Jonathan Schell on the media

July 12, 2007

Says Schell: To start framing issues on a global basis is crucial. "When we talk about 'mainstream,' we're not talking the mainstream of public opinion, we're talking about the mainstream of the opinion of the powerful."

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Says Schell: To start framing issues on a global basis is crucial. "When we talk about 'mainstream,' we're not talking the mainstream of public opinion, we're talking about the mainstream of the opinion of the powerful."



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Story Transcript

JONATHAN SCHELL, AUTHOR: Well, there’s a whole array of issues now that present themselves, really, on a global basis. And if you’re going to deal with them at all, you’re going to have to deal with them on a global basis. I mean, one is obviously AIDS. Another is global warming. A third one is the proliferation of nuclear weapons and, by the way, the possession of nuclear weapons by the countries that already have them. And these issues are really pushed out to the margins. So I think the international character of The Real News is going to prove to be very, very important. I mean, take the issue of global warming, for example. I think by now it’s well understood that the problem is real, that it’s man-made, and so on and so forth. I think the new study by the UN panel of scientists has perhaps gotten through. And now the question of what to do is on the table. And really it’s a matter of global justice. I mean, when it comes to the solution, it’s a matter of global justice, not just a scientific matter. And so to have voices crossing national lines and to start framing public opinion on an international basis is really something of the first import. And so to get some detachment from these nationalized versions of the news that are serving governments, or corporations, or whatever the powers that be in a certain country might be is a job that’s necessary to face the particular challenges that we seem to be up against in the 21st century. When we talk about the mainstream, we’re really not talking about mainstream public opinion; we’re talking about the mainstream of the opinion of the powerful. And so really it’s become necessary in a way that it wasn’t, or to a degree that it wasn’t before, to sever those connections. It’s increasingly a dysfunctional model, whether it’s government or the corporations that are supporting the media. And so if we could make that leap to viewer support, it would be electrifying, I think. It would introduce a kind of radical independence into the media that we just don’t have at this moment. We have it to a certain extent, sort of on the margins of the print media, few newspapers, few magazines, but it’s absolutely missing in television. And as we know, for politics television is probably the key medium. You know, a lot of the best journalistic work does go on in the print media, or at least in certain publications, and certain magazines, and newspapers. And I think that in recent years the link between those two has tended to be severed as television moves more into the infotainment business. And the result is that you have a kind of bifurcation between a world of news that is much fuller and better in the print media, and a world in which the news is much sparser in television. So I think it makes a lot of sense—and this is something The Real News is planning to do—to draw on the print sources from around the world, to reintegrate those two again, maybe to do it to a degree that’s never been seen before. And I think that can be a tremendous strength of The Real News.

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