San Diego Media Justice Society

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Who Runs San Diego?

Who Runs San Diego? Introduction to a Series

By Eva Posner & Linda Perine /Democratic Woman’s Club
Relationships and money trails tell us who wields the power in our community.
It is hard to imagine, that in the 5th largest county in the United States, only a handful of people have any real influence on the day to day decisions that effect the lives of over 3 million people. But it’s true. And a lack of voter participation isn’t helping.
In both the February 2014 election to replace Bob Filner as Mayor of San Diego and in the June primary voter turnout was abysmally low. Overall voting turnout in the County in June was an anemic 27.2%, but many precincts registered in the single digits.
Pundits and analysts give many reasons for the lack of engagement: voter fatigue, uninspiring candidates, disillusionment surrounding the Filner debacle, and the lack of a culture of voting in areas with a large immigrant influence. We are told that working two (maybe three) jobs with transportation issues, childcare and other deterrents make it difficult to get to the polls. And indeed, all these causes had some influence on the undeniable “none of the above” message from the electorate.
But we think low propensity voters are saying something other than “it’s too hard”. (Particularly when vote by mail is an option.) We think it is something far more alarming: People don’t vote because they believe it simply does not matter who gets elected. They are not uninformed, culturally challenged civic slackers. They are realistic, maybe fatalistic, graduates of a school of particularly hard knocks.
It is way past time that we as people who believe in a government of, by and for the people acknowledge that we have a problem that is not going to be resolved by get out the vote platitudes and self-affirming mantras based in wishful thinking.
Our democracy is badly broken, nationally and right here at home in San Diego.
We all know it. We can sense it. We can see the symptoms of our sickly system. And we are tired of it. But instead of shrugging it off, we at the Democratic Woman’s Club want to start a robust, critical, and well-past-due conversation on how to fix it.
Step one in solving a problem is admitting you have one. Check.
Step two is a lot more complicated, and often painful. You have to identify the problem. Describe it. Find the root causes. In order to fight, you have to know your enemy.
There’s a story in San Diego that hasn’t been told. It’s one of abuse of power and a lack of accountability that has drowned out the voice of the people. It’s the story of a shadow government– one that you don’t get to vote for—that makes decisions every day that affect you, your family, and your community. It’s a story of leaders who put their personal ambitions over the interests of the people they represent. It’s a story that should make all county residents very angry.
This matters. It matters because the power of our democracy has been handed to a select few who do not have our interests at heart. More importantly, it matters because we can fix this, and return the power where it belongs: with us.
“Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.” Political observers and writers from around the county have joined forces with Democratic Woman’s Club of San Diego County to start asking some tough questions about “Who Runs San Diego?”
Who are the people who make the decisions for the rest of us? How do they make their money? How do they take our money? Who are the winners and losers? And how do we level the playing field?
Here is a preview of the different segments we will cover:
Media- The fourth branch of government. The bridge between you and your community. These people should be holding leaders accountable and giving you the information you need to make decisions in your daily life. There aren’t very many media outlets in San Diego County. Many, if not most of them, are owned by a very small number of people. Do you see how this could be a problem?
Republican Surrogates- You don’t hear much out of the San Diego County Republican Party. Most of the right’s political direction and funding come from surrogates like the Lincoln Club, Chamber of Commerce, and San Diego County Taxpayers Association. It will be interesting to explore the relationships between these organizations, their donors, and the leadership of our government.
Tourism- Tourism is one of the three leading economic drivers in San Diego. This creates some problems, among them a preponderance of low-income jobs, a focus on appearance vs. reality, the use of public funds for private gain. There are extraordinarily large expenditures of taxpayer dollars that may not benefit the taxpayers as much as it benefits sports franchises and hotel owners. It’s your money. Aren’t you just a little curious?
“Nonprofits”- Downtown Partnership, Civic San Diego, the San Diego Foundation, and the Economic Development Corporation all have substantial influence. Some have quasi-governmental authority with virtually no accountability. These mixed use entities are home to some of the most obvious revolving door cronyism: power brokers who govern your community and then use the policies they create to make money.
We will also have segments on boards and commissions, developers, hi-tech, academia, lobbyists and others that wield undue influence over who gets what in San Diego.
We are excited to go on this journey. It is a necessary step in repairing our broken democracy. It is high time we find out who really runs San Diego so that we know where to take the fight. It’s time to take the power back.
Please join us. Articles will appear every Wednesday in the San Diego Free Press.
If you have any thoughts, insights, or suggestions please contact us atinfo@dwc-sd.org
The Democratic Woman’s Club mission is to promote Democratic Party principles including equality of opportunity, a level playing field, and fair and equal treatment for all.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Reminder - We Are Media

