Media Misinformation Impacts Entire Progressive Agenda
Christine Coleman, Tides Communications Director
No matter the issue on the progressive agenda—the BP disaster, immigration reform, a fair and just economic recovery—our ability to move that agenda forward depends on the accurate flow of information in the public debate. Standing as a barrier to progress is the deliberate misinformation promulgated by right wing media.
Conservative misinformation in today's politicized media climate is being pushed into the mainstream more aggressively and easily because of prominence of new media and changes in journalistic integrity. Conservative media and Tea Party leaders spend thousands of hours smearing progressives, presenting unsubstantiated opinion and rumor as fact, and talking to voters through their television and radio shows. They help change public opinion and they even influence the more credible media. Inaccurate Fox News reports have seeped into CNN, The New York Times, Washington Post, and others. These energetic efforts threaten the broader progressive agenda; in fact, you could even say it's a broad-ranging attack on the entire progressive community.
You may be aware of Glenn Beck’s recent attacks against faith-based activists for social justice. You may not know that Jewish Funds for Justice (JFSJ), our partner and ally, is standing up to Mr. Beck’s rhetoric and is now being attacked by him. For several months, JFSJ has been actively engaging those who present scapegoats and demagoguery in response to the problems Americans face. Instead of pointing fingers, JFSJ works on the ground to forge real solutions. Here's a synopsis of the Tea Party’s scapegoat rhetoric and JFSJ's responses thus far:
Mr. Beck urges his viewers to “turn in their pastors” if their congregations promoted social justice, and to "make sure your church puts God first and politics and government last."
JFSJ launches Haik U Glenn Beck, an innovative website to respond to Beck’s comments and defend social justice. It fuels the world’s first "Twitterstorm," which sent 4,000 haiku in a 24 period to Mr. Beck via Twitter.
JFSJ’s president, Simon Greer, writes a column for the Washington Post challenging Mr. Beck that “to put God first is to put humankind first, and to put humankind first is to put the common good first.”
Mr. Beck responds to Simon Greer on the air and claims that JFSJ’s work for the common good “is exactly the kind of talk that led to the death camps in Germany” and that “A Jew, of all people, should know this.”
We are proud that JFSJ is defending our shared vision for social justice and the common good. If you want to show JFSJ your support, you can sign their online pledge to stand for the common good, and learn more about them at jewishjustice.org.
An association committed to advancing the field of media arts and public interest media funding, Grantmakers in Film + Electronic Media serves as a resource for grantmakers who fund media content, infrastructure, and policy; who employ media to further their program goals; and who wish to learn more about media.
The Kos Fellowship Program helps innovative, visionary activists and leaders to advance new progressive ideas into traditional media.
G.W. Williams Center for Independent Journalism develops national reporting projects to support journalists of color, women, and youth in pursuing independent public-interest investigative and in-depth journalism. Recenlty, the Center funded a four-part series in Oakland Local on youth sex trafficking.
Why not integrate separate models of care if it could mean better health for clients and their families? That is the essential question that drives the work of Tides Africa Fund. A new report, Making the Case for Integration, documents this new holistic approach, which since 2007 has included the Tides Foundation among its growing number of advocates.
Space available at Thoreau Center for Sustainability, NY: Tides offers rarely-available nonprofit office and cubicle space for 1-3 person organizations in a quiet, open office setting. Includes conference rooms; pantry; free high speed internet & telephone service. 55 Exchange Place (directly across from the Stock Exchange). Contact Alice Wagner, 212.509.1054.
Tides Awards 2010 Pizzigati Prize to Yaw Anokwa, a lead developer on Open Data Kit, a modular set of tools that's helping nonprofits across the world collect data via mobile phones on everything from deforestation to human rights violations, has won the fourth annual Antonio Pizzigati Prize for Software in the Public Interest.