Fox News Declares War On Iran

A video (posted below) from FoxAttacks really tells the story of what a corrupt tool for propaganda Fox is.

Fox News

It also should tell people that our battle lines do not end with Bush and other Republicans. Christiane Amanpour’s comment succinctly describes the real threat:

“My station [CNN] was intimidated by the administration and the foot soldiers at Fox News.”

The media is manufacturing fear and misleading the country and the world. And it all begins with Fox. We must resolve to stop being accomplices in our own downfall. This is a good time to revisit my exhortation that Fox must be shunned.

Detox from Fox: Starve The Beast

As I said before, with extensive documentation, appearing on Fox is not only pointless, it is overtly harmful to progressive causes. It is long past time for Democrats and progressives to recognize this simple fact and resolve to stop allowing themselves to be used for target practice by disingenuous pseudo-journalists whose purpose is to defame and defeat them in politics and public opinion.

No more capitulation by our representatives and Fox’s competitors. It cannot, and must not, be tolerated. Do not cooperate with Fox in any way. Just say no!

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

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Fox Buries Iraq War News

The Project for Excellence in Journalism just published the results of their study of news coverage for the second quarter of 2007. Continuing the trend from the first quarter, Fox News had far less coverage than its cable competitors. Proving that it simply doesn’t consider the war in Iraq a priority, Fox’s coverage trailed CNN and MSNBC by about half.

Percent of Newshole Devoted To Iraq War on Cable News
Apr. 1, ‘07 – Jun. 29, ‘07

Network % Iraq War News
CNN 17.8
MSNBC 15.1
Fox News 7.9

Last quarter Bill O’Reilly responded to the relative neglect by Fox of what is indisputably the top story in the country by saying that…

“CNN and MSNBC are actually helping the terrorists by reporting useless explosions.”

He further justified Fox’s deficient coverage by asking:

“Do you care if another bomb went off in Tikrit? Does it mean anything? No! It doesn’t mean anything.”

The callous disregard for human life exhibited by O’Reilly’s comments is more than evident and requires no response. But the fact that he employs such revolting language to defend his network’s journalistic malpractice reveals the lengths to which he and Fox will go to avoid providing their audience with a truthful account of events in the world.

By failing to properly cover the most important issues of the day, Fox is demonstrating why studies show that Fox viewers are so woefully ill-informed. They can’t decide – if Fox will not report.


Nuke Iraq And Make Bush President For Life

The wisest course would have been for President Bush to use his nuclear weapons to slaughter Iraqis until they complied with his demands, or until they were all dead.

Believe it or not, this is exactly what Family Security Matters, a organization made up of prominent conservatives, is advocating, along with making Bush President For Life (h/t Digby). Acting as a front group for the Center for Security Policy, a right-wing think tank that promotes American world dominance through military strength, FSM features authors like Phillip Atkinson, a Contributing Editor who has written what is one of the most grotesque dissertations on American Democracy I have ever read.

But it seems that FSM has been busy scrubbing Atkinson, and perhaps other controversial articles, from their web site. Thanks to Google cache, they cannot so easily cover their repulsive tracks.

FSM describes themselves as the National Security Resource for American Families. But I’m not sure how families will benefit from trading in Democracy for tyranny. Grit your teeth and read these excerpts:

Conquering the Drawbacks of Democracy

If President Bush copied Julius Caesar by ordering his army to empty Iraq of Arabs and repopulate the country with Americans, he would achieve immediate results: popularity with his military; enrichment of America by converting an Arabian Iraq into an American Iraq

He could then follow Caesar’s example and use his newfound popularity with the military to wield military power to become the first permanent president of America, and end the civil chaos caused by the continually squabbling Congress and the out-of-control Supreme Court.

Then who would be able to stop Bush from emulating Augustus Caesar and becoming ruler of the world? For only an America united under one ruler has the power to save humanity from the threat of a new Dark Age wrought by terrorists armed with nuclear weapons.

The Barbarians Are Coming

The culture of the white Americans is being displaced by their mainly Hispanic invaders; peace and wealth created by the white American culture are being replaced by poverty and crime brought by the invaders.

The very least that must be done to halt the Hispanic invasion is the mass enslavement, or execution, of the invaders, which must be followed by an American invasion of Mexico to enforce American language and values upon the Mexicans.

