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  • Sylvia Moore 12:49 pm on March 4, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: activism, , , , Just Media, , , , , Occidental College,   

    Citizens gather in Los Angeles to take back the media 

    This year’s Just Media: L.A. Media Reform Summit, held Feb. 26 at Occidental College, drew 200 activists, speakers and concerned members of the public for an all-day conference on how to build a better news and information environment for our communities. This was L.A. Media Reform’s fourth summit and was our best attended so far. Marty Kaplan, Director of The Norman Lear Center at the University of Southern California kicked off the day with a fascinating talk about how the kinds of news media people consume (public television, cable, or local news) determine their depth of knowledge of current events.

    The afternoon’s panel session, Objectivity vs. Hate Speech & Fear-Mongering, featured Leslie Berestein Rojas, who writes KPCC’s Multi-American blog; Rick Jacobs, chair and founder of the Courage Campaign; Amanda Garces and Pedro Espinoza of the Mobile Voices Project; and Shakeel Syed, Executive Director of the Islamic Shura Council. Will Coley, L.A. Media Reform member and and founder of Aquifer Media, moderated the panel. The panelists engaged in a lively discussion about the corrosive effects of hate speech in the media that targets immigrants, religious minorities and people of color.

    Attendees then fanned out into various workshops focusing on issues as diverse as public radio, blogs and the Internet, net neutrality, broadband and independent filmmaking. Our evening speaker, Beth McConnell, Executive Director of the Media & Democracy Coalition, closed with an inspiring talk encouraging citizens to create their own media to better inform their communities. Attendees later gathered at a networking reception featuring delicious hors d’oeuvres from Oxy’s student catering club, Well Fed. I hope that this year’s summit inspired more people to make improving our media climate a top priority, and helped them come up with ideas about how to use alternative media to make their voices heard.

    See Will Coley’s photos from the summit in his previous blog post from Feb. 28.

    We’d like to thank the following folks who helped make the 2011 Just Media Summit a success:

    Speakers: Marty Kaplan, Leslie Berestein Rojas, Rick Jacobs, Amanda Garces, Pedro Espinoza, Shakeel Syed, Allison de Fren, Will Coley, William Swaim, Wendy Block, Michael Sigman, Dick Price, Sharon Kyle, the Spin Busters! and the Billionaires, Sue Wilson, Ron Cooper, Koverboyz, Dr. Katie Mills, Juan Devis, Justin Cram, Sean McLaughlin, Beth McConnell, Rick Staggenborg, MD, Gavin Dahl, Damien Newton, Tony Arranaga, Chris Kidd, Siel Ju, LaJuan Johnson, Sadie Dean, Candice Rodrigo, Shani Byard-Ngunjiri, Mera Szendro Bok

    Our sponsors: California Common Cause, the Urban & Environmental Policy Institute at Occidental College, L.A. Progressive, Aquifer Media, The Benton Foundation, Center for Governmental Studies, Peoples College of Law, Uptown Gay & Lesbian Alliance, Urban Organizer, Media Alliance, ACLU Pasadena-Foothills Chapter, Valle Music Reproduction, LA Beez

    And…

    Occidental College for hosting

    The L.A. Media Reform Planning Committee: Amanda Shaffer, Will Coley, Dick Price, Sharon Kyle, Tapia Martinez-Russ and Sylvia Moore for putting this whole event together,

    Anjuli Kronheim, Los Angeles Organizer, California Common Cause and liaison to the L.A. Media Reform Planning Committee for her top-notch networking skills,

    Tapia Martinez-Russ and her music partner for providing the lovely entertainment,

    Well Fed for providing the delicious refreshments,

    Our wonderful volunteers for helping us set up, and all the members of the public who attended!

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    • Warner Cowett 11:23 pm on August 19, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might.- Ecclesiastes 9:10

    • Edgar Fees 11:24 pm on August 19, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Love is patient, love is kind, Love does not insist on its own way. Love bears all things, believes all things, Hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.- I Corinthians 13:4-8

    • Remy 2:17 pm on September 20, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      If anyone can help point me in the right direction, I’d like to get involved. I recently launched Tiklar – a citizen journalist site at http://tiklar.com – I would like to see how I could partner for a 2012 event. Thanks.

