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tv   The Big Picture With Thom Hartmann  RT  August 30, 2013 7:00pm-8:01pm EDT

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hello i'm john berman in washington d.c. and here's what's coming up tonight on a special edition of the big picture we begin tonight with a look back at my recent conversation with former texas congressman ron paul in our conversation congressman paul and i talk about the foundations of libertarian politics and whether or not real libertarians can support corporate personhood after that we'll revisit my interview with fair fairness and accuracy in reporting founder jeff cohen i talked with jeff cohen about the rise of corporate cable news and the hidden bias of the mainstream media and don't forget my new book the crash of twenty sixteen the plot to destroy america and what we can do to stop it is now
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available for preorder at all online retailers like amazon dot com in your local bookstore so go check it out and now my conversation with former congressman ron paul. for tonight's special edition of conversations with great minds i'm joined by dr ron paul in the one nine hundred seventy six until one thousand nine hundred five and again from one thousand nine hundred eighty seven until twenty thirteen dr paul was the u.s. representative for texas twenty second and fourteenth congressional districts he's run for president three times most recently in twenty twelve and is the founder of the ron paul institute for peace and prosperity as well as the ron paul channel which debuted last week or to paul as one of our country's most outspoken advocates for limited government free market economics and is the author of
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a number of books on these subjects including his most recent the school revolution new in. search for our broken education system. dr paul joins us now from houston texas. dr paul we have a bit of a technical problem so dr paul will be with us in just a moment. he's he's ron paul has been in many ways a thorn in the side of the republican party and in many ways their best salesperson or one of their best choices it's the this the whole issue of republican libertarian is absolutely fascinating. for example we see that the. the republican party is largely it seems to me made up of. we've we've got him with us congressman paul welcome hello clyde i write a very good therefore we got it we're going to get it so that let's let's start
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with you congressman first of all how did you get into politics what took you from the world of medicine into the world of politics inadvertently i got into politics i really never had much interest in politics and still today it's very secondary to what i try to do but it was in the nineteen seventies i was fascinated with reading economics from a different viewpoint and what i had learned in college and i was fascinated with this school called austrian economics and during the sixty's they made these predictions of what would happen in the one nine hundred seventy s. and they came true and they said there would be a time when there would be no restraints on government spending or no restraints on printing money and things would get out of control and their predictions came true on august fifteenth one thousand nine hundred one and that was really a confirmation for me that this school of thought was on the right track and so for
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a lark i announced i would run for congress in one thousand nine hundred seventy three. which turned out to be a watergate year for republicans and texas only had three republican congressmen at a time so it was strictly a lark because i wanted to talk about you know economic policies and how important it was to rein in this wild spending and wild creation of money for banks and big corporations so i pursued the yeah and it was a fluke that i won because i lost the first race and then the gentleman i was running against had been a long term incumbent but he retired in the middle of a term and there was a special election to sort it put me in a place in politics sometimes it's it's a lock there's some luck involved but my main goal was to talk about policy and and that evolved into policy over the economic policy spending and also then i got much
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more fascinated with foreign policy and on civil liberties as the years went on but i had been in congress up into essentially from seventy sixty four in one thousand nine hundred four i said you know i didn't intend to come here i want to stay here very annoyed with the whole mass and i went back to madison for twelve years and then decided to run again so then i got back in the late one nine hundred ninety s. you've been described as a libertarian as a constitutional conservative as a classical liberal as a paleo conservative as a neo liberal i think even the objective of claims you at one time or another what what how would you identify your core political beliefs how do you describe your. none of those terms annoy me if i want to simplify and what term that defines what i believe the end it's nonintervention i'm a noninterventionist that most people i'm sure you understand what i talk about when i talk about foreign policy you know i don't like to get myself involved in