The Dangers of the Liberal-Islamist Connection

[T]he Left has contempt for the average American. That is why most of the Left speaks of America as bringing immeasurable misery and sadness to the world and, essentially, as deserving attacks on it.

While it is true that the hedonistic life style of Leftists runs counter to Shariah law, many Leftists are drawn into supporting the Islamist movement. It should also be noted that Bible-believing Christians and Jews do not support Leftists’ hedonistic lifestyle.

This revolting treatise was not penned by some outlandish neo-Nazi militia group holed up in the hills of Kentucky hording guns. No, it was published on the website of an organization asserting family values and run by many of our nations most prominent mainstream conservatives.

Contine reading


The Daily Show: Reporting From Iraq

The Daily Show is going to war. The show whose star, Jon Stewart, condescendingly refers to it as “fake news” is sending their very own correspondent on assignment to Iraq next week. Rob Riggle will anchor Operation Silent Thunder from, as the press release puts it, “actual Iraq, not greenscreen Iraq.”

Two years I ago, I wrote that The Daily Show does a better job of representing honest journalism than many of the organizations that they mock (see The Real Fake News). It was not an attempt to be cute or dismissive. There is evidence to support the argument:

The show has won five Emmys. It won a Peabody award for election coverage. The Columbia Journalism Review included Stewart on its list of the nation’s 10 most influential political reporters. Newsday placed Stewart on their list of the 20 media players who will most influence the 2004 campaign.

Most of those awards were not bestowed for entertainment, they were honoring the program for its news content. That said, it is still still a comedy program, not a news program. But it also performs the function of a media watchdog, alerting us to the hypocrisy, collaboration, and contrivance of the corporate-dominated media.

Now with Riggle joining his colleagues in the war zone, the lines between reality and satire (satirealityâ„¢) are becoming ever more blurred. It is important to note that Riggle is not just a comedian doing shtick on a new stage. He is a decorated veteran whose service as a U.S. Marine can inform his “reporting” in unique and invaluable ways. He is a comedian with “more than 19 medals and ribbons, including the Combat Action Ribbon,” for service in Liberia, Kosovo and Afghanistan.

A correspondent who has had tours of duty in both Operation Enduring Freedom and the Rubber Chicken Circuit, is a rare asset for any media outfit. I predict that, once again, the fake news will trump the real news on substance. And at the same time they will entertain our weary troops (something the real news can never claim to do) as this trip is being undertaken in conjunction with a USO tour that will also include comedians Horatio Sanz, Rob Huebel and Paul Scheer.

Good luck Major Riggle. Not that you need it. We all know that a Rubber Chicken can beat a Chicken Hawk any day of the week.


Bill Moyers On Karl Rove

It is becoming predictably routine that every time Bill Moyers speaks he produces a classic oration of eloquence and reason. Tonights closing commentary on his PBS Journal is no exception:

In this excerpt, Moyers applies his unique insight to fellow Texan, Karl Rove:

“Karl Rove figured out a long time ago that the way to take an intellectually incurious draft-averse naughty playboy in a flight jacket with chewing tobacco in his back pocket and make him governor of Texas, was to sell him as God’s anointed in a state where preachers and televangelists outnumber even oil derricks and jack rabbits.”


Watch the video because, once again, Moyers nails it.


Fox Business News Hues: Rosy Futures

Neil Cavuto, the long-standing captain of the Fox Cheer Leading Squad for America’s corporatist economy, is charitably contributing to a detailed portrait of the quality of the financial news that the Fox Business Network will start broadcasting in October. And it IS a pretty picture. A picture filled with rainbows and bluebirds and silk PJs for all.


Fox Business Analyst, Kurt Loder?

In the days leading up to the Dow topping 14,000, Cavuto and Co. were uncontrollably giddy with praise for free markets, capital gains tax cuts, and President Bush’s economic policies. It was as if the only thing that constituted business news was the happy-talk that he himself was manufacturing by the truckload. At the same time, he would condemn those who dared to report the bumps in the road. For example:

In Misery Sells, Smiles Do Not (July 27, 2007), Cavuto takes on what he perceives as the unnecessary attention the press gives to market declines:
“Man, I saw this one coming. The Dow plunges more than 300 points, and it’s front page news. Down to the dude covering his face in anguish in The Washington Post. And the gloomy top banner story in The New York Times bemoaning a global stock market tumble.”

