....LMB: "Feel My Fury!"....

November 21, 2002

Shiva H. Vishnu, there's a lot of media news today! So much in fact that I probably shouldn't post them all in one entry. But I will anyway!! Muhuhuhahahaha!!

Tainted Research? Tainted Journalists- while financial journalists scream about the corruption in the world of accountants and stock advisors, they carefully turn a blind eye to their own faults and corruption.

The Untold Story- article about how the increasing interrelationships, consolidation and conflicts of interests in the media world are quickly eliminating all reliable coverage of the media industry. Ironically, this article appeared in the LA Weekly, which is currently under investigation itself for anti-trust violations.

WLS Radio hanging up on callers who 'sound old'- WLS-AM is a Disney-owned talk radio station in Chicago. A confidential memo written by the station's operations director last week announced that since their target demographic was people aged 25 to 54, that the call-screeners at the station should hang up on anyone who "sounded older" than 54. The director apparently doesn't care how old the callers actually are, just so long as they don't "sound old."

Columnist says his political job is no conflict of interest- Bob Sanders is a columnist for the Merced Sun-Star newspaper. He is also the campaign manager for Rusty Areias, who is running for the California state Senate. But Sanders insists there's no conflict of interest there. Of course there isn't.

A pinhead editorial writer's adventure in the No Spin Zone- newspaper editor tells of his experience as an assaulted guest on Bill O'Reilly's syndicated radio show. When the editor criticized O'Reilly during the phone interview, O'Reilly hung up and then ranted about how the fellow was wrong.

Pentagon to Track American Consumer Purchases- U.S. government, having met such success with "racial profiling" moves on to "consumption profiling." Better hope that the type of toilet paper you buy doesn't fit into the "terrorist shopping profile."

Protecting U.S. Could Boost Tech Industries- Hmm, the Bush administration pushes hard for a homeland security bill that will pour billions of dollars into the tech industry. And during the 2000 presidential campaign, the tech industry poured over $1.2 million into Bush's campaign. Nah, must be a coincidence.

FCC's Copps to Take Media Hearings on the Road- the FCC is considering relaxing (well, even further relaxing) regulations on media ownership in the U.S. FCC head Michael Powell (Colin Powell's son. No, no nepotism there) is very anti-regulation (which is a good reason to put him in charge of a regulatory agency). But one FCC commissioner seems opposed to Powell's stance, and is going to hold hearings about the issue, and hold them far away from Washington. Sounds like he's a defiant chap. I wish him luck.

BMG to Roll Out Royalty Plan- one of the tricks of the trade for record labels to suck money out of their artists is for the labels to sign contracts with artists for a fixed royalty percentage, say 12% of the profits from each album sold, but with hidden costs. They add all sorts ot little "fees" which are deducted from that 12% (see article for details). But now, the Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG) is changing their tune. They're not going to stop bleeding the artists dry, but they're going to stop lying about it (well, they say they're going to stop lying about it). They claim that in the example above, they'll sign a deal so that an artist gets 9%, but there are no hidden fees. Best quote from the article: "One reason this industry has ended up with such a bad image is because we could not look a guy in the eye and tell him, as a partner, that the contract he was about to sign was fair."

Necessary Bedfellows- an interesting and lengthy article about press access during war. Compares the access journalists had during Vietnam to the access they had in Afghanistan, and tries to predict what things will be like during Gulf War II.

The Fox News Presidential Adviser- did I mention this yet? Fox News president and former Republican strategist Roger Ailes gave advice to President Bush about how to handle things in the wake of September 11. "We Report, We Tell the Government What to Do, You Decide."

Media consolidation causes worries for PBS head- Pat Mitchell, the CEO of PBS... did I read that right? Public television has a CEO, just like a corporation? Funny. Anyway, Mitchell recently spoke out about bias and conflicts of interest in the corporate media. Which is very different from public television, because, um... public television sometimes has shows about tree frogs.

Media Bill loosens rules on ownership- deciding to follow another bad U.S. trend, Britain decides to deregulate their media too, largely due to the pressure of billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch.

Charlotte Sends Regrets- Charlotte Beers is a PR exec who has been given the ludicrous job of trying to make Middle Easterners like the U.S. even as the U.S. continues policies that hurt those same people. The only part of this particular article that interests me is a comment down near the bottom by "Angry PR Dude." Of course it's just hearsay, but allegedly hearsay from someone in the PR world who might know. He/she claims that Beers' success as a PR professional came from her personal connections, not her skills at propagandizing. Which means that she's not even qualified for her impossible "public diplomacy" job.

Give Peace a Chance? Not Really- mainly this article examines findings from "a report released by the National Defense University's Institute for National Strategic Studies." The report seems to conclude that the U.S. should should somehow encourage freedom--but not democracy-- in the Middle East, and detaching itself somewhat from Saudi Arabia.

CBS Sells Fake TV News in VNR Venture- ever hear of a "video news release"? Basically, a PR agency will record a video segment that looks just like a real news segment, and then these VNRs are shipped to TV news departments. Sometimes these VNRs are aired on cash-strapped stations with no notice that they are, in fact, business-friendly editorials posing as news. Now, as PR Watch points out, CBS is going into the business of filming VNRs for paying customers. Is it a conflict of interest producing news and fake news at the same time? Probably.

Posted by Jake at 05:09 PM
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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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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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