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Current Topic: Media

Al Jazeera: Out-Foxing Fox
Topic: Media 8:19 pm EDT, Jul  3, 2004

The gulf between the American and Arab realities is the subject of "Control Room," a powerful documentary by Jehane Noujaim, an Egyptian-American. She looks at Al Jazeera's coverage of the war, offering a sobering reminder that there are multiple ways of perceiving the same events.

As U.S. Lt. Josh Rushing astutely notes in "Control Room," Al Jazeera is the Arab version of the Fox News Channel.

Al Jazeera: Out-Foxing Fox

The Creation of the Media (Review)
Topic: Media 8:40 pm EDT, May 29, 2004

Most complaints about the media are personal. Rupert Murdoch did this, Jayson Blair did that. But the most important -- and interesting -- questions are structural.

How can newspapers support increasingly expensive international coverage, when most keep losing readers?

How can a television station afford not to trumpet disasters and scandals on its local news, when competitors that do get higher ratings?

Does concentration of ownership really matter?

Is there any longer such a thing as a broad market for the news?

"The Creation of the Media" is so thick with detail and careful in nuance that it is completely convincing as a work of scholarship.

The heart of his argument is that Americans fundamentally misunderstand what is unusual about their communications media, and why.

The Creation of the Media (Review)

Top Contributors: TV/Radio Stations
Topic: Media 10:27 am EDT, May  1, 2004

METHODOLOGY: The numbers on this page are based on contributions from PACs, soft money donors, and individuals giving $200 or more. (Only those groups giving $5,000 or more are listed here.) In many cases, the organizations themselves did not donate, rather the money came from the organization's PAC, its individual members or employees or owners, and those individuals' immediate families. Organization totals include subsidiaries and affiliates. All donations took place during the 2003-2004 election cycle and were released by the Federal Election Commission on Monday, March 29, 2004.


Shows the breakdown of contributions to Democrats and Republicans from major broadcasters. Of interest, Sinclair is #9 on the list. 2% to the Democrats, 98% to the Republicans.

I'd like to see ABC's donations as well, guess I'll be Googling tomorrow.

Top Contributors: TV/Radio Stations

Sinclair Broadcast Group: For the record
Topic: Media 5:58 pm EDT, Apr 30, 2004

] "I was watching the news, watching this anti-war
] demonstration and they were reading off names of soldiers
] who had fallen in Iraq and they read off my husband's
] name. That made me very angry because he very strongly
] believed in what he was doing and they were using his
] name for a purpose that he would not have approved of."

Sinclair's statement on their decision to cancel the Koppel broadcast. I meme this because I prefer raw arguement to a journalist's summary thereof. Reach your own conclusions.

Sinclair Broadcast Group: For the record

small world
Topic: Media 11:48 pm EST, Mar 30, 2004

Brilliant commentary on configure-your-friends/six-degree style social network sites.

small world

Joe Trippi (Dean's Campaign Manager) at Etech
Topic: Media 10:16 pm EST, Mar  3, 2004

] The press that didn't understand what the campaign was,
] now sees itself qualified to judge if its a success or
] not. Broadcast politics has failed us miserably. No
] debate about the Patriot Act. DMCA isn't being discussed
] during the mainstream media. Its all on the Internet.

I previously memed two different text versions of this, both of which had various gaps. Here is the actual audio. Stream it. This is 46 minutes of incredible stuff. Furthermore, this site has tons of other very good Etech talks archived. If you find something particularly notable please meme it.

I want to clearly explain what this talk is about. Trippi is a dull public speaker. However, his content is worth his monotone. This isn't about Dean. This isn't really about the democratic party. Obviously the democrats have a problem, in that the Republicans do a much better job a actually mobilizing grass roots support, and Trippi discusses that. Obviously Trippi is a democrat first and a dean supporter as well. However, and Trippi makes this clear, this is about who the political constituency is.

In working with EFGA in the mid nineties I dealt directly with the political system first hand, and I learned one thing primarily. Politics is about power. Unless you can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the issue you are concerned with is of clear strategic importance to the viable operation of the country, or has unquestionable implications for established Constitutional law, you win or loose based on how powerful you are.

