Lying Media Bastards

September 29, 2006

LMB Radio 9-28-06

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LMB Radio 9-28-06

I start off the show asking folks if they listen to my show in its entirety, or if they just listen to the music and fast-forward the rest, or if they just listen to the ranting and skip the music. Please tell me, I wanna know. Email address on the right-hand side there, or post in the comments.

Today’s ranting:

- monsters on The Daily Show
- Banned Books Week
- racists vs. clowns
- generals vs. Bush
- Iraq war hurts America. Duh.
- Congress gives Bush power to control all time and space
- war on terror paranoia
- conservatives vs. authoritarians
- Iraqis want US out

Tunewise, we’ve got Morrissey, Magnapop, A Perfect Circle, Requiem, Fear Before the March of Flame, Public Enemy, Jess Klein, Lady Sovereign, David Sugar, the Verve, Requiem, Refused, Rasputina, Motorhead, Living Colour and more.

Posted by Jake on September 29, 2006 12:49 am

September 26, 2006


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The FCC has finally released the info on their upcoming public hearings on media ownership. Apparently there will be two of them, in Los Angeles.

“The purpose of the hearing is to fully involve the public in the process of the 2006 Quadrennial Broadcast Media Ownership Review that the Commission is currently conducting. The hearing is open to the public, and seating will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. This hearing is the first in a series of media ownership hearings the Commission intends to hold across the country.”

“A final roster of panelists will be released prior to the hearing. The hearing format will enable members of the public to participate via “open microphone.”

Tuesday, October 3, 2006
1:00p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
University of Southern California (USC)
Davidson Conference Center
Embassy Room
3415 South Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90089
Public comments scheduled for 2:30pm


Tuesday, October 3, 2006
6:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
El Segundo High School
640 Main Street
El Segundo, CA 90245
Public comments scheduled for 7:45pm

So you LA folks can go and ask why they buried those two reports about how media consolidation is bad for America.

Posted by Jake on September 26, 2006 9:27 pm

September 21, 2006

LMB Radio 09-21-06

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LMB Radio 09-21-06

- O.D.D. reconsidered
- FCC ‘Splode!
- journalist protection laws jumped over
- “wizard rock”
- how many cars do we need?
- The Pope = dumb. Or wiley and hateful, I’m not sure
- Iran, weapons, “diplomacy”, propaganda, invasion
- “Islam-o-fasc-o-rama”
- new F-22 fighter jet targets American wallets
- passing the torture buck

Melodically, we’ve got LL Cool J, X-Ray Spex, mclusky, Ladytron, Nine Inch Nails, Nobody, Drowning Pool, Some Action, They Might Be Giants, Emanon, Patton Oswalt on GWB, Humvees, and the Apocalypse, Rage Against the Machine, Hell on Wheels, Mindless Self-Indulgence, Marit Larsen, Erase Errata, Kanye West and more.

Posted by Jake on September 21, 2006 7:45 pm

September 20, 2006


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The 5th Erase Racism Carnival is being held over at Blog “carnivals” are when a number of bloggers agree to write about the same topic on a certain date, and one blog “hosts” the carnival by aggregating, summarizing, and linking to everyone’s post; carnivals usually take place once a month. Obviously, the Erase Racism deals with issues of race and combatting racism. Although they cover a wide variety of topics, this month’s writings focus primarily on white privilege and social responses to people of racially mixed backgrounds.

Lot of good stuff over there, check it out.


By coincidence (I think), today also marks the 23rd Carnival of Feminists.


Posted by Jake on September 20, 2006 3:08 pm

September 19, 2006


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Wow, looks like the FCC commissioned and shredded a second report about media mergers being bad for the consumer. Full report here. It essentially says that although the number of commericial radio stations has increased since the 1996 Telecommunications Act (up 5.9%), there are fewer owners of those radio stations (down 35%). This outcome would have been obvious to anybody who gave it a little thought.

The proposed townhall meeting that the FCC is holding in L.A. on October 3 should be fun (no time or location announced yet). They got some splaining to do.

