....LMB: "The Horror, The Gall"....

August 30, 2002

Ethnic Cleansing by Starvation- a new report by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), finds that "one in five Palestinian children under the age of five now suffers from chronic or acute malnutrition," which actually "surpasses rates of child malnutrition in Somalia and Bangladesh."

Investor Tax Cut Push Becomes Campaign Tactic- intriguing backroom political dealing. Republicans in Congress have introduced a tax cut bill that will greatly favor the rich (no surprise there). But they know that the bill will pass the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, and die in the Democrat-controlled Senate. And the Republicans admit that this doomed bill is part of a larger strategy for the upcoming Congressional election campaigns in November. The Republicans can campaign as the Men Who Tried to Cut Your Taxes, and demonize the Democrats as the Men Who Stole Your Money. Clever fellows, those Republican devils.

'The Green al-Qaeda?'- article about anti-environmental organizations' attempts to link environmentalists to terrorists, both in the public mind and in federal law. For more info on ploys by anti-environmental folks, check out the CLearinghouse on Environmental Advocacy and Research (CLEAR) and their monthly newsletter CLEAR View.

It's an Ad, Ad, Ad World- Lengthy, thorough Time Magazine article about new, sneaky advertising practices. "As conventional methods lose their punch, more marketers are going undercover to reach consumers." Keep your wits about you, ladies and gentlemen.

Lobsters, Caviar and Brandy for MPs at Summit on Starvation- this article is simultaneously one of those cute/indignant pieces about hypocrisy, and a character assassination attempt. With sensationalistic verve, the article jarringly compares the opulent accomodations for the delegates of the World Summit on Sustainable Development in South Africa, with the grinding poverty of the rest of South Africa. And while I appreciate the author pointing out an injustice, I have to wonder if the whole article is not just one big ideologically-based attack on environmentalists and the UN. The article is from Rupert Murdoch's The Sun tabloid newspaper, and Murdoch is well-known for pushing his conservative views through his media properties (e.g. Fox News Channel). And as you might imagine, billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch might not be a fan of the sustainable development and other attempts to save the environment.

Actually, that last bit is worth some reflection. Ad hominem attacks really piss me off (e.g. "I think abortion should be legal." "Oh yeah, well you smell like poop!"). A person's inner qualities and the merits of that person's arguments have nothing in common. The fact that delegates to this UN summit are acting hypocritical has nothing to do with the idea that the humankind should probably revamp its agricultural, technological and consumer practices in such a way that we don't suck the planet dry of all its resources. The best analogy I've come up with to point out the goofiness of ad hominem attacks is this one:

- Jake publicly states that you shouldn't eat arsenic.
- Newsweek publishes secret photos of Jake eating a big ol' arsenic sandwich.

Does this mean that eating arsenic is okay? No. My dietary habits have nothing to do with the biochemical interaction between certain poisons and the human body.

But then again, if we lived in a world without ad hominem attacks, Rush Limbaugh would never have gotten on the radio, and he would've died in the gutter years ago.

Posted by Jake at 12:54 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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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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