MEMO TO MEDIA
TO: The Heads of ABC News, CBS News, NBC News, PBS, CNN
FROM: David Guilbault (Former Television News Producer)
DATE: September 7, 2010
SUBJECT: You Need to be Told What Needs to be Told
To the point, the most important stories of our time are not being reported, or are being under-reported. They are stories of power and greed, and the long, steady, decline of the American working class.
It is long past time for your organiziations to get back to your primary journalistic duty, fully fund your news operations, stop chasing ratings and do your public service by reporting the stories people need to know. Credibility, prestige, increased viewership and, likely, increased advertising revenue will follow.
To that end, I propose the series of reports listed below. I would be happy to come out of early retirement to help you set up special units to report these critical stories.
POWER AND MONEY: Who Controls the World?
Corporations and their rich and powerful owners rule the world. Who are they? What do they own? What resoruces are they exploiting? How are they weilding their power? Which governments and politicians do they control? How do they use their political might? What worldwide policies are they trying to endorse and which are they trying to thwart? Why are they doing what they do and to what end? Why do some operate in secrecy? Most importantly, how do their actions effect the lives of common people and the broader economies of the world?
ENEMIES: Why Do We Fight?
The world is in conflict, seemingly perpetually. Why? This series of reports would have a journalist of the stature of a Ted Koppell travel the globe to interview world leaders face-to-face. The direct, blunt, questions would be the same for each. We would be looking for honest. straight-forward answers, not diplomatic subtleties, to these questions. Who is your enemy? Why are they your enemy? How have they wronged you? What do you intend to do to them? How have you come to this position? What do you think might be your misperceptions or misunderstanding of your enemy, or their motives? What doesn't your enemy know about you and your intentions? What would you be willing to do, if anything, to make peace with your enemy? What would you expect from them in return? Is there a solution to your conflict? If so, what is it? If not, why not?
THE GULF BETWEEN US: What Don’t We Know About the Middle East?
Americans simply do not understand the Middle East. Too many don’t know the differences and/or similarities betweens Arabs, Persians, Muslims, Islamists, Shiites, Sunnis, Shieks, The Taliban, The Iraqi Awakening, Mullahs, Imans, Ayatollahs, Hamas, Hezbullah, Al-Qaeda, the Palenstinian Authority, Jihadists and “terrorits”. Neither do I. As this part of the world is where we are constantly embroiled in armed conflict, it is unconscionably negligent that news organizations aren’t doing daily primers on all this. So, let’s do it.
MAKING STUFF: Who Are the Drivers of the Engines of Industry?
The future will belong to those who make the products wanted and sold around the world. So, who are the world’s manufacturers? Which countries and companies are at the forefront, making solar panels, mining lithium, developing efficient electrical grids, designing low-emission, high-mileage automobiles, inventing new battery technologies. Who has research and development money and how are they spending it? What new industries are coming next and why? Where are the wealthy investing their money? Where is our country leading or lagging? Who will control the engines of industry?
POOR STUDENTS: Why are We Dumbing Down the Masses?
Public education has been cynically allowed to wither and die in this country. Because our schools are primarily funded by property taxes, rich districts get more money and good education, while poor districts struggle and fail at educating their students. Education should be a regular, strong beat for any and all news organizations. The Constitution calls for “equal” education. That is simply not the case across the nation. And, the rich, in an effort to stop sending their tax money to poor schools, are pushing hard for a so-called voucher system that would allow them to take their tax dolalrs out of the public school system and funnel their wealth into the private schools their children attend. That would all but destroy public education in this country. In whose interest is an undereducated population? Who benefits and why when only the rich can get a proper education? Tell this story, loud and clear.
THE WORKING POOR: How Are People Surviving?
Studies show that the rich are indeed getting richer and more concentrated in number while the poor are getter poorer and increasing in numbers. So, as money around the world moves from the middle class to the upper class, how are the working poor surviving? These are the individual people stories that need to be told. What are American workers going through as the idea of becoming wealthy becomes out of their reach? How do working families manage their daily lives and budgets? Are the unemployed failing into deep, unreported holes? Is the mental health of Americans suffering? Are there any efforts from new companies to give their employees health care insurance and retirement savings? Who is working for a return of worker benefits and who against? What will become of the Baby Boomer generation as they reach retirement without the financial means to go on? How are our children getting the money for an education? And around the world, how are workers being expolited? Are there nascent labor movements in developing countries? Are there any governments ready, willing or able to share record wealth from oil and mineral resources with their poverty-striken populations? Are we really headed for world economic collapse?
THE MEDIA: Who Controls the Message?
After a burst of de-regulation, media companies have consolidated their holdings. A handful of powerful conglomerates are now free to control the collection, production and disemmination of information. This has inevitably led to an abuse of power, and a lot of intentional misinformation. The temptation to control what the public hears and how they hear it is overpowering. So, who controls the flow of information around the world? Which individual owners have undue power over the message? Are they telling the truth? If not, why not? What are their agendas? Who are their propogandists? What voices are being purposely drowned out? Who are not being heard? What truths are not getting told?
These stories are not easy to tell. They take time, diligence and resources. Their telling also takes courage. But it is essential that you tell them if your news audiences are to understand their world and make intelligent choices as informed voters. Please, do YOUR job, so that the citizens of America can properly do theirs.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Retired (Too Early)