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Cindy Walsh vs Maryland Board of Elections
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A free media is one that reports news that is fair and balanced and in the public's interest. What we have in our mainstream media is reporting by the powers-that-be. That doesn't work when the Democratic Party, once the party of the people, has leadership that is corporate.
In Maryland, Johns Hopkins Corporation has usurped most public media in the state. Through WYPR it has several affiliates across the state and Hopkins controls all content. Hopkins is a neo-conservative institution directly involved with Trans Pacific Trade Pact (TPP), NSA and spying, drone warfare, and private military contractors. This is who controls most of public media in Maryland.
Now that 2014 primary elections are in swing WYPR has decided to end my ability to comment and erased all of my previous posts that have a labor and justice stance on issues. It refuses to allow my campaign air time-----public media being the 501c3 source for all elective candidates to share their platforms. So, the only candidates getting airtime on 'public' media are neo-liberals-----Clinton global corporate pols.
This is illegal and it should have everyone shouting against this capture of public media and our elections. The fact that neo-liberal candidates are given airtime to make issue statements that are mostly false but a political justice organization that writes factually on issues is blocked-------means we have no free and fair elections. PLEASE START BUILDING COMMUNITY POLITICAL ACTION GROUPS TO REBUILD OUR PUBLIC STRUCTURE FOR POLITICAL DISCUSSION!
Chomsky: An Ignorant Public Is the Real Kind of Security Our Govt. Is After
by Noam Chomsky
A leading principle of international relations theory is that the state’s highest priority is to ensure security. As Cold War strategist George F. Kennan formulated the standard view, government is created “to assure order and justice internally and to provide for the common defense.”
The proposition seems plausible, almost self-evident, until we look more closely and ask: Security for whom? For the general population? For state power itself? For dominant domestic constituencies?
Depending on what we mean, the credibility of the proposition ranges from negligible to very high.
Security for state power is at the high extreme, as illustrated by the efforts that states exert to protect themselves from the scrutiny of their own populations.
In an interview on German TV, Edward J. Snowden said that his “breaking point” was “seeing Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, directly lie under oath to Congress” by denying the existence of a domestic spying program conducted by the National Security Agency.
Snowden elaborated that “The public had a right to know about these programs. The public had a right to know that which the government is doing in its name, and that which the government is doing against the public.”
The same could be justly said by Daniel Ellsberg, Chelsea Manning and other courageous figures who acted on the same democratic principle.
The government stance is quite different: The public doesn’t have the right to know because security thus is undermined – severely so, as officials assert.
There are several good reasons to be skeptical about such a response. The first is that it’s almost completely predictable: When a government’s act is exposed, the government reflexively pleads security. The predictable response therefore carries little information.
A second reason for skepticism is the nature of the evidence presented. International relations scholar John Mearsheimer writes that “The Obama administration, not surprisingly, initially claimed that the NSA’s spying played a key role in thwarting 54 terrorist plots against the United States, implying it violated the Fourth Amendment for good reason.
“This was a lie, however. Gen. Keith Alexander, the NSA director, eventually admitted to Congress that he could claim only one success, and that involved catching a Somali immigrant and three cohorts living in San Diego who had sent $8,500 to a terrorist group in Somalia.”
A similar conclusion was reached by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, established by the government to investigate the NSA programs and therefore granted extensive access to classified materials and to security officials.
There is, of course, a sense in which security is threatened by public awareness – namely, security of state power from exposure.
The basic insight was expressed well by the Harvard political scientist Samuel P. Huntington: “The architects of power in the United States must create a force that can be felt but not seen. Power remains strong when it remains in the dark; exposed to the sunlight it begins to evaporate.”
In the United States as elsewhere, the architects of power understand that very well. Those who have worked through the huge mass of declassified documents in, for example, the official State Department history “Foreign Relations of the United States,” can hardly fail to notice how frequently it is security of state power from the domestic public that is a prime concern, not national security in any meaningful sense.
Often the attempt to maintain secrecy is motivated by the need to guarantee the security of powerful domestic sectors. One persistent example is the mislabeled “free trade agreements” – mislabeled because they radically violate free trade principles and are substantially not about trade at all, but rather about investor rights.
These instruments are regularly negotiated in secret, like the current Trans-Pacific Partnership – not entirely in secret, of course. They aren’t secret from the hundreds of corporate lobbyists and lawyers who are writing the detailed provisions, with an impact revealed by the few parts that have reached the public through WikiLeaks.
As the economist Joseph E. Stiglitz reasonably concludes, with the U.S. Trade Representative’s office “representing corporate interests,” not those of the public, “The likelihood that what emerges from the coming talks will serve ordinary Americans’ interests is low; the outlook for ordinary citizens in other countries is even bleaker.”
Corporate-sector security is a regular concern of government policies – which is hardly surprising, given their role in formulating the policies in the first place.
In contrast, there is substantial evidence that the security of the domestic population – “national security” as the term is supposed to be understood – is not a high priority for state policy.
For example, President Obama’s drone-driven global assassination program, by far the world’s greatest terrorist campaign, is also a terror-generating campaign. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan until he was relieved of duty, spoke of “insurgent math”: For every innocent person you kill, you create 10 new enemies.
This concept of “innocent person” tells us how far we’ve progressed in the last 800 years, since the Magna Carta, which established the principle of presumption of innocence that was once thought to be the foundation of Anglo-American law.
Today, the word “guilty” means “targeted for assassination by Obama,” and “innocent” means “not yet accorded that status.”
The Brookings Institution just published “The Thistle and the Drone,” a highly praised anthropological study of tribal societies by Akbar Ahmed, subtitled “How America’s War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islam.”
This global war pressures repressive central governments to undertake assaults against Washington’s tribal enemies. The war, Ahmed warns, may drive some tribes “to extinction” – with severe costs to the societies themselves, as seen now in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. And ultimately to Americans.
Tribal cultures, Ahmed points out, are based on honor and revenge: “Every act of violence in these tribal societies provokes a counterattack: the harder the attacks on the tribesmen, the more vicious and bloody the counterattacks.”
The terror targeting may hit home. In the British journal International Affairs, David Hastings Dunn outlines how increasingly sophisticated drones are a perfect weapon for terrorist groups. Drones are cheap, easily acquired and “possess many qualities which, when combined, make them potentially the ideal means for terrorist attack in the 21st century,” Dunn explains.
Sen. Adlai Stevenson III, referring to his many years of service on the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, writes that “Cyber surveillance and meta data collection are part of the continuing reaction to 9/11, with few if any terrorists to show for it and near universal condemnation. The U.S. is widely perceived as waging war against Islam, against Shiites as well as Sunnis, on the ground, with drones, and by proxy in Palestine, from the Persian Gulf to Central Asia. Germany and Brazil resent our intrusions, and what have they wrought?”
The answer is that they have wrought a growing terror threat as well as international isolation.
The drone assassination campaigns are one device by which state policy knowingly endangers security. The same is true of murderous special-forces operations. And of the invasion of Iraq, which sharply increased terror in the West, confirming the predictions of British and American intelligence.
These acts of aggression were, again, a matter of little concern to planners, who are guided by altogether different concepts of security. Even instant destruction by nuclear weapons has never ranked high for state authorities – a topic for discussion in the next column.
Neo-liberals and neo-cons are deliberately trying to blur the lines as to what is progressive and media outlets and pundits that are progressive. Let's be clear....neo-liberalism is the opposite of progressive so all media that is neo-liberal will not be progressive. MSNBC is neo-liberal with maybe one outlet that provides real progressive discussion.
OBAMA IS TO THE RIGHT OF GEORGE BUSH IN HIS COMMITMENT TO GLOBAL CORPORATIONS AND MARKETS!
So, when anyone suggests his policies are progressive or populist, that is propaganda. We see here where the NYTimes tries to make the Obama budget progressive. Remember, there would be no national debt if Obama and neo-liberals in Congress simply used Rule of Law to bring massive corporate fraud back to government coffers.
IF A MEDIA OUTLET DOES NOT MAKE THIS THE FOCUS OF ITS COVERAGE....IT IS NEO-LIBERAL.
A Protest in the Capital and a Media Blackout
By Peter Hart
Imagine a protest in a nation's capital that results in the arrests of hundreds of peaceful demonstrators, attempting to draw attention to an active political controversy. If we're to believe anti-government activists in Venezuela, the fact that the television did not cover an event is proof that the government is stifling the press.
But this demonstration happened in Washington, DC, not Caracas. The hundreds of protesters were arrested in front of the White House, where they were urging the Obama administration to reject the climate-wrecking Keystone XL pipeline. And according to a search of the Nexis news database, the protests hardly made a sound in the corporate media.
There was a brief mention on CNN (3/3/14) : "Hundreds of protesters were arrested outside of the White House Sunday in a massive demonstration against the Keystone oil pipeline." The same was true on ABC's Good Morning America (3/3/14), where viewers were told that there was
a chaotic scene at the White House Sunday as hundreds of demonstrators chained themselves to the fence and spread across Pennsylvania Avenue, refusing to move. They were protesting the proposed Keystone oil pipeline extension, claiming that it would damage the environment.
The hometown Washington Post appears to have skipped the protest for the print edition, running a short piece (3/2/14) on the Post Local blog; the New York Times also ran a Web-only piece (3/2/14).
One of the more thorough reports on the protest came from the independent media; Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman (3/3/14) explained that the protest "could be the largest youth sit-in on the environment in a generation," and interviewed a climate activist.
As we've pointed out many times before, some protests are evidently much more important than others.
Once Again: Progressive Budget's Media Blackout
By Peter Hart
A rare sight: actual TV coverage of the Progressive Caucus budget (MSNBC, 3/12/14)
What if lawmakers put forward a federal budget plan to tax big financial institutions, enact a healthcare public option and increase spending to put millions of Americans to work on badly needed infrastructure projects?
They did. You just didn't read or hear much about it.
We've pointed out in the past (Extra!, 6/11) that budget plans put forward by congressional Republicans–especially GOP "wonk" Paul Ryan–get a lot of press attention. But the other "side" of the debate over the federal budget is the one put forth by the congressional Progressive Caucus. And its budgets (which one could argue are more closely aligned with public opinion) tend to be either ignored by journalists (FAIR Blog, 3/27/12) or ridiculed–like when Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank wrote that calling it "The People's Budget" was painfully reminiscent of "other socialist undertakings" (FAIR Blog, 4/14/11).
This time around the media dynamic wasn't different. The Progressive Caucus' "Better Off" budget was released on March 12. And, according to a search of the Nexis news database, it was hardly picked up anywhere.
David Dayen wrote a column for Al Jazeera America (3/12/14) explaining what the budget sought to do. And he noted this phenomenon:
There's no shortage of news coverage when Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and his Republican colleagues in the House release their own version of a national budget, despite the fact that the document has little chance of being passed. But when the 70 liberal Democrats of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) do the same, it passes largely unnoticed in the media–thereby limiting the scope of the debate presented to the US public.
The budget was also covered by Cole Stangler at In These Times (3/13/14) and Pat Garofalo at US News (3/12/14). It was covered on at least one MSNBC show, Now With Alex Wagner (3/12/14), where the host declared:
Will it pass? No. But should it be discussed? Most certainly.
When Barack Obama released his budget, a New York Times headline (3/4/14) dubbed it a "Populist Wish List." While they don't mean that as a compliment, that might more accurately apply to the Better Off budget–which the Times didn't cover at all.
US Plummets In Press Freedom Rankings
The Huffington Post | by Jack Mirkinson
Posted: 02/12/2014 7:09 am EST Updated: 02/12/2014 9:59 am EST Huffington Post
America Press Freedom Index Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index US Press Freedom Index Media News
The United States plunged 14 places in the annual Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders on Wednesday. The group said it was "one of the most significant declines" in press freedom it had tracked during 2013.
The US in now ranked 46th on the RWB list, in between Romania and Haiti. It was ranked 32nd in the 2013 index. (Finland tops the entire list.)
The press freedom group was blunt in its explanation. It cited increased efforts to track down whistleblowers and the sources of leaks, mentioning Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden in particular. It also condemned the Justice Department's surveillance of reporters, and the continued leak battle facing New York Times journalist James Risen.