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the affairs of other countries and i think it's been very very high. harmful to it's been harmful to our security and harmful to our our budget and helps the military industrial complex all all those things but i apply that nonintervention not into the internal affairs of other nations but i apply that to all of us as individuals that governments have no right to intervene in peaceful activity i may become annoyed with some of the peaceful activity i may not endorse it but freedom means that individuals make those decisions and if there is no harm done no violence involved people who should be tolerant and be noninterventionist they should use the state to try to regulate people's behavior and tell them oh well i think you ought to do this is better for you i can as a parent or grandparent you know that's where the responsibility but not for government i just don't think the government has this authority but i'm a noninterventionist when it comes to the economy too and i don't think there
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should be the special interests of big government you know whether it's the federal reserve the politicians and big corporations they get involved and then the intervention always benefits they out and some people think well doesn't that mean it runs wild and nobody controls no actually the rules are a little stricter i think with free markets because you have to live up to your promises there's no fraud you. you have no counterfeiting no lying no cheating you're stealing and property rights are very important and if you obey all those things actually it's much stricter than when the politicians get in and pick favorites and that's what i witness in washington oh it's picking favorites you know who's going to benefit here and always the demagoguing oh oh we're doing this to help the poor people and yet the benefits you know go to the wealthy we certainly saw that on the bailout of the housing bubble the people who made the
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money god and then go went broke they got bailed out and the poor people who were talk. getting mortgages they think getting a bailout so. i think those kind of things would be better controlled if there was a full understanding of property rights and a principle of nonintervention in not only there but in the other two that i mentioned it's it's a fascinating concept it's. curious how how you would deal with externalities for example when we burn. gasoline we we use pretty good gas that somewhere between ten and one hundred thousand is pretty broad number between ten and a hundred thousand cases of cancer in the united states are the result of burning you know gasoline fossil fuels. and yet the oil companies don't pay any of those costs neither the costs to society nor the direct medical costs if you accept the global warming that's another huge extra anality large costs associated with it how
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in your conception of how a government and an economy with interact with each other how do you account for the extra nowadays where companies are internalizing the profits and dumping the the expense whether it's the pollution in the rivers or you know how do you how do you capture those externalities. excuse me the first thing we have to look at is how have the efforts were worked these last thirty or forty years where there's been a lot of proactive activity you know a lot of prior restraint on corporations that hasn't done a bit of good you know they're still they're still in charge but in a system that you do find i don't know of anything perfect but i think what we have today when you can buy a carbon credits and buy of and allow people to pollute a strict property rights. approach program would prevent that from happening you
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can't do that you have no right to pollute it's a property right most people can understand it if you're. talking about your next door neighbor already knows he can't come and just help his garbage in your yard that would quit pretty fast but it's another story when you talk about the air and water it's more complex i was raised in pittsburgh pennsylvania in the forty's the thirty's in the forty's and i remember very clearly we didn't see the sun sometimes till noon time and the rivers were polluted because the sewers were you know pulled into the rivers and so governments were involved and big corporations were on and it was no court protection for property they don't have this right to do this but in pittsburgh finally got cleaned up in a pretty city it was a long time before the e.p.a. was established but it was done on property rights and local regulations and and local control one of the big the early years of the automobile one of the worst pollutions from the automobile was a noise pollution is sound like tanks coming through and it was horrible and
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finally this city's in town said you can't come through here with this so they say you can't come in here and pollute our area are you with your noise and all alone behold before long everybody had mufflers on their cars and it didn't didn't require you know a big mandate in washington where the people who get to write the regulations to try to solve these problems in the banks the bankers write the regulations on drugs the drug companies write the regulations in many of here the management here in the insurance company write the regulations so the wrong people write the regulations you have bad results so he evidence shows that. at least from my viewpoint i think the evidence is there a strict property rights position would really prevent a lot of this although believe me there will be some difficult times i think the federal government has to be involved in an argument about
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a river that goes between two countries and probably in between two states. native authority but you know if you're on the on the canadian u.s. border you know i think that you do that has to deal with the federal government the government of canada more of tonight's conversations with great minds with former congressman and physician ron paul right after the break. looking for every development in the field that you won't find it here if you're looking for relevant stories unique perspective from tom my scans in antarctica.
