Newsweek, a corporate media giant, decides in it’s latest issue to go the route of the expected and link money with media power with it’s The Power 50 list, a listing of the most influential, meaning wealthy, players in the mainstream media today.
As if having Rush Limbaugh as number one and on the cover weren’t scary and problematic enough, the lack of people of color overall, and women of color specifically points to how little value “the news” places on our realities and our ability to relate them. If we don’t have the cash, in the eyes of the power that be, we don’t have a voice. I was especially thinking about this in terms of so-called independent media, organizations with non-profit status, and how many of them do (or don’t) prominently feature the work and words of women of color.
The Latinos that were mentioned on the Power 50 list were both males. From Hispanically Speaking News :
With a whooping $4 million of approximate earnings last year, leading newsman at Univision Jorge Ramos, who reaches more than 45 million Hispanic Americans daily, tied at position nineteen with talk show host Bill Maher, and—wait for it—The president of the nation, Barack Obama! Ramos, likely earns six figures for his syndicated weekly column (published by more than 30 newspapers), has published 10 books in 10 years, and officially, has become the most influential Latino.
The other Latino on the list, is rumored to have made one million dollars last year. He hosts the most listened to radio show in the United States “Piolín por la Mañana,” and it’s quite likely that if Eduardo Sotelo doesn’t ring a bell, it’s because he does all his influencing through his pseudonym, “Piolín.” A Univision representative suggested Eduardo Sotelo “uses this platform to ensure Hispanics are well informed and empowered to have their voices heard through their civic participation.”
I enjoy watching Jorge Ramos on Univision on his show “Al Punto” and I will admit to not really listening to Piolin. Y las mujeres? Are our voices drowned out due to a lack of dollars or is Newsweek, out of it’s own self-interest purposely propagating it’s own corporate power by ignoring the power of truly independent media and it’s power to do more than just merely report, but rather to organize?
It’s one of the reasons why I challenge young people to redefine media when I go to speak at high schools and colleges. If we can wrap our minds around something more than the expectation that Keith Olbermann will represent our experiences and interests and that we are already sharing information and skills amongst each other as community, then we are moving forward.
The women on Newsweek’s list include Sarah Palin and the lone woman of color, Condoleezza Rice.