RWB also criticized the United Kingdom for what it said were its "disgraceful" threats against the Guardian newspaper, and for its detention of Glenn Greenwald's partner, David Miranda.
"Both the US and UK authorities seem obsessed with hunting down whistleblowers instead of adopting legislation to rein in abusive surveillance practices that negate privacy, a democratic value cherished in both countries," the group wrote.
The decision by RWB to rank the UK 13 places higher than the US, at 33, drew a great deal of skepticism from many in the media:
The US also came under fire from the Committee to Protect Journalists, which, in its annual Attacks on the Press report, said that press freedom had "dramatically deteriorated" in 2013.
The US was 20th on the list just a few years ago. It fell 27 places in the 2012 index thanks to the harassment and arrest of journalists covering Occupy Wall Street, before climbing 15 places in 2013.
Read the full RWB report here.
The Dark Ages Have Descended Anew No Truth Need Apply
by Daniel Patrick Welch / March 8th, 2014
The near total blackout of truth in the Western media makes this one of the most dangerous times in history, with coordinated “news” outlets acting collectively as a sort of Ministry of Government Lies. To try to escape this stranglehold, it is necessary to reach outside the echo chamber of massaged and approved opinion in which we are basted day in and day out. It’s not that difficult. I am perhaps one of the most hapless technophobes I know–my ten year old students have every new gadget possible, and their parents have even more. Yet somehow they can’t escape the echo chamber. I have absolutely no difficulty, with a few clicks and searches, tapping a vast range of contacts outside the bubble. But, true to form, there are border collies and tut-tutters who can’t help but try to usher us back on script. I have been lectured to “think about who I’m selling myself too…” and warned about “lending my credibility to oppressive regimes.” I am so tired of bullshit like this.
We have to shout this truth from every rooftop as loudly as we possibly can; we have no choice. Those who think we have the luxury of choice are deluded. Besides, I lend my support to the oppressive regime in Washington every day, with every tax dollar I pay, with every fake smile I cede to authority, every stone I do not throw… every time I go into a store with my wife and she gets followed by a detective and I get asked if I’m the manager. I could have half the store under my belt and it still would not change this reality, and speaking out–wherever and whenever I can–lessens this nauseating feeling and my smoldering rage just enough to keep getting up in the morning. I am sick of condescending lectures from finger-wagging white leftists who take pride in their imaginary ‘choices,’ instead of speaking out *forcefully* and without compromise about the evil that is this neocon war machine.
What the US has done in Ukraine is beyond criminal, and it is being painted the other way around by every media outlet except those outside of the western bubble. *That* is what I’m ‘thinking about.’ When our families are the ones being followed, targeted, persecuted, jailed and killed for nothing at all or merely because the color of their skin makes them ‘threatening’ to the established order, then I have no patience for the father-knows-best tone and the patronizing ‘advice.’ I assume that my comrades and colleagues who have ‘lent their credibility’ in this way are subject to similar opprobrium. Well, if it’s a fifth column, then it’s one I’m glad to be a part of. I have to offer my thanks to all who support my speaking out. It isn’t an easy choice, and it has costs. If it’s ‘selling,’ then it’s a type of transaction I don’t recognize.
Moreover, there is a bizarre trait, it seems especially on the Left, of privileging source over content–or truth. And it seems particularly poignant in the US and the ‘west.’ Are we lazy or so naive to expect that we can flip a channel, click a button and get The Truth? It is often used as an attempt to bully one into staying quiet; and it further obviates the need for any further digging. If the devil told you 2 + 2 = 4, then you are free to believe that it is, say, 5, 7…8… whatever. Turns it all a bit too religious for my blood. By contrast, I remember being in Africa and in Central America, where people would routinely pick up 3 or 4 newspapers on the way home. This one is the government organ, this one is the party opposition… In other words, the truth you find is not one shiny penny all laid out for you; anything that promises that should be suspect from the git go. This is especially dangerous with the western press being as polluted as it is, with myriad outlets masquerading as different ‘sources’ when they are all parroting the same line. For the life of me I can’t imagine why this doesn’t make people feel claustrophobic, like gasping for air…
And air hunger is a good analogy, leaving many of us with the feeling that we are drowning in a sea of lies. Every kernel of truth is like oxygen when it seems that the Dark Ages have descended anew, with Orwell begging from his grave for the freedom to say 2 + 2 = 4. It is a world turned upside down, a vertiginous snow globe where dark is light and yes is no. A fascist junta that seized power by force and enacted a coup against an elected government is ‘legitimate’ and a plebiscite is ‘a violation of international law.’ Where are the clowns? They have been onstage for quite awhile, and it takes some courage to keep sending a signal through the noise. It seems as if this demon spawn nightmare born of Kafka and Orwell combined will never end. I hope to keep doing so until I draw my last breath, and I am happy and proud to share the snorkel with anyone who needs fresh air.
Writer, singer, linguist and activist Daniel Patrick Welch lives and writes in Salem, Massachusetts, with his wife, Julia Nambalirwa-Lugudde. Together they run The Greenhouse School. Read other articles by Daniel Patrick, or visit Daniel Patrick's website.
This is a result of Snowden's exposure. What this will do is stop the power of an expanding US global corporate rule. What we need is Rule of Law to downsize them further by bringing all that fraud back to the people and government coffers. DO YOU HEAR YOUR POL SHOUTING THIS? IF NOT, THEY ARE A NEO-LIBERAL!
Merkel to Step Up Call for EU Internet: Videowww.bloomberg.comBloomberg's David Tweed reports on German Chancellor Angela Merkel's plans to step up calls for an EU Internet. He speaks on Bloomberg Television's "Countdown." (Source: Bloomberg)
THIS IS A BLOG
Regarding consolidation of US communications and US Justice Department ignoring anti-trust/monopoly and Rule of Law:
PLEASE TAKE A LOOK AT THE DIFFERENCE AT HOW MAIN STREAM MEDIA PORTRAY THIS ISSUE AND THEN INDEPENDENT JOURNALISTS.....
I have spoken before about US Constitutional protections and laws that forbid monopoly control of markets and I made the point that Obama ran saying he would stop market consolidation and then, from the start his administration has been only about market consolidation and all of it is illegal. Government cannot suspend Rule of Law so these merger deals that clearly break all anti-trust/monopoly laws are NULL AND VOID. All that has to be done is elect a President or Governor who takes all this to courts and reverse this assault on our Constitutional rights. EASY PEASY!!! As you see below, communications and the internet will be downsized as the tech industry becomes nationalized. Europe has had one monopoly/anti-trust lawsuit after another as they exercise Rule of Law against US global corporations.
To be sure, it is a good thing for US citizens as our Constitutional rights are now being protected by other nations not wanting to be part of the US global economy neo-liberals created.
Everyone knows there is no competition in the internet and mobile communications industry. IT IS ONE BIG PRICE-FIXING FIASCO. If one has tried companies like Cricket for example, supposedly the competition, the service is so abysmal and it is really no alternative. People leave as soon as they sign up because of this. Each time FED free money and Obama and Congress' 'job creating' stimulus money was used for global merger and acquisition....competition was killed......free markets die......and all of this is illegal. THAT IS NEO-LIBERALS FOR YOU!
PLEASE DO NOT ALLOW THE DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL PARTY CHOOSE YOUR CANDIDATES AS IT IS CONTROLLED BY NEO-LIBERALS! RUN AND VOTE FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE!
Let's look at what Obama and neo-liberals are doing to the communications market. I shared that the US is now ranked with former communist block nations in lack of free press. This is because the same global corporations expanding illegally own all the US media, including corporate NPR/APM. I spoke about Obama's FCC's failure to declare the internet a utility to keep it net neutral but rather left it as a commerce fight in court knowing the Supreme Court would not protect the public from that direction. Now, we see Time Warner/Comcast boldly moving towards a massive consolidation of the cable/internet media that makes the US industry completely captured and they do it with no thought of being stopped by the fact it is all illegal.
TPP ENDS US SOVEREIGNTY AND RE-WRITES THE US CONSTITUTION SAYING THAT CITIZENS AND LAWS OF A NATION CANNOT IMPEDE CORPORATE PROFIT AND WILL NOT BE ENFORCED AND NEW LAW WRITTEN BY A GLOBAL CORPORATE TRIBUNAL CANNOT BE CHANGED BY A FORMERLY SOVEREIGN NATION TIED TO THESE TREATIES. So, what Obama and Congress are doing along with state governors and state attorneys general are pretending TPP is already in place and this is why no US Constitutional laws protecting the public are being enforced. RULE OF LAW IS SUSPENDED BECAUSE NEO-LIBERALS CONSIDER TPP ALREADY IN PLACE......ONLY.....NONE OF THAT IS TRUE!
Let's look at the news on US communications and illegal mergers and acquisitions.
This is a result of Snowden's exposure. What this will do is stop the power of an expanding US global corporate rule. What we need is Rule of Law to downsize them further by bringing all that fraud back to the people and government coffers. DO YOU HEAR YOUR POL SHOUTING THIS? IF NOT, THEY ARE A NEO-LIBERAL!
AMERICANS ARE NOW DEPENDING ON THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS TO SAVE US FROM GLOBAL CORPORATE CAPTURE. WE WIN WHEN OTHER NATIONS SAY NO TO US EXPANSIONISM. YOU CANNOT HAVE A DEMOCRACY WITH NEO-LIBERALISM AND YOUR POLS KNOW IT!
Merkel to Step Up Call for EU Internet: Video
Bloomberg's David Tweed reports on German Chancellor Angela Merkel's plans to step up calls for an EU Internet. He speaks on Bloomberg Television's "Countdown." (Source: Bloomberg)
AREN'T MONOPOLIES ILLEGAL ASKS THIS REPORT FROM DEMOCRACY NOW! Of course they are illegal unless you live in an alternate universe where the US Constitution has already been re-written and US sovereignty and citizenship rights have been eliminated!!!!! OH YEAH....NEO-LIBERALS THINK TPP IS ALREADY IN PLACE!
ALL OF MARYLAND'S POLS ARE NEO-LIBERALS AND WE NEED TO RUN AND VOTE FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE TO REVERSE THIS TOTALITARIAN TAKEOVER OF OUR GOVERNMENT!
Democracy Now! Former FCC Commissioner Warns About Comcast ...
Former FCC Commissioner Warns About Comcast-Time Warner Merger. ... Aren't monopolies illegal? I do not see how it is possible to have this merger approved.
Comcast has announced plans to buy Time Warner Cable at a cost of more than $45 billion in stock. The takeover would allow Comcast to provide cable service to a third of American households and give it a virtual monopoly in 19 of the 20 largest media markets. While Comcast has claimed the deal will be "pro-consumer," the group Free Press warns the deal would be a "disaster" for consumers. Analysts predict Comcast will launch a lobbying blitz similar to when it won approval to take over NBCUniversal in 2011. Comcast has already hired FCC Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker, who signed off on its NBC deal. We speak to another former FCC commissioner, Michael Copps. He now leads the Media and Democracy Reform Initiative at Common Cause.
Below you see two articles speaking about how bad this deal will be for the US public. The first is an independent journalist who actually shouts that all of this is against the law and filled with corruption as Obama's FCC is filled with people tied to and benefiting from the merger as was Bush. When you appoint people with ties to the industry to be the face of a public industry.....you are killing the public interest mission of that agency and that is of course what Clinton and Obama do as neo-liberals in office. This is what Maryland does as the Governor and Mayor of Baltimore fill commissions with corporate appointments that work against public interest. The second is a main stream corporate media report that simply talks about how people will not like this! THIS IS WHAT PROPAGANDA LOOKS LIKE.
IT'S JUST LIKE SAYING PEOPLE ARE ANGRY ABOUT TPP WITHOUT SAYING IT IS ILLEGAL AND A COUP AGAINST THE US CONSTITUTION FOR GOODNESS SAKE.
