Conference on Media Finds Democracy Under Siege

March 04, 1996

The political degradation and corporatization of the American media were topics of discussion at the recent Media and Democracy Congress put on by the Institute for Alternative Journalism. Farai Chideya, CNN Analyst, and Herbert Chao Gunther, President and Executive Director of the Public Media Center, both served as guest speakers for the California conference. Chideya, who is also the author of the book "Don’t Believe the Hype: Fighting Cultural Misinformation About African-Americans", states that the very premises for many of the issues that serve as focal points for media debate, such as welfare and crime, are structured around misinformation, influenced by the racism and classism that persist in our society. She asserts that journalists should present stories in a format that is meant to inform, but not sway, public opinion. Gunther, an immigrant from Taiwan, suggests that the Left has failed to gain mainstream support because it operates in a "permanent state of adolescent rebellion", and is alienated from the core American values of idealism and patriotism.