In The Economy Stinks? Says Who? (July 13, 2007), Cavuto dismisses the public’s pessimism about a market awash in volatility:
“So six out of 10 of us say the economy stinks. Must be so because USA Today says it’s so. Me? I don’t believe it. Not a word of it.”

In The ‘Real’ Reason Markets Are Nervous (August 01, 2007), Cavuto blames another downturn on John Edwards who, despite running third in his party’s primary, has infinite power over Wall Street:
“Taxes are going up. Stocks have been going down. I don’t think it’s just a coincidence […] this isn’t about hedge funds. It’s about capital gains taxes and John Edwards saying he wants to raise them.”

In When Is a ‘Meltdown’ Not a Meltdown? (August 07, 2007), Cavuto downplays the significance of the credit crunch, with implications that there really isn’t any problem at all.
“This “meltdown” affects roughly 4 percent of all mortgages out there. So, that means 96 percent of mortgages are being paid on time.”

Now, none of this should come as a surprise to those familiar with Fox News, its editors or its management. Rupert Murdoch, after all, has admitted that he intends to color his business reporting with a rosy hue, saying that…

“…a Fox channel would be ‘more business-friendly than CNBC.’ That channel ‘leap[s] on every scandal, or what they think is a scandal.”

Now that the Dow has dropped below 13,000, just 27 days after its peak, do you suppose that Fox and Cavuto will suddenly deliver a more honest account of these roiling markets? That seems doubtful considering that on this day, when the Dow swung negative over 300 points before closing down just 15, the headline guest on Fox’s post-bell market wrap was the world renowned economist and health care expert, MTV’s Kurt Loder.

To be fair, Loder repeated several times that he was not an expert on economics or health care, but that didn’t stop him from shoveling his uninformed views down the throats of Fox’s intellectually fragile audience. The bigger question is why Fox News invited this dinosaur to lecture us on issues he concedes he is unqualified to discuss in the first place. Most likely it has something to do with his having been the author of a fiercely partisan and factually vacant essay on Michael Moore’s documentary, Sicko, wherein he called Moore a brazen con man who cherry-picked facts and manipulated interviews, and labeled him “a proud socialist.”

Cavuto’s program has a history of booking some “colorful” guests, including porn star Mary Carey and comedian Tommy Chong (who actually knocked Cavuto down a couple of pegs. See the video here).

As it turns out, there is a serious problem in the credit markets with skyrocketing foreclosures and constricted liquidity. But news consumers who are exposed to Fox’s representation of these events are certain to end up both dangerously ill-informed and decidedly broke. And what’s even more frightening is what the future holds for financial reporting. With the coming launch of the Fox Business Network and Murdoch’s digestion of the Wall Street Journal, there is going to be a lot of bad advice floating around – and a lot of people are going to get hurt.

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The Cost Of (Covering) The War

The war in Iraq has been disastrously expensive on so many levels. It distracted the nation, and the world, from the real terrorist threats still operating in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and elsewhere. It demolished the international sympathy, unity, and goodwill that existed post 9/11. It prompted a legislative assault on cherished civil liberties and domestic and international law. It’s made our allies weaker and our enemies stronger, even as we become more reliant on regimes that do not have our interests at heart. And, of course, the irredeemable cost of 3,700 American troops and tens (hundreds?) of thousands of innocent Iraqis.

Now the cost of war is intruding on the cost of covering the war:

After more than four years into the war in Iraq, television news organizations have awakened to their own grim reality: They’re spending millions of dollars a year to operate in a country where security costs them thousands of dollars a day. Even with extreme security measures, photographers and correspondents are in constant danger of getting maimed and killed-even in their own bureaus.

So far the war in Iraq has claimed the lives of 112 journalists, with many more wounded and maimed. For some perspective, there were 66 journalists killed in Vietnam; 68 in World War II.

