EDITORIAL: Dear GPJC, Our Coverage Is Not for Sale
September 27, 2014
Dear Georgia Peace and Justice Coalition,
Atlanta Progressive News is in receipt of an unsigned letter on your organization’s letterhead appearing to be from your organization, dated August 30, 2014, asserting the “termination” of GPJC’s advertising contract with APN.
As you noted, GPJC has advertised with APN for several years. GPJC has even been grandfathered in with a extraordinarily low advertising rate that no longer exists for new accounts. Of course, we are always disappointed to lose such a longstanding account.
As a preliminary matter, rest assured that your account does not contain an auto-renew provision, so there is nothing to terminate at this time.
The letter states the reason for GPJC’s apparent decision was APN’s publication of an article on August 02, 2014, entitled, “Pro-Israel Protesters Give Their Side of the Story.”
We must address the ethical issues raised by the fact that your letter gives the appearance that your purchase of advertisement was, at least perceived by GPJC to be, in return for favorable coverage, or coverage that GPJC approved of, or agreed with.
Our coverage is not for sale, and we will not be silenced. If we were to change our coverage in response to the loss of advertising revenue, that would be so unethical, that would be the epitome of everything people believe to be wrong with the corporate media.
There’s a reason you don’t see critical coverage of nuclear power in the corporate media, because of advertising by Georgia Power. There’s a reason you don’t see critical coverage of corporate banks in the corporate media, because of advertising by the banks. There’s a reason you don’t see critical coverage in the corporate media of the Atlanta Housing Authority, because even they took out ads in every publication except for APN as they demolished thousands of units of public housing.
There’s a reason we don’t have the progressive world that reflects the values of the vast majority of U.S. citizens, and that’s because of the perverse influence of money and capitalism on media and democracy: the very influence that you appear to be attempting to wield over APN.
So I would urge the Steering Committee of GPJC to consider what the organization was trying to accomplish by trying to tie advertising to content, and how this strategy undermines the goals of progressive social change, in more ways in one.
At APN, we are independent and we’ve paid a price for our independence since the inception of our publication nearly nine years ago.
Organizations like GPJC are free to advertise with us, but it has to be because the organization values our growing readership of over 15,000 email subscribers; it cannot be because the organization seeks to influence our coverage.
In your letter, GPJC cites its dissatisfaction with the response by APN to “reasoned, objective criticism of the article.”
It is not clear what response by APN that GPJC is referring to, nor is it clear what GPJC is referring to as “reasoned, objective criticism of the article.” First, there is no such thing as objectivity.
Adjectives that more accurately describe the criticism communicated to APN include: angry, hateful, attacking, and disproportionate.
Disproportionate because Atlanta Progressive News has reported on the work of the GPJC in dozens of original full-length news articles and blog posts since 2005, even though GPJC has struggled for fair coverage–let alone, any coverage–from Atlanta’s corporate media.
Disproportionate because APN has published some of the only coverage in Metro Atlanta giving the Palestinian point of view of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, in numerous articles and blog posts over the years.
So, maybe those are the tactics that GPJC chooses to take with individuals or institutions whom the organization perceives as enemies, but when APN has been such an important resource to GPJC over the years, we found the “criticism” to be offensive and, in some cases, appalling.
As for the article itself, APN has published a lengthy editorial response that is available in the comments section on the following webpage:
Matthew Charles Cardinale