THE US GOVERNMENT SERVES IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST PER THE US CONSTITUTION AND SO ALL OF THIS IS ILLEGAL. ALL OF THESE DEALS DONE WHILE THE GOVERNMENT ACTS ILLEGALLY ARE NULL AND VOID.
Think about who will be able to access cable and public media airwaves owned by Comcast as they jack prices to what the market can bare. Remember, this is now a global market and people overseas pay more than you and I want. It's safe to say that most US citizens will not be able to access any quality stations if there are any left.
'Since this is an antitrust question, the Antitrust Division of the Justice Dept. will be involved in approval. The Federal Trade Commission has enforcement oversight as well'.
"This kind of a merger is going to give them a third of the Internet market in the U.S. and they can charge even more," he said.
(Updated) Top Obama antitrust officials tied to Time-Warner-merger-seeking Comcast
2/14/2014 10:00am by Gaius Publius America Blog
The Republic Report is back. The hard-hitting corruption reporters we’ve featured here before (for example, here and here) have uncovered another set of interesting connections, this time involving the proposed merger between cable giants Comcast and Time Warner and some of the Obama administration officials involved in its approval.
Lee Fang writes:
The news that cable and news giant Comcast has struck a deal to purchase Time Warner, another large cable business, has raised concerns over market concentration. Observers note that the combined company, even if it divests some holdings, would create monopoly-like conditions for the industry.
Dinosaurs eating dinosaurs, while the small animals watch. Normally this kind of market concentration — as if that market wasn’t already too concentrated — needs to be greased with money and lots of it. Mostly the money comes after the fact. For example:
Many are predicting a lobbying blitz by both companies to pressure governments officials to accept the deal. When Comcast purchased NBC Universal, lobbyists were hired to ensure the merger went through. Critics charge that the payments went beyond the traditional influence industry: after signing off on the Comcast-NBC deal, FCC Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker was hired by Comcast for an undisclosed amount.
We wrote about the hiring of Ms. Baker by NBC after signing off on the Comcast-NBC merger here, along with a similar sweet deal for former FCC Commissioner Michael Powell. We also noted that:
Commissioner Baker is a Republican and married to the son of James Baker (yep, the daughter-in-law). And of course, Michael Powell is Colin Powell’s son.
So Commissioner Baker approved the Comcast deal, then went to Comcast for unspecified cash and prizes. Powell did many good deeds (for the industry), then became head of the industry lobbying association for a seven-figure salary.
But that was then. Who will line up to qualify for the big money now? If nothing else, these mergers make nice opportunities. Since they don’t take their bribes (sorry, rewards for public service) upfront, we won’t know who was bought (sorry, voluntarily kissed with cash) until afterward. But we can look at candidates. Lee Fang has found two.
Since this is an antitrust question, the Antitrust Division of the Justice Dept. will be involved in approval. The Federal Trade Commission has enforcement oversight as well. Names to watch, according to Mr. Fang, are these (emphasis mine):
The recently installed head of the Department of Justice Antitrust Division, William Baer, was a lawyer representing GE and NBC in their push for the merger with Comcast. …
Maureen Ohlhausen, one of four commissioners on the Federal Trade Commission, which oversees antitrust enforcement, provided legal counsel for Comcast as an attorney just before joining the FTC. …
Talk about Comcast stacking the deck. There’s more on each of these public servants in the Republic Report article, with similar and interesting surprises about both. Please do check it out.
Welcome back, Republic Report. We look forward to more. If you like corruption news, it’s a good site to put into regular rotation.
UPDATE: The RR article now includes information about FTC Commissioner Joshua Wright as well. Stay tuned. I’m willing to bet there’s more here. After all, there are only so many industry entities left in the world for FCC commissioners to have ties to.
Do you get any sense that your government is acting illegally and suspends Rule of Law from this article? The public is worried we are told. A US government agency cannot openly allow Rule of Law be suspended......there is no selective enforcement of law in a Rule of Law and Equal Protection nation.
Comcast-Time Warner merger worries, outrages consumers
FILE - In this July 30, 2008 file photo illustration, a silhouetted coaxial cable is photographed with the Comcast Corp. logo in the background in Philadelphia.Comcast Corp. announced Thursday that it is buying Time Warner Cable Inc. for $45.2 billion in stock. The deal combines two of the nation's top pay TV and Internet service companies and makes Comcast, which also owns NBCUniversal, a dominant force in both creating and delivering entertainment to U.S. homes. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, file)
The Associated Press
Friday, February 14, 2014 at 7:07 am
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Comcast and Time Warner Cable regularly rank at the bottom of the pay TV industry when it comes to customer satisfaction. So it didn't take long for customers to vent frustrations online over high prices, spotty service and fears of a monopoly after Comcast announced its $45 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable.
Outrage that these two big cable companies would join hands to form an even more massive entity spurred a cascade of sarcastic tweets and satirical memes: the killer Death Star battle station from "Star Wars," the evil Eye of Sauron from "The Lord of the Rings," and a "South Park" snippet where character Eric Cartman and friends are tormented by cable employees before a logo curiously similar to Time Warner Cable's own.
Consumers weren't buying the assertion of Comcast CEO Brian Roberts that the combination, which will have 30 million TV and Internet subscribers, would be "pro-consumer and pro-competitive."
Using a contorted logic, the two companies are expected to argue to anti-trust regulators that the fact they don't directly compete against each other in many parts of America shows the deal won't reduce competition and therefore should be approved.
But it is that lack of overlap, and lack of choice, which is at the root of customer frustration, according America Customer Satisfaction Index managing director David VanAmburg. Cable companies that purposely don't compete against each other to provide fast Internet or reliable TV service can get away with not fully meeting customer needs in markets where they dominate.
"It's almost subconsciously built into their business model that they don't have to worry so much you're going to leave for a competitor," said VanAmburg. "It's definitely a big factor."
Skepticism about the benefits of the deal to consumers was visible in many of the tweets that surfaced after the takeover announcement.
"I love that we're headed back to the era of the monopoly," tweeted Chris Buecheler. "'Eh, I'm sure it'll work out this time!'"
"A Time Warner/Comcast merger would create a combined customer service department of well over 10 employees," tweeted MrScottFletcher.
"The sale of Time Warner Cable to Comcast will be completed between 8am and 1pm depending on if the CEO is late at another appointment," read a tweet by William Gallahue that made fun of service appointment windows that seem designed to cause inconvenience.
Michael Pinto, a 48-year-old Time Warner Cable customer in Brooklyn, N.Y., said a lot of people in the city are trapped into whatever service happens to run into their building that the landlord allows. He worries that a lot of creativity could be stifled if control of Internet and TV service is consolidated into too few hands.
"I suppose it's good news for shareholders. You get a bigger, growing company with smaller cost structures," said Pinto, a website designer and chief creative officer at Very Memorable Inc. "But I think as a democracy — not just a democracy in politics but in a creative sense — I wonder what new channels are we missing out on?"
Simon Eldridge, a 36-year-old media technology consultant in San Jose, Calif., is concerned about everything from the combined company raising prices to throttling back the streaming speeds of online video companies such as Netflix.
The British native is a Comcast Internet customer, mainly because no other provider in his area will give him the speed he needs to work from home. He pays about $80 a month for a download speed of 50 Megabits per second. He says that's about one-third pricier than in the U.K., where there is more competition.
"This kind of a merger is going to give them a third of the Internet market in the U.S. and they can charge even more," he said.
He's read up about their reputation for poor service, although Comcast has been "pretty decent" to him. Eldridge is hopeful that the companies fulfill pledges they made Thursday to boost Internet speeds and reliability for consumers if the deal is approved.
"Hopefully some good will come out of it rather than the worst side of both," he said.
THIS IS A BLOG!!!
This basically says that the US is now longer in the rankings of first world or democracy.....
Published on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 by Common Dreams
'No Country for Brave Journalists': US Plummets in Press Freedom Rankings
Latest survey from Reporters Without Borders show 'home of First Amendment' now home to assaults on free press - Jon Queally, staff writer (Map: Reports Without Borders)It may be the 'country of the First Amendment,' but the United States once again received an abysmal ranking from Reporters Without Borders, an international press monitoring and journalism advocacy group, in its annual review of how well nations protect the rights of individual journalists and overall press freedoms.
According to the 2014 World Press Freedom Index, the U.S. rank fell from 32nd overall in 2013 to 46th this year, a drop of 13 places which the group said was was a reflection of the detrimental effect on journalism caused by the Obama administration's "hunt for leaks and whistleblowers"—which was highlighted by the fallout over NSA disclosures made possible by Edward Snowden.
Attacks on journalists and individuals working to inform the public of government misdeeds, said the group's report, has chilled dissent and journalism by issuing a de facto "warning to those thinking of satisfying a public interest need for information about the imperial prerogatives assumed by the world’s leading power. "
From the report:
In the United States, 9/11 spawned a major conflict between the imperatives of national security and the principles of the constitution’s First Amendment. This amendment enshrines every person’s right to inform and be informed. But the heritage of the 1776 constitution was shaken to its foundations during George W. Bush’s two terms as president by the way journalists were harassed and even imprisoned for refusing to reveal their sources or surrender their files to federal judicial officials.
There has been little improvement in practice under Barack Obama. Rather than pursuing journalists, the emphasis has been on going after their sources, but often using the journalist to identify them. No fewer that eight individuals have been charged under the Espionage Act since Obama became president, compared with three during Bush’s two terms. While 2012 was in part the year of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, 2013 will be remember for the National Security Agency computer specialist Edward Snowden, who exposed the mass surveillance methods developed by the US intelligence agencies.
The whistleblower is the enemy. Hence the 35-year jail term imposed on Private Chelsea/Bradley Manning for being the big WikiLeaks source, an extremely long sentence but nonetheless small in comparison with the 105-year sentence requested for freelance journalist Barrett Brown in a hacking case. Amid an all-out hunt for leaks and sources, 2013 will also be the year of the Associated Press scandal, which came to light when the Department of Justice acknowledged that it had seized the news agency’s phone records.
Reflecting on the new rankings, Josh Stearns, director of press freedoms for the media reform group Free Press, said this:
The United States’ new press freedom ranking comes on the heels of a new and dangerous campaign against Glenn Greenwald and other journalists who have reported on the documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
In recent weeks, high-ranking members of the intelligence community and members of Congress have called NSA journalists “accomplices” to Snowden’s leaks, and accused them of trafficking in stolen goods. And as Trevor Timm of the Freedom of the Press Foundation points out, these comments are only the most recent in a long line of attacks.
In 2012, after a series of high-profile journalist arrests at Occupy protests, the United States dropped 27 places in Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index, landing in 47th place. The following year saw some progress as the U.S. climbed back up to 33rd place, but the last year has erased those gains.
The Reporters Without Borders study makes it clear that the struggles for freedom of expression and freedom of the press are global in scope, and deeply connected across borders. “Countries that pride themselves on being democracies and respecting the rule of law have not set an example,” the authors write.
Our press freedom ranking is important not just as a measure of the democratic health of our press, but also because hostility toward the press at home can legitimize threats to journalists abroad. We have to work in our communities and in Washington to fight for policies that protect all acts of journalism.
Published on Thursday, February 6, 2014 by Common Dreams
As TPP Opposition Soars, Corporate Media Blackout Deafening Opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership
—dubbed 'NAFTA on steroids'—is receiving unprecedented popular opposition and nearly no news coverage by major outlets - Jon Queally, staff writer Last week, more than 550 groups, representing tens of millions of individual members, signed a letter to members of Congress urging them to vote against a push by President Obama for 'fast track' authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a so-called "free trade" now under negotation between the U.S. and eleven other Pacific rim nations.
The week before that, another 50 groups launched an energized online campaign called StopFastTrack.com in order to kill the TPP agreement—dubbed "NAFTA on steroids"—that they say "threatens everything you care about: democracy, jobs, the environment, and the Internet."
But if you watch the evening cable or broadcast news shows, you might not know anything about the TPP—not what it is, not why Obama says it would be good for the country, and certainly not why these hundreds of public interest groups, environmentalists, economists, and labor organizations say trade agreements like this are the source of economic and labor woes, not the solution to them.