Many stateside war advocates regurgitate the Bush administration’s complaints that the media focuses too much on “trivialities” like car bombings and mass executions, while neglecting the “uplifting” tales of newly painted schoolhouses. The sad truth is that the opposite is more reflective of reality. Because of the ever-present risk, reporters are often unable to venture out of the heavily fortified safe areas where they might witness even more of the atrocities that the homefront punditry accuse them of exaggerating. But the cocktail circuit columnists are hardly knowledgeable sources when it comes to war correspondence. Can you imagine Bob Novak or Bill O’Reilly or Laura Ingraham having to articulate this workplace lament:

Lara Logan, CBS News: “When your office gets blown up it’s a reminder that you’re not immune.”

Yet, in the face of that courage, international news bureaus are having an increasingly difficult time justifying the expense of maintaining a credible presence in Iraq. It isn’t because Iraq is not regarded as the top story in the world, but because so much of the budget is earmarked for security instead of reporters, photographers, and other press support staff. Additionally, Iraq, with its special financial burdens, is depleting funds and coverage from other foreign bureaus and news events.

Despite these financial pressures, there are reporters for whom the story is paramount. They continue to fight for the resources and editorial support to produce the sort of thorough and accurate reports that our citizens, our troops, and the long-suffering people of Iraq depend upon and deserve. It’s often an uphill battle when the competition amongst the news networks is increasing while viewership and ratings are declining. But the fight must be waged and Lara Logan explains simply and eloquently why it’s still important:

“You don’t abandon the American soldiers who are on the streets of this country because people are tired of hearing about it. You don’t abandon the Iraqi people. […] Our job is to find a way through that.”

This is the kind of commitment that ought to be respected and rewarded. It does not come easily for journalists in a war zone whose lives are perpetually in danger. It makes you wonder how being dismissive of the press corps at war in Baghdad comes so easily for their colleagues at happy-hour in DC.


Starve The Beast

See also
Starve The Beast
Part II and
Part III

The problem with Fox News is not that it’s a right-wing platform for war, intolerance, and greed; it isn’t that it’s spreading propaganda in support of an out-of-control White House that is hoarding unprecedented levels of power; it isn’t that they engage in relentless and unfounded attacks on Democrats, progressives, and the rest of the 72% of Americans that Fox portrays as unpatriotic because they disapprove of Mr. Bush and his war; it isn’t even that it sits at the center of a politically charged media empire run by Rupert Murdoch, a monopolistic ideologue with no allegiance to country or the common good.

Certainly any one of those things would reasonably explain a sharp increase in chronic anxiety, and the combination could set off an epidemic of cerebral aneurysms. But these are not the problems with Fox News.

The problem with Fox News is that people care about Fox News. What I hope to prove here is that it isn’t necessary or useful to do so. They are a constituency whose currency has been devalued by a deliberately constricted field of political viewpoints. In economic terms, the Fox dollar has crashed and it’s time to divest.

The partisan perspective at Fox is not so much a slant as it is a vertical incline. They themselves make little attempt to disclaim their bias. The network adopted its slogan, “Fair and Balanced,” not to signal a practice of evenly weighted reporting, but to indicate their intention to counter a news media that they believed was predominantly liberal. Fox News’ president and chief executive officer, Roger Ailes, even admitted that, “Anybody who says bias does not exist is either lying or stupid.” Not wishing to be cast as either, I’ll take Mr. Ailes at his word and concede that Fox News is biased.

Any evaluation of the social or political impact of that bias is, or course, dependent on the composition of the viewing audience. It would be safe to say that if Sean Hannity broadcast his program into a convention of the Feminist Union Members Against Global Warming, his words would have negligible influence. Obviously, that crowd would be less than receptive to Hannity’s factless fatuousnous. However, he would be equally as ineffectual before an audience of the Pro-life Caucus of the National Rifle Association. While he would be well received, it’s impossible to persuade people to adopt a point of view that they already hold. Consequently, his appearance would produce a net gain of nothing. And the same is true for any Democrat who hopes to profit from appearing on Fox News.

Let’s take a look at the make-up of Fox’s audience. One of the more foreboding characteristics of this group is that they appear to be more loyal to Fox than to Republicans or conservatism. This is a malady that I previously described in The Cult Of Foxonality. Here are three surveys that paint a consistent picture of Fox viewers as a devout congregation of true believers, incapable of critical thought.

