FCC testimony on media ownership: Jan Strout

Good evening. Thank you again for coming back to Seattle and being a part of our media revolution here. My name is Jan Strout, and I work with the National Organization for Women and similar areas in media activism and education. I would like to just say a few things that hopefully haven’t been totally said.

I believe that the role of media is ensuring access to independent and diverse information as education and educational opportunities to securing our rights, our advancement, and our liberation. That is why I think […] to peoples here and elsewhere, we are denied access to information by suppression of education, and later in segregated and unequal schooling. That is why women were denied (and in some parts of the world are still denied) access to information, and our rights are worse; women were believed to be incapable or physically at-risk when we were denied higher education or certain types of jobs.

This experience of women and communities of color -- and many, many others -- around the right to information for our empowerment, for our own rights, and own choices and possibilities for changing the conditions of our lives, our families, and our communities (as well as our nation and the world) is how I believe people overall are being impacted by media monopoly and ownership consolidation (the loss of localism, public interest, and diverse points of view).

Women are both tired and outraged about our media representation -- when they exist or when they don’t. We are either bimbos, bachelor-seeking brides, or we are being swapped as wives. We are white, we are thin, we are rich, and we are shoppers who must consume at all costs – and let’s not forget nip and tuck for the women’s ultimate sacrifice.

Or, we are completely missing in action as journalists, as commentators, experts, media owners, elected leaders, or FCC Commissioners (you guys are good, though). And, finally, [we are missing] as subjects of stories that matter to our lives. So we have the issues and the perspectives we can offer: alternative values, priorities, life experiences, and places of hope and inspiration. That is what I think our media needs for best serving the public interest. I would like to thank both of you for representing that so well and to keep fighting for even more. I appreciate it. Thanks.

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The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey