The Toronto International Film Festival recently screened the documentary, Shut Up and Sing, chronicling the travails of the Dixie Chicks after their righteous slap at Crawford’s Lost Idiot. In remarks at a post-screening news conference, the Chicks demonstrate their grasp of the hazards of institutional media:
…the Chicks say they have absolutely no regrets about speaking their mind. If anything, the experience made them realize just how vulnerable to censorship we are in the world of consolidated media ownership and nationally uniform radio playlists.
“Consolidation means one guy at the top decides everything and I don’t think the media has been successful in pointing out why it’s so dangerous,” [Emily] Robison says.
Of course “the media has been [un]successful in pointing out why it’s so dangerous.” The handful of corporations that control the media are the architects and beneficiaries of consolidation. That the Dixies recognize the significance of this issue speaks to the fact that they are well informed and aware of the forces that they have learned, the hard way, are dangerously encroaching on press and creative freedom.
Since the media cannot be depended on to act in the interests of the public, it is up to all of us to act in our own interests. Visit Stop Big Media, bookmark it, and email the link to your friends and family. Contact the FCC and tell them that more consolidation does not create competition. It is critically important that people realize that we cannot solve any of our society’s problems without solving the problem of the media first. No matter what your pet issue is, you need access to communication channels to produce movement. Without a free, diverse and independent media, those channels will be denied to us.
The Dixie Chicks get it. They continue to be impressive, both artistically and socially. Their honesty and courage shines through the mud that is hurled at them. And throughout the ordeal they’ve refused to back down as evidenced by their hit single “Not Ready To Make Nice” and by the audacious declaration in the documentary that Bush is a “dumbfuck“.
Ah…the simplicity of truth.