Back in 1983, approximately 50 corporations controlled the vast majority of all news media in the United States. Today, ownership of the news media has been concentrated in the hands of just six incredibly powerful media corporations. These corporate behemoths control most of what we watch, hear and read every single day. They own television networks, cable channels, movie studios, newspapers, magazines, publishing houses, music labels and even many of our favorite websites.
Sadly, most Americans don’t even stop to think about who is feeding them the endless hours of news and entertainment that they constantly ingest. Most Americans don’t really seem to care about who owns the media. But they should. The truth is that each of us is deeply influenced by the messages that are constantly being pounded into our heads by the mainstream media. The average American watches 153 hours of television a month. In fact, most Americans begin to feel physically uncomfortable if they go too long without watching or listening to something. Sadly, most Americans have become absolutely addicted to news and entertainment and the ownership of all that news and entertainment that we crave is being concentrated in fewer and fewer hands each year.
The six corporations that collectively control U.S. media today are Time Warner, Walt Disney, Viacom, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., CBS Corporation and NBC Universal. Together, the “big six” absolutely dominate news and entertainment in the United States. But even those areas of the media that the “big six” do not completely control are becoming increasingly concentrated. For example, Clear Channel now owns over 1000 radio stations across the United States. Companies like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft are increasingly dominating the Internet.
But it is the “big six” that are the biggest concerns. When you control what Americans watch, hear and read you gain a great deal of control over what they think. They don’t call it “programming” for nothing.
Back in 1983 it was bad enough that about 50 corporations dominated U.S. media. But since that time, power over the media has rapidly become concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer people….
In 1983, fifty corporations dominated most of every mass medium and the biggest media merger in history was a $340 million deal. … [I]n 1987, the fifty companies had shrunk to twenty-nine. … [I]n 1990, the twenty-nine had shrunk to twenty three. … [I]n 1997, the biggest firms numbered ten and involved the $19 billion Disney-ABC deal, at the time the biggest media merger ever. … [In 2000] AOL Time Warner’s $350 billion merged corporation [was] more than 1,000 times larger [than the biggest deal of 1983].

Today, six colossal media giants tower over all the rest. Much of the information in the chart below comes from mediaowners.com. The chart below reveals only a small fraction of the media outlets that these six behemoths actually own….
Time Warner
  • Home Box Office (HBO)
  • Time Inc.
  • Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.
  • Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
  • CW Network (partial ownership)
  • TMZ
  • New Line Cinema
  • Time Warner Cable
  • Cinemax
  • Cartoon Network
  • TBS
  • TNT
  • America Online
  • MapQuest
  • Moviefone
  • Castle Rock
  • Sports Illustrated
  • Fortune
  • Marie Claire
  • People Magazine
Walt Disney
  • ABC Television Network
  • Disney Publishing
  • ESPN Inc.
  • Disney Channel
  • SOAPnet
  • A&E
  • Lifetime
  • Buena Vista Home Entertainment
  • Buena Vista Theatrical Productions
  • Buena Vista Records
  • Disney Records
  • Hollywood Records
  • Miramax Films
  • Touchstone Pictures
  • Walt Disney Pictures
  • Pixar Animation Studios
  • Buena Vista Games
  • Hyperion Books
Viacom
  • Paramount Pictures
  • Paramount Home Entertainment
  • Black Entertainment Television (BET)
  • Comedy Central
  • Country Music Television (CMT)
  • Logo
  • MTV
  • MTV Canada
  • MTV2
  • Nick Magazine
  • Nick at Nite
  • Nick Jr.
  • Nickelodeon
  • Noggin
  • Spike TV
  • The Movie Channel
  • TV Land
  • VH1
News Corporation
  • Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
  • Fox Television Stations
  • The New York Post
  • Fox Searchlight Pictures
  • Beliefnet
  • Fox Business Network
  • Fox Kids Europe
  • Fox News Channel
  • Fox Sports Net
  • Fox Television Network
  • FX
  • My Network TV
  • MySpace
  • News Limited News
  • Phoenix InfoNews Channel
  • Phoenix Movies Channel
  • Sky PerfecTV
  • Speed Channel
  • STAR TV India
  • STAR TV Taiwan
  • STAR World
  • Times Higher Education Supplement Magazine
  • Times Literary Supplement Magazine
  • Times of London
  • 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
  • 20th Century Fox International
  • 20th Century Fox Studios
  • 20th Century Fox Television
  • BSkyB
  • DIRECTV
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • Fox Broadcasting Company
  • Fox Interactive Media
  • FOXTEL
  • HarperCollins Publishers
  • The National Geographic Channel
  • National Rugby League
  • News Interactive
  • News Outdoor
  • Radio Veronica
  • ReganBooks
  • Sky Italia
  • Sky Radio Denmark
  • Sky Radio Germany
  • Sky Radio Netherlands
  • STAR
  • Zondervan
CBS Corporation
  • CBS News
  • CBS Sports
  • CBS Television Network
  • CNET
  • Showtime
  • TV.com
  • CBS Radio Inc. (130 stations)
  • CBS Consumer Products
  • CBS Outdoor
  • CW Network (50% ownership)
  • Infinity Broadcasting
  • Simon & Schuster (Pocket Books, Scribner)
  • Westwood One Radio Network
NBC Universal
  • Bravo
  • CNBC
  • NBC News
  • MSNBC
  • NBC Sports
  • NBC Television Network
  • Oxygen
  • SciFi Magazine
  • Syfy (Sci Fi Channel)
  • Telemundo
  • USA Network
  • Weather Channel
  • Focus Features
  • NBC Universal Television Distribution
  • NBC Universal Television Studio
  • Paxson Communications (partial ownership)
  • Trio
  • Universal Parks & Resorts
  • Universal Pictures
  • Universal Studio Home Video

