If you are a social or political activist, you have heard the declaration a hundred times: the media is terrible – how can we win with such a biased media? The problem is that everyone complains about the media but few do anything about it. Word Warriors is designed to help you quit complaining and start acting.
As biased as they are, newspapers are still privately owned public institutions. We must, if we are serious, take advantage where we can. And one place is the letters to the editor pages – the one egalitarian part of the newspaper to which ordinary people have some access.
Letters to the editor are important political tools for two very practical reasons. First, the majority of Canadians share progressive social values, yet most feel they are alone when they read newspapers and watch TV. If people see their values expressed in letters to the editor their values are reinforced – their gut sense that things are terribly wrong is given a voice. People’s values start to become part of a collective consciousness.
Secondly, many if not most reporters are actually on the centre or left of the political spectrum. In many cases, they are simply not permitted to cover the issues they want to write about. Often the story ideas of reporters are rejected with the claim that “No one cares about [poverty] [P3s] [private health care]...” By writing letters about these issues we give reporters the evidence they need to convince their editors that these stories are important.
Word Warriors is a collective letter writing project whereby I send out periodic suggestions for letters to the editor along with data and analysis, and you use these to write letters to your local paper. If there are enough of us writing enough letters we can help change the political landscape.
Welcome to the world of acting – not complaining.
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