The National Conference for Media Reform

More than 2,000 media activists converged in St. Louis last
weekend for the second National Conference on Media Reform.
Organized by Free Press, a
non-partisan organization for media engagement, the conference
included workshops, panels, films, and performances revolving
around media reform issues of ownership, access, organizing, and
policy.

Speakers and panelists included Air America’s Al Franken, Amy
Goodman of Democracy Now!, Bill Moyers, authors Jim Hightower and
Naomi Klein, and Medea Benjamin of Code Pink and Global
Exchange.

Bill Moyers closed the weekend with his
first public
speech since leaving PBS
six months ago. He slammed Corporation
for Public Broadcasting chair Kenneth Tomlinson for towing the Bush
administration party line and challenged him to an hour long debate
on the future of public broadcasting.

The conference was not without internal differences as well,
even though conservatives were conspicuously absent from the event.

Danny Schechter reports an example of the underlying tension
:
When conference and Free Press co-founder Robert McChesney asked if
the goal was to replace the icons of the right like Rush Limbaugh
with lefty front-men like Al Franken, the sold-out crowd raucously
cheered their affirmation. McChesney then explained why that was
the wrong answer and that true media reform required reaching more
constituencies.

Be the
Media
, one of many participants
blogging the
event in real-time
, continues to publish independent trip
reports from conference attendees.

Audio of Moyers’ speech and other conference sessions can be
downloaded from the
conference web
site
.

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