Posted by Jake on September 19, 2006 11:08 pm

I Ran So Far Away

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Back in April, I asked the question “has the U.S. already invaded Iran?” At the time, all we had to go on was few articles making allegations that no other news stories followed up on.

Now, we’ve got a retired military colonel telling us that there is “overwhelming” evidence that the US is already operating in Iran, and has been for at least 18 months. He doesn’t argue that the US has invaded and that the assault is underway; he thinks that Special Forces have entered Iran to gather intelligence about the country’s nuclear program, and to forge ties with dissident groups for when the invasion does go down.

The colonel’s evidence is:

- “I asked an Iranian ambassador to the IAEA, ‘What’s this I hear about Americans being there?’ He said to me, ‘Well, we’ve captured some people who worked with them. We’ve confirmed that they’re there.’”

- “The House Committee on Emerging Threats tried to have a hearing some weeks ago in which they asked the Department of State and Defense to come and answer this question because it’s serious enough to be answered without congressional approval, and they didn’t come to the hearing.”

- “Sources suggest the plan is not in the Pentagon. The plan has gone to the White House. That’s not normal planning.
When the plan goes to the White House, that means we’ve gone to a different state.”

All that seems pretty circumstantial, but what he’s essentially saying “I know people who know things, and they all agree that this is probably what’s happening.”

What seems clear is that the Bush administration has never had any interest in negotiating with the Iranian government, any more than they wanted to negotiate with Iraq. I mean, the US keeps demanding that Iran stop its uranium enrichment program before negotiations begin. That’s Iran’s strongest bargaining chip, and the US won’t even talk until they give it up. No way would Iran give that up unless given something in return. In addition, everytime President Ahmednijad defies the US, his political power inside Iran grows. The US also wants to use econoic sanctions against Iran to “punish” the country for refusing to end its enrichment, but that is likely to cause the Iranian population to cluster around their leaders even more powerfullly. In other words, US actions seem destined to inflame and polarize, not bring about calm resolution.

The main hope right now seems to be that Europe (France in particular) can lure Iran to the negotiating table and make some progress to the extent that a US invasion would seem unnecessary. And at that point, BushCo revs up the propaganda and fear campaign and we’re all eating Freedom Fries again.

The neocons seem to truly think that there’s no problem that a little bombing can’t cure, and that the US is invincible. They keep this up, they’re going to get their “war of civilizations.”

Posted by Jake on September 19, 2006 8:29 pm

September 16, 2006

Palast Off the Hook

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Good news, Exxon Mobil has dropped their “criminal complaint” against journalist Greg Palast and his producer Matt Pascarella. Still disturbing that a big corporation can sic the anti-terror police on you because you videoed one of their buildings, but good to see that these fellows aren’t going to prison for it.

Posted by Jake on September 16, 2006 8:54 pm

September 15, 2006

FCC Commissions, Destroys Report

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In 2003, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) tried to push new regulations that would allow more consolidation in American media. Americans from all over protested this policy, fearing that media control in fewer and more powerful hands was a bad idea. Congress and the courts short-circuited the plan.

Now it turns out that in 2004, the FCC had its Media Bureau do a study about the effects of media consolidation on local news coverage, and when it didn’t like the results, the FCC destroyed the report. Essentially, the scholars behind the study found that media consolidation means less news coverage of local events– five and a half fewer minues less per half-hour of news. This concern was voiced by many in the 2003 FCC public comments, and but the FCC poo-pooed the idea.

The whistleblower who made this report public, a former FCC lawyer, claims that “senior managers at the agency ordered that ‘every last piece’ of the report be destroyed. ‘The whole project was just stopped, end of discussion.” Not sure who those “senior managers” are. Some sites are claiming that the order to destroy was given by former FCC head Michael Powell (son of Colin Powell). This would make sense, as he created the localism task force, but I haven’t seen any evidence yet that Powell gave the kill command (Powell even hearing about the report). Powell has stepped down, and is being replaced by another pro-”free media market” commissioner, Kevin Martin. At his renomination hearings, Senator Barbara Boxer smacked him around a bit with news about this report, if you feel like watching the video. Martin has solemnly promised to find out what happened regarding the report, and says “it is unclear why this report was never released to the public.” Actually, it’s really, really clear.

