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  • Sylvia Moore 3:00 pm on January 1, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , FAIR, Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting, , , , , , Washington Post   

    FAIR Lists the Stinkiest Moments in Journalism in 2010 

    Media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) has just announced its 2010 P.U.-litzer Prizes, a roundup of the best of the worst in Big Media reporting. And there are some real whoppers. From blatant class bias and explicit saber rattling to outright lies, the list shows how much of American mainstream news is a joke. Some examples:

    –Prosecute the Messenger Award: Diane Sawyer (ABC News)

    On October 22, ABC World News anchor Diane Sawyer introduced a report on WikiLeaks‘ exposure of thousands of classified documents from the Iraq War. ABC correspondent Martha Raddatz summarized the contents of the WikiLeaks files: “Deadly U.S. helicopter assaults on insurgents trying to surrender…. The Iraqi civilian death toll far higher than the U.S. has acknowledged…. Graphic detail about torture of detainees by the Iraqi military.” After Raddatz’s report, Sawyer offered this followup: “I know there’s a lot of outrage about this again tonight, Martha. But tell me, anything more about prosecuting the WikiLeaks group?”

    ….

    –Pay Cuts for Everyone (Except Me!) Award: Steven Pearlstein (Washington Post)

    Under the headline “Wage Cuts Hurt, but They May Be the Only Way to Get Americans Back to Work” (10/13/10), Washington Post columnist Steven Pearlstein argued that “structural adjustments”–that is, lower pay–“are necessary if the U.S. economy is to find a new equilibrium.” But he made clear that a 20 percent pay cut isn’t for everyone–it’s not for people like him, for example:

    “I’m sure many of you are reading this and thinking that if anyone is forced to take a pay cut to rebalance the economy, surely it ought to be overpaid investment bankers, corporate executives and newspaper columnists. That’s how things would work in a socialist paradise, but not in market economies, which are much better at producing efficiency than fairness.”

    While it’s hard to see investment bankers, whose industry survives because of a massive government bailout, as paragons of free-market efficiency, his inclusion of newspaper columnists is even less convincing: It’s clearly inefficient for the Post to pay Pearlstein when people would write columns of a similar caliber for a lot, lot less.

    ….

    –Immigration Misinformation Award: Bill O’Reilly (Fox News Channel)

    During the debate over Arizona’s harsh immigration law SB 1070, Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly made a case in support of Arizona’s crackdown: More immigrations equal more crime. According to O’Reilly, Phoenix’s crime problem is “out of control” (5/3/10); in the state overall, the crime problem is “through the roof” (5/4/10, 5/13/10, 5/14/10), it is “overwhelming” (5/6/10). One problem: There was no crime wave in Arizona or Phoenix, where authorities were reporting that crime was actually down–which research suggests is typical in areas with higher immigrant populations (FAIR Action Alert, 5/17/10). After FAIR noted O’Reilly’s errors, he actually stopped making them. But he soon found new ways to justify his anti-immigrant stance, like arguing that crime is indeed down along the border–because immigrants have stopped coming into the country (FAIR Blog, 6/21/10).

    Read the rest of the “winners” by clicking here.

     
  • Sylvia Moore 7:07 pm on December 30, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , local, , , , , ,   

    Local Radio to Get New Life 

    Amid all the uproar last week about the Federal Communication Commission’s new not-so-net neutrality rules, Congress passed important new legislation that will further democratize the airwaves. The Local Community Radio Act will allow thousands of new low power FM stations to be created across the country for use by non-profits and community groups. Once President Obama signs the legislation, supported by Democrats and Republicans, organizations will be able to broadcast news and information of interest to their specific communities.

    This law will definitely provide communities a much needed alternative to the cookie-cutter programming and shout fests that characterize much of radio today. Communities will be able to tailor programming to their specific needs and cultural tastes, and won’t just be stuck with shows streaming in from big cities like New York. And the law could also prevent the kind of tragedy that occurred in Minot, MN, in 2002.

     
  • Sylvia Moore 6:46 pm on December 20, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , mobile devices, , , , ,   

    Internet Freedom On the Line 

    On Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission is set to vote on new rules that critics say could allow media conglomerates to decide whose content gets to be seen on the Internet and whose doesn’t. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is said to have the votes he needs to pass net neutrality regulation.

    Internet freedom advocates are blasting Genachowski and the Obama administration for reneging on a campaign promise that candidate Obama made, saying he would protect the Internet from corporate meddling. But, the proposed rules – which haven’t been made public – would let telecommunications companies block or slow down Web content accessed through wireless devices, advocates complain. Mobile devices, like smartphones and iPads, are poised to become the dominant medium through which people access the Web.

    Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota, who has been a tireless advocate for net neutrality, wrote in The Huffington Post this morning that no less than our free speech and right to information is at stake:

    For many Americans — particularly those who live in rural areas — the future of the Internet lies in mobile services. But the draft Order would effectively permit Internet providers to block lawful content, applications, and devices on mobile Internet connections.

