....LMB: "Entertainers vs. the Media"....

November 06, 2002

A couple of really excellent interviews here. I usually put all kinds of links in my articles without really caring if the reader actually clicks on the links and takes in that auxilliary information. But go ahead and do it this time. Hell, most of you are probably reading this at work anyway, and surely these interviews will be more interesting than anything else on your computer screen.

Jon Stewart vs. CNN- I love Jon Stewart. He's the host of the scathing news satire program The Daily Show. Stewart was interviewd on "Reliable Sources," CNN's weekly news program that reports on the news media. Stewart skewered the news media, particularly the 24-hour news networks. His comments about their coverage of the DC sniper was hilarious and dead-on:

"By watching the 24-hour news networks, I learned that the sniper was an olive-skinned, white-black male -- men -- with ties to Son of Sam, al Qaeda, and was a military kid, playing video games, white, 17, maybe 40 ... You know what they should've called the coverage, 'You know what I heard?' and just have people randomly showing up."

But perhaps my favorite part was after host Howard Kurtz conceded that maybe the press had goofed by putting on pundits and analysts who didn't really know what they were talking about, that maybe "cable folks who put these [pundit/analyst] folks in front of the camera have to bear some of the responsibility"*. Stewart refused to let him off the hook:

"Not some, all ... Not some. They bear all of the responsibility. You cannot -- I'm not even sure what the reasoning was behind just putting people on who didn't know anything. I mean, you know what was my favorite part was the hand wringing. People would do this, 'Now, I know that we're not supposed to speculate, you know, obviously, people are nervous and it would be irresponsible to inflame passions by speculating, seriously, though, do you think it's terrorism?' ... Unless you know the guy's name, don't say anything. Unless you have information, rather than speculating -- unless you could say, like, 'Oh, the sniper? Yes, it's John Muhammad, I think.' Unless you know that, shut up, say nothing. "

Right on, Stewart, right on.

Tom Petty vs. Pop Culture- never knew that aging rocker Tom Petty had such a rebel streak in him. This interview is a series of fiery quotes decrying radio, greed in the music industry, greed among musicians, skyrocketing concert ticket prices, shallow song lyrics, advertising, the media's sexualization of young girls, and more. Go Tom go!

* This is a big pet peeve of mine anyway. For weeks the news media will overcover a story and really fuck it up, and after the story's run its course, they'll solemnly ask "did the media go too far this time?" What do you mean "the media"? It's YOU! Not some dude in the next room, you! YOU'RE THE MEDIA! "Did we go too far, did I, my co-anchor and everyone at this news station go too far?" That's the proper question, motherfuckers!

Posted by Jake at 10:54 AM
Comments

Yeah, I agree with Petty, but I wish he wouldn't use the moralist language so much. He sounds like an old biddy rock star and he is, of course. There are other ways the critique the vapid worlds of eMpTyV, fashion, and pimpin' out the junior hoes, etc.

Posted by: Eric at November 7, 2002 09:53 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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