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you know how sometimes you see a story and it seems so you think you understand it and then you glimpse something else and you hear or see some other part of it and realize everything you thought you knew you don't know i'm trying hard welcome to the big picture. here is mitt romney trying to figure out. of that thing that we americans call. a dollar. i'm sorry i missed the guy who cares an awful lot of. you sir are a fool you know what that is my theory sells but i want you to listen to futurism
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a liberal the christian. you believe. but. you know the corporate media distracts us from what you and i should care about because they're a profit driven industry that's. garbage you call that breaking news i'm happy martin and we're going to break that. you're welcome back to conversations with great minds were speaking with former texas congressman and two thousand and twelve presidential candidate ron paul. congressman we were talking about property rights as a system a rigid system of property rights being the the the solution to the problem of externalities and i'm curious how that would work in in the real world in the united states would we go to. exxon mobil and say you know your your
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pollution is causing x.y.z. problem i mean how how if it's if the government doesn't enforce that and i don't i can't demonstrate that my cancer was caused by their product or by you know the upstream paper factory that the koch brothers have or something like that how do you enforce that right of my right to the property of my own body not being damaged by others putting their extra analogies into the environment well it's obviously never going to be perfect but what we have today is pretty bad because it the people who are most responsible get the right most of the rules and regulations if you don't like the banking system they get the right all the rules but you said certain standards you know by previous cases if a person is held responsible then the next go around they're going to have to pay
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attention to this but i just think if you don't approach it this way. ok you lose total control of it there's no objective way you can follow this through but if if there is somebody i know it's simplistic to talk about somebody dumping garbage and we can see it and it is more difficult it is more difficult when. you know you can't see it as easily but in technology in this day and age it should be much easier to do this i mean there's in texas there's been a lot of things worked out in oil by property rights why why big companies can't store still you oil from the neighboring small farmer because of the property rights issue and i i still believe that is the best thing to do i think it's really important even in civil liberties you know if you look at the first and even the fourth amendment the the issue of civil liberties really is
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a property rights issue if you if you want to freedom of religious in assembly and crafts and speech that's a property right your house ought to be protected your home to be protected and they shouldn't come in to invade us like they are now the same way with the fourth amendment if it's a property rights issue they have no one no right to search us sing come in and take our papers and do all the things that they do because they're violating our persons any and our property but if you say if you're careless with property then it's much easier for them to come in and say oh well we can still go in there and see what's on your telephone and you know they justify all these other things that they do but a strict interpretation of property rights would really help us in that area as well well though and the way that you're talking about presumably is government what do we do when the a is is corporate. well they may not
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a lot to do it i mean they are going to have fraud have a forced. well if if if a corporation pollutes i should be able to go to court rather quickly and put the lawsuits on him and set precedents where they you know aren't a lot to do this if they commit fraud if they keep violation of property should be a very simple yearly punish crime but in the industrial revolution the corporations were polluting no property right understanding no court would listen to them but if it would had been started early on and set this as a precedent we wouldn't have the problems that we have today because they didn't they didn't emphasize property and they drifted over to preemptive regulation so everybody gets the regulation even if they haven't committed a crime to me that's why prior restraint on what you and i do or what the newspaper do because you and i might cause harm we mice lie about people and do their thing and commit libel but we don't want prior restraint but if you put prior restraint
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on the corporations and they say ninety five percent of them don't commit economic crimes or you know environmental crimes why is it that all the penalties put on there on everybody rather than the people who buy way to crimes and i think see i want to treat you know freedom of speech and property rights and economic rights all the same nonintervention in our area otherwise i feel like i'm inconsistent oh ok i will intervene here but not over here because i like government over here but i don't like government here what you do is if you set up that i'm going to put a priority on everything a businessman does why can't you concede to the conservatives well i'm going to make sure you're all smoke marijuana hurts you and i'm going to tell you how to eat and what you're you know fit and then they when they get to do that who takes over all the rules and regulations it's it's the drug companies in the food companies that they write all the rules and regulations so no i don't like prior restraint in
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the delivery of ideas or in products but i severely. we punish those who cheat and steal and libel and slander there should be laws against that but we shouldn't you know make excuses for him when we get away with it but a blanket accusation and a penalty placed on all businesses for everything they do doesn't work very well like i say and they end up writing regulations it doesn't work very well and it's very costly and one of the reasons why our companies you know additional charges because just open up that might take on years and years and years to do it. a lot of companies leave that's why productive jobs aren't even in this country anymore and one of the contributing factors to the bay major crisis that we have today canonically you've come back five or six times in our conversation to the notion that the companies the drug companies the pharmaceutical. that they're writing the
