....LMB: "News Tundra"....

December 19, 2003

In Debate on Antiterrorism, the Courts Assert Themselves- federal courts strike down two messed-up Bush policies allowing the government to hold people in prison forever. The Jose Padilla case was always ridiculous; saying that the president can just clap an American citizen in chains on a whim, without trials or evidence, for as long as he likes? The Guantanamo prisoners are a less clear-cut situation, but again, at its core, it's about holding people captive with no legal right to do so. I'm not pro-terrorist, I'm anti-Government-Locking-Up-Innocent-People. If they can lock up Padilla, they can lock up me. And I don't like that.

Saddam on Lips At Ground Zero- very sad. NY newspaper columnist goes down to Ground Zero the day after Saddam Hussein's capture was announced. Everyone he spoke to was thrilled, because they were convinced that Saddam Hussein was behind the September 11 attacks. Even sadder, one woman rejoices because she thinks that now that Saddam has been captured, that her soldier son will surely be sent home from Iraq soon.

Bush: What's the Difference- from a 12/16/03 interview:

DIANE SAWYER: But stated as a hard fact, that there were weapons of mass destruction, as opposed to the possibility that he could move to acquire those weapons still --

GEORGE W. BUSH: So what’s the difference?

Can I trade in my president for someone who knows the difference between real and imaginary please?

FEC Fines Ashcroft's Senate Bid For Breach- the job of the U.S. Attorney General is to enforce the laws of the United States. In 2000, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft violated at least four federal campaign laws during his failed Senate campaign. Irony so thick it's trapping dinosaurs and mammoths as we speak.

Demagogue v. Instigator- Bill O'Reilly goes insane again. He publicly states that his book is outselling those of rivals Al Franken and Hillary Clinton. And it is-- at Costco stores. But nationally, outside that particular chain of stores, Franken and Clinton are kicking his ass in sales. Journalistic hack Matt Drudge exposed O'Reilly's, well, let's be generous and call it an "error", and O'Reilly then reportedly got on a radio interview show, said that Drudge was a crack addict and should be killed.

Y'know, I might stop mocking O'Reilly. It's just too easy.

“Free-Speech Zone”- conservative author speaks out against "free speech zones", (an Orwellian term if there ever was one), as an immoral political tactic aimed at silencing criticism, and if left unchecked, possibly a "war on dissent."

Headbangers Ball- a few weeks back, I wrote about the police brutality at the FTAA protests in Miami. Here's a more in-depth look at that.

Woo hoo! Classes lighten up- this semester, Centenary College of Hackettstown, New Jersey, is offering a class about TV phenomenon, The Simpsons. I, of course, already hold a PhD in the subject.

Posted by Jake at 09:53 AM | TrackBack (0)

Thank you for putting together this interesting site. I too have problems with the monopoly based media. Here is my current pet peave, though I have plenty of problems with the way the media is doing its job. I was wondering what your opinion of this issue is and if you think I am correct.

What concerns me is that our Democratic primary will be a sham directed by the media. The media is picking and choosing which candidates get free publicity and which ones most people never hear of. I don't feel that it is Dean's fault that he is the media Darling, but it makes the rest of us a little suspicious of him. I suppose it may breed a little envy too, but mostly we wonder why the press wants Dean so badly. I think most of the attacks on Dean are due to this obvious favoritism and the resentment it is causing.

There are 9 candidates! There have been no primarys, and the responsibility of the Media is to inform the public of ALL NINE choices so that they can make an informed decision. Instead they are trying to decide our election for us and they have no right to do that.

The Democrat party, ALL NINE candidates, their supporters, and especially all undecided Democrats Need to demand equal time for all candidates and that we get coverage of debates, speaches and other announcments that are appropriate. Fruther there need to be impartial spots paid for by the Democrat party in which the candidates and their basic platforms are shown. If we need a united front lets give it to them, even if the Democrat party has to pay for it. People have a right to choose based on facts and platforms, not media manipulation.

I am a John Edwards supporter, and have no desire to critizise Dean. I think Edwards is an unusually good candidate, which is head and sholders above anything this nation has ever seen in the way of Presidential candidates. I don't hate Dean, I just want all people to see Edwards enough to know who he is. I think the others deserve that kind of coverage also. I want the media to do its job fairly. I don't think this one sided coverage is fair to anyone including Dean. At this point all our candidates still have a pretty even chance of getting the nomination, or would if the media would present all the candidates equally. I thought there was a law to force media to give equal time to all candidates. Am I wrong about that?

