....LMB: "Conservative Smear"....

September 06, 2002

Conservative pundits and politicians play to win. With the exception of the hard-hitting Democrats James Carville and Paul Begala on CNN's Crossfire TV show, conservatives usually mop the floor with their centrist-liberal opponents in public debates. Occassionally, the conservatives win by playing dirty.

Among many, many targets, conservatives have the National Education Agency in their crosshairs. Why? Because conservatives want to eliminate public education and replace it with privatized education. Y'know, cuz the free market makes everything better (and when your kid's school pulls an Enron on you, and your child is educationless, well, that's just the market correcting itself). And conservatives are currently having a field day smearing the NEA with a story that just ain't true.

The conservative story is that the NEA has suggested that American teachers use lesson plans that blame America for the 9/11 terrorist attacks. This makes the teachers and the NEA look awful, as most Americans find the concept (that America was anything other than a complete and utter victim that day) to be downright repulsive. Apparently this one misleading article by the Washington Times (above) was the origin for this myth, and conservatives don't want to let it go, true or false.

What's the real story? Apparently an affiliate of the NEA, the NEA Health Information Network posted links to several dozen potential lesson plans about 9/11 designed by various teachers around the country, presumably to help any teacher think about how they should present the issue to their students. Exactly one of these lesson plans contained these "blame America" sections. Unfortunately, the lesson plan is no longer available at the given URL, so I can't even tell if it does blame America for anything. From the quotes I've been able to find from the Washington Times piece and Spinsanity, it appears that it's more of an anti-racism/anti-discrimination/pro-tolerance lesson based on terrorism and the 9/11 attacks.

So therefore, because an NEA-affiliated website linked to a lesson plan which encourages teachers to tell children that racism is bad, the NEA is obviously a bunch of pro-terrorist traitors who hate America. And therefore, all schools should be privatized so that rich kids can get a quality education and everyone else can go rot.

Posted by Jake at 12:05 AM
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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.

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