....LMB: "Big Media and Its Discontents"....

June 04, 2002

One of the problems I have with a lot of left-wing political argument is that it divides the world too neatly into "us" and "them" categories. Big Media Big Targets shows how messy some of the divisions really are. It documents a strange alliance between the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) union and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) so they can battle giant broadcast conglomerates. The Recording Industry vs. the broadcast industry? I want ringside seats for this one.

This recording/broadcast schism is based upon payola. Quite literally, record companies pay fellows called "independent promoters" to bribe radio stations to play certain records. And if you're not bribing the radio stations, your bands won't get played. This is not cynicism or some wild-eyed conspiracy theory. This is standard operating procedure in the music industry. And apparently the recording industry has just about had its fill of having to pay to get their records heard...

Pilfering from Publishers documents a large bank's attempts to take money from small, independent publishers in seeming violation of all law and common sense. It also discusses a new strategy by the giant Borders bookstore chain; sounds like the big company is shifting its responsibilities for sales and market research onto the publishers themselves. If you are a publisher and your company's business is dependent on a chain like Borders, you are likely to take on this extra responsibility-- even if the company is charging you over $100,000 for te privilege.

And to examine the complete opposite end of the spectrum, here is a bit of reflection about Idle Kids, a new independent anarchist bookstore in Detroit and the nature of DIY itself. Look at me: I'm a writer, a journalist, a radio DJ, an activist, and an artist. Never had any training for any of these things, I never asked for anyone's permission. Didn't know what the hell I was doing at first, I had to make it up as I went along, learning as I stumbled.

Doing what you didn't think you were able not only makes you feel like a more powerful and capable human being, but it awakens you to the truth that maybe "real" "official" reporters or politicians or artists are not special or superior. They are no better than you or I. Go get 'em.

Posted by Jake at 12:35 AM
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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.

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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.

Posted by Jake at 04:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
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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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