Posted by: FC at December 19, 2003 05:08 PM


I am not at all surprised that most people interviewed on the streets of Manhattan still think Sadaam had something to do with 9/11. What does continue to amaze me is that people on the left, (or liberals or radicals - whatever) are in the least bit surprised by this. We live in a deeply racist country - really, really profoundly racist. In June of 2000, when liberals were touting what a great choice in VP Gore had made in Joe Lieberman, my immediate reaction was 'What is he thinking? He is going to lose the South'. My Jewish friends were appalled that I would react that way - they refused to believe that most Americans cared about that sort of thing. I told them that most Southerners have not ever even met a Jew, much less one as vocal about his religion as Lieberman, and would be very unlikely to vote to have one a 'heartbeat away' as the cliché goes. I think the South's attitude toward Jewish people is very well documented and now, so are the 2000 election results in the southern states.
I mention this because the left seems to still not get it. Call them 'Joe Sixpack', 'NASCAR dads', 'angry white men' or whatever other label you need to, the fact is, most of white America is deeply, deeply racist - and could give two shits if a person is Afghani, Iraqi, Muslim, Saudi, etc. In their small minds, THEY ARE ALL THE SAME PEOPLE. If you consider that NYC is maybe the most metropolitan city on earth, with every race, creed, color, tint and hue known to man, how else to explain that even there, the person on the street can't tell the difference between bin Laden, Hussein and the 9/11 hijackers? It's because they can't even locate Afghanistan on a map, don't know where the Tigris and Euphrates meet, and certainly can't tell the difference between a Palestinian, Pakistani, Arab, Afghani, Iraqi, Iranian or Indian.

I realize that this is a bleak assessment, but the answers that the interviewers elicited bear this out. Surprising? Not even a little bit. It’s obvious to me, in country whose only leaders have been white men, mostly of WASP descent, (Kennedy still the only Roman Catholic, and even he did not win the popular vote) why the average citizen can’t tell the difference between the Saudis who actually did the attacking, and the other Middle Eastern people that the media and administration want us to blame. It’s straight up racism.

Posted by: DC at December 22, 2003 09:25 AM

Racism does enter the equation, but it's more complex than that. If you throw in classism, nationalism, militarism, chauvinism, manipulation of fear, you'd get a clearer picture.

Also, it's hard to truly gauge American opinion. Sure, leftists can form their views of America and then whine and bitch about how "racist and ignorant" Americans are...and the funny thing is that they often get the same information from a carefully selected news items and polls from right-wing media. I honestly can't say what Americans generally think about the war and 9/11. I think many are misled by the media and I think many question the war. But it doesn't really matter does it? Who has the power here? Should you denounce "racist" Americans or do you go after the institutions that make deception possible - government, media, corporations, etc. It seems to me the lefties are being played right into the hands of the neocon thugs. Obfuscating the issues will get us nowhere.

Posted by: Eric at December 26, 2003 01:41 PM

Anyway, my point is to think about why Americans think Hussein was involved in 9/11 instead of crudely dismissing them as racist and leaving it at that. Those who think Hussein was involved are shaped by what the system puts out for them, so it's not entirely their fault. And who knows how many actually believe this -- a few people on the street doesn't equal an entire nation.

Posted by: Eric at December 26, 2003 01:53 PM

the america media without a doubt is an underacknowledged tool of manipulation and
i unfortunately equate most americans' zeal to be enlightened in a political and social manner to the pony ride set up at local fairs: some want off the mechanism that turns them in the same direction with the same outcome whilst others are content to stay on the 360 track hoping to keep their "financially and socially" prosperous status. which makes me think are we a fat saturated, sugar addicted, materialistic non-thinking mass blob of cells? risk is what it's all about, the only thing that makes you feel alive other than love of course. i know there amongst us all that there is not only a handful of adrenalin junkies, why the complacency(sp.?)?

the woman who figures that saddam's capture will mean the return of her son from iraq is heart wrenching and having friends over there i can empathize, but i'm not surprised that it is not showing her the apathy the bourgeios has towards the masses.

john edwards??? the office he holds now is his first political office for god's sakes! even amongst the vipers we get to "choose" from, why a bumbling novice?

