Event News

Weekly News From the President: Community Media Day Celebrations

That’s the date of the Second Annual Community Media Day: a national celebration of the good work that’s done by community media organizations in big cities and small towns from Maine to Maui (maybe I should say from Kauai to Kennebunkport instead).
I’ll be in Philadelphia for the First Annual Cammy Awards, organized by PhillyCam as a way to recognize the “creativity and commitment” of their video and radio producers.

But I know there will be celebrations across the country…what are you planning?

If you’re planning Community Media Day activities, I’d like you to become a Partner of the national event. Go to http://www.communitymediaday.org/become-a-partner and take a moment or two to tell us what you’re planning so we can publicize your activity, and build this celebration.

Want an idea for what you can do on Community Media Day? Check out the toolkit on the Community Media Day website. We have sample proclamations and ideas for ways to celebrate and be a part of the national movement.

Let’s celebrate #CommunityMediaDay!

Shocked, Revolted and Saddened

Watching the television coverage of the anti-Semitic, White Supremacist neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, VA this weekend left me stunned and disgusted.
And it also reminded me of all the times I’ve had to defend public access television from accusations of hate speech…when I see Nazi symbols and purveyors of racialist nonsense on commercial outlets left and right every day.

I don’t want to deny that there’s a crisis going on in our country and in our communities. I think the crisis is calling on people of all faiths to stand up for the freedoms we fight for every day, and to build the civil society we need. That means building institutions that are diverse and encourage debate – and not shut it down by squashing dissent.

I’m hoping you find the courage to speak out against the hatred and violence that is infecting our society, and hold strong to your belief that there needs to be more freedom in our communities, not less. What we saw in Charlottesville was not political speech – it was an act of terror.

I believe that in community after community across the United States, there is no public access television because of the perception that free speech gives a platform to hatred – even though the facts stand squarely against this idea. At the end of the day, local franchising authorities have to go to bat for political dissent, which can be a dicey proposition.

I will place a bet, however, that MSNBC, Fox and CNN have shown more hate video in the past 72 hours than in all of access television in the last decade.

So why does the “Nazis on Access TV” meme persist? Like Wayne’s World, it’s a powerful image and meaning that stays in the mind. Remember George Lakoff’s admonition to not think of an elephant – which makes you think on an elephant. The image of access television as a crazy place where taboos against hatred and sexuality don’t exist remains – even though there’s more hatred and sexuality in commercial television today that on all PEG platforms combined across the country.

We need better memes, people. Ones that reflect the wealth of good work you do every day in your community. Ones that reflect the values we stand for and the communities we are trying to build.

Mike Wassenaar
President & CEO
The Alliance for Community Media