Happy Birthday, FAIR
The survival-of-the-fittest dog-eat-dog media world out there won't believe that the small but heavy-hitting Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) is soon to celebrate its tenth year of debunking media myths and exposing the bias of the "Fourth Branch of Government," formerly known as the Fourth Estate. In the last ten years, FAIR has monitored media shenanigans through publishing a bimonthly publication EXTRA! and broadcasting the weekly radio show CounterSpin. FAIR associates and staff dedicate themselves to skirting the mainstream herd journalism to become leaders of the pack, giving air-time and space to those views that otherwise wouldn't break through the socio-political barrier of America's news corporations. NAFTA cheerleading, "geezer bashing," nuclear power boosting, single-payer censhorship, corporate sponsorship are just some of the exposs FAIR has brought to public scrutiny. While most of these stories will never be heard by the majority of media consumers in the nation, some such as FAIR's background research on talk radio hosts who espouse violence and extremism made FAIR a source when mainstream journalists who were reporting on the Oklahoma City bombing needed some background. "If it's in the New York Times today, it was in EXTRA! months ago." You may have read "Through the Media Looking Glass: Decoding Bias and Blather in the News" or "Adventures in Medialand" co-authored by executive director Jeff Cohen and syndicated columnist Norman Solomon. These books critique the media preferences for "experts" and pundits who sustain a status quo that misrepresents the interests of the public. Meanwhile, other writers, such as Laura Flanders, Janine Jackson, and Sam Husseini, take on the specifics Ñ the role of women in mainstream as well as progressive media, representations of the labor movement within the corporate world, and the constant pandering by the U.S. government to large corporations for purposes of commercialization, de-regulation, and streamlining the marketplace of ideas. Media consumers are currently faced with more choices but less variety and as social isolation continues in the post-Information Age, the only real connections we share are the messages spun out everyday by the powers that be. Instead of turning to cynical apathy, FAIR inspires the reader and listener to look behind the scenes and seek out the less-advertised sources of information for the real scoop on what's what. From 1986 to 1996, FAIR has provided a safe haven for journalists that keep on the tradition of muckraking and preserving the public's right to know. FAIR maintains its reliability in finding the real story. Congratulations on keeping the flame alive, FAIR. In recognition of our responsibility in challenging media bias and censorship, Happy Birthday and Happy Hell-Raising.