....LMB: "Live from Palestine"....

June 29, 2002

My friend Garrick Ruiz is a dedicated activist who's a hell of a lot braver than I'll ever be. He's currently in the Occupied Territories. He traded Los Angeles for a warzone, with the simple goal of helping desperate people, and bringing their stories back to the US. He staunchly opposes the Israeli occupation of Palestine. His belief is not based upon speculation or some kind of "anti-American" agenda, it's based on experience; he was already in Palestine earlier this year, before Ariel Sharon's re-invasion of the area, and Garrick's seen what the occupation has done.

When he can find access to a computer, Garrick is writing reports and sending them back to a bunch of us Americans via email. I don't think he'd mind me sharing. I'll post these on the site when I receive them.

Because Garrick's already been to Palestine and back once, I'm not too worried about his safety. But I know I should be. I hope he makes it back in one piece.

- Jake.

Update 6/29

Hello all,

I haven't had computer access for several days. We have been in Ramallah for almost three days now. Ramallah has been under curfew for seven days. What that means is that everyone in the city and its a pretty big city has to stay in their houses 24 hours a day. The Israeli military lifts the curfew every few days for a few hours at a time and people must scramble to purchase basic supplies such as food. Of course no one other than store owners (and them for only a few hours every few days) can work so there is very little income throughout the city. We have been staying at Sheikh Zaid hospital, the main hospital in Ramallah and the major trauma center in the west bank. People may have read the reports about this hospital having to bury 21 people in two mass graves in the parking lot back in April because the bodies kept piling up inside the hospital and the army would not allow a lifting of curfew even to bury the dead. Those graves are still there the families of those murdered by the Israelis have decided to leave the graves there as a symbol of the brutality of the Israeli military and a testament to the martyrdom of their loved ones.

Yesterday many of us walked to a village outside of Ramallah called Diribziya. Curfew is absolute for Palestinians but we as internationals can get away with a lot more. We walked with another group of people from the International Solidarity Movement who are staying in the village to help out with a summer camp for children. People in the village were worried the army would try something to prevent the camp from happening or intimidate the participants and so they requested an international presence. This walk was unbelievable. It was about 20 kilometers or about 12 miles there and back. Along the way we saw many ways in which the military destroys Palestinian infrastructure. Simply driving their tanks, APCs and bulldozers over roads tears them up. But in many places they have deliberately destroyed roads or created roadblocks so that people cannot get through. The worst of these was blocking the road connecting Diribziya and something like 30 other villages to Ramallah. It was a series of ditches, earth emankments, barbed wire and boulders toatlly blocking access. These villages are very dependent on commerce with Ramallah and so you can imagine the negative effects this has on supplies and such, not to mention the fact that it further cuts Palestinians off from each other in their own country.

I'm really sorry to interrupt this message. I have to go. There is much more to report. Suffice it to say that the situation here is unbelievably bad. gunfire and shellfire are regular here and Ramallah is not nearly the worst from everything we have heard. I will write more when I can.

Garrick

Posted by Jake at 09:40 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.

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Media News

December 01, 2004

Media Mambo

The Great Indecency Hoax- last week, we wrote about how the "massive outcry" to the FCC about a racy Fox TV segment amounted to letters from 20 people. This week, we look at the newest media scandal, the infamous "naked back" commercial. On Monday Night Football, last week, ABC aired an ad for it's popular "Desperate Housewives" TV show, in which one of the actresses from the show attempted to seduce a football player by removing the towel she was wearing to bare her body to him. All the audience saw, however, was her back. No tits, no ass, no crotch, just her back.

No one complained.

The next Wednesday, Rush Limbaugh told his shocked viewers how the woman had appeard in the commercial "buck naked".

Then, the FCC received 50,000 complaints. How many of them actually saw this commercial is anyone's guess.

The article also shows the amazing statistics that although the Right is pretending that the "22% of Americans voted based on 'moral values'" statistic shows the return of the Moral Majority, this is actually a huge drop from the 35% who said that in the 2000 election or the 40% who said that in 1996 (when alleged pervert Bill Clinton was re-elected). This fact is so important I'm going to mention it over in the main news section too.

Brian Williams may surprise America- Tom Brokaw's replacement anchor, Brian Williams, dismissed the impact of blogs by saying that bloggers are "on an equal footing with someone in a bathroom with a modem." Which is really funny, coming out of the mouth of a dude who's idea of journalism is to read words out loud off a teleprompter. Seriously, if parrots were literate, Brian Williams would be reporting live from the line outside the soup kitchen.

In related news, Tom Brokaw has quit NBC Nightly News, and it appears that unlike his predecessor, the new guy can speak without slurring words like a drunk.

PR Meets Psy-Ops in War on Terror- in February of 2002, Donald Rumsfeld announced the creation of the Office of Strategic Influence, a new department that would fight the war on terror through misinformation, especially by lying to journalists. Journalists were so up in arms about this that the Pentagon agreed to scrap the program.

Don't you think that an agency designed to lie to the public might lie about being shut down, too?

This article gives some examples about the US military lying to the press for propaganda and disinformation purposes.

Tavis Smiley leaving NPR in December- African-American talk show host Tavis Smiley is opting to not renew his daily talk show on National Public Radio. He criticized his former employers for failing to: "meaningfully reach out to a broad spectrum of Americans who would benefit from public radio but simply donít know it exists or what it offers ... In the most multicultural, multi-ethnic and multiracial America ever, I believe that NPR can and must do better in the future." He's 100% correct. NPR is white. Polar bear eating a marshmallow at the mayonaise factory white. And the reason it's so white is that it is trying to maintain an affluent listener base (premoniantly older white folks) who will donate money to their stations. This is a great paradox of American public broadcasting, that they have a mandate to express neglected viewpoints and serve marginalized communities, but those folks can't donate money in the amounts that the stations would like to see.

U.S. Muslim Cable TV Channel Aims to Build Bridges- it sounds more positive than it is "Bridges TV" seems to simultaneously be a cable channel pursuing an affluent American Muslim demographic, and a way of building understanding and tolerance among American non-Muslims who might happen to watch the channel's programming. I was hoping it would be aimed more at Muslim's worldwide, but it ain't. Still, I'd be interested in seeing how their news programs cover the issues.

Every Damned Weblog Post Ever- it's funny cuz it's true.

Wikipedia Creators Move Into News- Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia, created collectively by thousands of contributors. It's one of those non-profit, decentralized, collective, public projects that show how good the internet can be. Now, the Wikipedia founders are working on a similar project to create a collaborative news portal, with original content. Honestly, it's quite similar to IndyMedia sites (which reminds me, happy 5th birthday, IndyMedia!). I'll admit, I'm a bit skeptical about the Wikinews project, though. IndyMedia sites work because they're local, focused on certain lefty issues, and they're run by activists invested in their beliefs. I'm not sure what would drive Wikinews or how it would hang together.

CBS, NBC ban church ad inviting gays- the United Church of Christ created a TV ad which touts the church's inclusion, even implying that they accept homosexuals into their congregation. Both CBS and NBC are refusing to air the ad. This is not too surprising, as many Americans are uncomfortable about homosexuality, and because TV networks are utter cowards. But CBS' explanation for the ban was odd:

"Because this commercial touches on the exclusion of gay couples...and the fact that the executive branch has recently proposed a Constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, this spot is unacceptable for broadcast."

Whoa, what? First of all, the ad does not mention marriage at all. Second, since when do positions opposite of the Executive Branch constitute "unacceptable"? This doesn't sound like "we're not airing this because it's controversial", this sounds like "we're afraid of what the President might say."

Posted by Jake at 10:09 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
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