Boycotting the Indiana Press’s Corporate School Reform Agenda

Government Printing Offices (Pressworks Bas Relief)*

Through biased reporting and their unrelenting pursuit to promote Bennett, Daniels, and the corporate school reformers, the Indiana media flunkies have been selling the privatization of our schools for too long. The time is now to let local TV, radio, and newspaper reporters and editors know that we will not stand by idly. If the guilty don’t shape up, we must send them packing.

Here are a few ways to let publishers, editors, and producers know we are serious about canceling our subscriptions, changing the radio dial, and turning off the tube, encouraging others to follow.

Email the Editors Directly or Use the Contact Form

First off, almost every newspaper/radio/TV station has a contact form or email address where one can complain. Although I always use my real name, many may want to use aliases or other titles to go by, for fear of catching backlash, job stress, or other repercussions from the corporate community and corporate school reform cronies.

If this is the case, set up an anonymous email account and every time you read an editorial or story favorable to Tony Bennett and/or the corporate school reformers in one of the Indiana newspapers, or hear about it on TV or radio, shoot off an email of protest. This can merely be something as simple as “I do not accept your reporting on Tony Bennett and his corporate school reform agenda and if you do not, in the near future, give an unbiased and accurate report on what is occurring in Indiana concerning the quest to destroy our public schools, I will refuse to buy your paper and spread the word to others that they should not support your untrustworthy and biased outfit.”

Or something like this, if you have details:

CEO David Harris made $185,860 working for the Mind Trust in 2010, and this doesn’t include the $13,744 listed as “Other Compensation” on their 990 tax forms. That’s a lot of money in one year to wear a suit and spread propaganda with that $700,000 taxpayer gift he shared with his friend Bryan C. Hassel at Public Impact. That’s a lot of money to feed a lot of poor children he’s preying on in Indianapolis.

You weren’t aware? If I know about all of this, how come you don’t?

Lash Out Against the Walmart Scholars

When your local paper quotes from one of the many cronies and fake academics praising the corporate school reform movement, vouchers, and charter schools in Indiana, tell the paper’s editors and writers you will not accept pseudo-researchers and propagandists posing as scholars. You expect them, next time, to interview someone who will tell the truth about the quest to privatize our schools. Let them know that legitimate scholars at the National Education Policy Center (and elsewhere) have proven that the Friedman Foundation, the Heartland Institute, and Harvard’s Program on Education Policy and Governance (PEPG) write and disseminate sheer propaganda.

Leave Comments on News Stories, Editorials and Facebook Pages:

When you read a biased editorial or news report anywhere in the media, leave a message in the comments section under it.  For some media outlets, you will need to register with your email address. For others, you can log in with Facebook or other social media applications, so be sure to maintain a Facebook page with an alias, if that is the approach you intend to take. If so, be sure to invite friends and aliases to your Facebook page to give it an appearance of authenticity. Also, be sure to go to the newspaper’s Facebook page and leave comments on it and/or re-post articles exposing the corporate school reformers, even though you will have to “like” their page first, something which is sometimes hard to swallow.

Attack the Newspapers Giving a Mic (or Five) to Corporate Groups

It is also important to object to the Indiana newspapers’ overabundance of guest columns written by members of the Indiana Policy Review Foundation.  IPRF is a Right-wing, anti-worker, anti-public education group which gets its funding from the State Policy Network, a national group of free-marketers that operate in almost every state in this country and are funded by the top 1%.  IPRF calls itself a research think tank, but they do not do anything close to research.  They are essentially a propaganda dissemination outfit and the papers in Indiana are all too gung-ho in giving them a voice.  If you want to see a good attack against the IPRF, see Douglas Storm’s piece “Intellectual and Emotional Kudzu” at B-Town Errant.

The same goes for the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, or the national version. They have an agenda to add days to the school calendar in order to start conditioning youth for their low-paying labor workforce, all the while stressing that teachers should NOT be paid for these longer school days.  The Chamber of Commerce has been involved in corporate school reform from the get-go, the current manifestation starting in the 1980s with the “Nation at Risk” report and the meeting of the national Business Roundtable and the National Association of Governors.  Don’t trust any of these groups.

The Messenger and the Boss’s Whiplash

Most in the media are well aware of what the corporate school reform movement stands for and are making a conscious decision to spread their propaganda. Some, however, are reporters who are either too naïve, too lazy, or too busy to dig up the real activity behind the people and groups they quote and promote.  Either way, they are not doing any good for the public service and must be either called out as promoters or educated concerning the corporate school reform agenda.

Although I often leave comments on reporters’ stories, I never slam them personally unless it is obvious they are working to cover something up. Still, we must be aware that many of them would like to give a better story, but are unable to because of their bosses. If it is an editorial it is a different story, but I think it is always best to target the bosses, publishers, and editors more than the individual reporters. Reporters, too, are often victims in the battle for public knowledge.

Stay Tuned

If you are unsure which groups and people are out to destroy the public schools in Indiana, please see the list I have posted here. You will find a good majority of them appearing in the pages of our newspapers and in TV interviews, in one form or another.

To stay informed on what the papers, radio, and TV stations are doing, read the B-Town Errant and go to my facebook website Indiana Government Exposed, where I daily post stories from Indiana newspapers and other information on the bias reporting concerning the corporate school reform movement, both in Indiana and elsewhere.

The Boycott List:

Media Email Database

A database of Indiana newspaper contact information can be found here.  Simply find the paper you want to contact and click on the (A) next to its name.  This will take you to the paper’s contact form or email addresses to members of the editorial board or publishers.

