....LMB: "Technical Note"....

May 03, 2004

My former domain "straybulletins.com" is about to expire. Anyone trying to reach that site or contact me through that domain's email addresses had better switch over to LyingMediaBastards.com

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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.

All brought to you by your pal, Jake Sexton.

contact: jake+at+lyingmediabastards.com

Media News

April 30, 2004


As you may have heard, tonight's edition of Nightline (ABC) will solely be a reading of names and showing of images of American soldiers who have been killed in the war on Iraq.

As you may have also heard, the Sinclair Broadcast Group, a multimedia conglomerate that owns 62 television stations (reaching 24% of the US population) has told its 8 ABC affiliates not to air the Nightline program.

The Sinclair Group says that it is refusing to air this broadcast because it "appears to be motivated by a political agenda designed to undermine the efforts of the United States in Iraq." It then "proves" its case by pondering the question, "why [Ted Koppel] chose to read the names of 523 troops killed in combat in Iraq, rather than the names of the thousands of private citizens killed in terrorist attacks since and including the events of September 11, 2001." Which seems to be incorrect; ABC asserts that it did read all of the names of the 9/11 victims on the one-year anniversary of the attacks, leaving Sinclair with nothing but an unsubstantiated insinuation.

It is posible that Sinclair's motives are genuine, thinking that they are protecting the American people from ABC's harmful political agenda. But Sinclair has a history of supporting the Bush administration and a right-wing agenda. Some of these actions include: forcing their news anchors read statements of "full support" for President Bush after 9/11; refusing to air a Democratic campaign ad critical of Bush; and just donating lots of cash to Bush and the Republicans.

This shows the danger of media consolidation: censorship. Eight regions of the US will not see this commemoration of the dead because of the political views of some corporate bigwigs.

What's also interesting is the assumption that remembering the dead will cause harm. It is reasonable to think that the public, faced with a stark reminder of all of this death, may turn against the war and its supporters. Or, contrariwise, viewers could see all this death and be even more determined that the United States win the war, so that all these soldiers will not have died in vain. Honestly, poll data seems to support the latter; the worse we do in Iraq, the more Americans seem to want to rally behind the president.

Although it's a bit of a tangent, I also wanted to remark upon today's USA Today front page. The key headline was "Iraq's Deadliest Month", followed by an article about the large numbers of Americans killed in Iraq in April: 134. But to me, that shows an amount of America-centrism that's somewhat insulting. Iraq has existed as a nation since the 1930s, is home to 25 million Iraqis, and it's "deadliest month" just happened, and when 134 foreigners are killed? The article doesn't even mention the number of Iraqis killed this month (which the Associated Press claims is 1361-- ten times the number of Americans). It's as though Iraq is only visible when Americans are in it, and the deaths of people there only matter if those people were born under an American flag.

I'm thinking that Iraq has had "deadlier months", possibly including the final days of Gulf War I, one of the months of the embargo when people were dying of starvation and lack of medicine, or even the opening days of the latest war, thanks to Shock and Awe.

I understand that this USA Today article was not trying to be about the suffering of the Iraqis, or about the general suffering of war. And I'm not trying to say that the death of an Iraqi is more important than the death of an American. All of the deaths on all sides are tragic. I feel bad for all of the people who's lives are being cut short by the conflict, and for all of the brothers, mothers, wives, husbands, fathers and friends who will have to live the rest of their lives with a hole where their loved one used to be.

The idea that one life, or one death, is more important than another, is one of the main reasons we still have war.

Posted by Jake at 05:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
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"Your head's like mine, like all our heads; big enough to contain every god and devil there ever was. Big enough to hold the weight of oceans and the turning stars. Whole universes fit in there! But what do we choose to keep in this miraculous cabinet? Little broken things, sad trinkets that we play with over and over. The world turns our key and we play the same little tune again and again and we think that tune's all we are."
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To listen to the CD perched on my finger, I need to swap it for one of the 5 discs in the changer. Black Panther rap. Skip. Instrumental hip-hop. Skip. Funky white guy rap. Skip. New conscious political rap. Skip. Whoa, Cocteau Twins! "Which of these things is not like the others?" Swap. Cool, now I can listen to the "Fuck You, Pay Me" song.

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