  • Sylvia Moore 5:22 pm on February 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: activism, classical music, community radio, education, independent media, KUSF, , , San Francisco, UCSF, University of Southern California, USC   

    Reformers Want to Save San Francisco Community Station 

    The following was sent to L.A. Media Reform by Tracy Rosenberg, Executive Director of Media Alliance:

    Tell USC local, independent media is too important: don’t crush community
    stations from afar

    Targeting: Dr. C. L. Max Nikias (President, USC) and Ms. Brenda Barnes
    (President, USC Radio)

    Started by: Russell Newman

    The University of Southern California has announced that it will ‘preserve
    classical music in San Francisco’ via the purchase of the rights to
    broadcast there at 90.3 FM and 89.9 FM. USC sees this as a chance to
    connect with alumni and with potential recruits. The deal, however, is a
    travesty.

    For decades, 90.3 has been the home of the award-winning, University of
    San Francisco-operated community station KUSF-FM. As part of a deal
    negotiated behind closed doors between USC, the University of San
    Francisco, and Entercom – one of the largest radio station owners in the
    country – the station was unceremoniously torn from the airwaves earlier
    this week. Volunteers arrived to find the station behind lock and key;
    others report being treated like criminals as they were ushered out in a
    state of surprise. Preserving classical music from afar should not come at
    the expense of the cultural and musical communities that are now losing a
    key hub. As USC students, alumni, faculty and staff, it troubles us deeply
    that our own institution is partially responsible for this outcome.

    Educational stations are one of America’s last widely-available outlets
    for local, critical and challenging content. During a time in which
    independent voices are increasingly scarce on the consolidated FM dial,
    USC’s initiative comes at the cost of hobbling a decades-old community
    institution. Please sign the petition below to express solidarity with
    those of the KUSF community working for the return of their station. It is
    our hope that USC can achieve its goals while preserving a valuable San
    Francisco voice.

    This petition is directed specifically to students, alumni, faculty and
    staff of USC.

    http://www.change.org/petitions/view/tell_usc_local_independent_media_is_too_important_dont_crush_community_stations_from_afar

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

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  • Sylvia Moore 11:28 am on October 5, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , activism, , , , , , , , 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.

  • Sylvia Moore 6:28 pm on September 29, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: activism, , , , , , , , , , , , lobbyists, , , , , , , ,   

    Waxman Compromise on Net Neutrality DOA 

    When word leaked a few days ago that House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman had drafted compromise legislation that would effectively neuter strong net neutrality rules, media reformers erupted in protest. Waxman has been a strong proponent of net neutrality, and had reaffirmed his support in a meeting with citizens and members of L.A. Media Reform and Free Press earlier this month. So the news came as a shock. Or perhaps it shouldn’t have been. Lobbyists from the telecommunications industry have literally been inundating members of Congress like flies swarming a piece of meat. I’m quite sure they were breathing down Waxman’s back.

    Theories abound as to why Waxman decided to cut a deal with the telecoms – one possible reason being resolving the issue in the best way possible in case the GOP takes over the House in November. But, no matter. The Washington Post reported today that the GOP shot down the bill anyway, and Waxman is urging the Federal Communications Commission to reassert its authority over broadband. Waxman is still pinning his hopes on a bipartisan approach to this issue, but he realizes it probably ain’t likely.

    The fight over keeping corporations from treating the Internet like their own personal fiefdom illustrates the sorry state of America’s electoral system. The fact that Waxman feels that he even has to compromise with a bunch of amoral profitmongers, who, I believe, wouldn’t hesitate to put Web users in digital straitjackets if that will pad their bottom line, shows that the needs of ordinary Americans count for less and less in Congress. If we Americans want different behavior from our political representatives, we’re going to have to support politicians who are going to work to take away corporations’ ability to meddle in our democracy.

    I wonder if the Democratic Party leadership realizes how a free and open Internet is the only thing right now that is keeping the party competitive with the Republicans in the wake of Citizens United, the Supreme Court case that practically handed the electoral store to the monied interests. It was the blogosphere that enabled the Democrats to retake Congress in 2006, and it was the legions of small donors who used the Web to help put Barack Obama in the White House.

    The corporate media cabal made up of network and cable television, print newspapers and talk radio simply does not put the progressive point of view on an even playing field with the conservative one.  The Internet is the only place one can turn to for an alternative to the conventional, corporate-dominated Beltway thinking of the traditional media.

     
    • Michael E. Russell 7:00 am on October 4, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Great post, Sylvia, keep up the good work. I’ll re post it.

      • Sylvia Moore 12:38 pm on October 4, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, Michael!

    • maximus 8:07 am on October 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Email press@google.com and tell the people at google that you have stopped using the google search engine and all other google products until Google decides to break the deal with verizon to end net neutrality.