You can find TV station contact information here, and a radio list at this link.

Here are a few selected to target.

1. Bloomington Herald-Times

This paper hosted a Bloomington Chamber of Commerce meeting with Tony Bennett.  Both Douglas Storm and I submitted questions for editor Bob Zaltsberg to ask the superintendent.  To the best of my knowledge, none of our questions made it through.  Additionally, the paper published a meaningless account of the event and decided against running my editorial pointing out the cronyism in Tony Bennett’s agenda.  They have published Douglas Storm’s letters and occasional guest columns, which have called out the corporate school reformers.

A primary issue of concern is a “know-nothing” editorial policy that claims, “If it isn’t going on in Bloomington or Monroe County it doesn’t get covered.”  The barbarians at the gate do not come knocking and saying please and it behooves a community newspaper to make its readers aware of the impending invasion.

Bob Zaltsberg:
Editor, rzaltsberg@heraldt.com

2. Boots’ Newspapers: The Paper of Montgomery County and the Noblesville Times

These two papers are co-owned by Indiana Republican Senator Phil Boots and must be extensively targeted.  Both papers are unavailable online without a subscription, but the editor, Tim Timmons, can be contacted at The Paper of Montgomery County at ttimmons@thepaper24-7.com. At the Noblesville Times, you can email him at ttimmons@thetimes24-7.com or use their contact email, which is news@thetimes24-7.com.

3. Courier Press (Evansville)

This paper had a fluff piece concerning the Indiana Republican legislators and ALEC and often quotes from groups like School Choice Indiana.

Eric Bradner (statehouse chief reporter): http://www.courierpress.com/staff/eric-bradner/contact/

Mizell Stewart III (Editor): StewartM@Courierpress.com

4. Emmis Communications

J. Scott Enright, who is the secretary of the corporate school reform group, the Friedman Foundation, also is vice president at Emmis Communications, the mega-media outfit with radio, digital, and publishing outlets in Los Angeles, St. Louis, New York, Austin, and Bulgaria. Emmis received $118,750 last year from Friedman to “educate the public” on school vouchers. In fact, Emmis did the WhyNotIndiana? ads which appeared on-line and in newspapers across Indiana.

In Indianapolis, Emmis owns ESPN 1070 the Fan, Country 97.1 Hank-FM, WIBC 93.1 FM, Soft Rock B105.7, each with a market revenue of $75 million. Their Terre Haute stations include Hi-99 Radio and 105,5 the River., each worth revenue of $7.1 million. Emmis also operates Network Indiana, which is a state network with revenue of $1.5 million which feeds news programming to stations across Indiana. In Indiana, the company also owns the 45,000 circulating Indianapolis Monthly.

You can contact Emmis at IR@emmis.com

5. Indy Star

Although they have printed a few of my letters, the Indy Star has constantly cheered the corporate school reformers in this state. They often quote from sources spilling propaganda, praise Bennett in editorials, do next to no research in writing their reports, and are in bed with the GEO Foundation’s Kevin Teasley, using his words as gospel every chance they get.

Karen Crotchfelt, President and Publisher: karen.crotchfelt@indystar.com

Matthew Tully: matthew.tully@indystar.com (falls over backwards to support Bennett and others)
Scott Elliott: scott.elliott@indystar.com
Russ Pulliam: russell.pulliam@indystar.com

6. Inside Indiana Business

A multimedia outfit, IIB has been in love with the Mind Trust and other corporate school reformers from the get-go and main TV star Gary Dick has interviewed and praised several corporate school reformers.  He can be reached at http://www.insideindianabusiness.com/gi_contact_us.asp.

7. News-Sentinel (Fort Wayne)

This paper is NOT the Journal Gazette, which does outstanding work calling out the corporate school reformers.

Mike Christman: Publisher:  mchristman@fortwayne.com
Elbert Starks III: estarks@news-sentinel.com

Leo Morris: Editorial Page Editor: lmorris@news-sentinel.com

8. NPR/State Impact Indiana

These reporters often do legitimate stories on education in Indiana, but they fail in what is possible in investigative reporting, too often quoting only corrupt sources and focusing on the wrong questions. The national NPR takes money from the Gates Foundation, one of the biggest promoters of school privatization, so don’t expect to get an honest response from them either.

Ben Skirvin: bskirvin@imail.iu.edu

Kyle Stokes: kdstokes@indiana.edu

9. Post-Tribune (Merrillville)

Reverend Ray Dix writes editorials for this paper. Dix has had Daniels’ crony and Black Alliance for Educational Options’ Jackie Cissell on his radio show highlighting charter schools.  BAEO is a front group set up by the Walton family and several other rich white men whose goal is to drain the public schools through vouchers and set up charters to completely privatize public education.  Dix often praises the corporate school reform movement in his pieces, which I have responded harshly to.

Paulette Haddix: Executive Editor: phaddix@post-trib.com

Rich James: Editorial Page Editor: rjames@post-trib.com

Contact Raymond Dix at http://www.raymonddixministries.com/Contact_Us.html

10. Wane TV

A member of the LIN Media Corporation, Channel 15 Fort Wayne, WANE refuses to point out conflicts of interest in people like Jamie Garwood who appears on their channel.

Contact Form Page: http://www.wane.com/subindex/About_Us/Contact_Us

Reporter Megan Reust: megan.reust@wane.com

LIN Media: http://www.linmedia.com/contact-us/

*Photo by takomabibelot

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