....LMB: "Day One"....

April 14, 2002

Day One of the ranting and wankery (rankery?) that is weblogging.

It really is sad that I consider myself a media critic (well, journalism-type media), yet can't get myself to absorb any of said media to critique these days. Mainstream news is so bad at present that it makes me want to goudge my eyes out with a crayon. But hopefully I can stomach enough of the crap to make some nice points here and there in this quasi-journal.

Saw UK Independent reporter Robert Fisk give a speech yesterday. While I thought it would mainly be a presentation about the Middle East, to my happy surprise it was actually more of a presentation about the ways in which Western journalists (are forced to) cover the Middle East. The official title of his talk was "9/11: Ask who did it, but don't ask why!" Fisk pointed out that when he asks "why" questions about Midde East politics and/or terrorism, people think he's a criminal. And when he begins to answer those "why" questions, people think he's Lucifer's big brother. Probably the most interesting portions of Fisk's speech were his examples of how journalists use and abuse language to avoid asking or answering "why" questions. The Occupied Territories aren't "occupied," they're "disputed." Israeli soldiers aren't "assassinating" suspected terrorists, those men were "victims of targetted killings." And of course, Israeli soldiers never "kill" innocent civilians, those civilians are "caught in the crossfire."

Fisk seemed to conclude that many journalists are quite capable of doing the thorough and informative type of coverage that, well, he does, but he thinks that journalists stick to safer ways of telling stories fearing reprisal. While it makes some logical sense--why write stories that get you death threats?--it does seem a bit skimpy as a theory. He also proposed that the West's near-unconditional support for Israel was based upon it's symbolism. He argued that the creation of Israel was seen as a healing, as a move towards peace in the years following the Second Great War. After the nation had been imbued with mythical qualities in the minds of Americans and Europeans, movements against the Jews there were subtly equated with Nazism. Therefore any movement against Israel is seen as an attack on peace and a replaying of WWII. While both theories make some intuitive sense, I find the first (about journalists) a bit weak, and the second a bit of a stretch.

Anyhow, I'd highly recommend attending one of Fisk's speeches if he comes to your town. And if he doesn't, there is an online version of his April 13 speech at USC available at here. This video feed starts after Fisk has been speaking for a couple of minutes about how he was beaten by grief-mad refugees on the Afghan-Pakistan border last year, but I imagine you'll catch on to his train of thought pretty quickly.

I also plan on airing the audio version of this speech on my Lying Media Bastards radio show as soon as Kill Radio is up and running again. I'll also be interviewing some activists who have recently returned from the Occupied Territories and Iraq in the coming weeks. When we're not plagued with anti-technological spasms, my show's on Mondays, 2-4pm PST.

Posted by Jake at 02:24 PM
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Lying Media Bastards is both a radio show and website. The show airs Mondays 2-4pm PST on KillRadio.org, and couples excellent music with angry news commentary. And the website, well, you're looking at it.

Both projects focus on our media-marinated world, political lies, corporate tyranny, and the folks fighting the good fight against these monsters.

All brought to you by Jake Sexton, The Most Beloved Man in America ģ.

contact: jake+at+lyingmediabastards.com

Media News

November 16, 2004

Tales of Media Woe

Senate May Ram Copyright Bill- one of the most depressing stories of the day that didn't involve death or bombs. It's the music and movie industries' wet dream. It criminalizes peer-to-peer software makers, allows the government to file civil lawsuits on behalf of these media industries, and eliminates fair use. Fair use is the idea that I can use a snippet of a copyrighted work for educational, political, or satirical purposes, without getting permission from the copyright-holder first.

And most tellingly, the bill legalizes technology that would automatically skip over "obejctionable content" (i.e. sex and violence) in a DVD, but bans devices that would automatically skip over commericals. This is a blatant, blatant, blatant gift to the movie industry. Fuck the movie industry, fuck the music industry, fuck the Senate.

Music industry aims to send in radio cops- the recording industry says that you're not allowed to record songs off the radio, be it real radio or internet radio. And now they're working on preventing you from recording songs off internet radio through a mixture of law and technological repression (although I imagine their techno-fixes will get hacked pretty quickly).

The shocking truth about the FCC: Censorship by the tyranny of the few- blogger Jeff Jarvis discovers that the recent $1.2 million FCC fine against a sex scene in Fox's "Married By America" TV show was not levied because hundreds of people wrote the FCC and complained. It was not because 159 people wrote in and complained (which is the FCC's current rationale). No, thanks to Jarvis' FOIA request, we find that only 23 people (of the show's several million viewers) wrote in and complained. On top of that, he finds that 21 of those letters were just copy-and-paste email jobs that some people attached their names to. Jarvis then spins this a bit by saying that "only 3" people actually wrote letters to the FCC, which is misleading but technically true. So somewhere between 3 and 23 angry people can determine what you can't see on television. Good to know.

Reuters Union Considers Striking Over Layoffs- will a strike by such a major newswire service impact the rest of the world's media?

Pentagon Starts Work On War Internet- the US military is talking about the creation of a global, wireless, satellite-aided computer network for use in battle. I think I saw a movie about this once...

Conservative host returns to the air after week suspension for using racial slur- Houston radio talk show host (and somtime Rush Limbaugh substitute) Mark Belling referred to Mexican-Americans as "wetbacks" on his show. He was suspended for a couple of weeks, and then submitted a written apology for the racial slur to a local newspaper. But he seems to be using the slur and its surrounding controversy to boost his conservative cred with his listeners.

Stay Tuned for Nudes- Cleveland TV news anchor Sharon Reed aired a story about artist Spencer Tunick, who uses large numbers of naked volunteers in his installations and photographs. The news report will be unique in that it will not blur or black-out the usual naughty bits. The story will air late at night, when it's allegedly okay with the FCC if you broadcast "indecent" material. The author of this article doesn't seem to notice that Reed first claims that this report is a publicity stunt, but then claims it's a protest against FCC repression. I'd like to think it's the latter, but I'm not that much of a sucker.

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Mission: Mongolia

Jake's first attempt at homemade Mongolican barbecue:


What went right: correctly guessing several key seasonings- lemon, ginger, soy, garlic, chili.

What went wrong: still missing some ingredients, and possibly had one wrong, rice vinegar. Way too much lemon and chili.

Result: not entirely edible.

Plan for future: try to get people at Great Khan's restaurant to tell me what's in the damn sauce.

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