Channel One And Media Literacy Don’t Mix

June 9, 2001

As many know, Channel One has tried to co-opt the fledgling media literacy/media
education movement. A handful of media literacy experts have tried to make
Channel One respectable. A new organization is forming June 22 in Austin, Texas.
The Alliance for a Media Literate America is taking the place of the Partnership
for Media Education. Because Channel One still have too much influence over
this group, Obligation’s Jim Metrock has decided to run for the presidency
of the AMLA. The notice below was sent out to the Media Literacy listserve,
which has many potential members of the AMLA as subscribers.

W FACE=”Arial”>HEREAS, the Alliance for a Media Literate America (AMLA) is
seeking to become a major umbrella organization for media educators;

W SIZE=”-1″ FACE=”Arial”>HEREAS, the AMLA is a continuation of the Partnership
for Media Education (PME); and

W SIZE=”-1″ FACE=”Arial”>HEREAS, Channel One is an in-school marketing company
that generates its revenue by compelling a captive audience of children
to watch commercials for junk food, movies, and expensive athletic
shoes, among other products; and

W SIZE=”-1″ FACE=”Arial”>HEREAS, the concept of Channel One is contrary to
the development of critical thinking skills which is a basic tenet
of media literacy/education; and

W SIZE=”-1″ FACE=”Arial”>HEREAS, the PME allowed Channel One to be a major
sponsor of the 1999 National Media Education Conference (NMEC); and

W SIZE=”-1″ FACE=”Arial”>HEREAS, a Channel One executive was added to the
names of "Media Literacy Movers and Shakers" after his company
contributed $25,000 to the PME; and

W SIZE=”-1″ FACE=”Arial”>HEREAS, the PME board of directors have never apologized
for, or shown any regret over, their decision to take Channel One’s
money; and

W SIZE=”-1″ FACE=”Arial”>HEREAS, the PME and AMLA have on their board of directors,
Dr. Renee Hobbs and Elizabeth Thoman; and

W SIZE=”-1″ FACE=”Arial”>HEREAS, Dr. Hobbs has been a long-standing paid consultant
for Channel One and Ms. Thoman’s Center for Media Literacy is an official
Channel One "partner"; and

W SIZE=”-1″ FACE=”Arial”>HEREAS, earlier this year the AMLA board refused
to consider a suggested resolution opposing school commercialism; and

W SIZE=”-1″ FACE=”Arial”>HEREAS, no member of the AMLA board has given any
indication that said resolution will be introduced at the Austin NMEC
conference; and

W SIZE=”-1″ FACE=”Arial”>HEREAS, other teacher/education organizations, such
as the National Council of Teachers of English, the Association for
Supervision and Curriculum Development, American Federation of Teachers,
the National Education Association, the National Council for the Social
Studies, and others have taken positions opposing classroom commercials,
especially for brand name products; and

W SIZE=”-1″ FACE=”Arial”>HEREAS, the AMLA has justified its controversial
corporate relationships by adopting a tortured version of the "big
tent" theory that mocks a serious attempt to build a diverse organization
of people and organizations that want to sincerely advance, and not
simply "co-opt" for marketing purposes, the goal of empowering
citizens, especially young people, with certain life-enhancing skills;

W SIZE=”-1″ FACE=”Arial”>HEREAS, the current AMLA board shows every indication
that it will continue to enter into funding and other relationships
with media companies that are often the focus of criticism by potential
members of the ALMA and the public at large; and

W SIZE=”-1″ FACE=”Arial”>HEREAS, the current funding policy of the AMLA states
that, "The AMLA continues to seek Founding Sponsors who share
its vision for a media literate America" and that as a "Founding
Sponsor" a corporation can designate one person, of the corporation’s
choosing, to be on the AMLA Advisory Board in order to "inform
and advise" the AMLA board; and

W SIZE=”-1″ FACE=”Arial”>HEREAS, that policy will perpetuate the perception
that corporations can buy undue influence with the AMLA board, and

W SIZE=”-1″ FACE=”Arial”>HEREAS, these "whereases" get to be fun
after a while; and

W SIZE=”-1″ FACE=”Arial”>HEREAS, the AMLA seeks to become an open membership
organization; and

W SIZE=”-1″ FACE=”Arial”>HEREAS, the hallmark of a membership organization
is the prompt election of officers from the membership, and

W SIZE=”-1″ FACE=”Arial”>HEREAS, several respected media educators have expressed
their concerns that the AMLA’s Channel One connection and other corporate
relationships may split the media literacy/education movement; and

W SIZE=”-1″ FACE=”Arial”>HEREAS, various attempts to inspire, shame, and encourage
members of the AMLA board to remedy this situation have apparently

to run for the presidency of the AMLA.

If there is no election scheduled during the NMEC meeting in Austin,
there should be. You cannot take people’s dues money and not give them
an opportunity to elect the leaders THEY want.

There will be no more cozy relationships with companies like Time Warner
and Channel One when I am president. I will propose a resolution against
school commercialism when I am president. The membership will vote on
it, not just the AMLA board of directors. It’s not too late to get media
literacy/media education back on the right track. We will serve children,
not corporations.

I humbly ask for your vote.

Jim Metrock

"Be ashamed to die until you have
won some victory for humanity."

Horace Mann