Dear Mark Crispin Miller:

2005 has been a remarkable year for the media reform movement. Together, we’ve proven to the politicians and industry moguls that people won’t stand idle while powerful interests make policies in our name but without our consent.

Your activism helped save federal funding and thwart partisan attacks on public broadcasting. You exposed fake news and “payola pundits.” You helped protect the right of local communities across the country to bring universal, affordable Internet access to their citizens. Thousands of you put activist toolkits to work in your communities, participated in town meetings on the future of the media, and packed the house in St. Louis at the National Conference for Media Reform.

I’m writing today to ask you to do one more thing in 2005:

Recruit two friends as new Free Press e-activists

This simple action will take only a moment, and it won’t cost you a penny. But it might be the single most important thing you can do to help grow the media reform movement.

Despite the gains we made in the past year, greedy corporate media continue to lead our nation down a perilous path. The narrow range of political debate, the lack of government and corporate accountability, and the obsession with celebrity and sensationalism have left the public dangerously misinformed about the most crucial issues of the day. More and more journalists are being shown the door as their corporate employers opt to “synergize” operations by replacing reporting with “infotainment.”

We need to push back in 2006 with an army of 500,000 activists — ready to sound the alarm when the FCC tries again to rewrite the rules to let Big Media control more local outlets in every city. We must confront the Bush administration’s relentless campaign to silence independent and skeptical journalism. We must make sure Congress passes a new Telecom Act that’s better than the old one – which gave us the Clear Channel colossus while handing Big Media billions of dollars in public assets for free. This time, the future of the Internet is at stake.

I’m sure, like me, you have friends and colleagues who are deeply concerned about the direction our country is heading. Maybe they wonder why they can’t find people like them or the issues they care about on TV. Maybe they’re mad about their cable bill being too high or having no high-speed Internet access. Probably, like so many people I’ve met throughout America, they see the problems of the media but feel helpless to change them.

Bring two new activists into the media reform movement

We started Free Press to give more people a voice in the momentous policy decisions shaping the future of all communications. We need more people to join the debate and build a media system that truly looks like America.

Thanks for all of your help this year and in the year to come.


Robert W. McChesney
Free Press

P.S. We need all of the help we can get. So don’t hesitate to invite three, five, even 10 friends or more to sign up as Free Press e-activists today.

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News From Underground is a daily e-news service run by Mark Crispin Miller, a Professor of Culture and Communication at NYU. It is based on his belief that academics, like reporters, have a civic obligation to help keep the people well-informed, so that American democracy might finally work.

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