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regulations and i absolutely agree with you on that the cons that a corporation should have rights human rights under the constitution and that money should somehow be the same thing as speech and protected by the first amendment was never voted by any legislature state or federal never advocated by any president it was a doctrine that began in nine hundred fifty with the darkness case the supreme court hit a kind of high point one thousand century high point one thousand nine hundred six the santa clara county versus southern pacific railroad and then in the modern era in the eighty's buckley versus palaeo and first national bank versus bill oddie and then citizens united these supreme court created documents have made it possible in fact easy for these corporations to buy our legislators what would be your solution to the problem but i think only individuals have rights you and i have
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rights the individual i emphasize the individual not the unit the group or a group of people. no i don't i and just because the supreme court you know rule a certain way they weren't all that good on the slavery issue and civil liberty issues and the jim crow laws over many many years so they were pretty bad as far as the courts go so i think the the the individual has rights i believe that individuals are born i believe in natural god given rights for the individual the individual is very important and we don't gain advantages or disadvantages because we belong to a group and you should have privileges and you should be able to skirt responsibility but you have you happen to be corporate you know you don't you still have the responsibility and if you are in the corporation you know then we have a responsibility and i think some of that is still true in you know in networking
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t.v. and radio the owners you know have some responsibility as individuals so if they don't i would argue the case that they do you can skirt your responsibility your liability because you're hiding behind a label. and that is so it sounds like you're you're suggesting that the idea of corporate personhood is is a bad idea and you'd be opposed to it what about the money as speech thing what how does a society thomas jefferson wrote at some length about how great wealth would be destructive to a republic because the influence and political power associated with great wealth would be destructive and we didn't have the first in today's dollars millionaire in the united states until the seventeen nineties those guys were well off but they were not like that you know they were not like today's billionaires what what would what would your remedy be for the you know things like. not to make a personal but you know kind of bragging about investing in. a
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candidate for president. states saying you know this would be good for my business interests how do you how do we deal with that because that's an individual even though they use the corporate crime to make those billions in a libertarian society government is so minimal there's no reward for buying government because they can't pass a favor there's no military industrial complex there are no no you know bonuses and subsidies you don't have so lender a very you get some money from me you don't all the r. and d. and every company and every medical procedure it's all political so that wouldn't exist so there it would be a very good investment if government were held to that of protecting liberty but once it gets involved in the military industrial complex once it gets involved in regulating the economy i mean nobody can argue the case that. the current system has done anything but make this discrepancy in wealth worse but if there's
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a lot of other things going on too you know just the fact that you destroy money you always destroy the middle class if you study any monetary history you destroy money you'll destroy the middle class and rich get richer but that doesn't mean that rich people are bad people it means rich people are good people if they got there if they want to got their money through but the government and this is what i think has happened there's a big difference if you're a billionaire because you build jet fighters and you give them away to the countries you give them the egypt and every place else where we're the biggest arms dealer yes that's wrong and they shouldn't be rich but what if you're steve jobs what if you produce a product and he became wealthy because you and i voted for him this is pure democracy if you get to vote for a product and that would be permanent profits it determines wage levels at everything else if you if somebody gets wealthy this way but to put everybody
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together and say that if if they're wealthy. on their own and the people voted to give their money and was all voluntary that is a lot different than people getting wealthy because they are on the inside track of the federal reserve most wealth now is made through the destruction of money the rich the bankers the corporations the government officials the politicians they all get to use this money first when it has value but time it trickles down to the average person their stand their cost of living soars and it's much higher than the government admits so it's very very destructive and that is a system that i detest but i do not ted detest anybody having a good living if it's an honest living no fraud living up to their promises and not taking any benefits from the government by coercing somebody else to pay for a very interesting. we just have thirty thirty seconds or so can you give us
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a quick. story about your new channel. oh yeah ron paul channel is just up and running for about a week now and it will be something that will give me an opportunity to continue to do what i told you what i wanted to do in the beginning was just talk about some issues so i'm delighted that you had me on your program because i love the banter going back and forth with so discussing in one which is discussing a washington usually we don't get honest discussion out there is all demagoguery and partisan politics and i'm delighted you have me on tonight thank you very much congressman ron paul to see this and other conversations with great minds go to our website conversations with great minds.
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the the the the. it's a. very hard to take i. want to see. what happens after the fact that arabic there. was.
