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

    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: , , , , , , , , news, , 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.

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

    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: , , , , , , , , , news, , ,   

    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.

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

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    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 3:23 pm on September 1, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , homeless, homelessness, , Los Angeles, , middle class, news, Skid Row, ,   

    BBC World News Documents the Homeless in Los Angeles 

    If only local TV news stations would do more stories like the one below. The broadcast, from BBC World News America, reports on how homeless shelters in Skid Row are now charging some residents a small fee to stay. The report focuses an issue that needs more attention: the formerly middle class. It’s frustrating that I have to watch a foreign news agency to get information about the desperation going on in my own back yard. Click on the image below to watch the story:

     
  • Sylvia Moore 12:38 pm on August 30, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , business, class, , , , , ktla, , , , news, , 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 10:11 pm on August 13, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: children, CNN, crime, doll study, , , news, , racial bias, ,   

    CNN, Media Images and Racial Bias 

    Yesterday, I caught this intriguing segment on CNN about whether African-American and Caucasian children show a preference towards white skin. The segment was a near re-enactment of the famous doll studies done in the 1960s, which asked black and white children to choose what doll – the one with black skin or light skin – they liked best. This time, instead of dolls, the researchers used cartoons of children with varying skin tones. The results are pretty shocking. I do commend CNN for tackling such a difficult subject as racism. However, there’s a caveat.

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    Media images play a big role in the attitudes adults and children have toward different ethnic and racial groups. Unfortunately, negative depictions of black people on television news – usually committing crimes -has been a contributing factor in the way the larger society views African-Americans. So it was troubling to me to see CNN broadcast the news story below immediately BEFORE the segment on kids and racial bias.

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  • Sylvia Moore 5:25 pm on August 9, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ABC7, consumer news, , , , news,   

    Advertising Men’s Underwear? That’s News? 

    Just when you thought local news couldn’t get any more asinine, here’s a segment I came across on the morning news on the Los Angeles ABC affiliate a couple of days ago. The whole segment is basically a commercial for men’s girdles.

    This story is filed on ABC7’s website under “Consumer News.” But shouldn’t consumer news be about more substantive issues like how many chemicals there are in plastic toys, or whether California state officials will rein in health insurance companies’ rates, or whether Elizabeth Warren will be nominated to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Agency? I guess that’s just too much to ask for.

    Vodpod videos no longer available.

    ABC7 – Spanx, posted with vodpod
     
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