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Mon Oct 8, 2012, 04:39 PM

Rage Against the Machines

“It is beneath human dignity to become a mere cog in the machine.”
-- Mahatma Gandhi.

“There's a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part! You can't even passively take part! And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels…upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop! And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!”
-- Mario Savio; Sproul Hall, Berkeley; December 2, 1964.


I was recently sent a “link” to an article that stated the federal government was preparing to stop citizens from photographing the Williams’ Midstream Station, in Brooklyn, PA, which is the beginning-point of the proposed Constitution Pipeline. The article suggested that this was to prevent terrible-ists from trying to prevent the energy industry from exporting gas to foreign lands. I wondered why not just place an enormous fence around the site -- similar to the type that the Patrick Buchananists advocate for borders and exclusive neighborhoods? I mean, anything with the word “Constitution” in it must be mighty patriotic, and worthy of protection from environmentalists and other rational people seeking to exercise their Amendment 1 rights.

An internet/ public access television journalist from Binghamton, N.Y. has been telling both Face Book and e-mail groups about a “local media blackout” on hydrofracking- related stories. He is correct. Several reporters have provided me with information on stories that have been buried, due specifically to a local energy executive’s pressure.

Today, I received an e-mail from Dan Lamb, the democratic candidate for New York State’s 22nd district seat in the House of Representatives. His opponent, republican millionaire Richard Hanna, is associated with the energy executive who is actively suppressing the media. By no coincidence, Hanna is resorting to the same tactics. Below is a quote from a television station manager’s e-mail explaining why their local stations were not going to go through with a televised debate:

“He (Hanna) indicated to me that we would not be considered for his ad dollars and our level of cooperation in the future could be affected. I have councelled with Tim Busch and we are going to have to back out of this taping on Friday and deal with our relationship with Congressman Hanna on our own. I regret making this decision so late for WSYR as we jointly announced this last week. However I do not want to offer Dan Lamb a forum to bash Hanna and call him out for an ‘Empty Chair‘. I have reached out to Richard to tell him of my decision.”

More at:
http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/10/richard_hanna_email_dan_lamb.php?ref=fpnewsfeed
In my “web-book” about community organizing, I included information about the most effective ways to approach the media. There are, obviously, times when it is necessary to go above and beyond ordinary means. When the opposition uses their financial power to suppress a “free press,” however, other tactics become important. I’ll try to list a few examples.

By nature, the majority of “local” journalists will tend to be liberal; editors will be moderate; and managers/owners will be conservative. Thus, it is essential that grass roots activists develop a working relationship with reporters, and a speaking relationship with editors. In the past two weeks, for example, people in the Binghamton area have been calling the local newspaper and television stations, to request open and fair coverage of the anti-hydrofracking issues they are failing to report on. In response, one reporter was able to publish an important story in the paper; the television stations then followed suit. Always remember to identify one media source for maximum pressure -- because if one reports an issue, usually the others will, too.

Also, do not overlook the power of the smaller media sources. An area “weekly” newspaper published an op-ed I wrote, in their current edition. Within 24 hours, I knew people were talking about it -- in part because two people approached me in public to have me autograph their newspapers. I also have had a number of phone calls, and was asked to address a civic group on the general topic. (Several town- and county-level politicians were among the group I spoke to.)

More, resources such as the internet and public access television are important. Likewise, when a businessman at the civic group’s meeting asked me what I needed to “get the message out,” I mentioned how I’ve wrote for a number of small papers (such as the Native American newspaper I used to co-edit). After the meeting, this gentleman told me to “move forward” on such a paper, and that he would gladly cover the expenses.

I’ve been pretty busy in the two days since then. I’m working on Dan Lamb’s campaign, along with a couple other local candidates’ campaigns. This includes helping to set up a debate between five candidates, running for two seats on a town board, as well as writing press releases and assisting with radio ads.

This is besides working on an epidemiological study of a village poisoned by several toxic industrial waste dump sites. And attending meetings -- lots of meetings -- some public, others at friends’ and associates’ homes. In fact, I’m getting ready to go to one now …..to discuss setting up a series of meetings with editors and station managers …..to discuss how they can prevent “boycotts” of their media, should they be willing to be open and fair in their coverage of local/ regional campaigns and issues.

For “democracy” is not a place or status -- it is an ongoing process.

Peace,
H2O Man

12 replies, 1302 views

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Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 12 replies Author Time Post
Reply Rage Against the Machines (Original post)
H2O Man Oct 2012 OP
Beringia Oct 2012 #1
H2O Man Oct 2012 #3
porphyrian Oct 2012 #2
H2O Man Oct 2012 #4
porphyrian Oct 2012 #6
H2O Man Oct 2012 #7
porphyrian Oct 2012 #9
porphyrian Oct 2012 #10
H2O Man Oct 2012 #11
porphyrian Oct 2012 #12
woo me with science Oct 2012 #5
H2O Man Oct 2012 #8

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Oct 8, 2012, 08:09 PM

1. Very good

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Response to Beringia (Reply #1)

Tue Oct 9, 2012, 12:00 PM

3. Thanks!

Although it is a "local" issue, I think it's mighty important.

I'll be talking to Dan this afternoon, and will update folks here.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Oct 8, 2012, 08:11 PM

2. . n/t

 

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Response to porphyrian (Reply #2)

Tue Oct 9, 2012, 12:00 PM

4. Thank you!

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #4)

Tue Oct 9, 2012, 12:07 PM

6. Thank you.

 

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Response to porphyrian (Reply #6)

Tue Oct 9, 2012, 12:18 PM

7. You are most welcome!

I ended up getting together with several friends at a couple of homes last night. We have one of the most talented "grass roots" groups that I've had the pleasure of working with -- and there have been some outstanding groups over the decades.

Not all of the folks that I work with are registered Democrats. A lot of them are suspicious -- at very least -- of the party's national leadership. Yet, by coordinating the efforts of several local/regional groups, we are in the position where we can decide not only local elections, but also one for the House of Representatives. And that, to paraphase Malcolm X, gives us a seat at the table.

So I believe that while my OP is a parochial one, it proviides as working model for other DUers. And, without Good Friends like yourself -- helping this old man keep a thread like this alive -- it would sink and be overlooked, ignored, and lost. So, I again thank you!

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #7)

Tue Oct 9, 2012, 12:37 PM

9. I'll just have to keep kicking it, then.

 

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Response to porphyrian (Reply #9)

Tue Oct 9, 2012, 04:12 PM

10. . n/t

 

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Response to porphyrian (Reply #9)

Tue Oct 9, 2012, 08:42 PM

11. Much appreciated.

This evening's meeting just ended. We're getting ready to roll!

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #11)

Wed Oct 10, 2012, 08:28 AM

12. Keep us posted. n/t

 

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Oct 9, 2012, 12:02 PM

5. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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Response to woo me with science (Reply #5)

Tue Oct 9, 2012, 12:25 PM

8. Thanks, WMWS!

This struggle requires a great deal of patience. I remember back in 1973, my friend Rubin Carter telling me that with patience, the smallest of ants could climb the highest mountain. And although I do not have many talents, I do have a great deal of patience.

This issue of "fracking" has resulted in a surprising and encouraging number of grass roots groups across the state (and in other states) working together. Our geographic location may place us on diverse sections of that mountain, but we are able to use this to help one another get up over some of the ledges and boulders that block the paths.

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