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for instance conversations with great minds i'm joined by jeff cohen jeff is the founding director of the park center for independent media at the college where he is an associate professor of journalism a former senior producer for m.s.n. b c's donahue program he's appeared as a political commentator and national media and helped found both the media watch dog group fair fairness and accuracy in reporting as well as the activism site action dot org yep it's also the author of numerous books including his most recent cable news confidential my misadventures in corporate media jeff cohen welcome back to the program great to be with you know great to have you with us. let's start with you what got you started in media what drew you to media in the first place well the mainstream media almost killed me i grew up in the vietnam generation and i was on like most kids thirteen fourteen fifteen i was
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a mainstream media junkie i would come home and watch the national news i would read time magazine. and i was a complete war hawk and in junior high or early high school i wrote an essay attacking the football quarterback at the time joe nemeth because he wouldn't go and fight in vietnam and i said he won't go into offend his country by fighting in vietnam so my attitudes were totally whacked and i look back i met a couple years later until the age of sixteen i'd never heard of alternative media i did know about the ramparts magazine i didn't know about underground weeklies i had never seen harper's magazine but it age sixteen i started looking at this and so while the mainstream media nearly killed me by getting me to go to vietnam like so many people of our generation went to vietnam thinking they were doing a great thing and liberating people so i was one of those people taken in by the mainstream media and when they when my light bulbs went off and my eyes opened and
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i started having access to alternative sources that say when i realized that i needed to be working in media but critiquing media and tell you the culminating incident i was probably about twenty years old when the vietnam veterans came to detroit michigan where i grew up and they had the winter soldier hearings where these vietnam vets returning from the war had testified in a public forum about the atrocities they had been part of the atrocities they witnessed the racism behind the war against. and it was just i hope a name for me and in the middle of one of the most emotional. guys were talking about things they'd witnessed in vietnam that showed why the people of vietnam were not on our side. during the middle of it very emotional testimony the
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one camera crew from a mainstream that had shown up starts packing up and back then it was like the lighting guy. you know is a huge thing and the vietnam vets started booing because many of them blamed the mainstream media in one thousand nine hundred sixty five sixty six sixty seven sixty eight for getting them to go to vietnam in the first place and so seeing how impactful the mainstream media war and how they basically censored this huge event of returning vietnam veterans who were testifying to the american public this is what the war is really about and the mainstream media wouldn't cover it i would say that's the day i became a media critic that's extraordinary did i remember back to back during those times before my own you know i want to risk kind of a similar arc when i was when i was thirteen and sixty four i went door to door i did for barry goldwater and my dad and i used to sit and watch william f. buckley firing line every weekend and i still look back on that i've been looking
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for all to find has actually great programming even though buckley was a conservative a curiously yes but buckley often had opposing views like you do today and he let them talk like you do today so i mean buckley's show was actually one of the better ones in that era while he was a complete war hawk a monster hawk fanatically hawkish on vietnam he had people like noam chomsky on the air he had allen ginsberg on the reserve frank zappa yeah and so yes he'd. firing line while the host was right wing it did provide some alternative views what i was watching every night was cronkite and. me brinkley. evening news and those guys were just giving us war propaganda and the vietnam war was presented as this you know we're liberating the people and
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will we have the commitment to stand by the vietnamese people well by the time these reports were airing the vietnamese people we know for. in the pentagon papers and we know that the war planners knew it at the time the vietnamese people had turned against the us did not ever see them as saviors but we were being propagandized and i would say going through the vietnam experience where i almost was ready at the age of fifteen sixteen to enlist and then seeing that the us mainstream media had been propagandizing me and millions of people and then seeing when the vietnam veterans came home to tell us the truth here's the real story of what we witness and they weren't allowed in the mainstream media by and large that's what turned me into the media critic what was your entry into the media when i started writing investigative pieces for alternative publications when i was very young i wrote for the detroit fifth the state an alternative weekly michigan and.
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new tie in my expertise at the beginning was i wrote about the martin luther king assassination i wrote about f.b.i. and cia abuse when the documents were coming out the internal documents were coming out in the one nine hundred seventy four seventy five so that's where i really started and after being sort of a freelance journalist for alternative media i then i had a knack for getting in spite of all the biases of corporate mainstream media i had a knack for getting independent views into the media and getting myself into the mainstream so i started teaching classes when i was living in los angeles is the whole world watching if not why not madison avenue meets the progressive movement where people would send a representative from every group in l.a. national organization for women the iranian students who stood for democracy they'd all send a representative teach here's the best way you can try to get in the mainstream media in spite of their biases and it was after doing all the work working in the