A couple of media reform groups are calling for action on this cover-up and on media consolidation. You can sign Stop Big Media’s petition here, and Hear Us Now’s here. You can also contact the FCC directly here, and I’ll keep an eye out for more of those “public forums” the FCC commissioners put on every now and again to look democratic.

Posted by Jake on September 15, 2006 10:21 am

September 13, 2006


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Once again, I will be missing this week’s radio show do to work-related things. Sorry.

Posted by Jake on September 13, 2006 2:45 pm

September 12, 2006

Journalists Under Fire 2

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Wow, updates on all three of the journalism cases I wrote about the other day.

Josh Wolf: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal decided that Wolf had no right to withold his videotapes from the Grand Jury. He plans to appeal to the full Ninth Circuit (I guess this latest decision was from a small subset of Ninth Circuit judges), and the to the Supreme Court. Till then, he’s still out on bail.

In the comments section of the article I just linked to, a fellow named Cody Molica linked to his own blog, where he has done extensive coverage of Wolf’s case. What is astounding in Molica’s reporting is how different the description of the initial incident (the protest Wolf filmed in July 2005) is from the police version. The police simply describe an event where protesters tried to set fire to a police car. Wolf’s lawyer (video on Molica’s site) tells a more in-depth story, beginning with SFPD officers driving their car through a group of protesters who had to dodge out of the way to avoid being hit. Then these officers allegedly began choking and beating some of the protesters; Wolf’s lawyer claims that these attackers were videotaped and are available online.

The “arson” claim seems to come from 1) a foam sign that the police car ran over/parked on when the car stopped, and 2) fireworks being lit by another group of protesters nearby. The car was not burnt (only reported damage is one broken tail light), and the police officers’ report simply says that one protester tried to shoot a bottle rocket at them.

This new info makes the FBI’s case ten times more fishy. They federalized this case to get video footage of activists not setting a car on fire? Please.

Updates on Wolf’s case here. There’s a link on that same page to donate money to his legal defense fund.

Greg Palast: Palast has now released more info on his own legal trouble. The “criminal complaint” filed against him is due to his crew filmed an Exxon oil refinery in Baton Rouge as part of a story about Katrina survivors; the refinerys is apparently considered “critical infrastructure”. Sounds like Exxon made a formal complaint to Homeland Security, which brings us up to speed. Exxon is a company which Palast has written very negative articles about. Revenge seems a more likely motive for Exxon than security.

Then all of the characters in Palast’s story get snarky. Palast asks a Homeland Security detective if “Louisiana is still part of the United States.” The detective reminds him, “If you remember, a lot of people were killed on 9/11.” And the Exxon rep pretends that security is a real issue here, saying “Obviously it’s important to national security that we have supplies from that refinery in the event of an emergency.”

That being said, Palast concludes with what appears to be some real anxiety about his situation. He asks readers to spread the word about this case, to donate money to the Palast Investigative Fund, or to buy stuff from the Investigative Fund.

HP: Chairwoman Patricia Dunn, who’s behind the spying/”pretexting” scandal at Hewlett-Packard said that she would not step down unless asked to by the Board. She was. She’ll step down as chair in January, but she will remain on the board (she just won’t be the head of it). The boardmember who did the leaking stepped down right away. The California Attorney General said they may prosecute people within HP and/or the investigators.

Posted by Jake on September 12, 2006 10:39 pm

September 8, 2006

Journalists Under Fire

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A few stories lately about American reporters in trouble of various stripes.

First of all, we’ve got Josh Wolf, a freelance video journalist and blogger in the Bay Area. In July 2005, he filmed anti-G8 protests in San Francisco, and editted the footage together into a news report that he posted on his own website. The FBI took an interest and demanded that Wolf turn over the raw footage from the protest, claiming that they thought it showed an attack on a police car that took place during the protest. Wolf claimed that he did not film this event, and that anyway he was protected by a California law that says that reporters can protect their sources, and that they are not required to turn over notes or unpublished materials. The FBI is claiming that this is a federal case because the SFPD receives federal funds, and a SF police car was attacked. Wolf refused to turn over the tapes or testify before a grand jury, and was put in prison for contempt. Wolf was recently released on bail after over a month in jail.

