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Contest to Change the Name of Democracy Now!

Democracy Now! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Democracy Now! has become the Tom Hayden of Independent media.  It does enough good-sounding reporting to keep some credibility, but when you come down to it they don’t support democracy.  Again and again in this presidential election year Democracy Now! reports on the same stories about the two presumptive corporate presidential candidates that the corporate media has already reported while failing to report at all about the non-corporate candidates.

Some suggestions for changing their name are:

  • Democracy Not!
  • Corporatocracy Now!
  • The War and War Report*
Please post your suggestions for a more appropriate name for Democracy Now! in the comments section.
Some of our readers have been complaining for a long time about our using coverage from DN! since they do not give equal time to non-corporate candidates.  It has been especially true during this presidential election.  Since I follow the Green Party race I can give those examples, but I dare say the same could be said for the Libertarian Party since I have seen no coverage of them either.
DN! didn’t cover:
  • Roseanne Barr vying into the Green Party nomination. Yes, that Rosanne Barr, the famous comedienne.  Even the corporate media covered that.
  • The Green Party presumptive nominee Jill Stein being the first Green Party presidential contender to qualify for primary season matching funds.  Not even Ralph Nader did that.
  • Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and VP candidate Cheri Honkala getting arrested at the Philidelphia Fannie Mae office to demand a stop to foreclosures.  According to Google News, 355 media outlets covered that this week including the Democratic Party organ, The Nation.   But not DN!
The non-coverage of the sit-in and arrest was the last straw.  (The Stein/Honkala campaign press release is below) DN! has been told over and over to provide equal time, and they refuse to even respond.   It is true that along with the rest of the corporate media that DN! covered the Green Party convention, but then DN! returned to their media black-out of non-corporate candidates.
*The subtitle of the Democracy Now! is The War and Peace Report, but since they only report on the two coeporate war candidates the suggestions is more descriptive.

Stein and Honkala arrested in protest of foreclosure giant Fannie Mae

going-in-to-Fannie-Mae.png(PHILADELPHIA) Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and her vice presidential running mate Cheri Honkala were arrested today during a protest at the offices of mortgage company Fannie Mae on Banker’s Row in Philadelphia.

Among those arrested along with Dr. Stein and Ms. Honkala were labor lawyer James Moran and Sister Margaret McKenna of the Medical Mission Sisters. An attorney who supports civil disobedience cases is providing legal assistance. All of those arrested are expected to come before a judge on Thursday afternoon. At that time bail will either be set or they will be released on their own recognizance.

The protest was originally called for by the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign to demand that the giant mortgage company halt foreclosure proceedings against two Philadelphia residents in danger of losing their homes. Stein joined the protest after Cheri Honkala joined her as Stein’s vice presidential running mate. Honkala, a former homeless single mother, has been confronting banks and mortgage companies for decades demanding that they adopt policies that will, “keep families in their homes.”

Occupy-Fannie-Mae---prayer.pngAt 1pm today about 50 protestors gathered outside of Fannie Mae’s Philadelphia headquarters. They heard from Miss Fran and Rhonda Lancaster, the heads of two families evicted by Fannie Mae in its refusal to negotiate an alternative to foreclosure. Fannie Mae executive Zach Oppenheimer had previously promised in writing to meet with the two women in order to discuss other options. Yet no followup meeting ever took place, and so protestors today entered the Fannie Mae building and vowed to stay until Mr. Oppenheimer’s word was honored.

At about 2:30pm, an hour after entering the building and beginning a sitdown protest, lower level Fannie Mae officials agreed to meet with Miss Fran and Ms. Lancaster. These meetings proved inconclusive, ending only with promises of more meetings. With Philadelphia police on hand with six paddy wagons and plainclothesman, a smaller subset of protestors stayed inside the building and risked arrest. Five were arrested, including Dr. Stein and Ms. Honkala.

Miss-Fran.pngIn explaining why she joined the protest, Stein said that almost half of Americans now live in poverty or near poverty, eight million families face eviction from their homes due to foreclosures, and over a third of mortgage holders are “underwater” – meaning that they owe more to the lenders than their properties are worth on the market.