Posted by: paula at December 29, 2003 06:20 AM

EMAIL: amelia2003_5@yahoo.com
DATE: 01/21/2004 03:18:46 PM
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Media News

December 01, 2004

Media Mambo

The Great Indecency Hoax- last week, we wrote about how the "massive outcry" to the FCC about a racy Fox TV segment amounted to letters from 20 people. This week, we look at the newest media scandal, the infamous "naked back" commercial. On Monday Night Football, last week, ABC aired an ad for it's popular "Desperate Housewives" TV show, in which one of the actresses from the show attempted to seduce a football player by removing the towel she was wearing to bare her body to him. All the audience saw, however, was her back. No tits, no ass, no crotch, just her back.

No one complained.

The next Wednesday, Rush Limbaugh told his shocked viewers how the woman had appeard in the commercial "buck naked".

Then, the FCC received 50,000 complaints. How many of them actually saw this commercial is anyone's guess.

The article also shows the amazing statistics that although the Right is pretending that the "22% of Americans voted based on 'moral values'" statistic shows the return of the Moral Majority, this is actually a huge drop from the 35% who said that in the 2000 election or the 40% who said that in 1996 (when alleged pervert Bill Clinton was re-elected). This fact is so important I'm going to mention it over in the main news section too.

Brian Williams may surprise America- Tom Brokaw's replacement anchor, Brian Williams, dismissed the impact of blogs by saying that bloggers are "on an equal footing with someone in a bathroom with a modem." Which is really funny, coming out of the mouth of a dude who's idea of journalism is to read words out loud off a teleprompter. Seriously, if parrots were literate, Brian Williams would be reporting live from the line outside the soup kitchen.

In related news, Tom Brokaw has quit NBC Nightly News, and it appears that unlike his predecessor, the new guy can speak without slurring words like a drunk.

PR Meets Psy-Ops in War on Terror- in February of 2002, Donald Rumsfeld announced the creation of the Office of Strategic Influence, a new department that would fight the war on terror through misinformation, especially by lying to journalists. Journalists were so up in arms about this that the Pentagon agreed to scrap the program.

Don't you think that an agency designed to lie to the public might lie about being shut down, too?

This article gives some examples about the US military lying to the press for propaganda and disinformation purposes.

Tavis Smiley leaving NPR in December- African-American talk show host Tavis Smiley is opting to not renew his daily talk show on National Public Radio. He criticized his former employers for failing to: "meaningfully reach out to a broad spectrum of Americans who would benefit from public radio but simply don’t know it exists or what it offers ... In the most multicultural, multi-ethnic and multiracial America ever, I believe that NPR can and must do better in the future." He's 100% correct. NPR is white. Polar bear eating a marshmallow at the mayonaise factory white. And the reason it's so white is that it is trying to maintain an affluent listener base (premoniantly older white folks) who will donate money to their stations. This is a great paradox of American public broadcasting, that they have a mandate to express neglected viewpoints and serve marginalized communities, but those folks can't donate money in the amounts that the stations would like to see.

U.S. Muslim Cable TV Channel Aims to Build Bridges- it sounds more positive than it is "Bridges TV" seems to simultaneously be a cable channel pursuing an affluent American Muslim demographic, and a way of building understanding and tolerance among American non-Muslims who might happen to watch the channel's programming. I was hoping it would be aimed more at Muslim's worldwide, but it ain't. Still, I'd be interested in seeing how their news programs cover the issues.

Every Damned Weblog Post Ever- it's funny cuz it's true.

Wikipedia Creators Move Into News- Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia, created collectively by thousands of contributors. It's one of those non-profit, decentralized, collective, public projects that show how good the internet can be. Now, the Wikipedia founders are working on a similar project to create a collaborative news portal, with original content. Honestly, it's quite similar to IndyMedia sites (which reminds me, happy 5th birthday, IndyMedia!). I'll admit, I'm a bit skeptical about the Wikinews project, though. IndyMedia sites work because they're local, focused on certain lefty issues, and they're run by activists invested in their beliefs. I'm not sure what would drive Wikinews or how it would hang together.

CBS, NBC ban church ad inviting gays- the United Church of Christ created a TV ad which touts the church's inclusion, even implying that they accept homosexuals into their congregation. Both CBS and NBC are refusing to air the ad. This is not too surprising, as many Americans are uncomfortable about homosexuality, and because TV networks are utter cowards. But CBS' explanation for the ban was odd:

"Because this commercial touches on the exclusion of gay couples...and the fact that the executive branch has recently proposed a Constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, this spot is unacceptable for broadcast."

Whoa, what? First of all, the ad does not mention marriage at all. Second, since when do positions opposite of the Executive Branch constitute "unacceptable"? This doesn't sound like "we're not airing this because it's controversial", this sounds like "we're afraid of what the President might say."

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