With a multi-billion dollar war industry waging constant P.R. campaigns through a pliant press corps, your individual, local activism in the press is one of the few defenses we have against militaristic bias in the media. Your strong voice in your local press can be a powerful counterweight to the corporate spin machine.
Here are a few quick tips on how to get into the press and affect local reporting:
Follow and Respond to Local Reporters on Twitter.
Many reporters maintain public Twitter accounts, which you can often find listed on their publication’s websites. One way to fight bias towards militarism in your hometown is to follow the reporters who write about national defense or military affairs on Twitter, and then respond to any bias in their reporting in tweet form. That puts your feedback in a public forum and can get the reporter’s attention without having to go through the publication’s gatekeepers.
Write a Letter to the Editor
Letters to the editor are a great way to get your views heard by your neighbors and to respond to war industry bias in the media. Most local papers’ websites describe their rules for letters that will be considered for publication. Pay special attention to their length restrictions: editors generally will discard letters that exceed the maximum number of words. Make sure you write short, simple sentences that contain one idea each. Try to “localize” your letter by including information specific to your hometown. For example, National Priorities Project can provide you with information on war spending and how it affects your community:http://costofwar.com/en/tradeoffs/
Write an Op-Ed Piece
Op-ed pieces are opinion articles written by members of the community. You can usually find your local paper’s rules for submitting an op-ed on their website, but if you can’t find it, call the paper and ask the opinion editor. When writing your piece, make sure you are clear about your support or opposition on an issue important to your community. Tie your writing to a news story but, as with a letter to the editor, make sure you localize it. Include a personal story or anecdote that helps the reader relate to you and get interested in the issue about which you’re writing. After you submit your op-ed to the paper, follow up with a phone call to the opinion editor to make sure they received it.
Check back often–we will update this section with tips on how to use War Costs information to affect media coverage in your hometown.