....LMB: "fearfearfearfearfearfear"....

October 08, 2004

This is quite possibly the worst journalism I have ever seen.

There's this unnamed fellow in Iraq who's part of a "civic group" that is making plans to rebuild the Iraqi school system. He had a couple of computer discs with photos and blueprints for several American schools.

But wait, didn't terrorists attack that Russian school and kill a bunch of kids? And isn't this Iraqi guy an A-rab? TERRORIST ALERT! TERRORIST ALERT!

This story is really pathetic. The discs were found by the US military months ago. Homeland Security says there is no threat. There is absolutely nothing to imply that any American schools are in any sort of danger whatsoever, except that a guy involved in building schools has pictures of schools. But why let reality get in the way of a good story?

Frankly, I feel that this story was planted by someone in the Bush camp, as public fear of terrorism tends to increase Bush's poll numbers.

Posted by Jake at 01:27 PM | TrackBack (0)
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The chronology of this story is so screwy. The disks, which included all or part of a 2003 Dept of Education report on crisis planning, were found in July 2004.

On August 24, 2004, the Education Dept archived the 2003 report and issued a new one. I haven't heard anything about whether the new edition had been in the works or rushed into production to omit embarrassing info that was downloaded in Iraq.

The Breslan school hostage crisis and massacre occurred between Sept 1 and 3, 2004.

In mid to late September 2004, the FBI notified school administrators in the 6 or 7 specific locales identified on the disks. Some administrators were told that the info was classified and they were forbidden to discuss it or to make it public; some were not told that it was classified.

As best as I can tell, the first public reports about the disks occurred on Sept 30th in the San Diego media. Then there was a lull until Oct 7-8, when several conflicting stories (the Iraqi was/wasn't a terrorist or insurgent) started to appear.

By mid-day Oct 8, 2004, the FBI started to backpedal a bit. Now the stories coming out were much more benign: the Iraqi was a civic planner, etc.

The backpedaled stories then got lost out to the coverage of the Department of Education's grand post-Breslan press release on Oct 8th about school terror threats, plus the presidential debate and, of course, Martha Stewart's jail surrender.

By Oct 9, 2004, the stories are pretty much sounding the all clear signal.

Couldn't confuse the citizenry more even if they tried.

Posted by: Miss Authoritiva at October 10, 2004 01:19 AM

They are using this to scare people away from polling places at schools; and to get polling places moved FROM schools on short notice to supress the vote...

Posted by: Bob at October 12, 2004 02:29 PM
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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.

Posted by Jake at 04:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
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