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media trying to get in the mainstream media that i founded fair in one. seen eighty six as a group that were just twenty four seven critique the mainstream media expose something novel which is who owns the media most americans don't even know who owns their media and that's what we said about starting to do in one nine hundred eighty six and our goal was to get people to look at the media critically and politically i'd be in a room full of activists and i'd ask people at the beginning of fair how many of the protests the federal building over some federal policy or war and almost all the hands would go how many of you protest outside of city hall or a police department over police brutality or some a police abuse hands would go up go on in a big corporate office over environmental or labor abuse the hands go up how many if you have ever protested outside of the media. and no hands would go up so we formed fair and one nine hundred eighty six because we wanted people to understand
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that the media corporations and the media outlets are powerful political institutions they have political biases they need to be dealt with politically they need to be critiqued politically and people have to make demands on those outlets you may not win a lot of your demands but in making demands of the corporate media you're telling your fellow citizens here's the shortcomings and biases and censored stories within the corporate media in ninety six was the year before reagan stops the enforcement of the fairness doctrine which fundamentally changed the way news is done in the united states at least and all the news divisions came under the entertainment vice presidents over the next two years. what's your analysis your critique of how the media has changed from the time you founded fair until today it was around the time we founded fair in eighty six. that all the t.v. networks went over ownership ownership changes they got they were already big
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companies and they got bought out by even bigger companies general electric for example. took over n.b.c. for a while westinghouse another big nuclear power company took over c.b.s. so we started fair when the media in washington d.c. was bended knee putting clothes on the naked emperor reagan making a guy they knew would fall asleep at meetings making this guy look better than they knew him to be so the washington press corps was soft the ownership was getting even more and more concentrated in fewer fewer hands bigger corporate hands and so we formed fairer than then what i've seen since fair was founded is while there are now millions of people several million people who get their news from. your shows there are several million people that just don't trust the mainstream media it can see through the mainstream media and while we i think fair has played a role in educating people about how bad the corporate mainstream media are i can't
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say that the manse we've made on the mainstream media except for the short haul at brief times has improved the mainstream media at all i'm a big advocate as you know for independent media that's the key the key is to look at media that are not owned by the giant u.s. corporations are not it sponsored by the giant us corporations independent media are growing nonprofit media are growing thanks to the internet that's the thing that's what's optimistic but in terms of corporate mainstream media getting any better because they are existed since one thousand nine hundred sixty no they haven't but millions of people have awakened to mainstream media and that's a big victory for fair and independent minded hosts and journalists like you i think so and i just minded i actually own the show yes i own my radio show yes and i have them so you are in the media goodmans independent media common dreams dot
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org independent media truthdig truthout alter net is long as the internet remains free and non discriminate. tory where the comcast and varieties and cannot discriminate by putting shows like yours or websites like democracy now and common dreams in a slow. and then the the outlets that they make profit off or get a cut get in a fast lane if we can maintain net neutrality and nondiscriminatory internet independent media will keep growing and it's a big if right both on the left of the right and the reality and in between and we'll have about two minutes until the break but we can i'm guessing this conversation on this topic will take longer than that but i'm curious your thoughts about how at one time it was a.b.c. c.b.s. n.b.c. the new york times the local paper basically media was fairly small the spectrum of things today it's huge at least it appears that way and particular with regard to cable news cable news has become
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a very different thing the evening news on network news i'm curious your thoughts about those two well i remember when cable started cable television before c.n.n. and ted turner started c.n.n. and i would be told oh don't worry about media anymore everyone's going to have their own station ralph nader to get a consumer rights station you know this group's going to have a station the unions all have their own network well that never happened cable television became as concentrated a half a dozen corporations started taking over all of the channels so while we have access to hundreds of channels most of them are still owned by a few companies those companies are comcast general electric viacom time warner so it's still a few companies that are owning hundreds of channels in the old soviet union they had hundreds and hundreds of outlets but they were all owned by the soviet state or the soviet union you know party at the state and it seems like we're reinventing more of tonight's conversations with great minds with jeff cohen right after this
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break. dramas that transfield ignored. the stories others the few similitudes. says changed the world lights never. told pictures posts. from around the globe. looked. up to fifty.
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you know sometimes you see a story and it seems so you think you understand it and then you glimpse something else and you hear or see some other part of it and realize that everything is ok. i'm sorry welcome to the big picture.
