....LMB: "We Collude, We Decide"....

September 09, 2002

Mildly interesting debacle on Fox News Channel's The O'Reilly Factor last week.

On September 3, Bill O'Reilly interviewed Pat Roush on his show (partial transcript at the preceding link). 17 years ago, Roush's daughters were kidnapped and have been held in Saudi Arabia ever since. Things start to get tricky here.

O'Reilly managed to arrange an off-camera interview of Roush's two daughters via Saudi Arabia's Foreign Affairs Adviser Abel Al-Jubeir. Al-Jubeir flew the two girls to London, where they were interviewed by O'Reilly Factor producer Stacey Hocheiser. O'Reilly then interviewed Hocheiser about the interview, in which she claimed that the daughters "don't want to see their mother and they don't want to come to the United States."

O'Reilly then "interviewed" Roush in typical O'Reilly "I appreciate your opinion but I'm right and you're wrong" style, essentially telling Roush that she was too emotional and that her kids had made their choice to stay in Saudi Arabia and that she just needed to deal with it. He then interviewed Dria Davis, another woman who'd been kidnapped and held in Saudi Arabia who managed to escape. O'Reilly managed to gloss over the part where Davis said "They're probably scared to death. My father threatened me. He told me that he'd kill me if I ever said anything," which would have been a possible alternative explanation for why the Roush girls would decry their mother and state that they wanted to stay in Saudi Arabia.

What turned me on to this whole story was an editorial in the Wall Street Journal by William McGurn. After receiving criticism of the interview, O'Reilly invited McGurn onto his show to discuss it. McGurn was very critical, accusing O'Reilly of "stabbing an American mother in the back," and "colluding with the Saudis" in such a way that helped derail efforts to get the daughters back to the United States, charges which seem to be fairly accurate. In response, according to McGurn's editorial, O'Reilly "became unglued and screeched 'liar!'" And McGurn's not some arch-liberal, he's a WSJ columnist who refers to the Fox News Channel as a "national treasure."

So, in conclusion, Bill O'Reilly's a dick.

Posted by Jake at 09:47 AM
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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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