Award winning journalist Bill Moyers opened the National Conference for Media Reform Friday with a pointed speech about the negative influence of corporations on American media and democracy.
Before a packed house of more than 3,000 conference goers, Moyers said that the independent press is under sustained attack with a few corporations conspiring with political leaders to create an Orwellian world "in which language conceals reality and the pursuit of personal gain and partisan power are wrapped in rhetoric that turns truth to lies and lies to truth.
Moyers decried the decline of hard hitting journalism. “The question of whether or not our economic system is truly just is off the table for investigation and discussion, so that alternative ideas, alternative critiques, alternative visions never get a hearing,” he said.
Invoking the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., Moyers compared big media corporations to plantation owners and American media consumers to their slaves."What happened to radio, happened to television, and then it happened to cable. If we are not diligent, then it will happen to the Interent [creating] a media plantation for the 21st Century dominated by the same corporate and ideological forces that have controlled the media for the last 50 years."
The government cut a deal with the industry and soon the public lost control of its media, he said."Something is wrong with this system," Moyers added. "This is the moment freedom begins, the moment you realize someone else has been writing your story, and it’s time you took the pen from his hand and started writing it yourself."
"We now have it in our means to tell a different story than big media. Our story," he concluded. "This is the great gift of the digital revolution and you must never let them take it away from you."