  • The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press just completed a study that shows that Republicans are more likely to find fault with the media than non-Republicans. But Republicans for whom Fox is their primary source of news, the number is even higher.
  • World Public Opinion conducted a study in 2005 that proved that Fox viewers were significantly more likely to have misperceptions about the war in Iraq. And viewers who paid more attention were even more misinformed.
  • The Mellman Group’s research revealed that Fox viewers supported George Bush over John Kerry by 88% to 7%. Only Republicans were more united in supporting Bush. Conservatives, white evangelical Christians, gun owners, and supporters of the Iraq war all gave Bush fewer votes than did regular Fox News viewers.

What is there in that assembly that holds value for politicians or pundits of the progressive stripe, save for disdain and abuse? The potential for comrades or converts is so small as to be virtually nonexistent. It is long past time for Democrats to recognize this simple fact and resolve to stop allowing themselves to be used for target practice by disingenuous pseudo-journalists whose purpose is to defame and defeat them in politics and public opinion.

The Democrats that recently declined to participate in a Fox-sponsored primary debate proved that there are no discernible repercussions for exhibiting such moral fortitude.
 

The sole consequence of their defiance was that the agents of Fox set about to disparage them – again. But Fox would have gone on the attack even if they had agreed to participate. Observe the sample of fairness and balance in the video here, and ask yourself whether John Edwards would be justified in shunning Fox News.

So if going on Fox News can’t help Democrats, and staying off can’t hurt them, why is there still a debate about the future course of action? Here’s why…..

Fox News touts itself as the #1 cable news network. On the surface, that’s a plausibly accurate assertion that creates the illusion that an appearance on Fox is potentially advantageous. But, as shown above, it is not.

The other cable news networks, and even the broadcast and newspaper outfits, are intimidated by Fox’s perceived girth. Apparently this turns them into raging imbeciles who conclude that the way to compete with Fox is by emulating them. This behavior is emblematic of an industry that thrives on plagiarism whether it be inspired by a hit movie, a sitcom, or a pop tune. But you cannot beat Fox by copying it. Fans of Fox’s brand of sludge know good slime when they are wallowing in it and they will not settle for cheap imitations.

To make matters worse, competing networks have misunderstood the nature of Fox’s success and are, thus, copying the wrong components. It is not conservatism that draws viewers to Fox – It is conflict. Fox’s strategy was to dress up news as entertainment, employing a formula that includes drama, humor, sentimentality, suspense, sex, and visual and aural cacophony. All the elements of a good, escapist movie-of-the-week. And entertainment has always been a better ratings magnet than news. However…

The ratings story is a fraud. By accepting the premise of an all-powerful Fox Dynasty, everyone from their competitors to their critics to their guests, and even their hosts, are falling prey to a myth. While Fox is indeed the leader in average audience share, when measured by cumulative audience, CNN still beats Fox by delivering more unique viewers (see more here and here). Additionally, the relative performance of cable news is still far below that of its broadcast cousins. Even SpongeBob SquarePants has a bigger audience than Fox’s #1 show, the O’Reilly Factor.

So there goes the only remaining weapon in Fox’s arsenal. It should now be clear that Fox is neither a gateway to valuable audience exposure, nor a hospitable port for wayward Democrats. The way is now clear to steer wide of Fox News altogether. This new course can lead to a number of considerable benefits.

The O’Reilly Interview 101

Ask direct yes or no questions where one answer is clearly reprehensible and the other is totally meaningless, and bully your guest into responding.
“Do you want the U.S. to lose in Iraq? Well, do you?”
Create an association with an unpopular (preferably mischaracterized) opinion with the broadest attribution possible.
“Do you agree with Harry Belafonte, and the rest of the liberal establishment, that Venezuela should take over America?”
Never concede on substance, even if your arguments are demonstrably false.
“Saddam Hussein did too meet with Osama Bin Laden at Michael Moore’s compound in Libya – Twice.”
Employ ad hominims liberally.
“Why should anyone listen to a radical, Kool-Aid drinking, far-left loon like you?”
Shout louder than your guests and interrupt frequently, especially when they are making a good point.
[Inspired by KimChi]

Stop the Masochism
First and foremost, it would put an end to the unnecessary submission to assaults from disreputable smearcasters with demonstrably hostile intentions. Bill O’Reilly is the premium model for such encounters. It is impossible to win a debate with him because he doesn’t care about winning. He is only concerned with generating the sort of heat that fuels his ego and his ratings. He only books three types of guests: Those who agree with him; those he can dominate; and those he can exploit. Don’t be one of them.