According to a new study by Media Matters, over the last sixth months the network evening news shows—including ABC, NBC, CBS, and PBS—have ignored the TPP almost completely.
After reviewing transcripts of CBS Evening News with Scott Pelly, ABC's World News with Diane Sawyer, and NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams from August 1, 2013 through January 31, 2014, Media Matters found no mention of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Not a single one.
The PBS Newshour did only slight better by having one guest mention the TPP on exactly one occassion when a representative for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace argued on the show "that approving the TPP would improve relations with Asian nations."
And the evening cable news shows did little better, with just one show on MSNBC--The Ed Show—offering any routine coverage of the issue while CNN mentioned the TPP only once during the six-month period, and FOX News making no mention of it at all.
Though the nations involved in the talks, as Media Matters notes, "account for nearly 40 percent of the world's GDP and 26 percent of the world's trade," it seems odd that the pending trade deal is receiving so little mainstream coverage even as the amount of opposition it's receiving is so widespread among those trying to promote a more democratic, progressive, and more visionary trade paradigm.
Then again, perhaps it's not odd at all.
Center for Media and Democracy and Center for American Progress are both Clinton neo-liberal organizations that try to capture all progressive dialog. Nation of Change is as well. PLEASE SHOUT OUT FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE TO LOOK FOR REAL PROGRESSIVE NEWS. Do not allow neo-liberals to capture all public voice as they are trying to do!
Center for American Progress Not, Time to Bury Clinton Legacy by MFlowers
THE CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS AIN’T PROGRESSIVE
DS Wright exposes the Center for American Progress this morning, for its deceptive efforts to convince progressives to send them money. They already get funded by Walmart, Bank of America, Citigroup, defense contractor Northrop Grumman, as well as insurance, pharmaceutical, auto and tech companies.
Wright concludes: “…the Center for American Progress has become anything but progressive. It is liberalwashing corporate agendas in exchange for cash and influence that it uses to empower its friends and allies to seek opportunities in the private and public sectors. CAP is not reforming Washington’s corrupt behaviors through progressive action, it is embracing them.”
Nobody stabbed the working class in the back more than Bill Clinton. He inserted the knife whining, “I feel your pain,” perhaps thinking he was fooling his victims with this deception.
It was Clinton who fulfilled Ronald Reagan’s free trade dream of NAFTA and GATT. No Republican could have accomplished what Clinton did in his sellouts. He deregulated media so that a few information giants could consolidate and ensure tighter propaganda control. He deregulated the banks, allowing the economy to be turned into a gambling casino by the banksters, risking working class homes, savings and jobs. Clinton threw poor children into the streets with his “welfare reform.”
But in the long run, perhaps his biggest accomplishment, on behalf of those who financed his political campaigns, was convincing the Democrats to take over traditional Republican issues, like “balancing the budget.”
Of course, nobody wants to owe money, so it is an easy sell to tell Americans we are going to balance the budget. But Republicans have never been serious about it, at least during my lifetime– it is an elaborate scam. Ask them to cut a nickel from what they call “defense” spending and they will almost certainly go into cardiac arrest. Ask them to raise taxes on the least-taxed among us, the super rich and transnational corporations, and again, you will need smelling salts with which to revive them.
It was Clinton who convinced the Democrats to take over the entire theme– lock stock and barrel. Have the Democrats put a bill together to stop any of the wars? Cut any of the thousand overseas bases? Seriously end some of the lucrative but useless weapons programs? No, no and no. Nothing that they will fall on their swords for, or for that matter even push to the House or Senate floor for a vote, including the about to be revealed extension of the occupation of Afghanistan.
The Democrats now are the Republicans. I don’t like it when people say “Republican light.” There’s no light about it– look at Obama, if anything he is Republican heavy. When Obama took office, the Republicans, war and banksters were at such a low in the public opinion polls that no Republican president could have gotten away with what Obama did– increase the Pentagon budget, increase the wars, increase the bankster bailouts, increase support for polluting energy companies, negotiate to cut social programs and all the rest of it. It took a Democrat to pull it off, on behalf of the ruling Forces of Greed who funded Clinton and Obama –Jack Balkwill
Time to bury the Clinton economic legacy
by Dean Baker
At the moment, no prominent politician in national politics is arguing the case for a government budget that could bring the economy anywhere near to full employment. This is tragic, since we are still down more than 8 million jobs from the economy’s prerecession growth path. Even if we sustained the relatively strong job growth of November, we would not return to full employment until 2020.
It is perhaps understandable that we don’t hear Republicans pushing for a budget to get the economy to full employment, but it should be surprising that even Democrats don’t push such an agenda. Much of the reason stems from a misreading of Bill Clinton–era economic policy and the tendency by those in top positions in the Democratic Party to perpetuate this misreading.
The story told by Democrats is that Clinton took the tough steps to bring down the budget deficit and balance the budget. He raised taxes and cut spending, even at the risk of alienating his base. The move toward a balanced budget caused the economy to boom, giving us the low unemployment and budget surpluses of the late 1990s.
In this story, everything went haywire when George W. Bush arrived in the White House and squandered the surplus with his big tax cuts. Making matters worse, he fought the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq without paying for them. The wars and tax cuts shifted the budget from large surpluses to large deficits, resulting in slower growth and eventually the financial crisis in 2008.
This story is fundamentally wrong, starting with the most basic point: The tax increases and spending cuts put in place by Clinton would not have balanced the budget, much less led to a large surplus. The Congressional Budget Office’s1996 projections for the year 2000, still showed a deficit in 2000 equal to 2.5 percent of GDP ($400 billion in today’s economy). These projections were made after all the Clinton-era tax increases and spending cuts were passed into law.
The reason we had a surplus of 2.5 percent of GDP in 2000 instead of a deficit was that the economy was propelled by a stock bubble. The bubble led to a boom in consumption, which caused the saving rate to hit a record low. There was also a surge in investment as overhyped dotcom companies were able to raise billions on the stock market even if it was entirely unclear how exactly they could make a profit.
Since the growth was driven by a bubble, after the bubble burst, the economy fell into recession from 2000 to 2002. Fortunately for the Clinton legacy, Bush was sitting in the White House when the effect of the market plunge hit the economy. While Clintonites like former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling condemn the tax cuts and unfunded wars as “blowing a hole in the budget,” in reality they provided much-needed stimulus to an economy that did not regain the jobs lost in the recession until January 2005.
While tax cuts for the rich and wars are inefficient ways to provide stimulus (and horrible policy if the wars are not necessary), larger deficits were exactly what was needed to boost the economy. The Fed was pretty much up against the zero lower bound — the point at which it cannot lower interests rates any further to stimulate the economy — with the federal funds rate at 1 percent from the summer of 2002 until the summer of 2004. This meant that there was little the Fed could have done in the form of conventional monetary policy to boost the economy had the government run smaller deficits.
If the dollar had been lower, it could have contained our ballooning trade deficit, but that would have required reversing another legacy of the Clinton era, the strong dollar. As a simple matter of accounting, there was no alternative to large deficits to bring the economy back to full employment, with the exception of another bubble.
There were certainly much better ways to generate jobs than the route chosen by Bush, but the problem was the use of the deficits, not the size of the deficits. However, the Clintonites chose to harp on the budget deficits as the root of all economic evil. For example, in an op-ed in May 2005 titled “Attention: Deficit disorder,” Rubin pronounced the budget deficit the “most pressing” problem facing the country. This was when the housing frenzy was reaching its peak.
This pattern persisted even after the collapse of the housing bubble put the economy in a situation similar to but far worse than the situation faced by Bush in 2001. Honesty would have required saying that until a lower dollar brought the trade deficit close to balance, it would be necessary to run large budget deficits to sustain demand. However, this would have meant disavowing the Clinton legacy.
That poses a problem, since so many of the top figures in Democratic circles have their service in the Clinton administration as the lead item on their resumes. They want to preserve the fiction that the prosperity of the late 1990s was due to deficit reduction rather than an unsustainable stock bubble.
As a result, there are few people with prominence in the national debate who are prepared to be honest about the economy. Needless to say, Republicans are not eager to acknowledge that larger budget deficits are necessary to boost demand. With top Democrats clinging to their fantasy of the Clinton glory days, we won’t hear talk about the need for larger deficits from them either.
Politicians love to repeat the canard that families have to eventually balance their budgets, therefore governments must also. This assertion makes about as much sense as claiming that the earth is flat because we can see the ground in front of us is level. Both are obviously wrong, but until the Democrats are prepared to reject the Clinton legacy on budget policy, we will be condemned to live in a world of flat-earth economics.
It is Senate neo-liberals pushing to have the definition of investigative journalism tied to corporate media employment. You have to get rid of all those investigative journalist fired in downsizing from plying their trade online.....uncensored by corporate filters! So, as Republicans try to keep journalism from shedding light on bad corporate activity by calling it a threat to national security, the neo-liberals are trying to tie journalism to corporate media.....same thing and both very bad for free press!
Saturday, December 14, 2013
Bill passed banning investigative journalism!
Is this bill the end to democracy?
These are some of the stipulations of a bill that was passed on December 6th to little fanfare in the U.S.:
Here are four disturbing ways the bill could be a democracy muzzler. It defines terrorism as imposing one’s opinions on others [...] According to Article 12, terrorism is partially defined as an activity that forces “political and other principles or opinions on the state or other people.” In other words, throw up a rowdy anti-government protest, and the judiciary can find a reason to lock you away. It criminalizes investigative journalism [...] Journalists can be prosecuted for “improperly accessing” classified documents or “conspiring” to leak them. Even asking an official to take a look at classified documents could constitute “conspiracy,” leading to up to five years in prison. “Instigating” the release of government secrets, meanwhile, carries up to 10 years in the dock. [...] Basically, anything can be a secret [...] administrators can make the opaque decisions to classify a document even if their work hardly relates to national security. That effectively allows them to hide any embarrassing piece of evidence, and then pursue the journalists and bloggers who make it public. [...] (Source)
This is a description of a bill that was passed, not in the U.S. but in Japan on December 6th.
Ostensibly its purpose is to prevent dissemination of news regarding the size and actual scope of the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster that threatens the west coast of the United States and the entire world.
For those who read the title of the article and thought that this was new legislation in the United States, however, therein lies the problem.
A problem because it would be completely within the realm of belief to think that at any time Congressional Democrats along with the White House could attempt to do the same to supress the myriad scandals and cover-up that have already taken place and that will take place in the future.
Mainstream media is no longer free press......it is bought and paid for by corporations. So, rather than hold power accountable they are now holding anybody that works against wealth and profit accountable.....Scott Pelley is the biggest of corporate propaganda machines but corporate American and National 'Public' Media is now a US CHAMBER OF COMMERCE PROPAGANDA MACHINE!
CBS’s 60 Minutes Does Propaganda Piece For NSA Educate! Media, NSA, NSA surveillance
By Staff, www.fair.org
December 16th, 2013
Powered by Translate 3One-sided report by ‘journalist’ who used to work for NSA, FBI and NYPD excludes agency critics Will 60 Minutes Cover the critics views? (Contact info below if you want to write them.) The National Security Agency has been the source of major controversy, thanks to the journalists writing critical stories based on files shared by whistleblower Edward Snowden. But the agency got a very different media reception from CBS correspondent John Miller, whose lengthy December 15 60 Minutes report looked more like PR than journalism.
Miller explained at the top of the segment: “Full disclosure, I once worked in the office of the Director of National Intelligence, where I saw firsthand how secretly the NSA operates.” (As with most “full disclosures,” this is hardly full; Miller has spent much of his career inside government, with roles ranging from serving as a spokesperson for the NYPD to directing public relations for the FBI.) [Miller is rumored to be leaving CBS to return to the NY Police Department]
The first part of the segment was based heavily on interviews with NSA director Keith Alexander–beginning with Alexander saying that the NSA is “not collecting everybody’s email, we’re not collecting everybody’s phone things.” This is at best questionable; the New York Times (8/8/13) reported that the NSA copies and sifts through most emails sent into or out of the country.
