The Importance of Independent Journalism in Fighting Censorship and Countering Corporate Media Propaganda

Featuring Raza Rumi

by Kate Horgan
Published: Last Updated on
The Project Censored Show
The Official Project Censored Show
The Importance of Independent Journalism in Fighting Censorship and Countering Corporate Media Propaganda
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In the first segment, Mickey speaks with Professor Raza Rumi, director of the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College, who explains the declining relevance of “legacy” media and the essential work of a truly independent press. They go on to talk about media censorship and propaganda around Israel and Hamas and what appears to be an unfolding genocide Gaza. They also discuss the coming 16th Annual Izzy Awards at the Park Center (named after the late great muckraking reporter, I.F. Stone), which honors the best independent journalism in the public interest. Later in the program, Mickey and Eleanor deconstruct how establishment media are slanting Gaza coverage in Israel’s favor, including at the New York Times, which has gone so far as to control language and censor their own journalists to further a their bias while demonizing those who offer counter narratives based on transparently sourced factual reports from the region.

Notes:
Raza Rumi is Director of the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College in upstate New York, and has held a variety of other academic appointments in his career, including at Cornell University and the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College.

 

Video of the Interview with Raza Rumi

 

Below is a Rough Transcript of the Interview with Raza Rumi

Mickey Huff: Welcome to the Project Censored Show on Pacifica Radio. I’m your host, Mickey Huff. Today, in this segment of the program, we are honored to welcome back to the program, Raza Rumi, a policy analyst, journalist, and author. He is Distinguished Lecturer at Roosevelt University house Public Policy Institute at Hunter College, New York.

He is the director of the Park Center for Independent Media and teaches in the journalism department. He is also faculty at Brooks School of Public Policy at Cornell University. During the 2015 through 2017 years, Raza was a scholar in residence at Ithaca College and taught courses in journalism and writing departments, as well as the Gallatin School of Individualized Study, New York University.

Raza has been a fellow at the New America Foundation, United States Institute of Peace, and a member of the think tank at Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics at Georgetown University. Raza Rumi, welcome back to the Project Censored Show.

Raza Rumi: Thank you. Thank you. It’s a pleasure. Always.

Mickey Huff: it’s always wonderful to catch up with you.

And again, we, Project Censored, of course, are acutely aware of the very fine work you do at the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College. one of the many reasons we, know about you, your work, and of course, the, Park Center at Ithaca founded by you. the great Jeff Cohen from Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting.

You’re the second director, there over the years. You do something every year that I think is very interesting to our audience, and it is the Izzy Awards, named after the late, great, independent, muckraking journalist, I. F. Stone. and Project Censored’s been around long enough, since 1976, that We actually have a blurb from IF Stone supporting the work of Project Censored back in the day.

We of course are big fans of the things you’re doing. Raza, could you tell our audience, just briefly, what exactly is the Izzy Awards? This is the 16th year that you’ve all been doing those awards, and you recently announced, this year’s winners. There’s going to be a ceremony at the end of April, and of course this program is pre recorded, but We’ll be airing this show right around May 3rd, which is International Press Freedom Day.

So you and I have a lot to talk about, in this segment. Raza Rumi, the Izzies.

Raza Rumi: Yes, thank you so much. the Izzy Award, started, as you mentioned, in, 2008, that is when the Park Center for Independent Media was set up at Ithaca College. One of its kind, perhaps the only such media In an academic space across the nation, which directly and exclusively, focuses on non corporate, independent nonprofit media and media streams, that of course includes, publications, includes, documentary, And other forms of, communications, but in, in largely in the non corporate zone, because as, like the world media, the American media ecosystem is corporate controlled.

a few handful of corporations own what 90 percent of media, millions consume here and overseas. so the idea is to honor and, recognize the important work that independent journalists do despite so many hurdles, financial difficulties, small budgets, et cetera. So each year we have been, of all, giving this award to, to those who have made an impact and, It includes really, remarkable names like Amy Goodman, for example, of Democracy Now.

it includes many journalists from, The Intercept, from Mother Jones, from The Nation, from Inside Climate News, groundbreaking stuff, which people don’t find on, Washington Post or New York Times or CNN. And, So how do we get it out? And the award is also a way to promote this kind of media.