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and welcome back to conversations with great minds i'm speaking with jeff cohen professor and founding director of the park center for independent media to figure college and author of numerous books including cable news confidential by misadventures in corporate media so jeff back to the how did media has changed from eighty six when you found it fair until today four years earlier. four years before eighty six reagan had stopped functionally reinforcing the sherman antitrust act and so we saw this brand new creature on the american scene not just the media scene the m.n.a. artist the mergers and acquisitions people the michael milken the the mitt romneys of the world and inflated huge role in newspapers as we used to have in cities there would be sometimes two or three in big cities five six eight newspapers. by
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the time we got to the seventy's there were a lot of to newspaper towns but then through merger started happening and a few companies started chaining up all the big newspapers and chain him up they would go into debt and to be able to for these few corporations to grow vast at the expense of newspaper diversity they would cut staff and so corporate greed was hurting the american newspaper way before the internet anyone had heard of the internet and so when you talk about how the internet's wiping out daily newspapers and daily newspapers are so important in american political life corporate greed was killing the newspapers and then they weaken the newspaper so badly that by the time the internet came along they couldn't defend themselves they couldn't defend their circulation they couldn't defend their revenue. so that's something that's always left out. i think back at that high point of mainstream media as the early seventy's that was the period of woodward and bernstein and watergate that was the
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period where mainstream dailies one after another first the new york times and the washington post and the boston globe saying they committed civil disobedience and publishing the pentagon papers telling the truth about the and after one newspaper would be enjoying the other newspapers would start publishing so that was the high point and when you think about where have we come from seventy's today i think about bob woodward at the washington post where he bernstein unraveled this conspiracy and brought down a president and you think about woodward in the last ten. twelve years and he's basically cozy with presidents whether they're democrats or republicans. the establishment media has grown even cozier with the establishment the corporate ownership has got the owners more web up with power i remember in two thousand and four sumner redstone on c.b.s. for years and viacom and you're known as
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a liberal and they said who you endorsing for president in two thousand and four and he was a friend of it for messages it was a friend of john kerry's look i mentor senior republicans because i know i vote viacom this isn't me i'm viacom and big media conglomerates do better with a republican in the white house that's what he said in two thousand and four when he endorsed so we've had this problem at the ownership level and we've had this problem where the new star the journalistic stars have gotten cozier and cozier with power so with jeff base of amazon taking over the washington post. i i think of i see all the stories we've seen in recent weeks about the hallowed traditions of the washington post and is bay's always going to ruin them and i think and all these stories talked about the washington post with its proud journalistic tradition of watergate in the pentagon papers that was forty years ago and the washington post has been declining that the person who is the washington
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post today is fred hiatt the hawkish editor of the editorial pages who is editorial pages wrote in five months twenty four more than two dozen editorials pushing for the invasion of iraq they smear and anyone who was skeptical about invading iraq they didn't like they didn't allow the old didn't allow any dissidents who were skeptics of the of the invasion of iraq to appear but they were we savaged the editorial pages you think about the important role that the new york times front page played. in cranking up the invasion of iraq cable news mess n.b.c. fox news c.n.n. but the editorial pages of the washington post was crucial in making the invasion of iraq possible that disaster so it's a far cry from watergate and pentagon papers to fred hiatt washington post he's still on board with pesos the amazon guy taking over the washington post and so
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it's the same team this this hallowed tradition of washing clothes journalism has been going down hill there's of course exceptions dana priest has done explosive stories in the last ten years including the cia's black sites you know the secret prisons it was you know that showed our war of our war on terror was in many ways a war of terror a war of kidnapping and many of the people we kidnapped and tortured were innocent so i see it as a real decline over a period of years and you educate your audience every day about the impact of non-enforcement of antitrust if a few corporations are going to take over the media you're going to get a media journalism that is a product that looks like it's it's it's something that state propaganda from the corporate state jeff bezos is the go to ruin the washington post well the most it's been on a steady decline but based we know that one of the most important issues facing
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journalism today is the surveillance state and these profiteers these companies that get seventy percent of the intelligence budgets the u.s. intelligence budget is money that comes from the taxpayer and seventy percent of it is turned over to private contractors one of those big private contractors for the cia and spying is is basis amazon so you've got amazon totally web dump with the surveillance state making big profits from the surveillance state they hope this six hundred million dollar cia contract that amazon has for cloud web providing web services. they hope that's just the beginning and so the american people have watched a surveillance state grow up next to a warfare state and that's where our money goes that's why we can have universal health care for all that's why we can have college education for all three like they do in many advanced european countries but we can't have a debate about it in the industry of media and and with pesos taking over the
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washington post and this company makes profits from the surveillance state i don't think the washington post will do any better and they've been doing pretty poorly. i think of snowden and bradley manning it's sort of windows into how declining mainstream media the washington press corps. came out with the pentagon papers in one thousand seven hundred seventy one he got these newspapers to publish them and fall bradley manning has gotten horrible mainstream coverage snowden you have people going on t.v. asking not only should snow how can we get snowden and they use the term we when they're talking about the cia. you know they're not supposed to be state propaganda is our media are not supposed to be state controlled we're always talking about how our media is different in the media and other countries but if you look at the coverage of snowden and you see how the big news outlets have basically identified with the state. aaron sorkin.
