Sports: Just a distraction from things that matter?

Now there are other media too whose basic social role is quite different: it’s diversion. There’s the real mass media–the kinds that are aimed at, you know, Joe Six Pack–that kind. The purpose of those media is just to dull people’s brains.

This is an oversimplification, but for the eighty percent or whatever they are, the main thing is to divert them. To get them to watch National Football League…. Just get them away. Get them away from things that matter. And for that, it’s important to reduce their capacity to think.

Take, say, sports–that’s another crucial example of the indoctrination system, in my view. For one thing because it–you know, it offers people something to pay attention to that’s of no importance. That keeps them from worrying about things that matter to their lives that they might have some idea of doing something about. And in fact it’s striking to see the intelligence that’s used by ordinary people in [discussions of] sports. I mean, you listen to radio stations where people call in–they have the most exotic information and understanding about all kind of arcane issues. And the press undoubtedly does a lot with this.

You know, I remember in high school, already I was pretty old. I suddenly asked myself at one point, why do I care if my high school team wins the football game? I mean, I don’t know anybody on the team, you know? I mean, they have nothing to do with me, I mean, why I am cheering for my team? It doesn’t mean any–it doesn’t make sense. But the point is, it does make sense: it’s a way of building up irrational attitudes of submission to authority, and group cohesion behind leadership elements–in fact, it’s training in irrational jingoism. That’s also a feature of competitive sports. I think if you look closely at these things, I think, typically, they do have functions, and that’s why energy is devoted to supporting them and creating a basis for them and advertisers are willing to pay for them and so on.

– Noam Chomsky

Inauguration Day: Obama 2.0

Image by DonkeyHotey

Mainstream media cameras will be directed solely at the Capitol, the Mall and the Inaugural Parade route today–sites of carefully coordinated pomp and circumstance.

But there will be much more going on in Washington, DC on Inauguration Day besides tributes to power. And the citizen journalists of DC Media Group will be on the ground providing alternative coverage all day long.

Our website brings together real-time updates from all correspondents–livestreams, Twitter feeds, blog posts and more–at dcmediagroup.info.

There will also be continuous updates on the Facebook page and @DCMediaGroup. Ustream is featuring DC Media Group livestreamers on their front page under the heading “Citizen Reporting the Inauguration.”

DC Media Group: Journalists working for you

Members of the DC Media Group contemplating American media
Members of DC Media Group contemplating the distraction of American media

If you’re interested in the events surrounding the 2013 Inauguration but don’t want to tune into Mainstream Media repetition of soundbites and paeans to pageantry, there’s an alternative for you. DC Media Group, a collective of independent online media sources, will be covering events and dissents of the 2013 Inaugural from a grassroots perspective–on the ground in real time, livestreaming, blogging, photographing, tweeting and more.

Cool Revolution is honored and inspired to be collaborating with these talented and dogged citizen journalists. I’ll be working alongside @GenKnoxx, @Rousseau_ist, @Sikk412, @johnzangas, @OCCUPYCARLISLE and @organizerx. We’ll be contributing to and supported by outlets already producing incredible work–Other Possibilities Network, We Act Radio, and DC Mic Check.

Special thanks to @OPNinfo for setting up our website DCMediaGroup.info, the hub for all livestream feeds, Twitter streams and much more (including updates to Cool Revolution).

You can also find a calendar of events, photos and regular updates on the Facebook page.

And you can look forward to more alternative news coverage and creative, thoughtful journalism from DC Media Group following the Inauguration!

Update: Livestreaming host Ustream highlights the livestreamers of DC Media Group on their Inauguration Central page!

Citizen streamers will hit the ground in Washington, D.C. to document the Inauguration as they see it. Raw, unfilterd and real. Expect rallies and protests, scenes of massive crowds and of course, the unexpected.

We Act Radio: Community-based progressive media

Ron Pinchman, Alan Rosenblatt, and David Shuster

Is the future of progressive media located next door?

Part of it may be. On a hot-for-April Saturday afternoon, people dropped in for the open house at their neighborhood radio station–We Act Radio. Just a stroll down Anacostia’s Martin Luther King Avenue–which also hosted art festival Lumen8 that day–the station’s small office brimmed over with people sipping drinks and animated by the on-air discussion blaring from speakers. Scenes and slogans from civil rights and labor history projected onto the only wall free from revolutionary banners and station-related promos.

We Act Radio went live early this year online and on 1480AM. Local vision and talent–Cliff Schecter, Kymone Freeman and Alex Lawson–started it up and attracted some high-powered friends to help it along, including former MSNBC anchor David Shuster, who hosts a 3-hour show every Saturday. Co-founder and program director Kymone Freeman calls it “the little station who could.”

It may rely heavily on syndicated programming, but the emphasis is still on engaging the community.  “We get a lot of foot traffic,” Kymone says [to Mediaite]. “We welcome it. Being on Martin Luther King Avenue is symbolic of our mission to give people a voice, to continue the work that Dr. King started.”

Kymone Freeman says Shuster has “put his credibility on the line” by supporting and hosting a show on an outspoken and upstart outlet, but Shuster disagrees, saying he doesn’t buy into the “unbiased” point of view for journalists. “Our role should be to report the facts and let the chips fall where they may. We have to follow the facts wherever they may take us,” he said.

His current boss Current TV is extremely supportive, and if anything his colleagues are envious that he gets to be so involved with the community.

The name of the station sums up the mission. “The role of the station is to say, here’s what the facts are, what can we do about it?” Shuster says. “In traditional news, we talk about the budget, politics,  but the difference here is, we say, here’s the news, and here’s what you can do about it.”

As an example, he cited the recent death of a baby left outside in the cold in DC. Instead of just reporting the incident as a tragedy, his show also discussed safe haven laws.

The Little Station That Could seems to be only one piece of the emerging network of progressive media shown on this chart created by In These Times. You know what they forgot? All the individuals efforts out there–the blogs (like yours truly), Tumblrs, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, Livestream feeds, and news aggregators.

Why are these important? Because we’re no longer content-swallowers. We’re content-producers: dreamers, creators, observers and analyzers–and we have a voice.

(Image by coolrevolution.net)

From In These Times (inthesetimes.com)