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  • Sylvia Moore 3:44 pm on March 8, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: David Cay Johnston, journalism, , , , pensions, , press, public employees, public pensions, public workers, Wisconsin   

    Media fail on Wisconsin and public employee pensions 

    David Cay Johnston, columnist for the Tax Analysts web site and a Pulitzer Prize-winning former reporter for the New York Times, calls out the mainstream press’ inaccurate reporting on public worker pensions:

    Johnston goes into more detail in his column, Really Bad Reporting in Wisconsin. When the news media continue to parrot the kinds of falsehoods Johnston describes, they leave the public vulnerable to dangerous propaganda and demagoguery. By the way, Johnston’s books, Perfectly Legal and Free Lunch, both of which describe the inequities in the American tax system, are well worth reading.

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  • Sylvia Moore 12:49 pm on March 4, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , journalism, 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!

     
    • 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 5:07 pm on February 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , journalism, , , ,   

    I Want My A-J-E! (Update) 

    After getting a major shot of publicity in the United States as a result of its coverage of the unrest in Egypt, Al Jazeera English is embarking on a huge marketing push. The network took out this full-page ad in this morning’s Los Angeles Times:

     
  • Sylvia Moore 1:09 pm on February 4, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: AJE, , , Arab, Arabic, , BBC World News, , , cable companies, , , , , foreign, , international, , journalism, , , , , , , ,   

    I Want My A-J-E (Al Jazeera English)! 

    If you want the best, most comprehensive coverage of the uprising in Egypt, Al Jazeera English (AJE) is the place to tune in. The images and reporting have been nothing short of riveting. But most people in the United States, including here in Los Angeles, have no access to the channel on their cable systems. Instead, if you have Internet access, you can view AJE online through its live video stream. Thank goodness for that. As a result, the news channel has seen a 2,500% increase in traffic to its web site this week — 60% of that from the U.S., according to Tony Burman, Al Jazeera’s chief strategic adviser for the Americas. Clearly, many Americans want more in depth information about Eygpt’s revolution than the shallow and sensationalistic U.S. media provide.

    Launched in 2006, AJE is the English language counterpart to Al Jazeera, the Doha, Qatar-based, Arabic-language news channel immensely popular around the Arab world. Unfortunately, Al Jazeera has had a bad reputation in the U.S., where it’s known mainly as the channel where Osama bin Laden liked to showcase his greatest hits. During the Bush years, administration officials and conservatives accused Al Jazeera of being anti-American. And Israel supporters aren’t big fans of the channel, which typically gives a lot more attention to the suffering of the Palestinians. Outside the U.S., Al Jazeera gets a better reception, and is known as a hard-hitting independent network that’s not afraid to cast an unflattering light on autocratic dictators. For example, in Egypt, the regime has kicked the network out of the country, arrested its journalists, and banned it from the airwaves there.

    AJE is seen in more than 100 countries, including Canada and yes, Israel. But AJE is only available on cable stations in Washington D.C., Toledo, Ohio, and Burlington,Vermont, of all places. I have Time Warner digital, and I saw that one of the KCET digital channels – KCETM 239 – is supposed to carry a half-hour of AJE on weeknights. But when I actually checked last night, strangely, an Asian soap opera was running in the time slot. Anyway, I’ll go back to watching as much of AJE as I want on my computer desktop. But it would still be nice to be able to watch it on the TV while lying on my couch in the den or eating a snack in the kitchen.

    So why the near blackout in the U.S.? Huffington Post’s Ryan Grim writes that there are political and commercial reasons, and he points to an illuminating essay from a former AJE  associate producer, Paige Austin. Below is a video from Democracy Now! this week about the media blackout of AJE in the U.S. and of Al Jazeera in Egypt:

    I’ve watched AJE occasionally for about two years. Being the news junkie that I am, and dissatisfied with the quality and dearth of international news in the American media, I was excited when I first learned of AJE’s existence. Initially, you could only get selected videos on YouTube. Later, AJE’s streaming video became available through a site called LiveStation, which has several international news channels, including BBC World Service (audio only), Deutsche Welle (audio only), RFI, Russia Today and France 24. I only discovered this week that AJE now streams directly from its web site. All of these streams are free.

    Seeing how the news is reported outside of the American (or even Western) prism is refreshing and revealing. Instead of an over-reliance on a couple of pundits carping at each other in a two-sided debate, you’re likely to see more academics, representatives from non-governmental organizations, human rights activists and regular people from the street give their views on issues of the day. While watching the coverage of the Egyptian protests, I heard analysis from several Middle Eastern experts, a human rights activist who was jailed by the regime, a blogger, several protesters and a U.S. congressman I’d never seen on American TV before.

