....LMB: "A-Fucking-men"....

April 24, 2003

I'm just going to go ahead and reprint this whole article cuz you should read it.

BBC Chief Attacks U.S. Media War Coverage

LONDON (Reuters) - The head of the BBC launched a broadside against American broadcasters on Thursday, accusing them of "unquestioning" coverage of the Iraq war and blatant patriotism.

BBC Director General Greg Dyke said many U.S. television networks had lacked impartiality during the conflict and risked losing credibility if they persisted with their stance.

"Personally I was shocked while in the United States by how unquestioning the broadcast news media was during this war," Dyke said in a speech at a University of London conference.

"If Iraq proved anything, it was that the BBC cannot afford to mix patriotism and journalism. This is happening in the United States and if it continues, will undermine the credibility of the U.S. electronic news media."

U.S. broadcasters came under attack for "cheerleading" during the Iraq conflict, with what some critics saw as gung-ho reporting and flag-waving patriotism. In one example, a U.S. network described U.S. soldiers as "heroes" and "liberators."

Dyke singled out Rupert Murdoch's Fox News, the most popular U.S. cable news network during the conflict, for its "gung-ho patriotism."

"We are still surprised when we see Fox News with such a committed political position," said Dyke.

"For the health of our democracy, it's vital we don't follow the path of many American networks."

Fox News declined to comment.


The British media veteran also attacked U.S. radio broadcaster Clear Channel Communication Inc. and warned against British media becoming "Americanised."

"We are genuinely shocked when we discover that the largest radio group in the United States was using its airwaves to organize pro-war rallies. We are even more shocked to discover that the same group wants to become a big player in radio in the UK when it is deregulated later this year," said Dyke.

Clear Channel was not immediately available to comment.

Dyke suggested the problem stemmed from the recent fragmentation of media, with no single network having the clout to stand up to the U.S. government.

"This is particularly so since September 11 when many U.S. networks wrapped themselves in the American flag and swapped impartiality for patriotism," said Dyke.

Dyke defended the BBC in the face of accusations that the broadcaster had been soft on Saddam Hussein's government, some of which came from the British government.

"In times of war, British governments of every persuasion have sought to use the media to manage public opinion...it's only a problem if the BBC caves in," Dyke said.

Well, let's qualify a few things.

1) The head of the BBC is surely not without his own agenda
2) BBC and American news channels are increasingly rivals, as cable and satelite TV services add the foreign channels to their line-up
3) BBC is especially in competition with Rupert Murdoch and Fox, because Murdoch owns quite a bit of media in the UK
4) The first part of the speech makes me think that the BBC is receiving pressure to side more with the government line, and his rebuttal strategy is to point out how buffoonish the American media was during the war, and blame it on excessive patriotism.
5) The fact that Clear Channel wants into the UK radio market is news to me, but isn't really much of a surprise
6) I'm not sure exactly how Mr. BBC can attack Clear Channel's media consolidation, and then argue that the problem with American broadcast media is its "fragmentation," where no network is powerful enough to withstand the U.S. government. Sadly, this is also the argument for deregulation, "if our huge company can't merge with their huge company, there's no way we can compete with the superhuge company!"
7) The second part of the speech is also self-interested, as the BBC would not want to have to compete with Clear Channel (or anyone, really) for the UK radio market.

Posted by Jake at 07:29 PM | TrackBack (0)

It is a surprise to hear how keen you are to defend the very media industries that you are normally so critical of when that critisism comes from another country. You are far more patriotic than I gave you credit for.

Posted by: Matt at April 25, 2003 06:34 AM

Just treating the British guy with the same skepticism I'd give anyone else.

Posted by: Jake at April 25, 2003 07:43 AM

be careful, Jake, or we'll end up calling you "Fair and Balanced." :)

Nice work as always.

Posted by: eric at April 25, 2003 07:47 AM

It amazes me that no matter what we do that can benefit the world we hear criticism. Be nice when we help in natural disasters that we hear a kind word. Everything is always negative.

Posted by: john at April 26, 2003 07:57 AM

Are you saying you don't think the US Media, Particularly FOX and CNN have been bias. I have watched BBC and given it much, much more credibility than the two mentioned above.

Whose side are you on, anyway?

Posted by: Bill at April 27, 2003 11:27 PM

Sigh, is that aimed at me, Bill? You must be new to the site.

Of course the U.S. media was biased during the conflict. They're parrots. The Bush administration told them that this was a just war to liberate the Iraqi people, and they passed that message on to us with every breath.

I didn't see much BBC coverage of the war, so I can't speak on their bias.

Posted by: Jake at April 28, 2003 09:27 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.

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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