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You Tell Us: Support independent media as if your democracy depended on it

on February 14, 2012

Not news.

This is what media bias looks like.

On Thursday the Oakland Green Party was not news.

It was NOT NEWS that 4 Oakland Greens with a group of 40 supporters backed by 5,000 registered voters announced our slate to run in 3 council, and one school board race this November.

I was not news, as I am one of those four and I announced that I will run in the 1st District Council race.

The people who asked questions were not news.  The answers were not news.

The only place you will hear about our press conference will be in the Indy News and online.

After our press conference two of us candidates went across town with lots of friends and fellow Greens and other activists to see a review of police activities around the Occupy Protests. This event was supposed to be hosted by our Citizens’ Police Review Board, but they canceled at the last moment.  The Grand Lake Theater offered a location and Occupy hosted.  We heard reports from experts and saw a 45 min presentation on what the police have really been doing. The chief of police was invited to speak.

All of that was also NOT NEWS. A couple hundred people, including prominent civil rights lawyers, political activists and many Occupy protestors were there.  They might as well join us in the Green Party because together we are all NOT NEWS.

So what is news?

Well according to the Examiner quoting the Tribune:

“Occupiers marched from a courthouse to Frank H. Ogawa Plaza for a noon rally only to find about 40 people protesting them.

The group, calling itself Stand for Oakland, was organized by several neighborhood leaders to show public opposition to Occupy Oakland’s recent costly demonstrations and its focus on Oakland police, rather than the travails of the poor and middle class.

“I think this will make them see that the citizens are concerned and that the citizens are tired of the actions that they are taking,” said Angela Haller, a Neighborhood Watch leader who helped organize the rally.

Among those participating in Stand for Oakland was Councilwoman Desley Brooks, several neighborhood leaders, developer Phil Tagami and Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce official Paul Junge.”

When something like this is done in Cuba or Syria we call it a stage managed pro-government demonstration with few, if any, followers not on a public salary.

So, an established political movement and an established civil rights movement are not news, but an astro-turf group invented on the fly by the local wealthy and a politician is headlines?

A few years ago Amy Goodman, the voice of Democracy Now, spoke at Berkeley High where my son was going to school.  She asked a question that I have not had an answer for: “If we had state controlled media in America, how would it be any different than what we have now?”

We should all ask ourselves some quick questions:

Where do all those demo-republicans spend all those campaign adverting dollars?

Ever hear of a company that does not cater to its owners and its clients?

What else are we not being told because it does not meet the Advertisers’ wishes?

When the same kind of pro-system media domination comes to play in Russia, our corporate press talks about how their elections are not free and fair. I agree they do not have free and fair elections in Russia.  Can we call our system where the two official political marketing companies hold all but one of the congressional seats free and fair?  Russia has more political  diversity than we do.

So here is some information that the Greens can share that is also probably not news too:

We are not going to just go away.  Neither is Occupy for that matter.

We are finding ways to speak directly to the people in this election.

So has Occupy for that matter.

That is how 5,000 people decided to register Green in the first place.

And that is why the theater was full, despite the lack of news coverage.

A  suggestion:

Support independent media as if your democracy depended on it because it does.

Don Macleay was the 2010 Green Party candidate for mayor of Oakland and is currently running for a seat on the city council. 


You Tell Us is Oakland North’s community Op-Ed page, featuring opinion pieces submitted by readers on Oakland-related topics. Have something to say? Send essays of 500-1,000 words to We’d love to hear from you!

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1 Comment

  1. Donald Macleay on February 14, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    As an alternative political candidate and a progressive social activist I have had many years of dealing with our disappointing local corporate press.

    The stunning exceptions have been. by our local blogger Zennie who covered the last Mayoral election better than the press. a project of our local journalism school a local, for profit, on line news magazine
    and Viewpoint on More Public Radio, hosted by Eddrick Osborne

    I am sure that there are others including much that is good about KPFA.
    In practice though, the reporting from our major newspapers, radio and TV fit the mold of this opinion piece.
    Part of what makes official media look so bad is the fact that people like Zennie and Oakland North, etc. do such a good job, with so many fewer resources.
    A little professionalism seems to go a long ways and yet is so hard to find.

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