So that’s in brief what the purpose is. But, because it is set up in a, college, in an academic space. So the idea is also to demonstrate to students. in the communication school, in journalism department, as to this is also a possible career choice. You don’t have to join Fox News the moment you graduate, or your local corporate channel, peddling, the interests of a few over the many, you can choose a path.

And, I think that’s what, What we have successfully done over the years, at the Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College.

Mickey Huff: Yeah, absolutely. Raza, this year’s, this year’s winners you recently announced, and again, at Project Censored, there was such overlap, with the missions and, the interest that you all have at the Park Center.

we honor independent media every year with our top under reported stories, meaning that these people do amazing work, these organizations do fantastic work, and like you just said, it’s often, under adverse situations, these are often underfunded, these are really often labor of love kind of organizations, non profits, that’s not to say that there’s no money or no career path there, but It’s not the easy way to do things, Raza Rumi, and I particularly am struck by the educational components.

Again, at Project Censored, we’re strong, strong, promoters of critical media literacy education, and the fact that this is housed at a college where you are teaching students about the importance of independent journalism, this is a stellar and fantastic thing. And this year, of course, the winners are no strangers to us here at Project Censored.

the people, the good folks over at Indies Times out of Chicago, amazing labor reporting. I know you have a special mention this year, recognition for the coverage of Democracy Now. this is, again, the kind of work that you’re, putting up as Journalism in the public interest, right? So could you talk a little bit, maybe just briefly, can you talk a little bit about, just how you, I know you accept nominations and so forth, but could you talk a little bit more about why these groups and these individuals are doing such important work?

could you tell us a little bit maybe about some of this year’s winners? just so our listeners can just what you said a moment ago, just so they can go and become more familiar. And if they’re not familiar with these sources, they really should be.

Raza Rumi: Yeah, certainly. Thank you as you also, mentioned, this is a labor of love.

A lot of these journalists and small outlets, are struggling all the time, they’re keeping the flame, going. And that is what we are really interested in because often what we see is that some of these stories. have a huge impact, ProPublica, for example, has become a leading, leading voice.

it is now cited before Congress testimonies and Senate hearings. it’s not even a publish, magazine, it’s a website. But look at its impact. And that is something that we, we really look for. For every year when we get countless dozens and dozens of nominations, and then we have a panel of judges and me who go through and plow through lots of material.

We don’t generally, do books, though. We also get many good submissions on books primarily because, what we want to do is, look at some of the, articles and podcasts and documentaries, which may, have a more public sort of appeal and, and engagement. So, this year in these times, as you noted, we recognize the outlet because they have done some stellar reporting, during 2023, in, and the focus was on the lives, livelihoods.

Struggles and voices of working class people, from the meatpacking laborers in Iowa to coal miners in Appalachia, poor women in Mississippi and the employees of a high end, of high end resorts in Montana and Colorado who can’t afford housing anywhere near their jobs. And, these are the stories you don’t hear on media.

CNN or New York Times hardly Talk about these issues, and so who is going to talk about people and working people, especially in america where we know that, high inflation and rising inequality And you know declining incomes has put the working people in a real tight spot and the purpose of independent journalism has to be give voice to these, voiceless, groups and they are large groups in, in rural and semi-urban areas of America.

that’s the other problem with the media bias here. and Mickey, it’s well known. I’m just repeating that, it is so much, focused on big cities, like on the, and, especially on the east coast and the West Coast, and there’s a clear bias, that’s the universe.

Exactly. So New York is the universe. that’s an entire America. What about the middle America, Southern America, all these other places where people are struggling. So that’s why in these times was recognized. And then we also, gave this award to, to, remarkable reporters in Chicago, one from invisible Institute and the who’ve done this seven part investigative series called Missing in Chicago, basically where they’ve exposed, the mismanagement, mishandling of Chicago’s police on, of missing person cases.

