....LMB: "Punch Drunk"....

December 17, 2002

Man, Trent Lott is going down.

I saw part of his interview on Black Entertainment Television tonight, and I shut it off because it was so pathetic.

Lott's response to the tsunami of criticism of his roundabout endorsement of Jim Crow is "I'm sorry that what I said hurt people, it was a terrible thing to say," and to float the idea that maybe he can make things right with the African-American community by passing some legislation on their behalf.

That's it? You think that lame-ass half-apology and a promise of vague pro-black law is going to keep you your job?

You got caught, Trent. You've been doing the two-faced two-step for years, wooing White Racist Mississippi and mainstream racist-hating Mississippi at the same time. You got caught using one of your "I hate the darkies too" code phrases in public. At this point, you really had to make a choice about which of these two voting blocs, the mainstream or the racist, you wanted to keep. But you got greedy and tried to keep both, and now you're toast.

If on day one, Lott had said something like "I greatly admire Strom Thurmond's intelligence and tenacity, and although I disagree with many of this personal opinions, I think his personal characteristics would have made him an excellent president," then he might have survived. But in doing so, he would have alienated the racist voter bloc by backing down from his subtle racist rhetoric. Or, he could've said "yes, America would have been better off with the contiuation of segregation," then he would have held on to his racist supporters but alienated everyone else.

Instead, he's trying to take the middle road, and everyone can see right through him. His apology doesn't convince in the slightest, and he dodges around the central question that (depending on his answer) could condemn him or set him free: Is Trent Lott a racist? If he could convince people that, despite his words, that he was not a racist, then he could possibly hold on to his position.

My prediction is that Lott will remain in the Senate, will be removed from the majority leader position, and will be replaced by Tennesee senator Bill Frist. The mainstream press is arguing that second-in-command Don Nickles will take the reins, but since his voting record is nearly identical to Lott's, I think that the party will try to innoculate itself against further criticism by putting another high-ranking Republican--with a bit more credibility on racial issues-- in charge of the team. (I don't really feel like Senate staffing decisions are actually very important, but I wanted to try my hand at some wonky political prognosticating)


Did Trent Lott convince the BET viewers? Check the BET messageboard and find out (link via Cursor)


Posted by Jake at 12:34 AM
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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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