Saturday, September 03, 2005

Sue Thomas' Response to Previous Post About a Need For A Strong Public Media

(I was being hassled by anonymous posters for awhile on this blog and so I had made it that only blogger members could comment--so that I could at least have a name to work with when replying--but I want everyone to be able to respond, so Susan, and anyone else, I've made it so all people can respond to posts. Below is a response from Susan, I think that her comment deserves some responses from Americans who are concerned about a free and public media.)


Hi, I couldn't post a comment as I don't have a blogger account, so here it
is. Maybe you could post it for me?

Actually you don't need to lobby for a strong public media in the US. Just keep watching BBC news instead, and save your lobbying energy to build a decent welfare system. Your press don't deserve your time. I'm serious. Why allow the US media to dominate your attention when on the web you have the whole world to watch and read? I love the USA, and visit frequently, but your news media make me despair. Fortunate, then, that actually nobody needs to watch it any more - just turn on your computer and join the rest of the world!

Sue Thomas

Writing and the Digital Life: a collaborative blog exploring the impact of digital technologies upon writing and lived experience

My response:

Hi Sue,

Thanks for your response.

I'm not calling for people to "lobby for a stronger media", I'm attempting to create a stronger sense of public media and encourage others to create their own media (the hell with lobbying, lets just make it).

BBC is a good news source, but they are not infallible, and cannot serve as a singular news source. Like our food sources, we need a varied intellectual diet in order to enrich our minds.

If Americans want a better welfare system we will no doubt have to do more than lobby as well... but how do we convince the larger American population how their own self-interests lie with a strong social system that ensures a quality life for everyone? Is BBC going to convince them, ha, unlikely... Americans need a healthy public media (go back to that first link I put up, I think you have a mistaken notion of what I mean by public media). You know that most Americans have a limited intellectual diet when it comes to their news sources--what is being proposed in my post and by the people linked, is that we need to expand their options--around the world and inside the US--they need to recognize the varied sources available worldwide (and on the Internet), but they also need to sup at the bountiful table of progressive and alternative media that is being produced in the US.

As a founder of Trace and the author of Hello World (do I have the right Sue Thomas?) I'm assuming that even if you take the celebratory position on Internet culture, you still understand the importance of developing concrete relationships with the communities/places where you live. Like it or not, most people still do not use the Internet to inform themselves and we still need to develop strong public media that grows out of concrete places and the realities that are a result of those places.

Sue, I have great respect for your work, but I am somewhat disillusioned by the naive claim that we should just abandon our media as they are not worth our time?

Maybe I am misunderstanding your statement and if I am sorry... thanks for the link to Writing and the Digital Life.


Anonymous said...

You're right, my comment was very impetuous and simplistic. And your radical media are very good, and the BBC is certainly not infallible by any means. I wrote the message on impulse during a break from some intensive writing - something one should never do, of course. Sometimes, much as I admire it, I just get frustrated with America, and that is where my message came from. And sometimes I get equally frustrated with the UK.


Michael Benton said...

Thanks Sue,

I assumed that it was just a spur of the moment comment.

I am frustrated and tired, painfully disappointed, and worried about the future (especially as another Supreme Court justice will be replaced by Bush)... probably why I took your comment so serious, even when I could see the jest in it.

The US is a bloated giant and it will not sink alone--it is vital that we steer it toward calmer waters and remove the crazy Ahabs from leadership.

Thanks, once again, for your writings/work.


memsamechnun said...

another problem with just sticking with BBC and the best the USA has to offer is we miss what most Americans consume daily.

lately, i've noticed liberal blogs and sites have been excellent in republishing our bad media with criticism. i find this valuable.

i remember an old flame once asked me how i could listen to Rush Limbaugh. i said "one has to know one's enemy."

a few years later i realised that it helps the poor bastards who decide to revisit Plato's cave. one can navigate the darkness and explain the fire and the puppets.

Michael Benton said...

I agree completely Memsamechnun!