John K. Wilson is coordinator of the Independent Press Association’s Campus Journalism Project and founder of the Indy, online at www.indy.pabn.org. Wilson interviewed various media critics for a report to be distributed at the Free Press-organized National Conference on Media Reform in St. Louis, Missouri, later this week (May 12-15).
What follows is Wilson’s email interview with Jennifer Nix. This interview and others, including those with Barbara Ehrenreich, Mark Crispin Miller, Howard Zinn, Sonia Shah and more, will also appear this week on MediaChannel .
John Wilson: You have criticized the fact that so many celebrity progressives like Michael Moore use mainstream corporate publishers (even after experiencing censorship and frustration). But don’t the large advances and connections and marketing people give these big publishers an advantage over what small publishers can offer?
Jennifer Nix: A lot to answer there!
First, I don’t make a distinction between celebrity and non-celebrity progressives. And after a great deal of thinking about this, I don’t even want to make the distinction between those who are progressives, and those who are not, as there are people of all political persuasions who believe our media system needs help. The real problem is that even those people who advocate against media consolidation and the corporatization of news in this country apparently do not see the hypocrisy of publishing their books with—and making further profits for—the very same big media conglomerates against which they rail on other fronts. For example, Amy Goodman: Why speak out against Disney-owned ABC News and its role in furthering the agenda that took us to war in Iraq, and then publish your book on that very subject with Hyperion Books—owned by…yes, Disney. Why allow the profits from your book to further strengthen the Disney-ABC machine? Independent book publishing must be included in the equation for shoring up our independent media, and an alternative infrastructure for disseminating news, information and ideas. Independent book publishing should be, in fact, the solid base of that infrastructure.