And surprise, Most of these, affect black women and girls. they, these reporters were plowed through so much material. there were 30, 000 complaints remove filler wordsed, which identified buried patterns of misconduct and marginalized homelessness, substance abuse, mental disorder, health disorders.

And, and they looked at how, basically the police was mis, Completely mismanaging these. And, certainly, this had a lot of impact within, the Chicago area and within the communities. And so we thought that this was something that ought to be given its due recognition. And then to avoid, the nation has, Yes.

In Palestine, Mohammed el-Kurd. Yes. who’s basically written these, lyrical and powerful essays in the nation, basically about the Palestinians, people’s right to speak for themselves, and how Western media rarely amplifies their voices and actually attributes their voices to them, puts words in their mouth and doesn’t really talk about, it’s a, so it’s a larger pattern of dehumanization of the Palestinian people.

And that is why democracy now also gets a special mention, because they have consistently since October, 2023 reported on what was happening in Gaza, in particular, in Gaza. the kind of blockades and the civilian, targets, Geneva conventions, international humanitarian law, international law of the armed conflict prohibits, targeting civilians and civilian installations like hospitals, schools.

But we have seen everything has happened in broad daylight in front of our eyes. And for, months and weeks, the mainstream corporate media, especially in the U S was denying it. Absolutely. was only putting across the, official version by the Israeli military or the government and democracy now, as as always, they’re brave, to, put out, the version of people who live in that region.

Mickey Huff: Yeah, and actually, it’s, you can learn more at parkindymedia. org, and the list is there. Mohamed El Kurd from The Nation, whom you were just speaking about, is the first Palestine correspondent in The Nation’s 160 year history as an independent magazine. Very significant to point that out. as well, and you link to the pieces here, the pieces that you were just speaking about, and Raza Rumi, that obviously opens up, the topic of, Gaza and media coverage of Gaza, and that’s certainly something that, you and I are going to talk about.

I wanted to, however briefly, just pause to remind our listeners that you’re tuned to the Project Censored Show on Pacifica Radio. I’m your host, Mickey Huff, and we are speaking to the director of the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College. We are speaking with Professor Raza Rumi. We will be back and continue our conversation after this brief musical break.

Stay with us. Welcome back to the Project Censored Show on Pacifica Radio. I’m your host, Mickey Huff. In this segment today, we are honored to welcome back to the program, Raza Rumi. Raza is the second director at the Park Center for Independent Media. He’s a distinguished lecturer at Roosevelt House Library Institute, he’s an author. He has done many things, and you can check out his work. Of course, you can learn more at the Park Center site. It’s parkindymedia. org. Also teaching, again, as I mentioned, at Hunter College in New York now. Also has taught at Cornell. And many other places. Raza Rumi, you were just telling us about the very important Izzy Awards that really call attention to the important voices in independent media.

You were just talking about some of the winners, that were just announced and is going to be celebrated at the end of April. Gaza, the issue, and you and I have talked in between. about some of the just absolute atrocious media coverage that’s gone on in the United States in particular in the West, and so let’s talk about that just briefly. I know you mentioned it before the break. I want to talk a little bit about just the absolutely shameful and disgusting kind of coverage that we’ve been seeing, but. I also want to talk to you about and hear your views about how you maybe see some of that coverage changing, in the West.

It’s painful to watch places like the New York Times try to, do mental gymnastics and bend over backwards to just not state the obvious, but let’s, talk a little bit about this. you well know, as you just talked about the amazing work, that other independent journalists are doing, especially Mohamed Elkurd.

we can certainly talk about, others, whether it’s Electronic Intifada, Mint Press News, Rania Khalek. There’s a lot of people that are covering what’s going on, in Gaza. But as you pointed out, they’re not at the New York Times, they’re not at the BBC, they’re not on CNN.

these places. So your assessment. what’s your assessment of the Western media coverage? And have you seen a shift at all?

