We Need New Media in Age of Obama
Election 2008 brought hope to the United States – and to the world – ending eight years of George W. Bush’s disastrous presidency and punishing his Republican Party. But Barack Obama’s transition has made clear that much work remains to be done.
Despite the many catastrophes of the Bush administration, the operative word from the Obama transition has been “continuity,” not “change.”
Establishment news outlets, both mainstream and right-wing, have praised the President-elect’s cautious Cabinet choices, such as keeping Robert Gates at Defense. Given the sorry state of the U.S. news media, that praise is alarming.
However, what this “continuity” means for us at Consortiumnews.com – and for others who resisted the corrupt Bush years – is that we cannot rest on our successes. We must continue digging for the truth about the Bush administration’s crimes – whether we get help from the Obama administration and Capitol Hill Democrats, or not.
Much like the early days of Bill Clinton’s presidency in 1993, Obama and the Democratic leadership seem inclined to let bygones be bygones and hope the Republicans and their right-wing media allies will respond with some bipartisan reciprocity.
That strategy didn’t turn out too well for President Clinton (the Republicans hounded him for eight years). And the Republican filibuster in the Senate last week to block bridge loans to the auto industry should be a sign to Obama that his hopes for a post-partisan Washington are unlikely to be fulfilled.
But perhaps an even graver danger is that tolerating a false history opens the door to a repeat of costly mistakes. We saw that when President Clinton allowed Reagan-Bush-41 crimes to be swept under the rug -- like Iran-Contra, Iraqgate, the October Surprise case and contra-cocaine trafficking -- setting the stage for the return of the Bush Family to power in 2001.
We also must focus on the desperate need to build honest media institutions – and to support the work of journalists and writers who dare to tell the truth.
You might have thought there would have been a housecleaning at Establishment news organizations where sycophantic journalists enabled George W. Bush and his disasters. But the roster of the mainstream/right-wing news media hasn’t changed much at all.
If anything, the neoconservatives have established an even stronger foothold in major news outlets, like the New York Times and the Washington Post. In other words, to the extent that President Obama does try to take the country in a significantly new direction – especially if he goes after “the mindset” that led us into the Iraq War, as he promised – he can expect strong resistance.
If this status quo is to change, all of us must keep the pressure on.
Based in the Washington area, Consortiumnews.com can play a key role in building a new news media that can challenge Washington’s stale conventional wisdom. Already, we offer a daily news publication that goes against the grain and tells stories that many in power would prefer to keep secret.
Since our founding in 1995, we have generated a truthful counter-narrative to the false narrative that has long dominated Official Washington.
We’ve done this by bringing together professional journalists, who have turned their backs on the mainstream, and former intelligence analysts, who dared tell unwelcome truths to the powerful – brave people like Ray McGovern (CIA), Coleen Rowley (FBI) and Sam Provance (Army intelligence).
We also have proven that quality journalism can be done economically. In 2008, we will have published about 600 news articles, including many original investigative stories and expert news analyses, while having an operating budget of only about $125,000.
Besides our Web site’s roughly one-third of a million “unique visitors” a month, our articles reach millions more because they are re-posted at scores of other Internet sites.But to continue this work – and expand our operation – we need your help.
First, we must raise $50,000 in our end-of-year fundraiser. So, if you can, please make a tax-deductible contribution to our parent organization, Consortium for Independent Journalism, a 501-c-3 educational non-profit.
Second, if you know someone at a foundation or other funding source, urge them to help us – or send us the name and address of your contact.
Third, forward our stories to newspapers, politicians and friends. On our very tight budget, there’s only so much promotion we can do.
We realize that many readers don’t have much money to spare right now – especially given the tough economic times. But, if you can afford to make a donation, you can rest assured that we will stretch every dollar and pinch every penny.
Also, in recognition of these hard times, we’re lowering the donation threshold to qualify for a gift book. If you make a donation of $50, we will send you an autographed gift copy of one of our three books – Lost History, Secrecy & Privilege or Neck Deep (paperback). For $100 or more, you can get Neck Deep in hard cover.
After you make your donation either by credit card or mail, tell us which book you want and where to send it. You can pay by credit card online at the Consortiumnews.com Web site – and then e-mail us your selection at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or you can mail a check and your selection to:
Consortium for Independent Journalism (CIJ)
2200 Wilson Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22201
(For readers wanting to use PayPal, you can address contributions to our account, which is named "email@example.com").
You also can mix and match the books depending on the size of your donation. For $250, for example, you can get the three paperbacks and the hard cover of Neck Deep. And if you've already made a donation of $50 toward our year-end fund drive, just tell us and we'll send along the book of your choice.
(Ignore the old donation thresholds on the order forms if you fill one out. This special offer of a lower gift threshold will continue until Dec. 31.)
Remember, your donation is crucial for us to continue to do the independent investigative journalism that we’ve been producing at Consortiumnews.com since 1995.
As always, thanks for your support.
Robert Parry, Editor
Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. He founded Consortiumnews.com in 1995 as the Internet's first investigative magazine. He saw it as a way to combine modern technology and old-fashioned journalism to counter the increasing triviality of the mainstream U.S. news media.
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