  • Sylvia Moore 11:45 am on September 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: activism, , , , , , , , , open internet, , , , , , , Tina Dupuy,   

    Tina Dupuy – Net Neutrality: A Crucial Issue With a Lame Name 

    A funny essay by humorist and journalist Tina Dupuy about Net Neutrality:

    The term “net neutrality” has the magical property of making most people’s eyes glaze over. First, it sounds like a gambling term. “I have a system and net neutrality – I can’t lose!” Second, no one using the Internet calls it “the net” anymore. Just like no one in San Francisco calls it “Frisco.” So the term “net neutrality” either sounds super techie and over-your-head, or more dated than the 1995 Sandra Bullock movie called…The Net.

    The concept of Net Neutrality is simple: all content should be treated equally. The Internet should be, as it has been, on a virtual level playing field.

    Google and Verizon announced at the beginning of August their agreement for an “Open Internet.” In their statement the FCC will continue to lack the power to enforce an open Internet, and it excludes wireless broadband from transparency, citing proprietary concerns. This is worrisome since wireless broadband is the future of the Internet. Plus, in order to ensure “openness,” wireless or not, the Internet should be regulated like any other public utility.

    So as soon as the word “regulation” is uttered, a Frankenstein monster of a faux populist movement arises to dispute and/or cloud the issue. With corporate sponsorship they’ve become a loud lobbying spectacle for business interests. Cleverly they use pro-working people language, and often working people themselves, to sell policies of freedom for corporations. Yes, the Tea Party or the Grand Old Party on caffeine, is (of course) against Net Neutrality.

    The Tea Party and its coalition of “grassroots” think tanks want corporations to be in control of the Internet so it will “stay open.” In a signed letter sent to the FCC and the media the day after the Google/Verizon agreement was announced, the Tea Party groups’ statement added that government regulation, “could also remove the ability for parents and ISPs to prevent inappropriate material from entering the home.”

    Catch that? Let business do what it wants or you won’t be able to protect your children from smut. It’s the most vulgar thing I’ve ever heard. Horribly untrue. And a cynical attempt at fear-mongering. “Your children are at risk!” Deplorable.

    Government regulation is always annoying – unless we can’t swim in the Gulf of Mexico, or eat eggs, spinach, beef or peanut butter. But wait – annoying to whom? Government regulation irks corporations. For those of us who drive the cars, eat the food or take the medications made by corporations, government regulations are in the most basic way – lifesavers.

    Personally, I would like a government bureaucrat between me and Salmonella.

    The Tea Party would have opposed the National Parks system. Sectioning off millions of acres of land which otherwise could be privately developed is a job killer! Letting places like Yosemite Valley just sit there without allowing business to “improve the experience” is an affront to freedom! Uncle Sam’s telling Americans where they can and can’t build is government overreach! The whole scheme will raise your taxes! Taxes – and they’ll take your guns!

    But no, Republican leaders like Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt saw how these parks should be nationalized, saved for future generations to have and enjoy. Lincoln did coin the phrase “for the people, by the people,” the perfect slogan for a walk through a government-regulated and, therefore, pristine forest.

    And our more perfect union needs to ensure that the Internet can be open and indifferent to content (even if you disagree with said content). Congress didn’t just sit on their hands and hope that just because no one had yet developed Yellowstone it wasn’t at risk of such a fate. No, they acted. They protected it. Yellowstone is still there for all of us to enjoy. It’s ours.

    What needs to happen? Earlier this year, the U.S Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia handed down the Comcast Decision stating under current law, the FCC doesn’t have the authority to regulate equality of content. This means the law must be changed.

    Congressman Henry Waxman, chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce that oversees the FCC, said he is for Net Neutrality. Waxman said any bill about the issue would have to come out of his committee. What’s taking so long? The hold up is that the term “Net Neutrality” sounds like a fishing ordinance instead of what Senator Al Franken describes as “the free speech issue of our time.”

    Reprinted with permission.

     
    • Scott Arboleda 12:14 am on August 20, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse and prove me now herewith saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it.- Malachi 3:10-12

  • Sylvia Moore 3:58 pm on September 3, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: activism, , , , , , Ed Markey, , , , , , House of Representatives, , L.A. Media Reform, , , Progressive Democrats of Los Angeles, ,   

    Net Neutrality Supporters Visit Rep. Henry Waxman 

    When a group of ordinary citizens go together to lobby a lawmaker in his or her home district, that’s always a big deal. Visits like these should be done frequently, because corporate shills are pressuring congresspeople all the time. Repeated visits, phone calls and letters are the weapons we have to counteract them.