Raza Rumi: Yeah, certainly I think that is something that merits, I mean we can go on and on for hours, but I think The problem, here is that we know that the Western media and corporate media in particular is very much a veritable arm of the military industrial complex.

Now, deliberately, wittingly, unwittingly, I don’t want to sound like a conspiracy theorist. Maybe it’s, maybe it just so happens that, rich people have common interests and common friends in DC or wherever, it, could very well be that, right. Yeah, it could be you know just to give them a little benefit of the doubt but you know So so I guess we can see that, Okay, october 7th was definitely a terrible day in our recent history You know what hamas did to israeli civilians can certainly not be condoned by any means I know there are many arguments and theories about that and i’m not going to go into that because I think attacking and hurting civilians or taking them as hostages is certainly not the done thing.

It doesn’t solve anything. It only aggravates the issue. Having said that, the disproportionate response by Israeli government and the military, on, an already occupied and subjugated and, ill treated people is what makes it worse. And the media itself Instead of looking at the larger picture, the history of why Palestinians are there, why does Hamas exist in the first place?

why, why is Hamas getting that kind of support? Okay. Not by, not all Palestinians, but a sizable number of why do people, support them? And I think it, it hasn’t really gone into those questions. because it wants to highlight the, and, regurgitate the question. The strong security relationship that the Israeli government and the American government have.

And that is what has been narrated through and through months, in the corporate media. And so much so that when the hospitals were attacked, justifications were made as to their underground terrorist cells, our schools were being attacked, aid workers, journalists, more than a hundred, who kills aid workers?

Humanitarian workers. I know we, I know human beings are, have a terrible history and I know there’s been lots of barbarity, but we are in the 21st century. If you haven’t learned that from our history and from what has happened in the past centuries, then obviously we have not learned enough.

and and that is where, so first of all, I think it has to do with the dehumanization of Palestinian people and civilians. Because that is something that is, if we are concerned about Israeli civilians, then Palestinian lives have an equal value and an equal measure of reporting and coverage, and, to inform the publics, both in the United States and around the world.

But, in the U. S., it’s even more important because billions of dollars from the U. S. taxpayers can go to Israel. Now, who is the government supporting? And that is what a lot of activists and young people say in America, that, it is our tax dollars. And certainly we have a right to check and ask the government.

So, with this one sided, biased reporting, the parallel was, social media, venues like TikTok, venues like Instagram that were presenting an alternative to. picture of what was going on and actually, citing voices from Palestine. So Palestinian content makers, ordinary people, they’re vloggers, they’re young people on TikTok until the internet was shut down, or later on, they moved to a secure place, they were reporting in a far better way. And that led to this outrage, this historic movement. on campuses on, in almost every city of America. And now today the polls show that majority of Americans, oppose this war in Gaza and not due to the corporate media, all the citizen journalism is remarkable I know I’m not doing a blanket sort of eulogy of social media because their problems of disinformation. Yes. Lack of fact checking. Misinformation. Propaganda. Yes, it’s there. And Israelis have also been doing that. we saw Israeli Tiktokers making fun of Palestinian people in siege, you know that they don’t have water.

How would they put on makeup or how would they cook food? Oh, they’re starving, they were actually making fun of that and that really hurts you because obviously I can’t blame them. They are victims of propaganda within Israel as well about the Palestinian people and about the whole conflict, because often young people, just like in America, a large number of people are kept ignorant or misinformed or, subjected to propaganda.

for the imperatives of a national security state. And I think that is what is happening in Israel as well. Because, you have to create a very obedient, a very pliant public. And media is the tool. Media is the tool. Media, cinema, mainstream corporate, communications are the tool to keep masses in the dark.

Mickey Huff: Absolutely. And, last month we had a opportunity to do a great event with Roger Stahl and Robin Anderson. Fatuma Saad and Manar Adlai on, Roger’s great remove filler wordsm, Theaters of War, that talks about how the CIA and the Pentagon have long controlled these narratives through entertainment, quote, unquote, right, invotainment, mis again, literally script writing censoring the whole nine yards, the hundreds and thousands and then thousands of shows and so forth.