Said Stein, “The developers and financiers made trillions of dollars through the housing bubble and the imposition of crushing debt on homeowners. And when homeowners could no longer pay them what they demanded, they went to government and got trillions of dollars of bailouts. Every effort of the Obama Administration has been to prop this system up and keep it going at taxpayer expense. It’s time for this game to end. It’s time for the laws be written to protect the victims and not the perpetrators. It’s time for a new deal for America, and a Green New Deal is what we will deliver on taking office. ”

Jill-Stein-arrest-Honkala-next.png“The laws and the budgets and the procedures are designed to protect the lenders and to extract as much money as possible from the victims,” Honkala explained. “This isn’t the way it would be if we really had a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. The first goal of government should be to keep families in their homes, and to provide restitution for the deception and fraud that has robbed millions of Americans of financial security.”

Stein laid out a number of steps that will be part of a new deal for homeowners when and where the Green Party wins power. First, as President, Dr. Stein would issue an executive order establishing a moratorium on foreclosures of occupied dwellings. Second, municipalities governed by Greens will get homeowners out of underwater mortgages by seizing mortgages through eminent domain and letting non-profit community development organizations – not Wall Street banks – reissue the mortgages.

Cheri-and-Guillermo.pngNoting that the Obama administration has only released 10% of the aid that Congress had promised to homeowners, Stein asserted that “There is much more interest in Washington in protecting the profits of banks than in getting this aid out to the families whose lives are falling apart.  President Obama held a big press conference to announce a program that would supposedly help 1.5 million homeowners and so far it has actually helped only 1 per cent of that number. Real help goes to the CEOs who play golf with the President and the people get lip service.  This will change only if the people stand up and say we’re not going to put up with it anymore.”

Statement from RHONDA LANCASTER (Excerpted from People’s Tribune) 

My family has lived in this home in Germantown for over 35 years. When my mother got ill and could not afford her health care, a reverse mortgage idea was presented to me. They made it look like it was a great thing. It was going to take care of my mother, and when my mother passed away it would be just fine.

The nightmare started after my mom died. I notified the bank she had passed away, and two days later I was getting ready for her funeral. Relatives and friends were coming in from all over the country. The bank told me to stop everything and let them come in and do an appraisal.

The bank refused to accept me as the executor of her estate, although the proper papers had been filed at City Hall. From that point on it was a complete nightmare. I could get through to no one and no one could help me. They denied me my legal US rights as heir to my mother’s property.

Statement from MISS FRAN (Excerpted from People’s Tribune) 

I have lived in Philadelphia all my life, and in this house since 1988. Once when I was forced to file for bankruptcy, my mortgage holder, Chase Bank, suddenly came to court and objected to my bankruptcy plan. Although the law requires them to notify me in advance, I had no warning of their action, so I had no lawyer and no time to prepare my evidence. The judge dismissed my file for bankruptcy and Chase began foreclosure proceedings.

I participated in Philadelphia’s Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program, so I was able to keep my home off the sheriff sale list. Then they claimed I missed a Conciliation Conference even though they had never notified me about it. When I complained, the court rescheduled the sheriff sale of my home from July 1, 2008, to September.  I attended that sale on July 1 and was shocked to hear them put my house up for sale anyway. I was in the back of the auditorium and ran to the front making so much noise the sheriff’s lawyer had to stop the sale. Finally they brought in a letter from the sheriff saying they had obtained a court order that same day to sell the house. They had gone to court without even notifying me. The same judge who postponed the sale in the first place had turned around and vacated his own order, all without telling me.