    Mobile networks like AT&T and Verizon Wireless would be able to shut off your access to content or applications for any reason. For instance, Verizon could prevent you from accessing Google Maps on your phone, forcing you to use their own mapping program, Verizon Navigator, even if it costs money to use and isn’t nearly as good. Or a mobile provider with a political agenda could prevent you from downloading an app that connects you with the Obama campaign (or, for that matter, a Tea Party group in your area).

    It gets worse. The FCC has never before explicitly allowed discrimination on the Internet — but the draft Order takes a step backwards, merely stating that so-called “paid prioritization” (the creation of a “fast lane” for big corporations who can afford to pay for it) is cause for concern.

    It sure is — but that’s exactly why the FCC should ban it. Instead, the draft Order would have the effect of actually relaxing restrictions on this kind of discrimination.

    Everyone who uses the Internet should make this issue a top priority. I can imagine a world where there is no protection against discrimination on the Internet, where the Web is no longer the dynamic and fascinating medium it is now. A world where people can only get the same old, tired crap offered on television and terrestrial radio. A world where dissent is drowned out or blacked out in favor of corporate propaganda and innovation is squashed in favor of ossification. A world where you may no longer get to read this blog. Hopefully, these new rules can be struck down, which is what an Internet law expert, interviewed below, predicts:

    Vodpod videos no longer available.

     
  • Sylvia Moore 4:56 pm on December 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , ,   

    Michael Copps Weighs In on the State of American Media 

    FCC Commissioner Michael Copps tells the BBC that American media has a “substance abuse” problem.

    Watch the rest of the interview here.

     
  • Sylvia Moore 3:16 pm on November 20, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: connection, , , , speed, ,   

    Middling Internet Speed in the Country That Invented the Internet 

    When it comes to average Internet connection speeds, the United States is, well…average. According to a new survey by Akamai Technologies, and reported on the Royal Pingdom blog, the U.S. ranks 12th in Internet speed, behind such countries as Canada, the Czech Republic, Japan and even Romania. The survey ranks the top 50 countries with the most Internet users.

    Although the U.S. ranks second in number of users overall (behind #1 China), the country has an average speed of 4.60 megabits per second. South Korea is the overall speed champion, with an average speed of 16.63 megabits per second, but ranking eleventh in number of users. America’s middling speed ranking is rather embarrassing for the country that invented the Internet, and thinks of itself as exceptional in just about everything. Improving Internet connection speed is important if we want to continue to innovate as a country. Hopefully, now that the Federal Communications Commission has completed its national broadband plan earlier this year, America can concentrate on catching up.

     
  • Sylvia Moore 4:15 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , Rachel Maddow,   

    Jon Stewart Answers His Critics 

    Last night, Rachel Maddow devoted her entire show to an interview with comedian and The Daily Show host Jon Stewart, who explained what he was trying to accomplish with last month’s Rally to Restore Sanity. The rally, which drew more than 200,000 people to the Washington Mall, was criticized by some for being a pointless exercise rather than a call for civic engagement. Comedian Bill Maher had taken issue with Stewart’s charge that liberals and conservatives are equally to blame for the incivility of American politics today. Stewart doubles down on this belief, and goes on to comment about the corrosive effect of the 24-hour cable news cycle has on our public discourse.

    I don’t agree with everything Stewart says here, but he makes a lot of good points about the problems with cable news. Stewart views himself first and foremost as an entertainer, as he should be, not a news sage or political leader. I like The Daily Show as much as anyone, but too many people turn to it as their primary source of news, when they should be getting the information they need from real news organizations, who, for the most part, are falling down on the job of exposing official corruption. Click below to watch the whole interview.

    Vodpod videos no longer available.

     
  • Sylvia Moore 7:23 pm on November 9, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: balance, Bill Maher, , false equivalency, John Stewart, , left wing, , , objectivity, , , Stephen Colbert   

    Comedian Bill Maher Takes Down False Equivalency 

    In my last post, I took a stand against mainstream news organizations’ custom of giving equal weight to opposing views on an issue, even when one side is complete nonsense. The mainstream media calls this approach to doing the news as “objectivity.” But these same news organizations rarely tell their audiences in their stories who – whether it’s a politician, a think tank, a spokesperson – is stating a fact and who is telling a falsehood. What you have is “false equivalence.” News stories tend to be descriptions of an event or an issue, with a quote from Politician “A” giving a comment, and Politician “B” giving an opposing comment. The reader or viewer is left to figure out on their own who’s pulling a fast one. So you end up with global warming denying crackpots being given the same amount of deference as climate scientists.

    The media’s love affair with “objectivity” has unfortunately spilled into our political discourse. We now have the spectacle of political movements that stand up for the rights of citizens being conflated with demagogue-led movements that are front groups for corporate interests. Bill Maher, host of HBO’s Real Time, criticized the mainstream media’s notion of “balance” in a rant taking on the much publicized John Stewart-Stephen Colbert rally that drew more than 200,000 people to the Washington Mall last month. At the rally, Stewart gave a speech casting equal blame on the Left and the Right for America’s current harsh political climate. Maher pretty much trashes that idea. His commentary is as inspired and spot on as it is funny. Click here to see the video.