So it’s not just the corporate media. It’s all these, this information ecosystem. And I find it very interesting, Raza, that around the same time we see this decline in trust. in the legacy press in the US and we see these statistics as you said going from full scale support for what was happening with Israel to now I’m a majority of Americans have said no, this is not something that we approve of this is not something that we support this is not who we are.

At the same time, we see the Biden administration trying to get rid of TikTok or ban TikTok, because it’s allegedly a foreign company, it’s foreign propaganda, but don’t worry about Meta or Google or Alphabet or Facebook or Fang or the rest of the big tech companies, right? It’s just TikTok.

Raza Rumi, your thoughts on that.

Raza Rumi: No, that is again, that, that was remarkable, in a country which is, of course, world’s oldest company. at least in this part of the world, that’s part of the globe, but, to muzzle, a social media platform used by so many millions.

Yeah. And especially young people was remarkable. It was, of course, couched in this national security excuses that, the Chinese are planting and so on. Spying on people or blah, blah, blah. And yes, if they are, who, the US has the best, techies, in the world. who can check this app as to what kind of data, et cetera, and you can put on those remove filler wordsters.

But that outright idea to censor and muzzle this platform was very much related to what was happening on Gaza. And, I’ll tell you, Mickey, what really, upsets me, you talked about cinema. So I remember, once I, I used to teach a course at Indica college and, we looked at film and, I don’t know if you remember this Hollywood blockbuster, American sniper.

Mickey Huff: Oh yes.

Raza Rumi: that, that talks about this, the PTSD of a soldier, of a veteran from Iraq casually brushes aside all the people that he shot and all the. All the tragedy that, fell upon Iraqi people, they, were, they were remarkable for the lack of presence in that remove filler wordsm. And that remove filler wordsm was about Iraq war.

about, about conflict and that, and the toll that it takes. And similarly, A lot of these cinematic productions, over time have inculcated this necessity of war. Now look at the treatment of the Ukrainian people as opposed to the Palestinians, right? Yes. Yes, absolutely. So I don’t want to go deeper into that, because Ukraine has been targeted by Russia, which in the cold war mindset, which persists in America, refuses to go away.

Russia, still the enemy Russia. Is as is nothing compared to the U. S. it is a country with a economy almost the size of Spain far inferior to the US, the Russian military is not a superior military machine to The U. S military spending and the machine is far larger, but Russia is blown and created as such a huge threat.

And yes, I’m not denying that Russians would be up to no good. They will do that. And we know Putin is a dictator and a, yes, but these threats are amplified because you have to create for the imperatives of a national security state. And, similarly, for the continued military assistance to Israel and all the money that, is given out by both Democrats and Republicans.

There’s a bipartisan consensus when it comes to the killing of Palestinian people. And, so obviously, the reaction by the Biden administration and the Congress has been, how do we fix this? Fix this problem. Our young kids are being misled by all these TikToks and these videos. Oh my God, what a threat to national security.

But, I also would like to add that I think what has also happened is that the Democrats have been badly exposed. we knew. We knew that already. we knew from Obama years from earlier, but in this particular conflict, President Biden’s, conduct and his, vacillation, his refusal to smell the coffee.

His refusal to acknowledge the public opinion has been a major blow, to, for them, Biden will suffer in this election. Uncommitted.

Mickey Huff: The primaries, people uncommitted voting in these, states. Over 20 percent in places like Minnesota, D. C. just did it. it’s a trend and they’re pretending it’s not connected, but it’s directly connected to the Gaza policy.

Raza Rumi: Oh, absolutely. And so they’re uncommitted, but it is also terrible for the United States role as a, it calls itself as the sort of global leader in democracy and someone, invested in the idea of exporting democracy and democratic values and American values and human rights, et cetera.

All of that has been exposed. in the academia, which is the so called bastion of free speech, intellectual freedom, we have seen how professors have been targeted. There’s a, they’ve been suspended.

