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

    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, , Obama, , ,   

    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 2:26 pm on July 23, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Alliance Hollywood, , , , , conservative, , Crooks and Liars, David Neiwert, , , LA Progressive, left, liberal, , , Obama, , President Obama, , ,   

    Rage Against the Right: Blogger John Amato Speaks About Politics & Media 

    John Amato is frustrated about the state of American politics. But he hasn’t let that frustration bring him down. Instead, for the last decade, Amato has been wielding his sword against the American right-wing machine from his computer.

    The founder of Crooks & Liars, one of the most influential left-leaning blogs in the country, recounted his journey from working musician to liberal commentator to a group of about 40 people at a private event in Beverly Hills on July 16. Amato shared how he and co-author David Neiwert researched their new book, Over the Cliff: How Obama’s Election Drove the American Right Insane. The event was hosted by LA Media Reform, Alliance Hollywood and the LA Progressive. Amato signed books after his talk.

    Amato, a Brooklyn native, said he used to have little interest in politics, and was registered as an independent until 2000, when the U.S. Supreme Court sided with George W. Bush in his lawsuit against Al Gore, essentially handing Bush the presidency. Horrified by that decision, Amato decided to get politically active. He started Crooks & Liars in 2004, focusing on providing an alternative news source of, by and for citizens. The blog now has several writers, and showcases video and extensive commentary on the hot political issues of the day. Amato has won several Weblog Awards, including Best Video Blogger in 2006 and Best Weblog About Politics in 2008.

    Much of Amato’s talk focused on the aftermath of President Obama’s election in 2008, Republican losses in Congress, and criticism of the corporate mainstream media. He said he is “dumbstruck by what passes for journalism these days,” and that the traditional media – newspapers, television, radio – is becoming increasingly irrelevant. Amato expressed particular outrage at 24-hour cable news, wondering why cable devotes so little time reporting on actual legislation. Fortunately, the blogosphere has made some headway in leveling the playing field with mainstream media. Amato said if it wasn’t for liberal bloggers, the Democrats wouldn’t have taken back the House in 2006.

    “Through citizen journalism and the blogosphere, we’ve had an impact,” Amato said. “But we have a long way to go.”

    Watching the conservative cable outlet, FOX News, is a daily ritual for Amato, and its content is regularly in Crooks & Liars’ crosshairs. Amato said he worries about the right-wing media’s obsession with race, which has intensified since Obama’s election.

    “The race baiting that has been going on is beyond belief,” Amato said.

    Amato talked about rising right-wing violence in America, mentioning the murder of Dr. George Tiller, by anti-abortion zealots in Kansas, the targeting of law enforcement, and the more than 200 hate crimes committed since Obama became president. Amato said he fears that if Obama wins re-election, the violence will get worse. He said the public can fight back against hate speech in the media by forming local media reform groups, and by going after advertisers.

    “Those are the most powerful tools that we have,” said Amato. “Hold pundits and politicians accountable for their words.”

    For photos of the event, click here.

  • Sylvia Moore 6:38 pm on February 2, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Obama,   

    More Q & A With Obama 

    If you haven’t seen President Obama’s much talked about tangle with House Republicans at a question and answer session last Friday, you can watch it below courtesy of C-SPAN. The event – reminiscent of the British Parliament’s regular questioning of the Prime Minister – was an amazing piece of political theater, and revealed a lot more than the soundbites the mainstream media throws at us.

    Now, Sam Stein of The Huffington Post reports that Obama will do a similar Q & A tomorrow morning with Senate Democrats. It obviously won’t be nearly as confrontational, and therefore, maybe not as exciting. Word has it that the administration wants to hold these Q &A sessions with Congress more regularly. I hope so. I’d especially like to see Obama get some tough questions from House progressives.

    • brandy2424 10:01 pm on February 2, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Great post! Thanks for sharing with us the video of President Obama. I am excited to see the President in the hot seat answering tough questions from House of Representative.

  • Sylvia Moore 6:47 am on December 18, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , iraq, , , Obama, , ,   

    Anti-war Voices Scarce In the Media 

    Although polls vary widely, a large chunk of the public still wants the war in Afghanistan to end. Opposition has swung as high as 57 percent before President Obama outlined his plans to send 30,000 more troops to the region, to a low of 43 percent afterwards. But if you looked at some of our major newspapers, one gets the impression that there’s little dissent going on. Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) studied 10 months of op-eds from The New York Times and The Washington Post, concluding that pro-war cheerleading far outnumbered anti-war dissent. Sounds to me like a re-run of the run up to Iraq. And military analysts are still appearing on major TV networks commenting about Afghanistan, even though these same analysts’ financial interests in various defense contracting firms hardly make them objective. At the same time, extensive coverage of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts has taken a back seat to the fight over healthcare reform in Washington. Meanwhile, anti-war protests regularly take place in Washington D.C. and around the country, but get little media coverage. Just doing a quick YouTube search yields tons of amateur videos shot by anti-war activists. The rally in the video below took place just outside the White House last weekend and featured several former presidential candidates, but I’ll bet unless you get your news from alternative media, you probably didn’t know it happened.

    Still, maybe it says something about the American people right now that many of them haven’t been swayed by the conventional Washington beltway slant fed to them via their TV screens and newspapers. For the mainstream media to ignore or downplay a large portion of dissenting views on the wars is in no way fair or objective, and does a disservice to the public interest.

  • Sylvia Moore 6:51 am on November 15, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Obama, ,   

    The White House vs. Fox News 

    The White House’s cat fight with FOX News appears to have cooled somewhat, but it doesn’t change the fact that administration officials did have a point about the network.

    The skirmish started last month when Obama administration officials began characterizing FOX as an illegitimate news outlet and an arm of the Republican Party. FOX immediately fired back, defending its so-called “fair and balanced” record. Many Beltway reporters and pundits immediately cried foul and rallied to FOX’s defense. Some believed the President’s fight with the network was ill-advised. The White House, perhaps stung by the fierce backlash, reportedly met with FOX executives, and White House senior advisor David Axelrod recently gave the network an interview.

    The war of words between the White House and FOX News over the network’s journalistic integrity obscures the larger issue of declining news standards in television overall. Ever since the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine and the loosening of station ownership rules under the 1996 Telecommunications Act, what the news is and what it should be has dramatically changed. We expect the news to entertain us, more than inform us. We expect the news to re-inforce beliefs we already have, rather than challenge what we think we know. Liberals and conservatives flock to their respective corners – the former to MSNBC, The Daily Show, and NPR, the latter to FOX and Limbaugh. Americans no longer collectively get their facts from one undisputed source, like, say, the British do with the BBC. Instead, the “facts” are whatever your preferred team says they are. That is not good for a democracy.

    Many journalists’ criticism of the White House for calling out FOX is especially troubling, and reflects a disturbing acceptance of a network that has consistently lowered the bar for what qualifies as good journalism and has contributed to the degradation of our civic discourse. These journalists should be taking a more jaundiced eye at the way FOX routinely plays fast and loose with the facts. MSNBC is hardly a bastion of objective journalism, but that network – unlike FOX – purports to be less a news entity than an outlet for political analysis, hence its motto: The Place for Politics.

    The hits that the Obama administration has received for taking on FOX may make it more difficult for the White House and the Democratic-controlled Congress to reform what is broken in our media today – too much consolidation and too few standards – for fear of being seen as unfairly attacking conservatives’ free speech rights.

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