Media Consolidation Infographic

These gigantic media corporations do not exist to objectively tell the truth to the American people. Rather, the primary purpose of their existence is to make money.
These gigantic media corporations are not going to do anything to threaten their relationships with their biggest advertisers (such as the largest pharmaceutical companies that literally spend billions on advertising), and one way or another these gigantic media corporations are always going to express the ideological viewpoints of their owners.
Fortunately, an increasing number of Americans are starting to wake up and are realizing that the mainstream media should not be trusted. According to a new poll just released by Gallup, the number of Americans that have little to no trust in the mainstream media (57%) is at an all-time high.
That is one reason why we have seen the alternative media experience such rapid growth over the past few years. The mainstream media has been losing credibility at a staggering rate, and Americans are starting to look elsewhere for the truth about what is really going on.
Do you think that anyone in the mainstream news would actually tell you that the Federal Reserve is bad for America or that we are facing a horrific derivatives bubble that could destroy the entire worldfinancial system? Do you think that anyone in the mainstream media would actually tell you the truth about the de-industrialization of America or the truth about the voracious greed of Goldman Sachs?
Sure there are a few courageous reporters in the mainstream media that manage to slip a few stories past their corporate bosses from time to time, but in general there is a very clear understanding that there are simply certain things that you just do not say in the mainstream news.
But Americans are becoming increasingly hungry for the truth, and they are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the dumbed down pablum that is passing as “hard hitting news” these days.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Good Journalism is a dying art

As the exploding crisis in Iraq spotlights once again the tragic record of American policy in the Middle East, Bill speaks with investigative journalist Charles Lewis, whose new book, “935 Lies” details the many government falsehoods that have led us into the current nightmare. A complicit partner, he says, is a media intent on preserving the status quo and never offending the ruling elite.
investigative journalist Charles Lewis, whose new book, 935 Lies: The Future of Truth and the Decline of America’s Moral Integrity

Sunday, June 22, 2014

About the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund

About the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund

The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund is a public interest legal organization that brings a unique and cutting edge approach dedicated to the defense of human and civil rights secured by law, the protection of free speech and dissent, and the elimination of prejudice and discrimination. Among the PCJF cases are constitutional law, civil rights, women's rights, economic justice matters and Freedom of Information Act cases.
Founded by Carl Messineo and Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, who the Washington Post has called “the constitutional sheriffs for a new protest generation,” the PCJF’s work includes landmark constitutional rights litigation, often concentrated in the areas of free speech, assembly or other protected political organizing activity. The PCJF’s litigation program works alongside an equally important programmatic emphasis on education and outreach.
The PCJF’s hard-hitting investigative work and transparency program has forced the disclosure of thousands of government documents about secret and illegal surveillance programs resulting in groundbreaking analysis and exposés. This work has revealed the government’s use of anti-terrorism agencies and funding against peaceful political protest in America.

This can't be happening ...

Department of Homeland Security Brands ThisCantBeHappening! a ‘Threat’

Sunday, June 15, 2014

U.S. Attempt to 'License' Free Speech

A New Report on Media Credentialing Practices in the United States
The Digital Media Law Project is pleased to present a new report in conjunction with Journalist's Resource, Who Gets a Press Pass? Media Credentialing Practices in the United States.
Media credentials are an essential tool for covering restricted events and places in the United States, but inconsistencies and gaps in existing standards for the issuance of credentials have created substantial confusion as to which journalists are entitled to special access. Who Gets a Press Pass? presents a first-of-its-kind analysis of this complex environment, surveying different legal regimes for media credentials throughout the country as well as the actual experiences of more than 1,300 journalists who have sought credentials from federal, state, local, and private organizations. The survey reveals a diverse environment, but one where certain categories of journalists have a significant advantage over others in obtaining credentials.
Who Gets a Press Pass? is a report of the Media Credentialing Working Group, including theDigital Media Law ProjectJournalist's ResourceFree Press, the National Press Photographers Association, the Investigative News Network, and the Nieman Journalism Lab. These organizations are deeply concerned about the effect of credentialing systems on all members of the journalism world, including both employees of journalism organizations and those who work independently.
It is our hope that this report will help those studying and practicing in the new online environment for journalism to better understand this new world. You can read the executive summary and access the full text of the report here, and read our press release about this report here.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

A few links to Public Data

Ever want to know how much your Mayor is paid? Try this http://publicpay.ca.gov/

It is often difficult to find the information you need to demonstrate an argument or solve a problem. The Open San Diego Flashlight was an attempt to shine some light on the public data available and make it palatable to the general public. We need more such access to the information necessary for democracy. Use Digital Media Law as a resource.

More data links at: https://delicious.com/opensandiegodata
(use RSS feed to capture in database)