....LMB: "Mediatron"....

April 28, 2004

Air America: Clear Channel Lite- while I think it's a little ridiculous to compare tiny liberal AM radio network Air America to commercial radio behemoth Clear Channel, the article has a number of serious criticisms of the former. Primarily, the article exposes the seemingly unintentional racism of Air America and its staff.

Daily Howler 1 and 2- Bob Somerby of the Daily Howler has two columns that rip new assholes in a number of biased political journalists. Good reads, check em both out.

The Way They Were- check out the latest cover of US News & World Report magazine of George W. Bush and John Kerry circa 1971. Kerry, known for being a veteran, is represented by a picture of himself in a regular suit. Bush, who is known for using his daddy's connections to get into the National Guard to avoid Vietnam, is depicted by a photo of himself in his military uniform. Provocative juxtaposition? Ironic inversion? Political hackery? You make the call.

Another Africa Calamity -- Will Media Slumber On?- "American journalists are generally slower to cover mass death if the victims are not white." Obvious, but sometimes it's nice to have people point out what's being ignored, even when it's obvious.

Access of Evil- Newsweek interviews Democracy Now's Amy Goodman. Goodman has done a lot of great reporting over the years, but I find she too often resorts to partisanship and sensationalism in her journalism. Anyhow, she's out promoting her new book, and the newsmagazine asks her about the media. As one can expect, her answers are not flattering.

Much of What Advertisers Are Doing Is an Invasion of Privacy- really pretty amazing thing here. The marketing trade magazine Advertising Age, feeling the pinch of declining ad revenue, asks anti-advertising activist Gary Ruskin to write them an article explaining why people hate advertising so much. I think Ruskin's critique is right on, that consumers are disgusted with advertisers because they refuse to recognize any boundaries, and because they refuse to acknowledge it when their campaigns actually do harm.

Swallow This, Deep Throat- intriguing article which argues that it is no longer necessary or desirable for reporters to use anonymous sources. The author points out that there have only really been three explosive anonymous sources (Deep Throat, Daniel "Pentagon Papers" Ellsburg and Jeffrey "The Insider" Wigand), and two of those three had their identities exposed immediately. Now, individuals take advantage of reporters' hope to be the next Woodward & Bernstein by giving them anonymous quotes and info for those individual's own political gain, facing no consequences for their actions.

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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

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 donít 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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