Juan Gonzalez Discusses Race and Media

On Oct. 25, 2011, at Santa Fe’s Armory for The Arts, Juan Gonzalez, co-host of Democracy Now, spoke about his latest book, which he co-wrote with Joseph Torres, a reporter from Free Form Press.

The book, News for All the People: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media covers the media system in this country, how it originated and how it has evolved over the years. Mary Charlotte, host of KSFR’s Radio Café, moderated for the second half of the evening.

One of the points Gonzalez made was the importance of “media justice” and how crucial it is for people, especially people of color, to be able to speak on their own behalves.

He equated centralized control of the media to the marginalization of people of color. Gonzalez spent quite a bit of time explaining how the three major arms of the news, the corporate media, the dissonant or rebel media, and the ethnic or minority media, all operate oblivious to each other.

He made an important observation that haunted me for the rest of the evening: we have more information than any other country in the world, and we are the most misinformed.

Not only do I want to read this book, but I’ve begun taking my news sources even more seriously than before. What are they presenting? What are they leaving out? Why? What’s my responsibility when gathering information if I want to be truly informed?

There is tremendous power in presenting the news, historically this power has always begun with our nation’s citizens and then slowly, over and over, it has been co-opted, conglomerated and monopolized.

With the use of the Internet, and options like citizen journalism, we have the ability to be incredibly powerful in engaging our voice and choosing where we get our news and determining what is newsworthy.

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