To my surprise, mainstream reporters have been on Wolf’s side; they often take a disdainful tone towards amateur/indy/blogger journalists. I could easily have seen them try to distance themselves from Wolf, arguing that he’s not really one of “them.” But both the Society of Professional Journalists and Reporters Sans Frontieres have spoken out in his defense, with the SPJ even putting up $30,000 for Wolf’s bail. And this case does have wide potential repercussions for the press. If the federal government can really claim that their partial funding makes a local case federal, than every state shield law protecting journalists can easily be made null and void. Even worse, if the federal government can demand every reporter to turn over their notes or videos, then every journalist in the country is a de facto agent of law enforcement.

Obviously, Wolf will face another hearing at some point, but I haven’t found any info on that.

After his release, Wolf said that he has started developing a non-profit aimed at giving a public voice to people serving time in prison.

For more info, you can check the “Free Josh Wolf Wiki” which contains many articles and discussions about his case (not all supportive of Wolf, I’m surprised to say).

Next up, we’ve got reporter Greg Palast and his producer Matt Pascarella. In August, Palast and his news team filmed a report about Katrina-ravaged New Orleans. The story covered alleged corruption in the government’s planning for the disaster, and the inexplicable manner in which some New Orleans residents can’t return to their own homes, even though those homes weren’t damaged in the flood (watch the story or read the transcript here and here).

Now, Palast and Pascarella are facing “criminal complaints” from the Department of Homeland Security, for “filming a sensitive national security site owned by Exxon”, according to Palast’s website. I read the transcript and watched part of the report, and I didn’t see anything about Exxon. But law enforcement does overreact these days when people take photos of anything that might remotely be considered a terrorist target. Hell, in 2004 the city of New York proposed banning all photography in the subway system.

Needless to say, Palast is probably not hatching a terrorist attack on the United States.

And finally, we have a bizarre case in which a major corporation is spying on reporters. Hewlett-Packard hired Private investigators to find out who from the company’s board might be leaking info to the press. As part of their efforts to do this, the investigators tricked the cellphone companies of nine different reporters into giving out those reporters’ private phone records (as well as the phone records of one of the board members). For some reason, the press keeps referring to what the PIs did as “pretexting” when it seems more like lying and fraud to me (e.g. setting up a fake email account, pretending to be one of the journalists, and asking the journalist’s phone company to give them a copy of their phone bill).

Ironically, it sounds like the investigators were hired in hopes of preventing reporters from writing negative stories about the HP directors, but this story will keep the criticsm up for quite some time.

Posted by Jake on September 8, 2006 9:33 pm

September 7, 2006

LMB Radio 9-07-06

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LMB Radio 9-07-06

- blog-flavored sockpuppets
- PR tactics
- Japanese empire 2006
- awful Pakistani rape laws
- right-wing 9/11 “docudrama” for TV
- Republican platform 2006: “we oppose the appeasement of late 1930s Germany”
- Iraqi Shia unleashed
- bald-faced Bush lies
- Vanity Fair prank

Musically, we’ve got Banksy vs. Paris Hilton, Manu Chao, Bad Religion, Radiohead rap mash-ups DJ Panzah Zandahz, SaberTooth Tiger, Patton Oswalt (comedy, not music), Smashing Pumpkins, Young and Restless, Clinic, System of a Down, Mr. Lif, Masta Killa, Brodsky Quartet & Bjork, the Donnas, Camera Obscura, the Rapture, Lush and more.

Posted by Jake on September 7, 2006 7:32 pm

September 6, 2006

Crikey 2

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On Monday, I wrote:

Okay, I get it, Mr. and Mrs. News Media, Steve “Crocodile Hunter” Irwin has died. That’s sad.

You can stop telling me now.

A number of folks jumped into the comments to condemn me as a world class asshole. Maybe, maybe not, but I guess I need to explain what I meant.