Mickey Huff: Yes.

Raza Rumi: Students in Ivy League, Columbia University was suspended. three of them. Can you imagine for the, for holding a particular set of views?

Mickey Huff: Oh my God. And students are being attacked all over and just happened in sleepy Claremont at Pomona College. They just called in what looked like a military occupation of the place. It’s unhinged, man. and again, yeah,

Raza Rumi: people are scared, and so that has been deeply disappointing for me, Mickey, because, I moved, I moved into academia nearly a decade ago because I thought, I’m in the U.S. This is the great intellectual space.

I would have all the freedom in the world. And so this is, I’ve realized, no, that was a. a mirage because there’s freedom on everything except Palestine or perhaps except the military industrial complex to to have it exposed directly this has been really sobering you know the political elites the corporate media elites and the higher education, again, corporate higher education elite,

Mickey Huff: neoliberal managerial class.

Raza Rumi: Yes, all the classes get into the class. They all seem to be invested into this violent project in the Middle East and the people hats off to young people of America Who are really challenging that and resisting that and hats off to organizations like jewish Voices for peace and other groups who said not in our name.

Don’t do this killing. Don’t violate all laws, international laws and, ethics, that keep the, world going. in our name. So I think what has happened is that, the, the corporate media. in the last six or seven months has further fallen from grace. It already had been losing its credibility, but I think after this experience, it’s, they will find themselves in a, greater, crisis.

Mickey Huff: Yeah. We’re even seeing that at NPR, where they’re a voice of conscious comes out and says, look, we haven’t been covering issues well, and the public has caught on. Right. And the public realizes that we’re not really reporting in the interest of people. And that’s really part of the crisis of journalism.

And we’re back to independent media, the independent muckraking press, which really, it really, I think it’s leading the where it’s where the, so called industry part of the problem there, but that’s really where journalism is thriving. And that’s where these stories matter so much.

so much. We’ve seen the New York Times literally producing fake news, bogus stories, and repeating them over and over, whether it’s beheadings or rapes or other things. it’s right, it’s WMD level, deception and chicanery going back over 20 years at the Times. And in Israel, we see similar issues.

They’re banning news outlets.

Raza Rumi: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah, absolutely. I mean about the, about the role of Indy Press, I was startled. I didn’t really know. Puerto Rico, for example, has only one pediatric, heart surgeon. it’s, I thought it was part of America.

one for the entire region. and of course the nation reported on it. I didn’t read it in the Washington Post, because they don’t care who, why Puerto Rico, they’re not going to buy all the goods that we sell and all the advertising that we have to do. so, a lot of important stories, and that is why we need the independent media and a bigger and more a more, financially stronger Independent media in this country

Mickey Huff: Raza Rumi. There’s obviously a connection here, too I know you do a lot around human rights. And of course, we’re actually talking about critical media literacy the knowing of like why why wouldn’t the Washington Post right? About some of these stories or why what does compel them to do the things they do write about or publish.

And again, that’s the media literacy, the critical media literacy angle, looking at the owners, the advertisers, right? Looking at all the other forces. You mentioned the commercial forces, right? Just moments ago. Those are very real. And when I was saying that we’re talking about a quote, news industry, and I quit, but that’s part of the problem is that it is the privately owned for profit model that’s really failed the public interest at large Bob failed the public repeatedly.

And it’s failing Gazans. It’s failing Palestinians. It’s failing. It’s failing on some of the most fundamental and important issues of our time around war and peace, life and death, and these are no laughing matters. And we have all these resources and things at our disposal, and it is further disgusting to see it used to promote more violence, to promote disinformation, and to actually encourage censorship and try to silence the voices of others.

Raza Rumi, the work you do at the Park Center, is so important. We have a couple minutes left here. I just wanted to give you the last words to talk about any of the other things that you’d like to bring up or promote anything or actually also remind people where they can find you or where they can follow the important work that you do.

