The Media Education Foundation produces and distributes documentary films and other educational resources to inspire critical reflection on the social, political, and cultural impact of American mass media.
In 1991, MTV threatened to sue University of Massachusetts media scholar Sut Jhally for copyright infringement after he used clips from the network’s music videos in a self-produced classroom video about sexism and violence. While MTV would eventually drop the case in the face of national attention, Jhally saw the incident as an opportunity to create a more formal and sustained way to challenge the unchecked power of corporate media.
The result was the founding of the nonprofit Media Education Foundation (MEF).
More than a decade and a half later, MEF is one of the nation’s leading media literacy and education providers. Fourteen staff members now work alongside a rotating group of talented student interns to produce and distribute films (approximately 50 to date), study guides, and other media education resources designed to help students, educators, activists and the general public critically examine the dominant stories told by mainstream media. MEF's ultimate goal is to inspire the kind of independent thinking necessary for meaningful democratic participation and civic engagement in a media-saturated culture.