....LMB: "Newsy Newsy"....

December 30, 2002

Inquiry into weeklies is coming to town- as I mentioned some weeks back, the pretty decent alternative newsweekly, the New Times L.A., was closed recently as part of a business deal between the Village Voice Media and New Times Media companies. Now the deal is under investigation for possibly violating federal and state antitrust laws. The investigators are examining whether or not the deal has decreased the quantity and quality of local news coverage, but I presume that the real reason for the investigation is the second reason listed in the article: increases in prices charged to local advertisers.

Copyright Concerns Lead the Year's Big Fusses and Flaps- "In 2002, the important developments in the computing business had little to do with hardware or software; instead, they revolved around a comparably bug-ridden realm, that of politics -- specifically, copyright politics." The film and music industries used their political clout to try to drive policy about computer and video technology this year, in order to maximize their own profits. And to the detriment of users of computer and video technology. Fuckers.

Unions blast FCC's studies on media-ownership rules- the business-too-friendly FCC has released a number of studies recently which say that it is better for the country if all the mass media is in the hands of a few big corporations. Many of the major media worker unions disagree. Lefty economist Dean Baker is quoted in the article reviewed the studies and was surprised to find that in some of them, the conclusions were the opposite of what the data supported. Nice work, FCC.

Show and Prove: Bill O'Reilly's Hip-Hop Problem- you may remember some months back that the folks at Soundbitten wrote an article taking a hatchet to "newsman" Bill O'Reilly's hatchet job on the rapper Ludacris. The author of that article has now written a new article based upon the first, discussing Bill O'Reilly's relentless and not-really-justified criticism of all hiphop. Well, it actually is an examination of O'Reilly as a producer of cheap, mildly fact-based melodrama, focusing on the ways in which O'Reilly has created this melodrama using famous hiphop icons as the mustache-twisting villains in his morality plays. Fairly long, but defintely good stuff.

Rubbish!- In March of 2002, police officers in Portland went through the garbage of a fellow officer without her permission looking for "evidence" that she was using drugs (an investigation that looks more to me like an attempt to punish and smear the officer in question, because she had won a sexual harassment suit against the department). Among the garbage/evidence was a bloody tampon that the cops sent to the lab for tests. And the Law found this privacy invasion to be perfectly legal.

So why am I giggling?

Because a local newspaper, the Williamette Weekly decided that if there was no such thing as private garbage, that the judges and cops who approved the garbage invasion wouldn't mind if the WW reporters went through their garbage... Which leads to a fun article examining the trash of the local police chief, mayor, and district attorney, hopefully causing them a bit of shame of their own.

Posted by Jake at 07:40 PM

This is ridiculous. I cant believe they went through the womans trash! Unreal.

Posted by: PrincessEvilina at January 6, 2003 04:55 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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