    Al Jazeera executives are actively trying to get American cable companies to offer AJE, and they are using the Internet stats to bolster their case. It’s probably still going to be an uphill battle, just because of all the ignorance and prejudice against anything that isn’t American, especially if it comes from the Arab world. BBC World News, the BBC’s international channel, also isn’t widely available in the U.S. Its only Los Angeles presence is a few half-hour segments on local public television and a four-hour block on the cable channel, BBC America.

    BBC America, a channel specifically created for the U.S. market, shows re-runs of popular U.K. programs (Los Angeles stations: Time Warner Cable Channel 131, AT&T U-verse Channel 188, DIRECT TV Channel 264, and DISH Network Channels 135 and 879). It only has three hours of BBC World News, which unfortunately, airs very early in the morning. On weeknights, however, the channel airs a one-hour news show tailored to the American audience called BBC World News America. This program broadcasts from Washington D.C. and reports on domestic American news, often times from an angle you rarely see on American television. For example, I found the channel’s coverage on the financial crisis from the point of view of ordinary Americans particularly good. BBC World News America is also a good supplement to the lack of comprehensive international news on American media. If you don’t have cable, you can watch BBC World News America videos on its web site.

    If I have one beef about BBC World News America, it’s that the show’s anchors interview some of the same American media pundits and Beltway lawmakers who have no fresh ideas, and whom I wanted to get away from in the first place. Also, I wish the anchors would get a lot tougher with their questioning, especially when Congressperson So-and-So is playing fast and loose with the truth. I find that AJE anchors tend to be a bit more challenging, especially with American government officials and lawmakers.

    A few years ago, I signed a petition BBC World News circulated to get its channel into more American homes – including Los Angeles – but it looks like that effort went nowhere. So regrettably, most Americans are stuck with the provincial and mind-numbing American news media, that do their best to shield the public from much of what’s really going on in the rest of the world, and from the uncomfortable truths about their own country. I find it quite interesting that it’s just fine for the Beltway politicians to watch AJE on their TV sets, but most of their constituents can’t be exposed to such alternative views. Contrary to conventional wisdom, I believe most Americans do care about international news and want a diversity of viewpoints if given the opportunity. What are they really afraid of if AJE, or even BBC or another foreign news service were widely available in the U.S.? That Americans just might form opinions contrary to what the ruling Washington and corporate elites want them to think? The best the public can do at this point is to keep putting the pressure on their cable companies. One can hope that AJE’s new-found publicity and popularity among Americans will cause the cable companies to cave.

     
  • Sylvia Moore 12:44 pm on February 1, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , commercial television, , , journalism, , , , , PBS, Pew Research Center, Public Policy Polling, public television, ,   

    PBS Most Trusted News; ABC Least Trusted 

    ABC is officially the least trusted name in news. That’s according to a recent survey by Public Policy Polling. A plurality of respondents, 35 percent find ABC trustworthy, while 43 percent find it untrustworthy. But 50 percent of respondents find PBS trustworthy, while 30 percent don’t. Fox, or “Faux” News as its detractors like to call it, has seen its credibility with viewers hit the skids recently. Though the cable outlet was in the middle of the pack in trustworthiness, it had the highest percentage of people who found it untrustworthy at 46 percent:


    Source: Public Policy Polling

    The fact that commercial television news has so little credibility with the public is no surprise. Much of what passes for “news” on these stations are screaming talking heads, stealth advertising, fluff, misinformation and disinformation. It’s little wonder that the public is hungering for alternatives like public television – which should be expanded – and the Internet. The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press found that more and more people, young and old, are turning away from television as their main source of news and fleeing to the Web. But if the enemies of net neutrality have their way, the Internet will come to resemble the putrid cesspool that television has become.

     
  • Sylvia Moore 12:04 pm on January 14, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: advertisers, , journalism, , , , Scott Goldberg, ,   

    Here’s How Bad Local TV News Can Really Get 

    I found this hysterical video through Mother Jones. Scott Goldberg, a former reporter for South Carolina’s KARE11, does a mashup of some incredibly stupid stories his bosses at the station made him do. This, despite the fact that he went to journalism school to learn how to expose wrongdoing. The video is a wicked skewering of the wasteland that local television news has become.

    It appears that KARE – like many TV news broadcasters – cares more about delivering viewers to its advertisers than actually informing anyone about anything of substance. As a former reporter myself (newspapers), I can identify with Scott’s frustration. I remember having to report and write on some pretty useless stories. But Goldberg will now be skewering the news regularly, as a “correspondent” for Comedy Central’s fake-news show, Onion SportsDome.

     
  • Sylvia Moore 3:00 pm on January 1, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , FAIR, Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting, , journalism, , , , 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 4:56 pm on December 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , journalism, , , , ,   

    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 4:15 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , journalism, , , , , , 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, journalism, 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.

     
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