When I say power I mean real power. People usually operate on the naive belief that things like petitions and protests are effective at changing political decisions. This is wrong. No one cares what you think unless they are trying to keep the matter out of the press. If they don't have an interest in keeping the issue off the media radar, then they only care about your money, or your vote. If you want to influence the situation, you need to provide actual financial or direct voting assistance to a particular politician who will do what you want.

Most people just don't get that. They think the government ought to do what they want simply because this is a democracy and thats how democracy works. Wrong. The government does what you want because it does not have a choice. If you can't put the government in that position, you will not get what you want. That is what democracy is all about. Giving the people the ability to put the government in a position where it cannot operate in a manner contrary to their interests.

This talk is about who actually has the power. This talk is about who the political constituency is. Is the constituency built of the ruling class, that controls the party system and funds the campaigns, or is the constituency built of the actual people. Do we really have democratic institutions?

My wording their sounds conspiratoria... [ Read More (0.2k in body) ]

Joe Trippi (Dean's Campaign Manager) at Etech

Howard Rheingold on OhMyNews
Topic: Media 9:01 pm EST, Mar  3, 2004

] Civility, reason, and evidence are what
] distinguish the public sphere - the free and open
] discourse among citizens that provides the foundation for
] democracy - from the emotion-charged, ignorant,
] slogan-slinging online combat that sometimes drowns out
] political debate.

Howard Rheingold on OhMyNews

OhMyNews English Edition
Topic: Media 9:20 am EST, Feb 23, 2004

OhMyNews has started an English language section.

OhMyNews English Edition

21C Magazine
Topic: Media 11:50 pm EST, Jan 26, 2004

DJ Spooky's Magazine. Jaron Lanier, Barabasi, Coldcut, Hackers, Remix culture, Big Brother, Islam, Drugs and, of course, Genesis P-Orridge... This is it...

21C Magazine

Jihad Unspun - A short adventure in the media information war
Topic: Media 5:35 pm EST, Dec 25, 2003

So, not taking my own advice about Christmas news, I hit Google news, and there I'm presented a top headline with an unusually charged title: "Four Palestinians Murdered in Fresh Zionist Attack in Gaza." So I click on it, and I find this website. Jihad Unspun, which offers a view of the middle east that is both anti-american, and anti-semitic, to the point where it breaks with sanity. I doubt even BL's followers view the situation this way. Crazy conspiracy theories are presented, and the english reader is told that people who buy into them are "independent thinkers" whereas those who criticize them are lemmings. Its almost a caricature of left wing literature, except they aren't kidding.

All of this is, of course, presented as an unbiased, spin-free view of the situation, an explanation that is now formally synonymous with "whacked out ramblings of crazy radicals," thank you very much Mr. O'Reilly. Double-speak is clearly not just the providence of governments anymore.

So, I'm curious what people have to say about this website, so I google it, and of course I learn that the best response to insanity is more insanity. I'll spare you the websites explaining that Jihad Unspun is a CIA front and proper young men looking to "get involved" with terrorism should look elsewhere. The other side of the picture is this website: Its a bunch of jews who track down and shut down islamist websites. Apparently they managed to get jihadunspun's Cafe Press store pulled. (The store apparently sold pro terrorist clothing for children.) They seem to be having difficulty understanding the distinction between speech by people who appear to like murderers and speech which directly insights or assists violence. Fortunately for them, they don't operate through actual courts, and so they can freely propagate misconceptions about the notion of freedom of expression because most companies simply don't want this stuff on their networks and will take it down on the slightest pressure, with the most simplistic justifications.

The two things worth thinking about here are:
1. Whose worse, the islamists or the anti-islamists? Its really hard to say. On the one hand we have liars, and on the other hand we have censors (which is sort of like saying tomatoe or tomaato.)
2. Should Google news consider this a valid news source? What is it about a website that ought to qualify it for inclusion in Google News. It seems to me that they either include anything that does original news reporting, or they employ editorial control. Where should they draw these lines?

Jihad Unspun - A short adventure in the media information war

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