Raza Rumi: Oh, thank you so much. as you already mentioned parkindymedia. org is our website of the Park Center for Independent Media. You can find out about our events, all the Izzy award and other things that we do on that site. And, my personal website is razarumi. com, R A Z A R U M I. com, where my writings are archived.

I try and keep up. Sometimes it takes a bit of effort to update that. But, as you mentioned, Mickey, I moved to New York City now last, last fall, and I’m now, teaching at the Public Policy and Human Rights program, at Hunter College. And, certainly this is a transition, I would now be engaged, come this fall with independent media.

I’ll of course stay engaged in a different form. I’ll probably write more and less of administration or management. But, but I do want to highlight, we talked about the problems of, independent media. So I think, many, academics like Victor Picard, who’s also one of our judges.

Is he, they have been proposing an alternative model to the for profit media. And even because, even the for profit media is in decline and it’s seriously endangered. we saw what happened with BuzzFeed. We saw the layoffs at Washington Post. LA Times, we read them.

we read that all the time and what is now required is a fundamental media reform we also need a Larger public media because the United States Is among the advanced countries of the world advanced in terms of income and wealth is that is a country that spends the least on public media? Canada spends more than the US even though it’s lower the Scandinavian countries, western European countries, even some of the developing countries spend more on public media. And that is perhaps what we need because we have this corporate, corporatization, but we also have the drying out of local journalism where counties are turning into news deserts with no local publication, they are going out and that also then helps these big tech companies spread misinformation or doctored truths, through their platforms like, like Meta and X now also right winger now. I, it doesn’t do, it doesn’t really bode well for democracy in the U S. And so that is why media literacy has to emerge as a kind of a central pillar of education at the high schools.

I would say earlier, but perhaps high school, you have to start from that level and then should be a mandatory component of journalism curricula, of communications curricula, and perhaps all liberal arts curriculum. And I think we need to make a concerted effort and bring in, the curricular designers and all the other.

But, that’s the other problem that, dealing with sometimes with the academics is also a tough call because, they think they already know everything and they’re more than, and they know more than you because, they, they have three PhDs or two, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

but what they need to realize is that, what is happening, we as practitioners of media know what is happening because we on a daily basis deal with readers. We look at the comments, we engage with them. We engage with writers and editors and reporters and citizen journalists. And so we see this gaping hole, this gaping huge need, need for media literacy, better education.

And I think that is, that should be our, future agenda.

Mickey Huff: I could not agree more. Raza Rumi, of course at Project Censored, we’ve done the media and me one of the very few if only, critical media literacy books for young people, written for young people. There’s only five states in the U. S. That are mandating media literacy education at this juncture, which is paltry.

California just came online, but they’re, they just don’t have the plans that and the curriculum is not all even and all equal. NATO has gotten into the media literacy game. Corporations are all into the media literacy game, but that’s not critical media literacy. It’s more advocacy for the same kind of top down managed news propaganda.

That’s really that permeates that landscape. So Raza Rumi as ever, it’s always fantastic to talk to you and catch up. And I’m very happy that you talked about the important work of people like Victor Pikard, the need for a strong public media, right? We, the hedge fund newspapers and the news deserts that we see are certainly not good for us.

And here we are in another election year. It’s like a really bad rerun of, of a tragic comedy or something, the same two older candidates that nobody can really not many people, a majority of people don’t like either of the major corporate party candidates. The third parties have been derailed because of the way the system operates, right?

The way it keeps out voices. So I’m with you. I really think that media literacy education, critical media literacy education is really a serious core of the solution. You called it a pillar. And I can’t think of a better term for it, Raza. So again, as ever, your wit, your wisdom and your brilliant observations are always welcome here at the Project Censored Show.

Can’t thank you enough for the important work that you do. Raza Rumi is a policy analyst, journalist and author, a distinguished lecturer at Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute, Hunter College, also the director of the Park Center for Independent Media. Raza Rumi, as ever, thanks for joining us on the Project Censored Show today.

Raza Rumi: Thank you, Mickey