Representative Keith Ellison is one of my heroes. Before a big crowd in Minneapolis in June, 2008, Ellison delivered a passionate speech on the importance of having a media that truly informs the People. I agree whole-heartedly with his statement that the People will do the right things, but only as long as they are informed.
Shamefully, we live in a world where the media is not motivated to inform the People on meaningful issues. In fact, many media outlets are currently set up to distract us from important issues by amusing us with unimportant things. It has gotten so bad that I think we would be much better off if we simply shut down many local newspapers and television “news” shows. At least, then, we would know that we are uninformed. With these newspapers still pumping out lots of paper under the banner of “news,” many people erroneously believe that they are informed, when they are actually being misinformed or (as I already mentioned) distracted. Because they regularly watched “news,” many people incorrectly believed that they were sufficiently informed to act responsibly as citizens.
Keith Ellison, who was elected to the House of Representatives in 2006 to represent the people of Minnesota, is such a breath of fresh air. Ellison knows the media reform movement and he feels it in his heart. I saw him give this talk–I was one of the many people attending the 2008 National Conference for Media Reform. It was such a joy to hear someone who is both informed and passionate about improving his world.
Oh, and yes. Keith Ellison is a Muslim, the first Muslim ever elected to the U.S. Congress.
For videos of many of the fine speakers at the Conference, see this link. There were so many terrific talks, including those of two of my other heroes, FCC Commissioners Adelstein and Copps. And don’t forget to check out Dan Rather’s talk about the corruption of the corporate media and it’s favorite technique, that thing he “euphemistically” refers to as “stonewalling.” Consider watching Tim Wu, Amy Goodman and, of course, Bill Moyers. It’s like you are getting a free front-row seat to the 2008 National Conference for Media Reform.