The Sinking of Fox
The loss of Democrats as foils would transform the character of Fox’s conflict-driven programming, resulting in less controversy and, hence, lower ratings. Viewers would quickly become bored with repeated appearances by Fred Barnes, Michelle Malkin, Dick Morris, and Geraldo Rivera. Minus the shoutfests, and the potential for on-air meltdowns, there is no reason to watch Fox. Neil Cavuto is already whining about his inability book A-list Democrats, and O’Reilly has made it a staple of his program to lambaste no-shows as cowards. That’s a desperation move on his part because he knows he can’t force guests into his inquisitor’s lair. When the entertainment value of Fox disappears, so will its audience, its ratings, and its cache in the media.

Deprive Fox of Bragging Rights
One of the most galling traits of Fox personalities is the way they use their ratings to validate their disinformation agenda. But even if the ratings story weren’t a myth as described above, they still have a flawed argument. McDonald’s is the #1 restaurant in America. I don’t think that anyone interprets that to mean that they have the best food. What they have is the cheapest crap that is loaded with filler and seasoning to appeal to the largest number of consumers with the least sophisticated taste (Hey, that’s a pretty good description of Fox News). Absent their ratings victories, however, they can’t even make this flawed argument.

Affirm Fox’s Lack of Credibility
The mere act of not showing up sends a message that Fox is not deserving or reputable. By sequestering Fox they will be left to themselves and their minions to dispense their McNews. It will make it that much more obvious to observe how they are attempting to denigrate their ideological opponents and to manipulate popular opinion.

Encourage More Responsible Journalism
By using discretion when formulating a media strategy, Democrats can strike a blow in favor of a more honest and independent press. It does not further the goals of ethical journalism to accommodate deceitful practitioners. Conversely, it does advance such goals to purposefully engage media who adhere to higher standards. What’s bad for Fox is good for journalism.

Rupert Murdoch and his rightist platform for propaganda must not be further appeased. All previous efforts to abate the influence of Fox News have failed because they generally reserved a place for Fox in the effort. This has to stop. It’s time to go cold turkey.

Starve The Beast
The solution is obvious. Democrats and progressives have got to swear off Fox News. They must decline all interviews. They must stay off of that tainted air. They must avoid the Stuttering Jesse’s (Watters, O’Reilly’s producer) that are resorting to ambush interviews. They must continue to refuse to participate in Foxic events like debates or forums. And if they find themselves trapped in an appearance from which they cannot escape, they must be certain to pepper their remarks with the truth about Fox. Let the audience know that this network is degrading public discourse and leading viewers astray. And don’t let the bullies steer the dialog.

Progressive politicians and pundits must be called upon to heed this advice. It is more than just a request. It is an obligation. Every time one of our representatives appears on Fox, they are setting back our agenda. They are not just wasting a little time trying to confront the enemy in its lair. They are literally causing harm to the efforts of the rest of us who are fervently struggling to repair and improve our country. Anyone in our political provinces who betrays our mission by succumbing to the Fox siren should be firmly scolded and educated as to the damage they are inflicting.

I propose that we have a routine response to the weak and the fraternizers. If you should spot one of them across enemy lines, send them a link to this article with this introduction:

Please stop hurting our cause by appearing on Fox News. Rupert Murdoch and his media megaphone is openly hostile to our agenda and our representatives. They will only use your appearance to distort your message and derail our mission. Studies have proven that their audience is unreceptive, and even antagonistic, to us. Your appearance will be rewarded more with ridicule than respect.

I therefore request that you refrain from such appearances in order that you not do further damage to the goals we share by helping to strengthen the foremost advocate of our defeat.

If we can build a united front against the lies and insults that are the daily repast on Fox, we can also start to reform the broader media landscape that is bewitched by Fox’s aura. And it is long past time that we break this sorcerer’s spell.

See also the update: Starve The Beast: Appetite For Distortion


C-SPAN: As Fair And Balanced As Fox News?

