....LMB: "Media News Gumbo"....

December 18, 2002

FCC May Ease Cap on Cable Ownership- at present, US law prevents any company or individual from owning cable outlets that would give them access to more than 30% of the population. Now, the FCC is talking about raising that cap to 45%. This is ridiculous.

Back in 1996, the FCC eased restrictions on cable station ownership, and there was a buying/consolidation frenzy. As a result, American cable subscribers pay about 36% more in 2002 than they did in 1996 (granted, about 15% of that could be explained by general inflation). How much are rates going to increase this time?

MTV's Playlist to Focus More on Popular Acts- the first question should be "is that even possible?" MTV will achieve this goal by decreasing the number of different videos it shows during the seven and a half minutes per day that it devotes to music videos (the remaining 99.8% will still broadcast "reality" programs and commercials). So the homogenous MTV will further decrease its diversity, lovely.

Actually, a lot of amusing things are going on in that article. 1) "When our audience asks for something, we have to deliver it to them," says an MTV exec (after claiming that these changes are being made because of audience research). Wrong. MTV has a monopoly on music videos on television. Its only real rivals are MTV2 (owned by MTV's parent company, Viacom), the rap and R&B video shows on BET (owned by Viacom), the country music videos on CMT (owned by Viacom), and the Canadian station MuchMusic (which very few households in America receive). Since they have a monopoly, they can do whatever they damn well please. 2) It speaks quite plainly about the business of music and pushing/promoting artists on the public. You don't hear too much about that in the press.

Patent Creates IM Wrinkle- In 1997, America Online applied for a patent for its "instant messenger" technology. In September 2002, their patent was granted. Then, in December 2002, someone decided it was an issue worth writing about. Theoretically, this means that AOL could sue/destroy all of the other instant messenger networks out there, namely MSN and Yahoo. But the patent itself is goofy, because it is so broad: "a system where you have a network; you have a way to monitor who's on the network; and if you want to talk to them you hook them up," according to a tech patent geek.

As a side note, I'd like to mention that for my IM needs, I use a free program called Trillian, which you can use to simultaneously use accounts with AOL, MSN, Yahoo, and IRC. And it doesn't have the irritating advertisments that AOL's program does.

Journalists are Under Fire for Telling the Truth- Robert Fisk describes how Western are generally a bunch of cowards, and that those who do speak the unpopular truth about the Middle East are slandered and attacked.

Pensylvania Town Revokes Civil Rights for Corporations- hot damn! A small town votes that people and citizens are endowed with certain inalienable rights, and that corporations are not. Somewhere, a CEO is reading this and quietly wetting his pants.

The NYPD Wants to Watch You- "Nation's Largest Law Enforcement Agency Vies for Total Spying Power". Fucking cops.

Posted by Jake at 11:32 PM
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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.

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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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