media have enormous power to shape our culture. Unfortunately,
our mainstream media often perpetuate negative and harmful representations of
people, especially women and people of color. So it’s not a coincidence that the people who own our country’s broadcast outlets
are overwhelmingly white and male.
For decades, some of the best journalism in
America has been produced by nonprofit news organizations. Consider, for
example, National Public Radio, National Geographic,
the Associated Press, Consumer Reports,
the American Spectator, Mother
Jones and the Center for Public Integrity.
But now, thanks to a strange intersection of tax
law and media policy, nonprofit news has hit a roadblock.
On Friday, Rep. Ed Markey joined Sen. Al Franken in demanding answers from Carrier IQ, the company that has worked with mobile carriers to install a hidden application that has the ability to secretly track nearly everything users do — including the keys they press, the numbers they dial and the websites they visit — on more than 140 million cellphones. Researcher Trevor Eckhart uncovered the secret app.
On Thursday, nearly 200 Atlantans gathered at Georgia
Tech to talk media ownership. Federal Communications Commissioners Mignon
Clyburn and Michael Copps urged the people of Atlanta to demand better news,
and to participate in debates about media ownership.
While the arrests are perhaps the worst examples of press suppression, other reports of police roughing up journalists or blocking them from reporting continue to roll in. Even in New York City, where the NYPD has ordered its officers not to interfere with press, journalists are still being harassed.
A researcher just discovered a hidden
application that records what millions of people write, view and search for
on their mobile phones. It sends all of that data to a company no one’s ever
heard of. And we have no idea what that company is doing with our information.
Many have argued that in these tough
economic times everyone should share the pain of budget cuts. Yet our recent
report on state funding of public broadcasting found that in many states public
broadcasters are being forced to shoulder
more than their fair share of the burden.