Miller followed up by noting that “there is a perception out there that the NSA is widely collecting the content of the phone calls of Americans.” But that is not what anyone has been reporting about the NSA; what critics are actually criticizing is the collection of metadata on phone calls, information on who people called and when (Guardian, 6/5/13). As posed, Miller’s question only gave Alexander a chance to look like he’s debunking an important myth about the agency.
Miller reported that Alexander “agreed to talk to us because he believes the NSA has not told its story well.” That feeling seemed to be shared by CBS as well–that the NSA’s real problem is ineffective public relations. In a Web-only video interviewwith Miller and the show’s producers, he says: “We’ve heard plenty from the critics. We’ve heard a lot from Edward Snowden.” Miller explained there was a “distinctive shortage” in getting the NSA’s side. So the need to hear the NSA director and to profile young NSA geniuses was more pressing than interviewing any of the agency’s many critics on camera.
It’s odd to suggest that the NSA hasn’t been given opportunities to rebut its critics. In fact, current and former NSA officials have been interviewed widely in the press and have testified before Congress. In Alexander’s case, he used to claim that NSA bulk phone records collection thwarted 50 terrorist plots; then he shifted that answer, and admitted that perhaps it was “one or possibly two” (FAIR Blog, 10/4/13). That record of misleading the public means that Alexander should face tough questions. But on 60 Minutes, Alexander was given time to allege that other people have gotten things wrong.
Some of the earliest reports (Guardian, 6/6/13;Washington Post, 6/6/13) based on the Snowden documents concerned PRISM, a program to tap into data centers of major private companies like Google andFacebook. On CBS, those reports were presented as false:
MILLER: One of the Snowden leaks involved the concept that NSA had tunneled into the foreign data centers of major US Internet providers. Did the leak describe it the right way?ALEXANDER: No, that’s not correct. We do target terrorist communications. And terrorists use communications from Google, fromYahoo, and from other service providers. So our objective is to collect those communications no matter where they are. But we’re not going into a facility or targeting Google as an entity, or Yahoo as an entity. But we will collect those communications of terrorists that flow on that network.
What Alexander offered here was a classic non-denial denial, suggesting the stories are incorrect but, as reporter Barton Gellman noted on Twitter (12/15/13), essentially confirming them. (To say that the NSA is not “targeting Google as an entity” does not mean that the agency is not collecting information on Google users.)
It was clear throughout that the 60 Minutes segment was intended to bolster the image of the agency. Miller told viewers that one agency meeting “is called the stand-up because no one sits down, which is almost a metaphor for the pace of daily life in the NSA operations center.”
Miller went on to explain that “while Edward Snowden’s leaks have been a disaster for the agency, the rest of the NSA’s mission has not slowed down.” The agency was eager to share success stories–like a sketchy story about a supposedly devastating computer virus plot (likely from China) that the NSA claims to have thwarted before it wreaked havoc on the American economy.
But computer security expert Robert Graham (Errata Security, 12/15/13) derided the CBS report as “gibberish.” If the CBS segment seemed like PR, maybe it’s because that’s how it started out.
In that Web-only video, CBS explained that NSA chief Alexander “made the call to invite us in. He’s fighting for his programs right now.” And the video went on to note that a team of minders followed the CBS team throughout, and that Alexander asked to take “time outs” if he wasn’t sure how to answer a given question. In the video, Miller said that he wanted to give the agency “a chance to make their case.”
MIller has a habit of doing this; just weeks ago, he got exclusive access to outgoing CIA deputy director Mike Morell, and his report was more boosterism than journalism (FAIR Blog, 10/29/13). Perhaps unsurprisingly, Miller is reportedly planning on going back through the revolving door and resuming government work, being eyed for a top intelligence or counterterrorism job with the NYPD (Huffington Post, 12/12/13).
Of the NSA report, Miller said he didn’t “want this to be a puff piece.” But by conducting softball interviews with agency officials and excluding the responses of their critics, that is exactly what CBS gave its viewers. ACTION: Please let 60 Minutes know that their December 15 report, based on exclusive access to National Security Agency officials and excluding critics of the agency, was more PR than journalism.
I want union members to read this account. Labor in Maryland is exploited the most anywhere and unions barely hold on in this state. This project happened as the economy was roaring from the massive corporate fraud that brought it down just a few years later. Private unions backing this step of government into corporate owner has made our government profit by exploiting workers....which is what has happened with public Hilton and Hyatt. Now, I know that labor in Maryland is so starved for work they are usually forced to back these jobs that end badly for the public. Time and again the AFL-CIO for Maryland apologizes for backing a policy that then shows no union jobs. WE HAVE TO STOP ALLOWING NEO-LIBERALS STARVING UNIONS OF JOBS TO MAKE THESE BAD DEALS----THEY ARE DOING IT ON PURPOSE.
Notice how a project that is a subsidy for the hotel chains Hilton and Hyatt have the news organization WBAL placing the entire blame on unions. These hotels were built right as everyone knew the economy was going to crash--- in 2007. O'Malley and Hilton/Hyatt knew that decade or more of depressed economy would not support these hotels and THAT IS WHY CITY HALL WAS BROUGHT IN TO SUBSIDIZE THESE HOTEL PROFITS!
Unions in Maryland spend more time walking in circles on picket lines because the labor policies are outsourcing and immigrant labor. THESE UNION LEADERS ARE BEING MADE DESPERATE FOR WORK AND SUPPORT THINGS THEY KNOW ARE NOT GOOD OVERALL!
Baltimore is home to the worst in media coverage as they work against labor and justice. WBAL slashes every news day with each stolen cell phone or broken car window and NEVER MENTIONS THAT JUST DOWN THE STREET BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN TAXPAYER MONEY IS BEING STOLEN BY CORPORATE INTERESTS! If you are going to give these kinds of reports then give the balance and history with it!
Do you know these union workers have to sign an agreement not to strike and that since being built labor laws are not enforced so that most workers union or not are seeing labor laws ignored?!
I-Team probes political benefit of city hotel to O'Malley Records: Those building the hotel helped O'Malley's gubernatorial nest egg
UPDATED 8:44 AM EST Nov 22, 2013
By Jayne Miller
The 2005 debate over building the Hilton Hotel at the Convention Center was controversial and heated. Critics argued against it, but O'Malley pushed it through. In doing so, campaign finance records showed it helped build his nest egg as he launched his run for governor.
"At that time he was a hero -- a big hero with us for doing that," said Ernie Grecco, the local leader of the AFL-CIO.
Because O'Malley pushed for the city to own and operate the hotel, the city could also call key shots, including having union labor build the hotel and union workers run it, Miller said. The union checks started flowing as the hotel deal neared approval.
In a three-week span in early summer 2005, O'Malley's campaign got a $4,000 donation from United Food and Commercial Workers, $1,000 from a plumbers and steamfitters union, $1,000 from the steelworkers' union and $500 from the ironworkers' union, financial records show.
O'Malley got an even bigger bonus with the message his hotel deal sent, Grecco said.
"When a politician does that for a couple different unions, the other unions see that -- the steelworkers, the machinists, AFSCME. If he's going to do that for organized labor, then they've got a pretty good chance," he said.
The health care workers union, Service Employees International, gave O'Malley $5,839 in 2005, the records show. Hotel and restaurant employees gave $2,000, communications workers gave $5,000, and the carpenters union gave $1,000.
Businesses involved in the hotel deal contributed, too. Colorado-based Hensel Phelps, which was part of a City Hall news conference in September 2005, was picked by the city to build the hotel. It beat out another bidder, both of which donated to O'Malley's campaign.
Losing bidder Faulkner USA donated $2,000 in 2005. Hensel Phelps and one of its executives each gave $4,000 -- the maximum allowed -- in June that year, records showed.
Checks also came from local companies that got part of the construction job, Miller reported. Four small companies donated a total of $11,000 to O'Malley's campaign, and $4,000 came from a company related to Ron Lipscomb, a contractor and developer who was former disgraced Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon's ex-boyfriend.
More donations rolled in from McGuire Woods, the law firm the city paid to oversee the sale of the bonds that paid for the hotel. From late November 2004 through mid-2006, the firm and one of its lawyers contributed $5,500 to O'Malley's campaign.
"It was a huge project for him," said Marta Mossburg, of the Maryland Public Policy Institute.
She is a critic of the hotel deal.
"He doesn't have to pay for this -- taxpayers do. So what he does is give this huge project to people who are going to vote for him and then bring more money into his campaign," she explained to Miller.
Before the hotel plan, O'Malley received no contributions from plumbers unions, according to campaign records. Since the deal, they have contributed nearly $39,000.
The governor denied the hotel provided any political benefit.
"I don't believe anyone would argue the reason for building that hotel had to do with trying to find a way to raise more campaign dollars," O'Malley told Miller recently. "Whatever contributions I have received are all public. They've long been public. They were public years ago when this hotel was built."
The 2005 contributions were actually unknown to the public that year, Miller reported. Due to the state's reporting schedule, nothing was disclosed until the following year, well after the hotel deal was debated and approved.
Corporate Media's Hidden Wave of Consolidation Wednesday, 23 October 2013 13:57 By Mike Ludwig, Truthout | Report
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Faye Steuer is a former psychology professor living near Charleston, South Carolina, who spent much of her career researching how violence on television affects children. Over the years, Steuer learned about the inner workings of the media business and stumbled upon what she believes to be an even bigger problem.
"As I did that, I became more and more aware of how the consolidation of media ownership was really having an impact on democracy, and that worried me even more than the impact of [TV] violence on children," Steuer tells Truthout.
A historic wave of corporate media consolidation is changing the landscape of America's most utilized news source - local TV news. Media reformers say the consolidation diminishes the public's access to information and, in turn, harms our democracy.
In the first eight months of 2013, 211 full-power broadcast stations changed hands, the highest number in a decade, according to a recent report by media watchdog group Free Press.
Click here to view a map of TV station consolidation across the country.
The companies driving the wave, such as Sinclair Broadcast Group, are not the household names of past consolidation waves, but they eagerly exploit regulatory loopholes and gain control much of what viewers see and hear on local news programs in small and medium-size local markets across the nation. As a result, media reformers say, newsrooms often are gutted to maximize profits, resulting in fewer journalists on the streets. In some cases, viewers end up watching duplicate news on different stations.
Consolidation Shell Game
In Steuer's home broadcast market of Charleston, Raycom Media owns the CBS affiliate station and produces news for the Fox affiliate. Steuer says viewers can watch the same news and even the same anchors on two stations.
The Cunningham Broadcast Corporation, a shell company used by Sinclair Broadcasting group to skirt Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules and gobble up local stations across the country, owns the Fox affiliate in Charleston that gets its news content from Raycom. Cunningham is headquartered in Sinclair's flagship station studios in Baltimore, according to Free Press.
Under Securities and Exchange Commission rules, the two companies, along with Sinclair's other shell companies, are considered the same because Sinclair "has the power to direct activities" that would most significantly impact the shell company's economic performance.
The FCC, however, does not see it that way.
Under FCC ownership rules, one company cannot own more than one TV station in a market with fewer than eight independent owners, and one party cannot own more than two of the top four major stations in a single market. To bypass these rules, companies such as Sinclair and Raycom set up shell companies to buy licenses while remaining under economic and editorial control of the parent company. The companies also use "local marketing agreements" to sell stations content produced in other newsrooms, allowing stations to gut newsrooms to maximize profits.
The media companies call such deals "outsourcing agreements" and "shared services agreements," but media reform activists simply refer to the collective process as "covert consolidation." Derek Turner, an analyst with Free Press, places much of the blame on the FCC, which has signaled to companies such as Sinclair that regulators would turn a blind eye to covert consolidation when it ignored key cases in the past.
"FCC has bought into this fiction, and that's why you see the current wave of consolidation," Turner says.
Sinclair is ranked at the top of what Free Press calls the "Big 20" list of TV station operators in the country, with 161 stations under its control and another deal in the works. In 2012, Sinclair raked in $1.5 billion of local advertising revenue. Sinclair did not respond to a request for comment from Truthout.
