....LMB: "Open Letter to the Media"....

August 23, 2004

Dear Press Corps,

As you may have noticed, 2004 is an election year. Although I, and many of my fellow Americans, have become quite jaded about the US government, there are two men running for president, and if we are going to vote, we need to know about those men.

The United States is facing a very troubling time. Terrorism is a real danger. We are fighting a war half-way around the world. Our military is stretched to the breaking point. Much of the global population-- even our allies-- think of our nation as arrogant and bloodthirsty. Our civil rights have been eroded. The economy is doing badly. People can't find work to feed their families. Our national issues of racism, sexism and violence continue unabated. Environmental danger. An unjust justice system. Corporate abuse. Epidemics of cancer and obesity.

We need to know what the candidates will do about all this (if anything). If one the candidates will start to turn the tide, we need to know. If one of the candidates will cause us harm, we need to know. If the candidates are more or less the same, we need to know. And as each candidate is more likely to tell us what they think we want to hear instead of tell us the truth, we need the media's help.

And what have you done in our time of need, when we need to focus on the future of our country? Turned all of your focus onto the cataclysmically irrelevant issue of whether someone shot at a boat in Vietnam 35 years ago!!

Have you lost your minds? Have you just gotten caught up in the herd? Are you so stupid that you think this actually matters? Or are you fully aware of the situation and continue anyway? If that's the case, you shouldn't just be ashamed, you should be humiliated.

You sicken me.

If this was history class, it would be okay to cover this ancient story, you'd get top marks. Oh wait, no you wouldn't. Because if this was history, you'd check all your sources, weigh the validity of those sources, and then come to some tentative conclusions about what really happened. Instead, the media seems to be saying that decades-old military records and the testimony of everyone on John Kerry's boat is exactly equal to the claims of a dozen guys with an axe to grind, who were not on Kerry's boat, who are funded by Kerry's political opponents.

I'm sure you have plenty of good excuses for why you're covering this ridiculous bullshit.

"It's news, we have to cover it."
"If we don't cover it, we'll fall behind."
"It's a character issue."

Shut the fuck up.

You control the cameras, you control the microphones, you control the typewriters. When this kind of trivial political nonsense comes up, it is completely within your power to turn them away from it. You can get a call from the head of the Swift Boat guys offering an interview and say "no thanks." You can receive a press release from the Kerry campaign and not quote it in your article. You can, at the very least, say "here's a quick summary of the latest Swift Boat bickering, now let's look at Bush and Kerry's respective economic plans."

Sad as it is, the nation relies on you to protect them, to inform them, to be an early warning system to prevent them from being screwed. And you've dropped the ball.

Honestly, I don't expect much from the media these days, but this nonsense is just more than I can bear.

Your fears of being unpopular, of being called "biased", of losing access to the nation's elite, have turned you into stenographers for power. I have no interest in official proclamations, I am interested in the truth.

Forget the press releases and official spokesmen. That's stage-managed crap.

Forget the partisan he-said/she-said. That's all smoke, no fire.

Instead, find out what's going on in this world, then tell it to me. That's what news is.

Jake Sexton.

Posted by Jake at 01:27 AM | TrackBack (2)

Ronald Browstein's column in today's LA Times pretty much says the same thing you do - so even in the mainstream media, your views are not some sort of radical leftist call.

Please media - tell us something about the next four years. And not something that happened when I was -1 years old!

Posted by: Terence at August 23, 2004 06:31 AM

Amen Jake. Amen!

Posted by: Woody at August 23, 2004 11:17 AM

I think the whole thing can best be summed up right here:


Posted by: Steven at August 23, 2004 01:36 PM

The NY Times has a decent article expoisng those swiftvets. Here's a link to the article and one to a good chart. the second half pwns.

Posted by: Buddy at August 23, 2004 09:56 PM

oops http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/20/politics/campaign/20swift.html?pagewanted=5&hp

and chart http://graphics7.nytimes.com/images/2004/08/19/politics/campaign/20040820swift_graph.gif

Posted by: Buddy at August 23, 2004 10:06 PM

I love what you do Jake.

Posted by: Alyssa at August 24, 2004 09:24 PM
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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."

Posted by Jake at 10:09 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
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