, it’s been like pulling teeth. Even local allies we collaborate with on a regular basis give slow, reluctant answers to our requests to sign, or (even better) let us fill it out with their agreement.  I can’t help but wonder why.

Most often, the reason for reluctance falls into the categories of “why me?” or “I don’t see how this relates to my work.”  So, since it’s not as clear as I genuinely thought, I’m outlining the main points of the pledge and how they relate to EVERYONE in South Texas and, well, everywhere.

Read More