Raycom ranks fourth in the Big 20 with 56 stations under its control. In 2012, the company earned $683 million of local advertising revenue.
What Does Citizens United Have to Do With Media Consolidation?
Turner says FCC inaction is not the only factor driving the current media consolidation wave. The vicious attack ads that marred the 2012 elections pumped cash into the pockets of local TV station owners across the country, and Wall Street investors have taken notice.
The Supreme Court's 2010 ruling in Citizens United vs. Federal Elections Commission allowed outside spending groups such as Super PACs to raise and spend unlimited sums on political ads on TV. Ad sales are just starting to recover from the economic meltdown, so much of the funding for covert consolidation comes from records profits raked in by broadcasters during the 2012 election season.
Last year, local TV stations raked in nearly $3 billion of revenue from political ads, nearly doubling the total in 2008 and making 2012 the most lucrative year for political advertisements in history, according to Free Press data. From 1980 until 2000, local broadcasters brought in 1 percent to 2 percent of their revenue from political advertisements, but that number spiked to 10 percent in 2010 and 13 percent in 2012.
In addition to political ads, broadcasters are now boosting profit margins by charging cable and satellite companies "retransmission fees" to carry their channels. Broadcasters brought in $2.4 billion from the fees in 2012.
Turner says big broadcasting companies are not using these revenue increases to invest in newsrooms to provide important services on the public airwaves. Instead, the companies are using the money and exploiting legal loopholes to gain control of more local TV stations and position themselves to cash in on future elections and retransmission fees.
Reformers Push On
Back in the Charleston area, Sinclair is at it again. New reports suggest that Sinclair's long-term plan is to own both the Fox and ABC affiliates in the broadcast area. Meanwhile, Steuer and a small group of activists are supporting petitions to the FCC to stop the deals and raise awareness about media consolidation in their community.
"It's just an issue that gets hold of you," Steuer says. "You can't let it go, because if you let that go, you're letting democracy go."
Free Press and other media watchdog groups are now calling on Tom Wheeler, a former cable and wireless lobbyist who is expected to soon be confirmed as FCC chairman, to crack down on cover consolidation and close other loopholes that allow companies like Sinclair to gobble up large chunks of local television markets.
If your labor and justice leaders are not making the building of a real public media network they are not working for you and me. We have a complete capture of media in Maryland by corporate interests and need to take charge of the air waves and the printed news.
Here in Baltimore we have public access TV, we have a need for community newsletters that hit residence through the mail and hand distribution, and we are seeing openings in creating real PUBLIC media radio stations. PLEASE ENGAGE AND WORK TO BUILD THESE AVENUES FOR PUBLIC VOICE!
Community Radio Movement Prepares for Liftoff
Thursday, 29 August 2013 09:17
By Mike Ludwig, Truthout | News
Rahwa Habte wants to start a community radio station in near Seattle. Habte is an activist working for OneAmerica, a group that formed after 9/11 in response to hate crimes and discrimination against Arabs, Muslims and South Asians, and now advocates for immigrant and civil rights across the state of Washington. Habte and OneAmerica know that a radio station would give immigrants and refugees something commercial radio can't - the ability to strengthen their communities by having their own voices on the airwaves. But until this year, launching a community-run radio station in an urban area would have been nearly impossible to do without breaking the law.
Habte and OneAmerica plan to start a low-power FM radio station in SeaTac, a suburb of Seattle that is home to the city's airport as well as large populations of immigrants and refugees from around the world. Habte says the area is extremely diverse and many languages are spoken.
"Kind of like my own parents, [for] a lot of people, English is their second language. If folks know English at all, it’s very limited," Habte says of the communities in SeaTac. "Like my own parents, a lot of folks don't always receive traditional education in English or their own language."
Habte says that some members of immigrant and refugee communities don't have access to the Internet, and publishing fliers and bulletins is not effective when some folks can't read. Disseminating information about cultural events and social services, for example, can be a challenge for activists and community organizers, but Habte says that radio is the solution.
"Radio is a really easy access point for people to get information, and a lot of people are familiar with that technology," Habte says.
Now, for the first time in 13 years, OneAmerica and hundreds of other community groups across the country have the chance to start broadcasting from the bottom up.
On October 15, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will be taking applications for noncommercial, low-power FM radio stations in cities across the country.
For groups like One America, it's a one-time chance to get a spot on the dial and launch a radio station to serve local communities. For grass-roots radio activists, the FCC's licensing opportunity is the fruit of a decadelong struggle and the biggest chance in a generation for workers, women, people of color, LGBTQ communities, immigrants and progressives to own a chunk of the airwaves in a nation where corporate media rules the broadcasting landscape.
During the 1990s, grass-roots and community voices were pushed off the air by media consolidation. Under pressure from media reformers, the FCC launched low-power FM service for noncommercial use in 2000. Big media conglomerates turned to Congress and complained that small, low-power stations might interfere with their broadcast signals. Congress then passed legislation placing severe restrictions on low-power broadcasting that made it nearly impossible to launch a community radio station in urban areas, where many minority communities live and work. For years, radio remained in the hands of the few who had the money to buy up the airwaves and influence politicians.
"The reality is that with so few companies owning so many stations in such a consolidated media market, people really haven’t had any alternatives to what these few networks are offering," says Brandy Doyle, an organizer with the Prometheus Radio Project. "So today, we're interested in talking about the other kind of radio, how the base can be shaped and how communities can be strengthened from the bottom up, not the top down."
Truthout has followed the Prometheus Project since 2011, when the group and its allies won several crucial victories in the battle to free the nation's airwaves from corporate control after a decadelong campaign.
The group worked with several members of Congress to pass the Local Community Radio Act, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama in January 2011. The legislation put the FCC to the task of making space on the FM dial for community radio, reversing Congress’ previous moves in favor of the big media conglomerates.
Prometheus also helps nonprofits and community groups set up their radio stations, and Doyle says that about 6,000 people have contacted the group for information on applying with the FCC to set up a station. She expects the number of low-power, community-run radio stations in big cities to double or triple after the FCC takes applications in October.
"The breath and diversity of these groups is really amazing, and it shows the great potential for radio to be something more than just a megaphone for a few individual talk-show hosts," Doyle says.
Habte says that OneAmerica already has the capacity to broadcast radio programs in English, Somali and Spanish, and the community radio station they want to bring to SeaTac would host news, arts and cultural programming for refugees and immigrants in the area. Training and education programs would help members of the community learn the ropes of radio and provide the kind of programming that the corporate media does not.
What would community radio look like in your neighborhood? Schools can use non-commercial stations to broadcast sports games and education programming. Local governments can broadcast weather and traffic reports. Labor unions and civil rights groups can use radio stations to share information and organize in local areas. Community radio gives a voice to those ignored by the broader media and provides the kind of local news coverage that major outlets and Internet stations do not. People of color, for example, own fewer than 7 percent of radio stations, even though people of color make up more than 33 percent of the population.
The historic opportunity to apply for space on the FM dial is approaching fast, and Doyle says that groups interested in building community radio stations need to act now. Once the FCC application window is closed, there may not be another chance to apply for a low-power FM license for years. Community groups do not need to be prepared to establish their station right away, but there is some fundraising and paperwork that needs to be done before October to receive FCC approval. For more information on starting a low-power FM station in your community, check out the resources on the Prometheus Radio Project's website.
I deliberately took NPR's response to FAIR from 2004 to look at where we are today with NPR as corporate media. There is no mistaking it now and we see NPR's response back then pretty obviously lies. NPR tries to paint the Brookings Institution as something other than neo-liberal.....Brookings is in fact the same as neo-conservatives in most policy pursuits because it is free market/global policy. The difference of course is that what we have today is not free trade or free market; it is just a bunch of global corporations stealing everyone's money. NPR and Brooking's knew this would happen back in 1994 as all the debate on breaking the banking wall and Glass - Steagall and bank deregulation that happened with Clinton's Third Way.....and the Brookings Institute shouted this end result.
We now see the raging Wall Street capture of NPR and the glossing over of the MLK anniversary is as Juan Williams declared when he left NPR ----racist. There is a War on the Poor right now that is breaking apart all of MLK's work and NPR is right in there trying to hide this! Today, it is FAIR and Media Matters that has to correct NPR facts as much as they do political pundit spin as none of what is said on NPR has truth....it is all spin.
NPR Responds to FAIR's NPR Study
June 1, 2004
On May 26, NPR Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin responded to FAIR's recent study, "How Public is Public Radio? " What follows is Dvorkin's column, followed by a response from FAIR's Steve Rendall.
(NPR Ombudsman Jeffrey A. Dvorkin )
Is FAIR Being Fair about NPR?
By Jeffrey A. Dvorkin
Web Extra May 26, 2004 -- FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) has published a study that says NPR has gone over to the conservative side when it comes to who is interviewed and who are commentators.
FAIR is a media watchdog group that describes itself as "progressive" -- i.e., on the left.
The study (see Web Resources below) assessed NPR interviews in its newsmagazine programs for June 2003. The study also looked at which experts were invited to speak on NPR over a four-month period from May to August of that year.
Skewing to the Right
FAIR says that NPR is definitely skewing right compared to a similar study it conducted 10 years before. FAIR says that NPR regularly has "elite" (FAIR's term) experts and opinion makers to comment on events. This group of current and former government officials accounts for 28 percent of the interviews and commentaries. Twenty six percent were "professional experts" (academics, think tank experts, lawyers, doctors and scientists). Seven percent were journalists but overwhelmingly (83 percent) these journalists were from mainstream commercial outlets.
FAIR says that NPR has improved in a couple of respects compared to 10 years ago: NPR is doing better according to FAIR at getting ordinary citizens on the radio (up from 17 percent to 31 percent). And says FAIR, NPR has increased the number of commentators of color -- up to 40 percent. Ten years ago, more than 85 percent of NPR commentators were white and predominantly male.
Although there are more women on the air, they are still a minority of voices interviewed on NPR . Of all interviewees, 21 percent are female, compared to 19 percent 10 years ago.
'FAIR' is Fair -- But...
The FAIR study seems about right to me with a couple of exceptions.
In a similar study I commissioned, we looked at NPR interviews over a two-month period from Nov. 24, 2003 through Jan. 23, 2004. It is not entirely fair (as it were) to compare the studies since they were done at different times.
But I think the methodologies were similar in that both looked at the names of the interviewees and tried to determine where they fall on the ideological spectrum. But there are differences between the two studies as well.
For me, I would take issue with FAIR's assumptions and definitions about what constitutes a conservative opinion.
What's Right for You?
First, the definitions:
FAIR refers to The Brookings Institution as a "centrist" think tank. This is, in my opinion, a trickily subjective adjective. Many would consider Brookings to be a solidly liberal organization whose scholars and pundits are frequently heard on NPR .
FAIR might also question, as some listeners have, whether All Things Considered 's weekly left-right encounter between E.J. Dionne and David Brooks is really pitting a "true" liberal against a conservative.
But conservative organizations tend in my experience to be unabashedly open about their ideology. Liberals and liberal organizations are less so, possibly because they are so often put on the defensive by a more aggressive and militant conservatism.
As examples -- Brookings avoids describing itself as either left or right. It prefers to point to its "reform" roots going back to the early 20th century (see Web Resources below)
The Heritage Foundation (see Web Resources) on the other hand is open about its conservative roots and ideology.
Other think tanks whose experts are interviewed on NPR do not lend themselves to easy categorization. The Council on Foreign Relations has both conservatives and liberals. So does the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
My study showed that NPR interviewed 33 think-tank experts and only four came from explicitly conservative think tanks. Three came from think tanks that have a liberal reputation -- although they don't describe themselves as such. Most of the experts and other interviewees in this study don't easily lend themselves to a handy political label or shorthand.
Fewer Pundits and More Academics
Second, the FAIR study looks only at the experts. My study also looked at who else was being interviewed. It found that NPR has interviewed far more academics than think-tank pundits. While the Academy is hardly immune from ideology, it does, in my opinion, show that NPR is not relying completely on the usual Washington, D.C. suspects. Many critics on the right often point to Daniel Schorr as NPR 's "liberal commentator in residence." Dan would dispute that description and FAIR never mentions him at all.
