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Friday, October 22, 2010

Clash of the Media Titans: Ethical Values

NPR has fired commentator and news analyst, Juan Williams. But the backlash for their public action has caused National Public Radio to be chastised by the conservatives in their audience.

Juan Williams, The Fox News Commentator admitted on TV to a prejudice and fear of muslim people. This action insulted muslims and inflamed irrational fears among the Fox viewers, which fails to positively inform the important debate about religious fundamentalism in America.

This is not the first time that Williams has caused controversy in his schizophrenic rolls on these two media networks. But his public firing has cause an unexpected emotional backlash from a vocal part of the audience, calling for an end to public funding for media, and accusations of political bias.

NPR's Ombudsman says that this "public relations nightmare" is not a case about 'free speech' or bigotry.

"Instead, this latest incident with Williams centers around a collision of values: NPR's values emphasizing fact-based, objective journalism versus the tendency in some parts of the news media, notably Fox News, to promote only one side of the ideological spectrum"

I wonder how Williams, an African-American and civil rights expert, would react if anther prominent journalist had said, "When I see a black man get on the train, I fear for my life." Juan Williams reportedly earns millions of dollars for his job on Fox, and has attacked NPR for the firing.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

ACLU Says Net Neutrality Necessary For Free Speech

"The ACLU has recently identified Network Neutrality a key free speech issue and said in a lengthy PDF report:
'Freedom of expression isn't worth much if the forums where people actually make use of it are not themselves free. And the Internet is without doubt the primary place where Americans exercise their right to free expression. It's a newspaper, an entertainment medium, a reference work, a therapist's office, a soapbox, a debating stand. It is the closest thing ever invented to a true "free market" of ideas.'
The report then goes on to argue that ISPs have incentive and capability of interfering with internet traffic. And not only that but the argument that it is only 'theoretical' are bogus given they list ten high profile cases of it actually happening. If the ACLU can successfully argue that Net Neutrality is a First Amendment Issue then it might not matter what businesses (who fall on either side of the issue) want the government to do."

Discuss this story at: slashdot

ACLU Says Net Neutrality Necessary For Free Speech

"The ACLU has recently identified Network Neutrality a key free speech issue and said in a lengthy PDF report: 'Freedom of expression isn't worth much if the forums where people actually make use of it are not themselves free. And the Internet is without doubt the primary place where Americans exercise their right to free expression.

It's a newspaper, an entertainment medium, a reference work, a therapist's office, a soapbox, a debating stand. It is the closest thing ever invented to a true "free market" of ideas.' The report then goes on to argue that ISPs have incentive and capability of interfering with internet traffic. And not only that but the argument that it is only 'theoretical' are bogus given they list ten high profile cases of it actually happening. If the ACLU can successfully argue that Net Neutrality is a First Amendment Issue then it might not matter what businesses (who fall on either side of the issue) want the government to do."

Discuss this story at: slashdot

Monday, October 11, 2010

Corporate Media: "The Revolution will be televised (for 30 seconds)"






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Monday, October 4, 2010

Waxman Compromise on Net Neutrality DOA

by Sylvia Moore of L.A. Media Reform

When word leaked a few days ago that House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman had drafted compromise legislation that would effectively neuter strong net neutrality rules, media reformers erupted in protest. Waxman has been a strong proponent of net neutrality, and had reaffirmed his support in a meeting with citizens and members of L.A. Media Reform and Free Press earlier this month. So the news came as a shock. Or perhaps it shouldn’t have been. Lobbyists from the telecommunications industry have literally been inundating members of Congress like flies swarming a piece of meat. I’m quite sure they were breathing down Waxman’s back.

Theories abound as to why Waxman decided to cut a deal with the telecoms – one possible reason being resolving the issue in the best way possible in case the GOP takes over the House in November. But, no matter. The Washington Post reported today that the GOP shot down the bill anyway, and Waxman is urging the Federal Communications Commission to reassert its authority over broadband. Waxman is still pinning his hopes on a bipartisan approach to this issue, but he realizes it probably ain’t likely.

The fight over keeping corporations from treating the Internet like their own personal fiefdom illustrates the sorry state of America’s electoral system. The fact that Waxman feels that he even has to compromise with a bunch of amoral profitmongers, who, I believe, wouldn’t hesitate to put Web users in digital straitjackets if that will pad their bottom line, shows that the needs of ordinary Americans count for less and less in Congress. If we Americans want different behavior from our political representatives, we’re going to have to support politicians who are going to work to take away corporations’ ability to meddle in our democracy.

I wonder if the Democratic Party leadership realizes how a free and open Internet is the only thing right now that is keeping the party competitive with the Republicans in the wake of Citizens United, the Supreme Court case that practically handed the electoral store to the monied interests. It was the blogosphere that enabled the Democrats to retake Congress in 2006, and it was the legions of small donors who used the Web to help put Barack Obama in the White House.

The corporate media cabal made up of network and cable television, print newspapers and talk radio simply does not put the progressive point of view on an even playing field with the conservative one. The Internet is the only place one can turn to for an alternative to the conventional, corporate-dominated Beltway thinking of the traditional media.