A critique of the San Francisco-based Media Alliance Organization.

by James K. Sayre

The San Francisco-based Media Alliance Organiztion has a web site at www.media-alliance.org/. It advocates the decentralization and democratization of our corporate media. It produces a quarterly newsletter called Media File. It has an office in San Francisco that offers many classes in journalism and the use of media tools. All these activities are positive and socially useful. However, there are a few difficulties:

1. for an organization that advocates democracy in the media, the Media Alliance's own web site, www.media-alliance.org/ offers no possibility of any feedback or comments from its members or the public at large. Can we say "undemocratic?" The Media Alliance presents its viewpoint and suggests specific actions, but there is no feedback allowed from the members. In the interests of democracy, perhaps it is time for the Media Alliance to add a blog section to its web site to allow for feedback and open discussion by at least its own members.

2. on the media-alliance web site, there is a prominent link to the "gradethenews" site, which supposedly casts a critical eye at the major corporate media in the San Francisco Bay Area. Upon clicking this link, one goes to a Stanford University site, in their Journalism Department. In the "First-semester 2003 grades" section, the three major corporate newspapers, the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Jose Mercury News and the Contra Costa Times were given virtually straight As for their coverage of the Iraq war. This is disgusting. The Bush war on the Iraqi people was unprovoked, it was totally based on lies and it is illegal and criminal in nature. These newspapers have been spouting the Bush regime propaganda line since Bush stole his first Presidential election in 2000. I have absolutely no idea why the supposedly progressive Media Alliance bothers maintaining a link to the Stanford Journalism web site which is merely cheerleading for the lying corporate media.

May be the Media Alliance could check out my personal Parrot Media Ratings for the San Francisco Bay Area media which are listed at: www.bottlebrushpress.com/alternativemedia/. My Parrot Media Ratings rates the media on a scale from 0 parrots for no parroting of the Bush regime (KPFA-FM and Air America Radio Networks, for example) to 4 parrots for all parroting of the Bush regime (Fox News and CNN, for example). Feel free to link to it. Better yet, just write up you own critique of the corporate news media in the San Francisco Bay Area and post it on your web site.

A short critique of the Spring 2005 Media File membership newsletter:

In regards your article entitled, "'Open' Internet Under Fire," about corporate ISP access via cable television lines, I would not bother spending any energy supporting such corporate greed-based giants ISP such as "Earthlink." I have traditional dial-up internet access through the telephone line and it works just fine. Several years ago, I tried to install Earthlink's ISP software on my PC and it was a total nightmare. Earthlink had truly awful customer support. May I suggest trying www.InReach.com for a smaller and more functional ISP.

In regards to your article, "Maneuvering in the Margins: Competition in the World of Alternative Weeklies, I would suggest that it is not worth expending your time and energy on the so-called "alternative" weekly newspapers these days, when alternative journalism is alive and well and growing on the Internet. Each day, I check out such progressive web sites as Cannonfire, NeroFiddled, Common Dreams, BuzzFlash, TruthOut, CounterPunch and Democratic Underground and find many interesting and provocative viewpoints. The so-called alternative weekly newspapers have declined in their usefullness and are much more establishment since the late 1970s.

The East Bay Express is almost totally worthless these days: it is a melange of gossip with no definable or understandable political or social viewpoint. Why do they bother even printing this rubbish? I guess to reap the profits from selling all their sex ads. At least the late Berkeley Barb had a good leftist viewpoint to accompany all of its trashy porno and hooker ads. The San Francisco Bay Guardian (SFBG) has become more parochial and self-centered over the past twenty years. Reading it, you would hardly even know that Bush had stolen the 2004 Presidential election. The SFBG seems largely to exist to reap its profits from the forty pages or so of weekly porno, sex and massage ads. Pretty dismal.

Yours truly,


James K. Sayre

31 January 2005





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