The sale of my home went through on July 1, but my battle was just beginning. Although Chase Bank foreclosed on my home, I found out the sheriff changed the name on the documents to Fannie Mae. There is no bill of sale from Chase to Fannie Mae and no record of any transfer. Fannie Mae has no legal standing to evict me. But that didn’t stop them from trying. They sued to evict me in April 2011. I filed an objection, it was overruled, I answered them, and we were supposed to go to trial in February 2012. Then they filed for a summary judgment against me, which is only supposed to be granted when there is no dispute in the matter. I told them we most definitely do have a dispute: a district court order was ignored and Fannie Mae has no standing. But the judge granted the summary judgment anyway. They obtained a writ of eviction and scheduled my eviction for June 12.

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6 Responses

  1. Classic false equivalence undergirds this. as the writer admits,

    “It is true that along with the rest of the corporate media that DN! covered the Green Party convention,”

    Given that Democracy Now! devoted several hours to the Green Party convention, in addition to having Roseanne Barr on for about an hour in 2011, to compare the coverage as identical as the corporate media is simply not supported.

    Green Party Nominee Jill Stein & Running Mate, Activist Cheri Honkala: “We Represent the 99 Percent”
    http://www.democracynow.org/2012/7/13/green_party_nominee_jill_stein_running

    Green New Deal: Organizer, Physician Jill Stein Poised to Win Green Party’s Presidential Nomination
    http://www.democracynow.org/2012/7/13/green_new_deal_organizer_physician_jill

    Gar Alperovitz’s Green Party Keynote: We Are Laying Groundwork for the “Next Great Revolution”
    http://www.democracynow.org/2012/7/16/gar_alperovitzs_green_party_keynote_we

    Green Party Nominates Physician, Activist Jill Stein
    http://www.democracynow.org/2012/7/16/headlines#7164

    Pioneering Comedian Roseanne Barr on Her Life on Screen as a “Working-Class Domestic Goddess”
    http://www.democracynow.org/2011/7/25/pioneering_comedian_roseanne_barr_on_her

    While coverage of the specific protest referenced may not have occurred on Democracy Now!, as the writer notes, it was covered on 355 other outlets. Democracy Now! covers protests and actions otherwise universally ignored, providing unique coverage of grassroots movements, while perhaps not covering ALL protest actions. The writer would agree that 5 hours of news coverage per week is not sufficient to cover ALL PROTESTS across the globe. The Fannie Mae protest referenced occurred on Aug 2, 2012, a Thursday. Since that time, Democracy Now! broadcast ONE program, on Friday, Aug. 3rd. On that day, Democracy Now! reported on the 3 protesters who broke into the Y12 nuclear weapons plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, shutting it down and now facing years in prison. This action was hardly covered in the corporate press, reinforcing the vital reporting of Democracy Now!

    • Hello Mr. Moyihan,

      I am honored to have a response from the former DN! outreach director and president of Free Speech TV.

      Thank you for proving my point that DN! does not believe in equal time.

      You have shown that:

      Roseanne Barr’s candidacy was never reported on.
      Only 3 stories on the Green Party presidential race, and all within one week.
      No stories on the Libertarian presidential race.

      You seemed to have forgotten to list how many stories about the corporate presidential candidates have been run this year. I bet it averages more than 3 stories PER WEEK.

      It is nice that you can point to 1 story that the corporate media did not cover that DN!. That’s not the point. Does DN! believe in equal time or not?

      I remember lots of stories that were covered by DN! that were already completely covered by the corporate media. That time could have been used to give equal time. And some stories that never should have been using up DN!’s precious hour, like the Iranian hikers getting married.

      I find it amusing that your handle is Stop Walmart. It will never be stopped when the so-called independent news coverage focuses almost exclusively on their friends in the corporate parties. Remember Hillary Clinton was on the Walmart board.

      peace
      Ian

  2. [...] Since I complained loudly here that Democracy Now! did not give equal time to non-corporate candidat… from last week, I figure I should should echo it when DN! did cover it. [...]

  3. [...] Now! not treating all presidential candidates equally. I even posted a somewhat tongue in cheek Contest to Change the Name of Democracy Now! for their lack of equal time [...]

  4. [...] Contest to Change the Name of Democracy Now! Share this:StumbleUponEmailDiggRedditTwitterPrintFacebookLinkedIn [...]

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