....LMB: "All the Security Risk Fit to Print"....

June 22, 2002

Ever since the WTO protests in Seattle, it's been par for the course for the authorities to view demonstrators, no matter what their cause or tactics, as a threat to be nullified*. While this makes a certain amount of ignorant sense, these tactics have now escalated: law enforcement don't just see activists as a threat, in Canada, they even see journalists as a threat.

Three Canadian journalists, Dan Rubenstein of Vue Weekly, Pamela Foster of Upstream Journal, and photojournalist Elaine Briere were denied entry to the recent G-8 summit in Kananaskis, Alberta because they are "security risks." All three have tried to get further information from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), but they won't give out any. But, they helpfully point out that the journalists can apply to find out why their applications for press credentials were denied by filling out a form and waiting 30 days. As the G-8 summit begins June 26 (and the "security risks" first heard about their rejection June 20), that won't help much.

What the hell is Canada thinking? Maybe they've been listening to this guy.

The whole thing reminds me of this depressing and profound Frank Zappa quote:

"The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it's profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way, and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theatre."

*Just want to use this opportunity to remind you all about a convenient historical re-write done by the media in this country. Anytime there's a major protest these days, you'll hear the newscaster say something about police response to the violence, and cite the violence of the 1999 WTO protests in Seattle. In fact, that order is exactly backwards. I have read literally hundreds of first-hand accounts of the Seattle protests, and the police began shooting tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters some hours before the "violent" anarchists began their vandalism spree. In the usual version of the story, it was the anarchists smashing windows that sparked, um, "zealous" police response.

Police struck first, chaos ensued; quite frankly, the term "police riot" is probably the most appropriate. But instead of a tale of out-of-control cops lashing out at largely peaceful protesters, the common-knowledge story then became one in which exceedingly violent demonstrators destroyed the city and law enforcement had to crack down to stop it. This new story has became the rationale for excessive, pre-emptive, and questionably legal police tactics dealing with large-scale protests ever since.

Thanks, mass media!

Posted by Jake at 04:27 PM
Comments

Like the old cliche says "truth is the first casualty of war".

enjoying your blog - keep up the good work!

Posted by: The Dynamic Driveler at June 24, 2002 10:52 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.

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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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