Third, the timing of the FAIR report does not take into account what else was going on in the news. June 2003 was one month after the White House proclaimed the end of major hostilities in Iraq. There was a certain mood of triumphalism in the Bush administration and the presence of high-profile Republicans dominated the news. That may not have been a time when a lot of opposition opinions from the Democratic caucus were being voiced. It may point out the need for NPR to seek out those opinions even when the Democrats are keeping a low media profile.
It is important that the NPR audience hears from conservative thinkers and politicians. As NPR editor Ken Rudin once explained to me, the arrival of a Republican majority in Congress in 1994 for the first time in 40 years was a shock for most of the Washington press corps -- NPR included. Republicans had not been a factor for so long, journalists didn't know whom to approach inside the Republican caucus. Presumably neither did their listeners, viewers and readers.
Is NPR now ignoring the Democrats in a way it once may have ignored the Republicans?
I have criticized NPR in the past for its narrow reliance on a few bright men (and they are overwhelmingly male). I think that NPR is putting more conservatives on the radio than it used to. This is a good thing provided the balance is maintained.
Intellectual Comfort Food?
Listeners are quick to dash to their e-mails when they hear an opinion that is not their own. NPR 's role, it seems to me is not to provide listeners with intellectual comfort food.
FAIR is concerned whether the pendulum has swung too far. That's my concern as well.
I think it may have and NPR needs to do a better job in general and especially in an election year -- to make sure that the range is both wide and deep.
At the same time, FAIR's study seems to reinforce the notion that what constitutes the center in American journalism is rapidly becoming an endangered species. For the left, NPR is never quite left enough. For the right of course, NPR remains a paragon of liberal bias.
NPR sees itself as a bastion of fair-minded journalism. But fewer media critics are able to agree with that.
An Alternative Radio or a Mainstream News Organization?
The FAIR report quotes, compares and contrasts two NPR presidents. In 1993 Delano Lewis said, "Our job is to be a public radio station. So therefore the alternative points of view, the various viewpoints, should be aired." In 2002 Kevin Klose said, "All of us believe our goal is to serve the entire democracy, the entire country."
Why does FAIR perceive these two laudatory goals as being mutually exclusive?
Listeners can contact me at 202-513-3245 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHY ARE TWO DEMOCRATS LEADING AN EFFORT TO DEFINE JOURNALISTS IN A WAY THAT REQUIRES THEY WORK FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDIA WHEN WE NOW HAVE A CORPORATE AND CAPTURED MEDIA AND CITIZENS HAVE NO MONEY FOR MEDIA OUTLETS?
They aren't democrats.....they are neo-liberals!
Sen. Feinstein During 'Shield' Law Debate: 'Real' Journalists Draw Salaries
from the protection-based-on-exclusivity...-what-a-wonderful-idea dept Legislators are still trying to put together a national "shield" law for journalists (this is the third such effort at a national level) and, as usual, are bogged down in a semantic debate about who should qualify for these protections. Despite "freedom of the press" being hardwired into the system and the fact that a government effort to protect journalists from its own actions (seeking to identify whistleblowers and sources in order to punish them or shut them up) lies somewhere between "ironic" and "disingenuous," the pursuit of a credible "shield" law continues.
The bill's definition of "journalist" seems straightforward enough.
The bill defines a journalist as a person who has a "primary intent to investigate events and procure material" in order to inform the public by regularly gathering information through interviews and observations. It also adds this stipulation, which is a bit more troublesome. The person also must intend to report on the news at the start of obtaining any protected information and must plan to publish that news. I can see this stipulation working against whoever the government feels is worthy of the title "journalist." News develops. It seldom has a distinct starting point. Of course, if someone is a journalist, it stands to reason that they're always "planning" to publish their findings. But that might be a lot harder to prove when the government starts slinging subpoenas.
If someone sends a tip to a journalist, it may not be immediately evident that it is newsworthy. It might be some time before it's determined to be important, newsworthy and its source in need of protection. It's a strange stipulation and one that seems to poke some compromising holes in the "shield."
But onto the "who's really a journalist" argument. Some elected officials feel the language in the bill isn't specific enough. One in particular, Dianne Feinstein, repeated the stupid but inevitable phrase that always accompanies discussions related to shield laws: Feinstein suggested that the definition comprise only journalists who make salaries, saying it should be applied just to "real reporters." This is nothing new for Feinstein, who's (along with Sen. Dick Durbin) previously made the argument that acts of journalism can only be performed by major news agencies, cutting everyone else out of the protective loop. This is a protective move based partially on ignorance and partially on the reality that major news networks are easier to control, seeing as most aren't willing to give up access to the Beltway by pissing off its residents.
Sadly, this sort of reactionary ignorance isn't limited solely to government representatives. This same sort of statement has been made by published authors to demean the self-published and by old school journalists to demean bloggers, serial Tweeters and pretty much everyone not associated with a sinking masthead. Whenever someone assumes they're capable of determining who is or isn't a real whatever, they're usually speaking from a position of privilege, one that can only be maintained as long as the status remains quo.
The same goes for government officials arguing over the definition of "journalist." It's someone who performs the act of journalism. It's as simple as that. But if you accept this definition, then you put the government at a greater "risk" of not being able to pursue and punish those who expose its wrongdoing. Feinstein makes this governmental fear explicit in another comment. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., wondered whether it could be used to provide protections to employees of WikiLeaks, an organization that allows anonymous sources to leak information to the public.
"I’m concerned this would provide special privilege to those who are not reporters at all," she said. Two things to note: One, the government would hate to see people like Snowden or Manning go unpunished because someone at Wikileaks was able to deflect subpoenas and court orders with these protections. Second, this isn't just a government push -- the news industry itself has expressed a willingness to sacrifice Wikileaks in order to expedite passage of a shield law.
It seems rather unlikely the government would extend this protection to entities like Wikileaks (especially not with major news agencies on board with selling out Wikileaks, etc.), but at least Sen. Schumer pointed out that Feinstein's belief that "real" equals "drawing a salary" was a very ignorant take on the current reality. "The world has changed. We’re very careful in this bill to distinguish journalists from those who shouldn’t be protected, WikiLeaks and all those, and we’ve ensured that," Schumer said. "But there are people who write and do real journalism, in different ways than we’re used to. They should not be excluded from this bill." If this bill is ever going to provide real protection for journalists, it will first have to recognize that journalism isn't defined by the journalist's employer, paycheck or association with a large media company. It's an act and it can be performed by nearly anyone. More importantly, the bill should be equally as concerned with building in strong consequences for government actions that undermine this protection. Without these, entities like the DOJ will hardly be dissuaded from using "unofficial channels" to seize phone records or trace email conversations in order to hunt down protected sources.
In Baltimore, we have cops pretending to be cops....breaking laws right and left. It is so common they had to get a new spokesperson who came out and stated Baltimore police would serve Constitutionally and then we are hit with a surge of police breaking laws.
I found out today that WBFF ran a story of a Baltimore police officer coming to the aid of a couple having a baby....a good PR piece. Then, I hear that the couple state that the officer lied and none of what was said actually happened. The police department has told WBFF they cannot run a correction on this story. This is a silly example but it shows the power of the police to silence the press and public oversight. THIS IS WHAT ANTHONY BATTS WAS KNOWN FOR IN CALIFORNIA ALONG WITH POLICE HARASSMENT AND BRUTALITY. I SHOUTED LOUDLY AT PUBLIC MEETINGS ABOUT THIS TO CITY HALL AND YET, ALL CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS VOTED BATTS INTO OFFICE!
In Third World countries the police and courts must be bribed by the public to seek justice and/or protection......HOW IS WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THE US AND BALTIMORE ANY DIFFERENT?
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Detroit Does It Again -- Cops Pretending To Be Cops Caught Committing Crime
Like their city, The Detroit Police Dept. is falling apart. Over Aggressive Criminal Cops And A Dying Decaying City Go Hand In Hand
A.F. James MacArthur Ph.A.L. Agitator-In-Chief @BaltoSpectator
When a city goes downhill, morale plummets and it shows in many ways.
In the latest bit of bizarre criminal corruption coming out of Detroit, we learn of two police sergeants who went around posing as pretend cops beating and robbing people. One of the the two unidentified cops had 20 years on the job. We have to wonder how much of this supervisors moral defect was passed along to his subordinates during that time.
"Using a police officer’s badge and gun to commit crime is a particularly egregious threat to the community" Timothy Groh, FBI Special Agent Of course, this isn't the first time two Detroit Police officers were busted for pulling people over and robbing them. Maybe the sergeants learned from these two guys.
BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR COPS PRETENDING TO BE COPS
Police put the word out to citizens to be on the lookout for the poser cops, except as it turns out, there were actual cops caught doing this.
Corruption isn't new for the Detroit Police Department. Back when the yet-to-be-identified sergeants were considering joining the force, most likely due to how lucrative being a Detroit cop seemed to be, Police Chief William Hart, was convicted of stealing $2.6 million in taxpayer money over seven years. The money had been intended for undercover drug operations.
The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same
In 1991, The New York times told us; The conviction of [police chief] Mr. Hart, a 40-year veteran of the police department, concludes a painful chapter in Detroit's history that began with his indictment on Feb. 11, 1991, after a two-year Federal investigation into accusations of public corruption.
Chief Godbee, married, father, and ordained minister, pictured
along side one of his female subordinates/sexual partners. During the 22 years that has since passed, the department has seen more scandal and public corruption, than could ever be covered in a simple article like this. It'd be so long, you'd never read it.
It was just last year when their last Police Chief Ralph Godbee Jr. stepped down, after a sex scandal involving his relationship with an employee in the department's internal-affairs unit. The woman posted pictures on social media threatening to kill herself.
Let's not forget. The police chief immediately before Godbee, Warren Evans, also had to leave in disgrace. He too, was forced out for his own a sex scandal. Both chiefs Godbee and Evans had sexual affairs with the same female police subordinate.
Police corruption has deep roots. Once embedded in a department, it's not limited to just the isolated incidents of one or two bad cops, as better knowing spin masters would have you believe.
A careful examination of corrupt police departments, reveal clear habitual patterns of criminality across a broad spectrum of officers. From the chief on down, we see all sorts of misconduct. One just has to do a little research and the facts become self evident.
Baltimore Police Deviants (BPD), More Like Detroit Than You Want To Know
Not long ago, Baltimore saw a series of violent home-invasion, police impersonator, armed robberies. In one case, the supposed fake cops even shot a man. There's yet to be proof that we don't have rogue cops committing crimes here in Baltimore. After all, it's happened before. Remember when a Baltimore cop was caught driving the getaway car in an armed robbery?
90 year old Venus Green won $95,000 in a police brutality settlement involving Baltimore Police.
What about when Officer Daniel G. Redd, who ran a huge heroin distribution ring, was caught dealing dope right out the parking lot of the police station.
I'm sure you've already forgotten about William A. King and Antonio L. Murray, the two Baltimore Police officers sentenced to a total of 454 years in prison, after an FBI investigation in 2005. They used robbery, extortion, and excessive force against various drug dealers as a means of reselling confiscated drugs for profit on the street.
Not to be outdone by the fellas, Officer Ashley Roane was recently arrested on drug charges. She too enjoyed taking part in drug deals while in the police uniform. Noticing a pattern yet?
The name Kendall Richburg may have already faded off public awareness. In case you forgot, he's the Baltimore cop who pleaded guilty to armed drug dealing earlier this year. Once part of a special enforcement unit at the northwestern police district, he was into everything, heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine and marijuana. A good summary of Officer Richburg's various Wire emulating exploits can be found here.
20 year Baltimore Police veteran Shawn Bryon Johnson, was recently arrested driving drunk, after crashing into a parked vehicle... with his kids in the car. After saying to arresting officers, “Just take me in, I’m over,” Johnson repeatedly expressed frustration with his work. Could his frustrations have been derived from spending two decades working in an organization filled with criminals, abuse and corruption?
Not Just About Drugs
Being a large and diverse department, the criminality of Baltimore cops isn't limited to narcotics.
