Democratizing the Beltway talk shows

In media reform as in most political endeavors, direct action gets the goods. You don’t like the questions the corporate media are asking the decisionmakers? Ask ’em your own questions.

The big news in the DC news biz every week is who will be appearing on the Sunday talk shows – Face The Nation (CBS), This Week (ABC), and Meet The Press (NBC). Those shows send out a press release with the lineups every Thursday.

Competing news agencies send interns or other rookies to sit outside of the corporate media studios in case the guests want to make any statements after the interview. There’s a microphone stand set up outside; sometimes the guests stop there on their way out of the interview and take some questions.

Those other news agencies don’t send more seasoned reporters because they don’t expect to get any of what they consider useful footage there. Also, this all takes place on a Sunday morning when many of their employees would rather be in bed.

A couple of months ago, some enterprising media activists joined the post-talk show gaggle in order to ask the questions no one else is asking. The project is called The Washington Stakeout and is the work of DC Indymedia veterans and Sam Husseini, best known for his work with the Insititute for Public Accuracy.

If you check the site, you can see the Stakeout asking questions about Israel’s nuclear weapons of John Edwards and about pre-Iraq war intelligence of Colin Powell.

Washington DC is basically a series of concentric boxes, each one designed to keep you from thinking outside of its borders. It’s refreshing to see this kind of imaginative yet straightforward media activism in this town.

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3 Comments

  1. Nabby said

    It just goes to show that we have more and more places to go to get our information. I’m with the National Association of Broadcasters and local broadcasters are having difficultly competing with all the choices. We love that there are many options but the FCC hasn’t modernized its ownership rules to level the playing field in order for local stations to operate.

  2. I have to assume the above comment is a joke.

    Washington Stakeout is clever and beautiful and worth celebrating precisely because it exposes how plutocratic our broadcasting regime is, not because it offers a meaningful alternative in terms of audience size or an ability to get answers out of these folks.

  3. Nabby said

    Oh its no joke my friend. As I said, this site and many others, participate in a medium that was not available just a couple of years ago. Like it or not, local broadcasters are the lifeblood of our local communities. I learned this morning about a flood warning in my area. People depend on this kind of free information and local broadcasters deserve to be able to compete.

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