....LMB: "Sniper"....

October 25, 2002

I sure hope this guy they caught is indeed the DC sniper.

A lot is being said as the 24-hour news networks scramble to interview everyone who's ever known, talked to, or heard rumors about Muhammad and Malvo. As always, you have to wait for the dust to settle on breaking news. Everything looks kosher so far, but always remember how those "Florida terrorists" turned out to be innocent med students who's only crime was eating lunch in the same restaurant as a paranoiac.

Noticed a few strange things in CNN.com's coverage.

"He described Muhammad as a strong believer in Islam who attended the Million Man March in Washington in 1995.

The Associated Press reported that a former neighbor of Muhammad's said he provided security at the march, which was organized by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Nation of Islam officials in Chicago had no immediate comment, according to the AP."

This is just confusing. The AP said that a guy who used to live near Muhammad said that Muhammad in some way "provided security" for the Million Man March. Was he hired as a security guard? Was he a self-appointed keeper of the peace? Does he have any relationship to Farrakhan at all?

Then we've got a bit of confusion when the news reports say that Muhammad converted to Islam, and then mentions the Nation of Islam. The religious beliefs of mainstream Islam and the Nation of Islam are vastly different. Frankly, NOI seems more of a political movement than a religion. As I understand it, NOI is a black supremacist theology which wildly diverges from the Qu'ran. Which kind of "Muslim" was Muhammad the sniper?

"The Seattle Times also reported that federal sources told the newspaper that Muhammad and Malvo were known to speak sympathetically about the September 11 hijackers and may have been motivated by anti-American sentiment."

"Federal sources?" Federal sources are currently telling me that Saddam Hussein is a threat. Federal sources tell me that the economy is doing just fine. If all you've got are vague allegations from "federal sources," keep your damn mouth shut and come back when you've got something resembling reliable evidence.

I'm just afraid that these allegations are going to be the final bit of "proof" that many Americans needed to justify their fears of Muslims. Any protests that this guy's actions don't mean that all Muslims are dangerous will frequently be met with "how many of us do these Muslims have to kill before you wake up?"

Posted by Jake at 02:34 AM
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Federal sources (two paranoid racists from two different states) say all Muslims are the same. Cue laugh track.

If another Gulf War "veteran" (assuming Muhammad IS the sniper), wreaks havoc on the American population again, we're going to have to break out the Manchurian Candiate talk. (I use the "veteran" loosely since I'm not sure what Muhammad actually did in the Gulf War).

Posted by: Eric at October 25, 2002 05:35 PM
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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."

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