Headlines and airtime are scarce, with plenty of info that can be plugged into them. When an editor chooses to put one news story on the front page, all the other stories that happened on Earth that day get lower billing. When a TV producer chooses to give one story 10 minutes of airtime, that means 10 fewer minutes for every other topic there is. Because of these limitations, I find it hard to justify giving much coverage of the death of any single individual. Maybe Steve Irwin was a great guy, but does that mean that the news media should spend 10 hours out of a 24 hour day to talk about him and only him? I mean, his death was the top story on Of course his story deserves some attention, but in a world of war, genocide, poverty and the like, I don’t feel that Steve Irwin’s death was the most important event of that news cycle.

And let’s not kid ourselves, Irwin didn’t get all this coverage because of his kind nature or his work on wildlife preserves*. He got all this coverage because he was a 1) celebrity who 2) died in 3) an unusual manner on a 4) slow news day (and the news media even managed to get an extra fear angle out of it by giving us somber lessons about the dangers of stingrays, although surely 70% of the audience will never come within 10 miles of one). Thousands of wonderful people who never had television shows die every day, and don’t get even a nanosecond on TV news. None of that is Irwin’s fault, of course, but I find the amount of coverage he got to be excessive nonetheless.

* I’d actually never heard anything about Irwin’s work on wildlife preserves** till one commenter sneered it at me. Had I known that, I would’ve agreed that his death deserved more coverage than your average celebrity, but still less than the media chose to give him.

** Weird that even with the wall-to-wall coverage the media failed to inform me about that.

Posted by Jake on September 6, 2006 8:03 pm

September 4, 2006


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Y’all probably heard about the prank that The Yes Men pulled off last week. They got themselves invited to the Gulf Coast Reconstruction and Hurricane Preparedness Summit, and gave a speech pretending to be “Deputy Assistant Secretary Rene Oswin” of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). “Mr. Oswin” admitted that HUD had failed in its mission to provide affordable housing for people in need (true), explained how HUD was about to demolish 5000 existing housing units to build new ones (true), and how they had formulated a new policy to leave those units alone, while increasing investment in the communities, providing basic services, and working to fix the New Orleans ecosystem (false).

You can read the speech here, video here.

While this particular hoax had a bit of a cruel edge (making some New Orleans residents think they might have homes to move back into), it also served to highlight the crueler reality. HUD and the federal government are not taking these compassionate and sensible steps to help out people in need, they are doing just the opposite. Hopefully the public humiliation of the stunt might cause the government to take some action.

On their website, The Yes Men tell us that we can help the folks of New Orleans by going to

And just today, we had another prank. Last month, useless socialite Paris Hilton released a CD in which, I’m told, a team of nuclear scientists and powerful shamans worked round the clock to make her sound like a talented songstress. Shortly after, graffitti/hoaxster superhero Banksy created a doctored version of the CD (complete with remixed parody songs) and distributed 500 copies to 42 record stores across Britain. Photos of the CD booklet here. The new booklet emphasizes issues of celebrity worship and class. My favorite is the fake sticker on the front which promotes Paris’ new hit singles “Why Am I Famous?”, “What Have I Done?” and “What Am I For?”

Banksy even filmed himself pulling off the stunt and put it on YouTube. Haven’t heard the songs, though, can’t tell you if they’re any good.

In related news, Banksy’s apparently having a three-day art show in Los Angeles this month, “Exact address available on the day of opening [September 15] from”.

Posted by Jake on September 4, 2006 9:58 pm

September 3, 2006


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To anybody in high school or who has kids in high school:

Many of you have surely heard of the provision of the No Child Left Behind Act that forces school’s to give their students’ personal information to military recruiters. If you haven’t, now you do.

I’ve put links here before to a form you can fill out to stop your school from doing this to you. But I just recently learned that this isn’t a one time deal, you have to “opt out” of the program every year.

So all you high school and high school affiliates, the new school year is upon us. Fill out the form and give it to your principal. Make copies and give em out to all your school pals. Tell the military recruiters to fuck off.

Posted by Jake on September 3, 2006 10:20 pm

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