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Free Press / Media Reform QUOTES

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The American mass media have achieved what American political might could not: World domination.
-- Akbar S. Ahmed

“The media's power is frail. Without the people's support, it can be shut off with the ease of turning a light switch.”
-- Corazon Aquino

What the mass media offers is not popular art, but entertainment which is intended to be consumed like food, forgotten, and replaced by a new dish."
-- W. H. Auden

The safest way to ensure diversity of opinion is diverse ownership. But this ideal has been sacrificed by our government...
-- Ben Bagdikian

“All of us who professionally use the mass media are the shapers of society. We can vulgerize that society. We can brutalize it. Or we can help lift it onto a higher level.”
-- William Bernbach

"I think that we have created a new kind of person in a way. We have created a child who will be so exposed to the media that he will be lost to his parents by the time he is 12."
-- David Bowie

Voice leads to empowerment. Empowerment leads to full humanity. Many faith groups have a trust relationship within their own community. ... Justice is part of our core mission. So media justice is part of what it means to advocate for a just society.
-- Rev. Robert Chase

Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media.
-- Noam Chomsky

* The United States is unusual among the industrial democracies in the rigidity of the system of ideological control - "indoctrination," we might say - exercised through the mass media.
-- Noam Chomsky

All over the place, from the popular culture to the propaganda system, there is constant pressure to make people feel that they are helpless, that the only role they can have is to ratify decisions and to consume.
-- Noam Chomsky

* “The script for this film was written 52 years ago by Edward R. Murrow, who taught us many valuable lessons about responsibility and always, always questioned authority, because without it authority often goes unchecked.”
-- George Clooney

* “Here's how it works: the president makes decisions. He's the decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Just put 'em through a spell check and go home.”
-- Stephen Colbert


By any international standard, the practices of these governments are unacceptable...We call on the leaders of these most censored countries to join the free world by abandoning these restrictive actions and allowing journalists to independently report the news and inform their citizens."
-- Ann Cooper

* I think it is absolutely essential in a democracy to have competition in the media, a lot of competition, and we seem to be moving away from that.
-- Walter Cronkite

* When “news stories” are broken, do we not expect a certain amount of fact-checking or source-checking? One has to ask if this falls under the guise of sloppy reporting or deception as a source of spin. We seem to accept a certain amount of deception and we seem to be helpless to doing anything about it, as illustrated so clearly by where we are right now in this moment in our history.
-- Sheryl Crow

* The reactionaries are in possession of force, in not only the army and police, but in the press and the schools”
-- John Dewey


The press is not only free, it is powerful. That power is ours. It is the proudest that man can enjoy."
-- Benjamin Disraeli

* I certainly think we have an emergency in media, and we gotta fix it.
-- Phil Donahue

I realize what you can do when you scare the population and how media contributes to that.
-- Phil Donahue

The biases the media has are much bigger than conservative or liberal. They're about getting ratings, about making money, about doing stories that are easy to cover.
-- Al Franken

* ...because of forced globalization, there’s a clear trend these days towards uniformity. This trend comes largely from the ever-greater concentration of power in the hands of large media groups.
-- Eduardo Galeano

* The media is supposed to be custodians of the facts and watchdogs of government. They have, for the most part, neglected to be either of those things.
-- Janeane Garofalo

the handful of corporations that own most of the media outlets have an interest in reflecting establishment views.
-- Janeane Garofalo

The right-wing media is trying to marginalize the peace movement.
-- Janeane Garofalo


"Whoever controls the media--the images--controls the culture."
-- Allen Ginsberg

* “Today, the media dictatorship is becoming a substitute to military dictatorship. The big economic groups are using the media and decide who can speak, who the good guy is and who the bad guy is...
-- Danny Glover

Independent media can go to where the silence is and break the sound barrier, doing what the corporate networks refuse to do.
-- Amy Goodman

* The media is absolutely essential to the functioning of a democracy. It's not our job to cozy up to power. We're supposed to be the check and balance on government.
-- Amy Goodman

Journalism is the only profession explicitly protected by the U.S. Constitution, because journalists are supposed to be the check and balance on government. We're supposed to be holding those in power accountable. We're not supposed to be their megaphone. That's what the corporate media have become.
-- Amy Goodman

American foreign policy is not understood by the vast majority of American people. And that this is due to a media that in this country is suppressed by Washington and by the owners of this media, who often tend to be corporate entities close to the [White House] and very often are arms manufacturers with a vested interest in chaos [in] the Middle East. And as a result Americans do not actually get both sides of the story.
-- Denis Halliday

* Much of the big media outlets in North America are owned by arms manufacturers, like Westinghouse, or G.E. [General Electric]. That’s unacceptable. So we’re not getting editorial policy, we’re not getting a vision of truth. People just don’t know what is going on anymore, and that’s really dangerous stuff.
-- Denis Halliday

* Mainstream media tend to just mouth the conventional wisdom, to see everything through the filter of right and left.
-- Arianna Huffington

It is not at all clear how much the media influences public opinion and how much public opinion influences the media.
-- Bruce Jackson

* What is being said in media in other parts of the world is very different from what we've been told in this country throughout these years between September 11 and today.
-- Bianca Jagger

* Since an informed citizenry is the basis for a healthy democracy, independent, non-corporate media are more crucial today than ever before
-- Dahr Jamail

No government ought to be without censors; and where the press is free no one ever will.
~ Thomas Jefferson

“The press is the best instrument for enlightening the mind of man, and improving him as a rational, moral and social being”
~ Thomas Jefferson

* Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.
~ Thomas Jefferson

"If the communications media are a good destined for all humanity, then ever-new means must be found -- including recourse to opportune legislative measures -- to make possible a true participation in their management by all. The culture of co-responsibility must be nurtured."
-- Pope John Paul II