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asking how did we let this guy get out of hong kong that was our first mistake to tell you about the government and cia as we as if you were a state propagandist so they've completely identified with the state and their big issues how does we get snowden behind bars what we really need and if we had an independent media they'd be focusing on the revelations that snowden has shown us that this money from taxpayers is being wasted on a bloated surveillance state a bloated warfare state and the mainstream media can't even pose those questions by and large. that's why independent media is so crucial today it seems that one of the pieces that you mentioned earlier media stars t.v. stars pretty reagan pretty consolidation pretty all the stuff people in the media even on national television chet huntley david brinkley walter cronkite they were not rich the they were they you know they might they had a damn good salary but they were not rich jodelle and now you've got guys i mean
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entry level you get you get a prime time t.v. show even on a cable network on imus n.b.c. you're looking at the least a million dollars a year and in order for those shows and usually multiples of that and in order for those shows to continue working they have to have guests because it's all been the star culture and so if the if the white house wants their people or if the republican party or the democratic party shut them out or john mccain won't show up their shows collapse their income goes away and people wonder why these are people suckers of these that you've hit on the two big issues they are so wealthy that they are cozy with the corporate and political elite that's their that's their brethren and number two when you hear the word t.v. news show in the mainstream the operative word is show it's entertainment and they need the stars i learned when i worked at m.s.n. b.c. in the run up to the invasion of iraq that the reason they had to they despised and feared phil donahue and then terminated us three weeks before the invasion is
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because he was interfering with them getting the stars they couldn't book the secretaries of defense the secretaries of state the assistant secretaries of defense and state the heads and former heads of the cia because phil donahue was raising questions about the invasion of iraq and all the questions we raised turned out to be the right one and when you look at the mainstream media talk about the decline fred hiatt at the washington post who was so wrong on the invasion of iraq he's only gained more power he's still the editorial page editor of the washington post i know of no one in mainstream t.v. who lost their job or got sanctioned because they got the biggest foreign policy. of recent decades totally wrong the invasion of iraq these people almost all of them did but the phil donahue is people like me we were kicked out of the media system. many many i mean after my book came out cable news confidential i heard from journalists big and small who lost their jobs because they question the invasion of iraq almost none of us where we hired when we were proven right about
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the wrongness of invading iraq we have about a minute and a half left i'm curious your thoughts on what the average person is watching this program right now can do to try to improve their media diet and improve the variety of things available support independent media when you learn things on time hartman's radio or t.v. shows spread it around by the internet we have for now this amazing tool that allows all of us to be publishers and when you so i encourage people don't get your news from mainstream corporate media look for all these alternatives and there are more now than ever and then when you see great stuff send it to all your friends it's that peer to peer way that we can fight the big corporate media they're fatter and richer than ever but there are these alternatives at the base but yet at the same time there are also what appear to be alternative an independent media that are actually being funded by billionaires and right wingers they typically exist on the right that are portraying themselves as this is the in
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a voice of truth. you know and there are others who are more smaller but how do you filter that stuff well i just again we believe that the more diverse access to verse or since you have the more chance you have of finding out what truth is i wouldn't filter i'd look at right wing and left wing and middle of the road sources and come to your own conclusions but send stuff around that you're not getting in the mainstream help build independent media by spreading the word about that which brings us to a conversation that will have to have another day about the silo is that what american media jeff thanks so much for being so much. to see this and other conversations of great minds go to our website at conversations with a great minds dot com a quick programming note join us tuesday september third the day after labor day for a special edition of the trip we're calling it the labor picture entire show focused on the state of labor in america.
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plus that was a new alert animation scripts scare me a little bit. there is breaking news tonight and we are continuing to follow the breaking news. the alexander family cry tears of joy at great things that. he had read at a court of law around alive there's a story made for a movie is playing out in real life. wealthy british spy on the sun. that's not on my list for.
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markets why not come to. find out what's really happening to the global economy with mike stronger for a no holds barred look at the global financial headlines tune in to cons a report on our. city in the middle east further ablaze with little or even no hard evidence surrounding the alleged use of chemical weapons in syria the obama administration appears determined to enter this conflict obama says the arc of the moral universe may bend towards justice but it does not bend on its own because american intervention in syria really offends for its justice.
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coming up on r t the us government inches closer to military action in syria while the obama administration pushes forward the international community is urging caution and restraint more on the growing tensions up ahead. the waters of california santa barbara coast tightest secret for years now there's been offshore we're acting even though there are no regulations and the coast was once trashed by an oil spill we'll tell you more coming up. pay raises and bonuses are usually the rewards for doing good work but that's not the case for many of the nation's top c.e.o.'s especially at a time of growing wealth inequality more on that later in tonight's show.


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