....LMB: "Burn Media Burn"....

February 17, 2004

Are More Bidders Waiting to Pounce?- about the biggest news story of the moment, the potential Disney-Comcast merger. It would create the largest media company in the world, beating out AOL-Time Warner (well, I guess it's just called Time Warner now). Disney refused Comcast's $47 billion-ish bid, more or less demanding another $7 billion. Will Comcast agree? And if they don't, asks this article, how are other media outlets likely to react? Does a good job of displaying the complicated chess moves of this industry.

Mega Media Mergers: How Dangerous?- from that leftist rag "Business Week," another examination of the Disney-Comcast thing, but with a broader view of the effects of media oligopolies. I like their quote on the subject from John McCain, "At some point, you'll have many voices -- and one ventriloquist."

British government considering dismantling BBC- yipes! The BBC has always managed to do some pretty good, impartial news reporting, despite the fact that it is fully funded by the British government. But the Blair regime is pissed at the way that the BBC opposed the Iraq war and exposed scandal within the administration. In the wake of the whitewashing Hutton report, which shifts blame of Iraq-intelligence-related scandal from Downing Street to the BBC, the Blair government is pondering fragmenting the BBC into several regional media outlets, stripping away some of its funding, and giving a government watchdog power to control final BBC content. Not good.

Miller Time (Again)- followup article to last week's Now They Tell US, criticizing the pre-Iraq war news media. This particular article focuses on NYT reporter Judith Miller, who parroted many false WMD claims from the shady Iraqi National Congress and other Iraqi defectors. Oddly, Miller's definition of "investigative journalism" seems to be "to report what people in power think about a situation" rather than reporting about the situation itself.

Wake-Up Time- nice piece by a couple of liberal/progressives who outline some simple ways that journalists can take back the power that they relinquished to the White House post-9/11.

Echo Effect: A New Generation Of Media Users, Ad Distrusters- results of a poll of Americans ages 12-17 (irritatingly dubbed by big business "Echo Boomers". They're children of Baby Boomers, an "echo" of the "boom", get it?) by a market research firm about their attitudes towards media and life. And to my delight, it finds that "82% are skeptical about the accuracy of the news media" and that less than a third don't trust any form of advertising (well, they say they don't, anyway). Right on, my young brothers and sisters.

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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.

Both projects focus on our media-marinated world, political lies, corporate tyranny, and the folks fighting the good fight against these monsters.

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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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Mission: Mongolia

Jake's first attempt at homemade Mongolican barbecue:

Failure.

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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