Looking Forward Rather than Looking Back

By Ronald Sitton

Schwag – The conference fees paid for this tote bag, book, magazines and access to a Friday night concert featuring the North Mississippi All Stars among other things.

MEMPHIS (Jan. 12) – I’ve just pulled into Memphis and made it to the Conference Hall for the National Conference for Media Reform.

Slate-gray skies and a steady mist took me from Little Rock to the City of the Blues this morning. It’s almost winter in the Delta; the weather-niks even forecast cold temperatures for next week. As I drove I thought that regardless of your views on global warming, no one can deny the weather cycles strayed from normal over the past decade.

The Black Keys’ Magic Potion provided a soundtrack as I looked across the landscapes that urbanites deride as monotonous but farmers appreciate as fields of gold. Yet when it takes Coca Cola’s plight of perhaps losing its winter icon, the polar bear, to make the current administration use the term “global warming,” I wonder if we can make “dilemonade” out of the dilemma confronting mankind with the current leadership lacking in powerful places. We passed the point of preventing the problem; pray we can mitigate the effects.

Sometimes as I pass the Super Uninformed Victims clogging the road and our air, I wish I owned a bumper sticker asking, “Suckin’ Gas?” But what’s a fella to do when our government provides a $100,000 tax credit to buy a gas hog versus a $4,000 credit to buy a hybrid that gets better than 60 mpg at 55 mph?

What does this have to do with media reform, you ask?

When does our corporate-controlled media even discuss climate problems? It takes a polar bear and a tumbling iceberg for the video clip and a great soundbyte to even get a few minutes a month in most locales.

Thanks to the National Wildlife Federation, I plan to show “An Inconvenient Truth” to the Arkansas-Monticello campus community next week. Although I think the overall message is good, I worry that the film’s mention of the 2000 election will turn off the minds of those who most need to hear the message. When we keep looking back, we miss what’s coming and the opportunity to do anything about it.

That’s why I’m in Memphis. Although I missed Bill Moyers’ opening plenary, the thunderous applause at the end of his speech echoed through the hallway outside Ballroom D. I’m hoping to hear some people who are looking forward and trying to fix the problems before they become dilemmas. You can only make so much dilemonade.

BTW, I just met Charles D. Jackson, National Press Director of ACORN, and they’re looking for a paid station manager for Little Rock’s community radio station KABF. For more information, e-mail acorncomm@acorn.org.