    On Wednesday, members of the L.A. Media Reform Group joined representatives of Free Press, the Writers Guild of America West, Progressive Democrats of Los Angeles and citizen activists met with west L.A.-area Rep. Henry Waxman to speak about net neutrality. Waxman is the powerful chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, which oversees issues having to do with communications and technology. He is also a co-sponsor of H.R. 3458, the Internet Freedom Preservation Act, introduced by Rep. Ed Markey of Massachusetts.

    Now that Google and Verizon have pretty much kicked open the door toward corporate control of the Internet, the need for Congress to act is all the more urgent. Aparna Sridhar, policy counsel for Free Press, explained to Waxman what the three most troubling concerns are to net neutrality advocates: 1) that the big telecommunications companies’ opposition to net neutrality has become more entrenched, 2) that there is increasing desire for the telecom industry to write its own rules, and 3) that carriers are using a recent unfavorable court decision against the Federal Communications Commission as leverage to get what they want.

    Each person in our group then expressed to Waxman why having a free, open and non-discriminatory Internet is so important in his or her life. For example, Waxman constituent and progressive activist Lauren Steiner spoke about her career in local cable television, specifically public access. Steiner explained how public access was the “first electronic soapbox,” which enabled anyone with an opinion to express themselves without the filter of an editor or having to put up a lot of money to own a station. She said that now in an era where equal time rules and the Fairness Doctrine have long since been eliminated, the Internet is the only democratic media outlet for people.

    “If we lose net neutrality, our democracy will suffer irreparable harm” said Steiner, who set up and facilitated the meeting with Waxman.

    Others in the group talked about the importance of net neutrality to keeping the public informed about election fraud, keeping people civically engaged, and enabling writers and musicians to create their works openly and without interference. Concerns about censorship, media consolidation and no longer having an even electoral playing field were also expressed. Writer, musician and activist Brad Parker stressed that the Internet is a public utility like interstate highways, and that without net neutrality, it will be harder for entrepreneurs to create new businesses.

    Sridhar asked Waxman if he would lend his stature as chairman of House Energy & Commerce to a net neutrality bill that would contain meaningful enforcement mechanisms, as well as a complete ban on making content providers pay for priority status on the Web. Although Waxman re-affirmed his support for net neutrality, he did not say he would sponsor a separate bill to the Markey legislation.

    Waxman said he wants the FCC to be able to reclassify broadband as a “telephone service” subject to more regulation, but that the court decision has complicated matters. The Bush-era FCC had changed broadband classification to a looser regulated “information service.” Waxman said there’s not enough support right now in Congress to pressure the FCC to do the reclassification. He suggested that net neutrality supporters lobby Republicans and those conservative Democrats who are opposed to any kind of legislation. Waxman added that what would help is getting conservative groups who do favor net neutrality, such as the Christian Coalition, to lobby Republicans.

    It’s terrific that Waxman remains on the right side of this issue. For those of us hoping that he would use his position to make net neutrality a higher priority in the House, we were disappointed. Although the Markey bill is a good one, it’s currently stalled. But Waxman is right. Activists need to start putting the heat on those members of Congress who are obstructing progress on net neutrality. These particular lawmakers and their constituents need to be educated as to how a free and open Internet would benefit them, the economy and our society. And it wouldn’t hurt of course to let the opposing lawmakers’ constituents know just how much money their representatives are taking from the telecoms.

     
  • Sylvia Moore 12:38 pm on August 30, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , activism, business, class, , , , , ktla, , , , , , SEIU, , , , workers   

    Janitors Protest: A Rally Against Economic Injustice or A Public Nuisance? 

    Last Thursday, hundreds of activists staged a protest in Century City outside of the JP Morgan Chase-owned Century Plaza building in support of 16 janitors who were laid off in a company cost-cutting move. The Service Employees International Union organized the demonstration, including a hunger strike – part of a series of actions that ended on Friday. Thirteen protesters were arrested after they sat down in the middle of a street intersection in an act of civil disobedience.

    These protests were just the latest expression of outrage among the working classes across the country, who have suffered massive job losses and wage stagnation, while failing bank behemoths who wrecked the economy got bailed out to the tune of billions of dollars. The day of the janitors action, I wondered how much local news coverage it would get – if any at all. The protest did get the media’s attention, probably more so because of what it did (caused traffic jams), rather than what it represented (economic inequality and distress).

    All five major local news stations – CBS2/KCAL9, NBC4, ABC7, FOX11 and KTLA – had stories about the protest. Most had videos on their web sites, along with a print version. NBC4 was the only site without video, but you can read its account here. What was fascinating was the different tone each newscast took, what they chose to focus on and whom they chose to interview.