According to C-SPAN’s website, the network is…

“…a private, non-profit company, created in 1979 by the cable television industry as a public service. Our mission is to provide public access to the political process. C-SPAN receives no government funding; operations are funded by fees paid by cable and satellite affiliates who carry C-SPAN programming.”

That sounds like a pretty even-handed organization that is well suited to serve the public interest. But a little digging beneath the surface tells a different story. For instance, the cable and satellite affiliates that fund the network’s operations are predominately assets of the largest media and Telco corporations in the world. Companies like AT&T and Time Warner. It would be naive to presume that they have no agenda to promote.

In 2005, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) conducted a study that showed the network…

“…skewing rightward, favoring Republican and right-of-center interview subjects by considerable margins over Democratic and left-of-center guests. The study also found that women, people of color and public interest viewpoints were substantially underrepresented.”

For a recent example of the network’s bias, take a look a the schedule this week for coverage of two partisan political events. In Chicago, the YearlyKos conference for Democratic bloggers and activists was held August 2-5. The conservative Young America’s Foundation held their National Conservative Student Conference from July 30 – August 3, in Washington, DC. Here is a chart of C-SPAN’s coverage of these events (from their calendar):

Program Title # Airings
YearlyKos Conference Programs:
Media & 2006 Campaign 4
Political Issues & Current Events 2
Young Americas Foundation Conference Programs:
Campaign 2008 2
U.S. Healthcare System 3
Energy Independence 2
Using the New Media 2
Future of the Young Conservative Movement 2
Origins of Planned Parenthood 1

The tally so far is 2 YearlyKos programs with a combined total of 6 airings. That’s compared to 6 Young Americas programs with a combined total of 12 airings. So the conservative conference got twice as many time slots for 3 times as many panels as the progressive conference. The only way this can be described as fair and balanced is if C-SPAN uses the same twisted dictionary as Fox News.

Another recent example of bias is the interview with Kevin Leffler, director of the two year old crockumentary “‘Shooting Michael Moore.” For some reason C-SPAN felt compelled to give a platform to this undistinguished and outdated film but has not bothered to host the filmmakers responsible for the just-released “No End in Sight.”

Feel free to let C-SPAN’s Viewer Services know that you would like for them to schedule progressive events and guest bookings with at least the same frequency as they do for conservative programs. Or is that too much to ask the stepchild of Time Warner and AT&T?


Pearl Jam Censored At Lollapalooza By AT&T

If we really needed proof that the Big Telcos are lying through their teeth when they celebrate themselves as defenders of free speech and open access, we couldn’t do better than this. AT&T, the sole provider for the webcast of Pearl Jam’s performance at Lollapalooza, and noted opponent of Network Neutrality, cut out politically charged portions of the band’s performance. I’ll let them tell it via their website:

After concluding our Sunday night show at Lollapalooza, fans informed us that portions of that performance were missing and may have been censored by AT&T during the “Blue Room” Live Lollapalooza Webcast.

When asked about the missing performance, AT&T informed Lollapalooza that portions of the show were in fact missing from the webcast, and that their content monitor had made a mistake in cutting them.

During the performance of “Daughter” the following lyrics were sung to the tune of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall” but were cut from the webcast:

  • “George Bush, leave this world alone.” (the second time it was sung); and
  • “George Bush find yourself another home.”

This, of course, troubles us as artists but also as citizens concerned with the issue of censorship and the increasingly consolidated control of the media.

AT&T’s actions strike at the heart of the public’s concerns over the power that corporations have when it comes to determining what the public sees and hears through communications media.

Aspects of censorship, consolidation, and preferential treatment of the internet are now being debated under the umbrella of “NetNeutrality.” Check out The Future of Music or Save the Internet for more information on this issue. [Ed: Save the Internet has clips of both versions of the song here]

Most telecommunications companies oppose “net neutrality” and argue that the public can trust them not to censor.

And if you can’t trust a giant, multinational, consolidated, communications conglomerate like Ma Bell, who can you trust? AT&T has shown that they cannot be relied upon to manage vital national resources like the Internet. They want to own it and constrain its use to the sole purpose of enriching themselves and shaping public opinion to their liking.


 
 
Don’t let them do it because, as Pearl Jam says…

This Is Not For You!
“And you dare say it belongs to you…to you…
This is not for you
This is not for you
This is not for you
Oh, never was for you…fuck you…”