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Lions Roar : January 2005
SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2005 95 is now in the hands of relatively few peo- ple who allow only the kind of discourse that they want to allow. It’s not of the quality and kind and amount that I think we would have if the public had the media back in their hands. I would like us to pass legislation to put the media back in the hands of the people, which pre- vents it from being controlled by a few corporations and people with the wealth to do it. SCHROEDER: I think you’ve got a real point. When I came to Congress, the ideal was that the airwaves were owned by the public. So every one of the people who owned a broadcast license had to go through a public review: Were they serv- ing the needs of the community? And in those days, if somebody went on the air and attacked me, I had the right to ask for equal time. That’s all gone—Ronald Reagan did away with it in a stroke of the pen. Now the media is owned by whoever owns the media. There is no concept that the media should serve the greater com- munity; it need only serve the commer- cial community. KINGWELL: One thing we should remember is that citizenship is exercised primarily face to face. It’s exercised in the hundreds of daily interactions you have with the people who share physical prox- imity with you. That’s the bread and but- ter of citizenship, and I think that kind of personal orientation has to be foremost. I would never disagree with these points about the ownership of the media, but if people aren’t themselves willing to trans- form, none of this is going to happen. You know, genuine dialogue means putting your own beliefs at risk of change. So how can individual discourse be worked with in a comprehensive way, so that there is an effect on society as a whole? KINGWELL: We have allowed, I think, the language of virtue to be co-opted by a moralistic and often right wing faction. The language of virtue has been much