    KTLA’s coverage was by far the absolute worst in terms of corporate bias and tone. The narrative was just downright snarky. The station, which is owned by the struggling Tribune Co. (parent of the Los Angeles Times), broadcast two reports – one during the actual protest, and a longer report later on. Most of the focus was on how motorists were inconvenienced, and less on the grievances of the protesters. It’s as if the producers were more concerned about wealthy entertainment and banking executives who work at Century Plaza being aggravated, rather than whether the janitors were getting a raw deal. Watch the broadcasts below:

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    FOX 11 was more sympathetic to the janitors, choosing to focus on a woman who participated in the hunger strike. But inexplicably, the focus then turned to an interview with TV sports commentator and former basketball star, John Salley. Salley just happened to be in the area, but what does the point of view of an athletic personality add to the story?

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    ABC7 and CBS2/KCAL9 did the best in terms of fairness and tone. Each station interviewed more of the protesters, in addition to obtaining statements in response from the janitorial firm. It was good to see that both broadcasts allowed the participants to clearly get their messages across, and that both noted the rally was peaceful. Interestingly, though, ABC7 chose to talk to the police, whereas CBS2/KCAL9 did not. CBS2 doesn’t allow for video embeds on blogs, so you can watch the video by clicking here. The ABC7 video is below:

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    It was great to see a workers protest covered in the news and across multiple outlets. Labor news gets short shrift in the mainstream press nowadays. But I wonder: Would the media have showed up at all if no one was blocking the streets?


     
  • Sylvia Moore 6:30 pm on August 27, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: activism, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Activists Take Aim at Fox News 

    Calls to drive out Fox News grew louder this week. On Monday, media watchdog groups demanded that the White House Correspondents’ Association boot Fox from the front-row seat the conservative-leaning channel gained in the press briefing room after Helen Thomas’ resignation. A former WHCA president then called the decision to give Fox the seat “a travesty.”

    The demand for Fox’s ouster is in response to parent company News Corp.’s recent donation of $1 million to the Republican Governors Association. Despite this obvious conflict, it doesn’t look like the WHCA is about to budge. Which means my overall impression of the White House press corps as an entity that has sunk into irrelevancy still stands.

    On Wednesday, the civil rights group Color of Change.org launched a nationwide campaign to get local businesses, bars, restaurants, and other public establishments to dump Fox News. Called “Turn Off Fox,” the effort also includes a petition drive. Color of Change outlined some of Fox’s recent forays into yellow journalism in a DailyKos posting:

    Fox News hosts and guests regularly attempt to pit groups of people against one another — white against black, US-born against immigrant, gay against straight and men against women. Some of the network’s most divisive rhetoric is spouted when the topic of race. In July 2009, Fox host Glenn Beck called President Obama a “racist” who has “a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture” — a statement with which Fox Chairman Rupert Murdoch has since said he agrees. Frequent Fox guest Jesse Lee Peterson has said that most black people lack moral character, and cited “what they did to the dome” after Hurricane Katrina as evidence. Recently, Fox News contributor John Stossel called for the repeal of a key provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that prevents business owners from discriminating based on race. And Fox News hosts Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity were the first to air maliciously edited video of Shirley Sherrod’s speech to the Georgia NAACP — video that cost Sherrod her job with the USDA. The recent episode involving Sherrod has helped confirm what we have long known — that Fox is a propaganda machine with no regard for the truth.

    In an interview with Mother Jones, Color of Change founder James Rucker said that targeting Fox’s advertisers wasn’t completely effective, since the network’s ratings remained strong despite losing ad revenue (something I knew wouldn’t work anyway). So Rucker decided to change tactics and take the fight to the public.

    Rucker’s campaign is an admirable endeavor at grassroots agitation, but will this also be effective? Many small business owners lean Republican (although if these mom and pops actually knew how much Republican policies favored corporations over small business, they wouldn’t be). This campaign will need to get customers in the millions to put major pressure on business owners to change the channel or else they’ll take their business elsewhere.

    However, Fox News is really the least of our worries. It’s talk radio and local network news that the bulk of the population is tuning into. There’s a great deal of violent and hate-filled rhetoric on right-wing talk radio, and a lot of dis-information or a lack of information filling local news channels. I’d like to see Rucker and Color of Change next do a campaign to encourage people to contact their legislators to do something about media consolidation. Because when the rest of the airwaves have more opposing viewpoints, Fox’s influence will be greatly diminished.

     
  • Sylvia Moore 5:16 pm on August 24, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: activism, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Al Franken Calls Net Neutrality “Biggest Issue Since Freedom of Religion” 

    Video of Sen. Al Franken’s speech at last week’s Federal Communications Commission hearing on net neutrality:

     
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