     
  • Sylvia Moore 6:34 pm on November 6, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Citizens United, , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Big Media-One, The People-Zero 

    Well, last Tuesday’s elections went almost as predicted by Big Media. I say “almost,” in that even though the Democrats got creamed in the House races, they managed to barely hold onto the Senate. All year, Big Media were pretty much salivating over seeing a repeat of 1994, wherein the Democrats lost both the House and the Senate to the Republicans, a blowout many attributed to so-called liberal “overreach” on the part of then-President Clinton’s administration.

    Aside from the Republicans, the corporate media were big winners in this year’s turbulent mid-terms. This election was the most expensive non-presidential election in history, with $4 billion spent by candidates. Thanks to the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United, independent groups were able to anonymously bankroll an onslaught of political advertising on behalf of mostly Republican candidates.

    And Big Media was there to cash in. Hundreds of millions of dollars from political spots went right into the coffers of television and radio stations and cable outlets across the country. It’s no wonder that political pundits paid little attention to the corrosive effect all this advertising – much of it deceptive – had on the outcomes of the electoral races. The media barons would no doubt be the biggest obstacles to an effort to require all political advertising be free.

    The corporate media is primarily interested in boosting ratings by pumping up the horse race between the Democrats and the Republicans. They are less interested in providing voters with accurate information about issues and candidates that the electorate needs to make sound decisions. Worse, we have radio and television outlets spewing propaganda 24-7, with no accountability demanded by advertisers or federal regulators. So what you end up with is a confused electorate, whose voting patterns give an unclear and distorted picture of what it is they exactly want from their representatives.

    The profit motive, the quest for ratings, and false equivalency are killing the credibility and independence of the Fourth Estate in this country. They’re also killing our democracy. The mainstream media are largely to blame for a public that is increasingly ignorant and ill-equipped to make rational decisions about public policy.

    The wall between news and entertainment must be restored. Journalists must stop giving fanatics, lunatics and shysters equal weight with academics, scientists and other experts in various fields. It’s time for all reporters, editors, producers and publishers to stop the “he said, she said” stories, and start informing their audiences as to who is telling the truth and who is lying. Exposing lies is not “biased,” because the truth cannot be biased. The news must become a public service again. The survival of our democracy depends on it.

     
    • kittyreporter 10:37 pm on November 6, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for your commentary on the media. I too am concerned about the misleading information spewing from organizations like Fox News that deliberately inflame people and provide little or no real truthful facts and news.

  • Sylvia Moore 12:24 pm on October 5, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Is the Enthusiasm Gap Overblown? 

    I’ve always believed that the so-called “enthusiasm gap” among progressives was a media creation. It’s all part of the corporate media’s love affair with horserace political reporting.

    Vodpod videos no longer available.

     
  • Sylvia Moore 11:28 am on October 5, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , One Nation Working Together, ,   

    The Revolution Will (Barely) Be Publicized 

    Unless you’re a political junkie, chances are you didn’t know there was a very large civil rights rally going on at Los Angeles City College last Saturday. The event was was among several satellite demonstrations held across the country as part of the One Nation Working Together rally in Washington D.C. Organized by civil rights groups, unions, environmentalists and other liberal organizations, the rally was meant to mobilize Democrats for the Nov. 2 midterm elections, as well as provide a counter-movement to the conservative Tea Partiers. The event took place on the National Mall, where thousands of Tea Partiers – led by conservative TV commentator Glenn Beck – had gathered a month before.

    The pro-corporate, anti-tax Tea Party movement has gotten wall-to-wall press coverage, even though only about 30 percent of the population actually supports it. Saturday’s event did get some national coverage from the major television networks, but that paled in comparison to the kind of attention the Tea Partiers are getting on a routine basis. Locally, all I could find was this 37-second clip from ABC7 News. Kudos to ABC for showing up.

    Vodpod videos no longer available.

    Los Angeles’ only major newspaper, the Los Angeles Times, published a small photo of the Washington rally on its front page below the fold, with the story buried inside. There was no mention of the local event. However, the paper went out of its way to cover a Tea Party rally in Beverly Hills last week, where only 200 attended. One of the paper’s columnists, Steve Lopez, even provided additional commentary. Why the Times ignored the much larger, LACC One Nation event is a mystery to me. Maybe the editors thought coverage of the Washington rally was enough. But it seems to me when there’s a local angle to a major national story, the public should be informed about it.

     
    • Mary Altmann 3:08 am on October 11, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      The Tea Party movement is a grassroots effort to restore accountability to our elected officials, and has roots in the 9/11 Truth movement. Sure it has tried to be hijacked by aweful conservative groups. Honesty, after reading the healthcare bill, and having my “liberal” elected officials pass it, I am so royally upset…. Democrats and Republicans are two heads with the same tail.

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