....LMB: "Bastards, Heroes and Fools"....

October 02, 2002

Defense Reporters Organize To Address Coverage- starting with the Gulf War, the U.S. military has gone to amazing lengths to control media coverage of its wars to control its image, with great success. Now, a group of American journalists has formed the organization Military Reporters and Editors, which will fight these government restrictions on reporting and access. Good luck, MRE.

In a related story, a BBC correspondent in Afghanistan ran into a rarely seen example of military image control. Some of the U.S. soldiers showed him laminated cards that they had been given with suggested answers to give to frequently asked journalist questions.

Substance Wasn't Uranium- another press debacle. Several days ago, the press reported that two men had been detained in Turkey for trying to smuggle 33 pounds of uranium into Syria, certainly a panic-inducing story in these days when weapons of mass destruction are on everyone's minds. Then the press corrected itself, that the men only had 5 ounces of uranium. And now today, they corrected themselves again, the substance wasn't even uranium, but some strange mix of other metals.

CF&M Heads Anti-Label PR Push for Biotechs- this November, the people of Oregon will vote on a ballot initative called Measure 27. Measure 27 would require all products that contain genetically-engineered ingredients to be labelled as such. Not surprisingly, a number of big biotech firms and food manufacturers are fighting the bill through sneaky propaganda. They have hired the PR firm of Conkling Fiskum & McCormick for $4.6 million to form the Coalition Against the Costly Labeling Law. Their goal, as implied by the name, is to convince Oregon voters that the law will simply raise the price of food without doing them any real service.

CNN Headline News Chief Offers 'Cool' Info, and Fast- the head of CNN's sister channel Headline News (very, very brief news reports) is bragging about how "edgy" and "out there" his network is, in order to attract viewers from the covetted 18-34 year old audience. He "compared his morning news readers to disc jockeys on a zany morning radio show and said announcers were working in slangy expressions such as 'whack,' 'ill' or 'sick.'" I can't wait to see this news hipness move on to the pundit-fight shows. "Dude, that militant Islamic fundamentalism is whack, yo!"

Beware al-Qaida, Branch Is On to You- Law enforcement officials in Michigan tried to spread the word that Al-Qaeda members may be engaged in telemarketing in the U.S.-- after reading about the story in the parody newspaper "The Onion." That's some nice footwork, boys.

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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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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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