There cannot be forgotten the great possibilities of mass media in promoting dialogue, becoming vehicles for reciprocal knowledge, of solidarity and of peace. They become a powerful resource for good if used to foster understanding between peoples, a destructive 'weapon' if used to foster injustice and conflicts."
-- Pope John Paul II

It’s hard to believe that in the greatest democracy in the world, we need legislation to prevent the government from writing and paying for the news.”-- John Kerry

“People shouldn't expect the mass media to do investigative stories. That job belongs to the 'fringe' media.”
-- Ted Koppel

Can we break the machine that is imposing right-wing radicalism on the United States? The scariest part is that the media is part of that machine.
-- Paul Krugman

People everywhere confuse
What they read in newspapers with news.
-- A.J. Liebling

"A free press is not a privilege but an organic necessity in a great society. ... A great society is simply a big and complicated urban society."
-- Walter Lippman

* “To the press alone, chequered as it is with abuses, the world is indebted for all the triumphs which have been gained by reason and humanity over error and oppression”
-- James Madison

“The media's the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”
-- Malcolm X

If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.
-- Malcolm X

* Media is the nervous system of our culture.
-- Gary Malkin

“All media exist to invest our lives with artificial perceptions and arbitrary values”
-- Marshall McLuhan quotes

“The media tends to report rumors, speculations, and projections as facts... How does the media do this? By quoting some "expert"... you can always find some expert who will say something hopelessly hopeless about anything.”
-- Peter McWilliams

* By the end of the millenium five men controlled the world's media. And the people rejoiced, because their TVs told them to.
-- Michael Moore

* The quality of democracy and the quality of journalism are deeply entwined.
-- Bill Moyers

An unconscious people, an indoctrinated people, a people fed only partisan information and opinion that confirm their own bias, a people made morbidly obese in mind and spirit by the junk food of propaganda is less inclined to put up a fight, ask questions and be skeptical. And just as a democracy can die of too many lies, that kind of orthodoxy can kill us, too.
-- Bill Moyers

“I believe democracy requires a ‘sacred contract’ between journalists and those who put their trust in us to tell them what we can about how the world really works.”
-- Bill Moyers

* The speed of communication is wondrous to behold. It is also true that speed can multiply the distribution of information that we know to be untrue.
-- Edward R. Murrow

* There is a cultural factor promoting violence which nowadays undoubtedly is highly effective is the mass media. And particularly everything that enters our minds through pictorial media.
-- Alva Myrdal

"The people will believe what the media tells them they believe."
-- George Orwell

Once you inject fear into a society of people, they become more and more afraid because they don’t cross over the neighbourhoods and the only information they get about other people is through the media.
-- Sister Helen Prejean

"Put it before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it and, above all, accurately so they will be guided by its light."
-- Joseph Pulitzer

"The best antidote to political attacks is to demonstrate our commitment to journalism, to public broadcasting and to democratic values."
-- Raul Ramirez

* “If in other lands the press and books and literature of all kinds are censored, we must redouble our efforts here to keep them free”
-- Franklin D. Roosevelt

The bigger the information media, the less courage and freedom they allow. Bigness means weakness.
-- Eric Sevareid

"The media is not just the message. The media is a massage. We're constantly being stroked, manipulated, adjusted, realigned, and manoeuvered."
-- Joey Skaggs

* Newspapers are unable, seemingly, to discriminate between a bicycle accident and the collapse of civilisation.
-- George Bernard Shaw

The media has become a major influence in shaping the world. Many are concerned that fewer and fewer corporations are controlling the vast majority of our media. Help promote a free world press, media reform and support alternative media sources.
-- Robert Alan Silverstein

* "The free press is the mother of all our liberties and of our progress under liberty."
-- Adlai Stevenson

* I can't tell you how many times we'll run into a journalist and go, "Boy that's…I wish we could be saying that. That's exactly the way we see it and that's exactly the way we'd like to be saying that." And I always think, "Well, why don't you?"
-- Jon Stewart
* The idea of a liberal media bias is simply a myth. If only it were true, we might have a more humane, open-minded, and ultimately effective public debate on the issues facing the country.
-- Barbra Streisand

* The media is too concentrated, too few people own too much. There's really five companies that control 90 percent of what we read, see and hear. It's not healthy.
~ Ted Turner

We have to do more than keep media giants from growing larger; they're already too big. We need a new set of rules that will break these huge companies to pieces.
~ Ted Turner

* I think people are too often misinformed and, in some cases, deceived. We don't have a full marketplace of ideas in this country that in any way reflects the broad, real range of ideas.
-- Katrina vanden Heuvel

* If we are to have the public conversations essential to taking on serious dilemmas from climate change to criminal justice reform, we need forums for those conversations. The media can facilitate the conversations or shut them down. They can open up or constrain our beliefs about what is possible, what is desirable, who is deserving, and which perspectives are legitimate.
-- Sarah van Gelder

The corporate grip on opinion in the United States is one of the wonders of the Western world. No First World country has ever managed to eliminate so entirely from its media all objectivity - much less dissent.
-- Gore Vidal

Serving democracy and nourishing the common good is, for the media, something that requires not only attacking corrupt secrecies in a society, but also defending non-corrupt communication.
-- Rowan D. Williams

A flourishing, morally credible media is a vital component in the maintenance of genuinely public talk, argument about common good.
-- Rowan D. Williams

I think that in the absence of a responsible national media, the blogs play an important role in trying to shed light on various issues, including the bona fides of so-called White House correspondents as well as tackling questions overlooked or ignored by the national journalists.
-- Joe Wilson

* We need to decide that we will not go to war, whatever reason is conjured up by the politicians or the media, because war in our time is always indiscriminate, a war against innocents, a war against children.
-- Howard Zinn




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