The Media Matrix Hides a Party
Do the American people know what they're missing?
By Sam Smith
Is this our nation?
Which American political party best reflects the views of a majority of
citizens on the Iraq war, environmental issues, health care, campaign financing,
population growth, genetically modified foods, and marijuana use?
The answer, based on various polls, is the Green Party.
That you may not be aware of this points to a problem with American
journalism far more important than plagiarism, blogs, or Fox News. Specifically, our
media - for all its professed objectivity - is stunningly biased towards the views
of the American elite and particularly those who buy space in their papers or
time on their channels.
On the environmental issue alone, the Green Party has been proven by the
latest scientific data far more prescient and sane than either of the older
parties. Yet the media prefers to dismiss, discredit or disregard the Greens as well
as leaders who share their views, such as David Cobb or Ralph Nader.
But let's assume for a moment that one is not entitled to coverage simply for
being right, and let's adopt the childish media view that the only ideas that
count are those that demonstrate sufficient strength at the polls. Still, we're left with all those Americans who agree with the Greens and don't know it:
Will a columnist attempt
to square with this data the red vs. blue, Christian vs. secular dichotomies currently in
The 52% of Americans who think the Iraq War was not worth fighting.
- The 378 resolutions critical of the Patriot Act that have been passed in
communities in 43 states -- including six state-wide resolutions.
- The 68% who find the "problems of the global environment: global warming,
destruction of rainforests, destruction of species, loss of ozone layer" to be
very or extremely important to their life.
- The 62% of Americans who support universal health coverage as opposed to
the current system.
- The 68% of the public who support a version of public campaign financing
used in several states.
- The 78% who think population is growing too fast.
- The 80% or more of Americans who believe "protecting the environment will
require most of us to make major changes in the way we live," that an
underlying cause of environmental problems is that "the way we live produces too much
waste," that "we focus too much on getting what we want now and not enough on
future generations," that "we need to treat the earth as a living system," and
that "Americans should have more respect and reverence for Nature."
- The 61% of the American public who oppose arresting and jailing nonviolent
- The 76% who believe that large companies have too much concentrated power.
- The 73% who agree with the statement: "I regard myself as a citizen of the
world as well as a citizen of the United States."
What Would the Colors Look Like If People Were Given Another Option?
Why do we hardly ever see any of these folks on cable television, on the op
ed pages of the Washington Post or the New York Times, or mentioned in
political analyses? It would be interesting, for example, for a columnist to attempt
to square the 'red vs. blue' and 'Christian vs. secular' dichotomies currently in
fashion with some of the data above. Or to ask the question: do our elites want us
to hate each other so we don't find out what's really on our minds? And what
we have in common?
The Harris polling people report that over the past ten years, 31 million
Americans have had someone close to them die after the removal of life support systems, but the media would have us believe it only happened once in Florida.
30,999,999 true stories left untold so one more divisive myth could be created.
Here then is the real sin of America's media matrix: It has created an America it
chooses to see, not the one that exists. It has denied access to its pages and
its channels to voices representing the majority or even greater percentages of
Americans on key issues. And it has made us dislike each other even when on
many of the critical issues that it ignores or distorts we have much in common.
Sam Smith is publisher of Progressive Review, in which this article first appeared.
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