Last February, Senior training Officer William S. Kern, shot and nearly killed police trainee Raymond Gray in the head. Kern was one of the organizers of an illegal, unauthorized, highly dangerous training exercise which involved trespassing on state property. Awaiting criminal charges, Gray alleges Kern intentionally shot him in the head, causing severe injuries, including the loss of an eye.
Six months after this writer was surrounded by police as a result of a raid conducted under false pretenses and many mistruths fed to the public and the press, including falsely terming the incident a "barricade situation," Baltimore Police were given a reminder of the type of situation that actually requires SWAT.
Tactically trained Officer James Smith, a former Army Ranger and 20 year veteran of the Baltimore Police Department, is still in jail awaiting trial. Smith barricaded himself in his house with his girlfriend, Kendra Diggs and their four-year-old son. Before things ended, Smith shot and killed Diggs, and also opened fire on responding police, his coworkers.
Officer Lamin Manneh sought to supplement his income as a
Baltimore Police officer by pimping his wife. 31-year-old Lamin Manneh, a Baltimore Police officer, was arrested earlier this year for pimping out his teenage wife. At the time of Manneh's arrest, then chief Baltimore Police spokesman, Anthony Guglielmi said; "The alleged actions and criminal charges brought against Mr. Manneh are serious and undermine the integrity and pride of this organization."
When this incident took place, given the brief history detailed above, it's hard to imagine there was any pride left in the department. Let's be honest here.
Anyone remember habitual child molester Officer Troy Jaquan Gee Sr.? He resigned from the Baltimore Police Department after being arrested for one of his numerous incidents of taking sexual liberties with a minor. No doubt, this copper has more offenses that he's probably just never been caught for.
Rookies Want In Too
Just days before his scheduled graduation from the police academy in March, Zachary Michael Mitchell of the Baltimore Police Department was arrested for assault. If this guy couldn't keep from breaking the law, being so close to becoming a full fledged cop, imagine what he might have been like given full power and authority.
Incidents Not Isolated
The cases listed above are just a small sampling of relatively recent examples from just one single department. But it should serve as a reality check to anyone not having a full grasp on just how deep police corruption in Baltimore really is. There exists many more cases, far too numerous to expound upon here. Were they all to be chronicled, just the Baltimore Police Department alone, could fill a whole book.
Currently, the investigation of the "in-custody death" of Tyrone West, whom witnesses say was beaten to death by Baltimore Police is still under way. Over a week after the fatal traffic stop, probable cause for the initial contact or a cause of death have yet to be released.
Whenever examples of criminality by cops and police misconduct are cited, there's a certain segment of the population who's instant reaction is to minimize and downplay the deviant behavior.
They're quick to tell you these incidents represent a minority of officers and are all "isolated" cases. The truth is, there's little basis to support this denial.
It's a long held belief by mental health professionals, that certain behavioral personality types are often drawn to positions of power and authority. If absolute power corrupts absolutely, the idea of law enforcement being filled with power hungry, abusive egotists, shouldn't draw such instant ire from folks who've done little to no research on the topic.
By no means a comprehensive examination of the subject, it is the hope of the author that this piece will open the readers eyes to the sheer volume of crimes by cops being committed. Even if quickly forgotten once they've fallen off the headlines, we must be careful to keep tab of the running tally. In the same manner a citizen would be judged by their criminal record and background, police departments must be looked at by the historical tally and totality of their misdeeds as well.
There mere presence of a "clean" background -- a primary prerequisite to becoming a police officer -- is a poor judge of moral character and likelihood of a candidate not becoming a corrupt cop. Many people having no criminal records, possess some of the sickest, most twisted criminally deviant minds, and merely have not yet been caught committing crime. This doesn't mean they haven't, or they won't.
Dick is afraid all Americans would be protected against against disclosing sources or documents unless we have a professional categorization of 'journalist'. The problem is that this comes as all media outlets are controlled by corporations, public universities are being privatized, and corporate foundations are working hard to write and pay for journalism school curricula and mentoring those graduates. ALL OF JOURNALISM IS NOW CAPTURED BY CORPORATIONS SO WE DO NOT WANT DEFINITIONS OF JOURNALISM TAKING US THROUGH THOSE OUTLETS.....THAT ENDS FREE PRESS!
Dick Durbin voted down Glass Steagall that gives us corporate rule so this neo-liberal.... next in line for the Senate leadership.....COME ON ILLINOIS WHY ARE YOU SENDING US NEO-LIBERALS! I KNOW MARYLAND IS DOING THE SAME BUT WE ARE MORE CAPTURED THAN YOU!
Dick Durbin Wants to Stop You From Being a Journalist
By Jim Naureckas
Sen. Dick Durbin tells you which parts of the First Amendment apply to you. (cc photo: Center for American Progress Action Fund)
Sen. Dick Durbin (D.-Ill.), writing in the Chicago Sun-Times ("It's Time to Say Who's a Real Reporter," 6/26/13), says it's time to stop letting just anyone call themselves a journalist.
Everyone, regardless of the mode of expression, has a constitutionally protected right to free speech. But when it comes to freedom of the press, I believe we must define a journalist and the constitutional and statutory protections those journalists should receive.
By this he means, basically, that the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of the press probably don't apply to you:
Not every blogger, tweeter or Facebook user is a "journalist." While social media allows tens of millions of people to share information publicly, it does not entitle them to special legal protections to ignore requests for documents or information from grand juries, judges or other law enforcement personnel.
Otherwise, Durbin suggests, we'll be in the absurd position of giving First Amendment protection to just anyone:
Is each of Twitter’s 141 million users in the United States a journalist? How about the 164 million Facebook users? What about bloggers, people posting on Instagram, or users of online message boards like Reddit?
To avoid this nightmare scenario, Durbin offers a proposal for a statutory definition of "journalist":
A journalist gathers information for a media outlet that disseminates the information through a broadly defined "medium"–including newspaper, nonfiction book, wire service, magazine, news website, television, radio or motion picture–for public use. This broad definition covers every form of legitimate journalism.
This is not a bad definition, actually–though it doesn't do what Durbin wants it to do, that is, separate out "legitimate journalism" from what he sees as the illegitimate kind.
In Durbin's formulation, a "journalist" is someone who 1) gathers information 2) for a media outlet that 3) disseminates the information through a broadly defined medium 4) for public use. I guess we can agree that journalists gather information (though they might also be expressing opinions about information, if they're opinion journalists). It's the next part that Durbin intends to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Sorry, it looks like only part of the First Amendment applies to you. (cc photo: Gates Foundation)
But Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and even Instagram are all, guess what, media outlets–that is, institutions whose primary purpose is to distribute information to the public. (Their names appear in bold in FAIR materials because we bold the names of media outlets.)
They disseminate information gathered by their users; the medium they use to do so is known collectively as "social media." The fact that "social media" doesn't appear in Durbin's "broadly defined" list of media is irrelevant–Durbin doesn't present his list as exclusive. (That's why he says "including.") It's hard to think of a definition of "medium" that would exclude Facebook and include, say, nonfiction book publishing–which in the 21st Century can be as hands-off as publishing a social media post (e.g., via Amazon's Kindle store).
The final part of Durbin's definition is that the information is disseminated for public use–which is a simple matter of privacy settings on most social media sites.
So to answer Durbin's questions about users of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Reddit: Yes, as long as they're using these outlets to gather information for public use.
What's at stake here, Durbin points out, is that under state shield laws "a protected journalist cannot be compelled to disclose sources or documents unless a judge determines there is an extraordinary circumstance or compelling public interest." If a person who posts news on their Facebook page has that protection, surely the republic will survive.
I thank Michael Wood for sharing this. In Baltimore, WYPR is a corporate station airing a corporate NPR/APM all heavily financed by private advertizing.....they are a commercially funded entity and all the programming we get reflects that. This is happening all across the country and is deliberately taking the public's ability for voice and information away at all mainstream levels! Public media must have most of its funding coming from individual donors and we need to look at these donor lists and we need to inform Federal agencies on grant oversight as to whether these public stations are indeed public!
Michael Wood via Shelley Gordon
Thought I would post this again. Since this was published, the new direction has taken root - and it sucks. I also note the poor quality of the interviews with neo-con leaning guests on the morning show hosted by Tony Sarabia. He repeatedly fails to ask difficult questions of those guests who discuss economics, tax and business issues. I am asking myself daily how I can continue to support this station. If I do, thank Ira Glass.
A different direction for WBEZ One with more listener-generated content, more audience participation, and fewer paid contributors
By Michael Miner @hottype Chicago Reader
If you believe the problem with WBEZ is that experts talking and you lapping up their wisdom is the wrong way to program a radio station, the good news is that the WBEZ's managers agree with you. The news that's not so good is that this epiphany is driven by falling revenues.
Last week, "dueling" theater critics Jonathan Abarbanel and Kelly Kleiman sat down with station manager Torey Malatia, executive producer Justin Kaufmann, and managing editor Sally Eisele and were told their services were no longer required, though it would be nice if they'd occasionally donate them. Other contributors were told the same thing.
"They said, 'It's because we have so much respect for your work that we're doing this face-to-face,'" says Kleiman. "'Everybody else is getting e-mail or a phone call.'"
The tone of the meeting, Abarbanel tells me, was simple and poignant: "We hate to do this, but times are really tough." Says Kleiman: "There was quite a bit of that. But in fact—and Justin was the one charged with saying this—the station is going in a different direction. They want listener-generated content. They want audience participation. They want call-ins. Given that, they don't have any use for experts. Justin said, 'If we want an expert on theater we can call [the Tribune's] Chris Jones to come in for free.'
"The traditional WBEZ format is that lots of highly educated people talked about their specialties. That's over. That was my understanding of the meeting."
Yes, says Kaufmann, it's over. "The idea where we present a piece of journalism—15 minutes with the mayor, and the host would act like Charlie Rose or John Callaway—we're trying to change that. The mayor comes on and you ask the questions. You have to train your audience to do that. My first goal is to get audience interaction, so everyone knows it's a show you call in to. We're just about there. Every local show has to have the audience involved in some way. They call in, or it's 'Ray left this comment on Facebook.' The goal is audience interaction on every single show."
He allows that "most city officials don't like that sort of stuff. Mayor Emanuel doesn't want to come on for an hour and take calls."
Not from your engaged audience! I say.
"Yeah," says Kaufmann. But because they are so engaged, "that's exactly why we can pull it off."
As promising as this strategic shift in programming sounds, there's nothing about it that can't coexist with dueling theater critics and WBEZ's other talented freelancers. The reason so many of them are out the door is that the money's dried up.
"They're being much more realistic about their priorities," says Kaufmann, speaking of WBEZ's high brass. "It's not a good economic outlook. Our numbers have been down for years for what we get from our underwriters. The board is being realistic."
He won't say what his freelance budget is. But when trying to convey the situation to the Dueling Critics—and throwing out numbers that he tells me were hypothetical (Kleiman didn't hear them that way)—he asked them to think about a budget being cut by 90 percent.
"It's not like we just cut the Dueling Critics," says Kaufmann. He rattled off names. Also gone are bloggers Claire Zulkey (pop culture), Louisa Chu (food), Chris Bentley (environment), John Schmidt (local history), and Cheryl Raye Stout (sports), though Kaufmann said she may continue at WBEZ as a podcaster. Achy Obejas (city life) resigned to become writer in residence at Mills College in California, Nico Lang (LGBTQ) in favor of a job in New York City.
"These are all people I brought in," says Kaufmann. "So I'm pretty sad about it."
The WBEZ blog force has its roots in Vocalo, which was Malatia's failed attempt in 2008 to launch a separate public radio station for a younger audience. I didn't have many kind words for Vocalo, but the blog network Kaufmann put together there was an exception. I called it "small but formidable" and "composed of experienced journalists with followings and reputations."
One of them was media reporter Rob Feder, who'd resigned from the Sun-Times in 2008. When Vocalo hired Feder a year later, it was like a "barrel of buckshot fired at every critic, like me, who'd ever snickered at it," I wrote. "Take us seriously, it said."
But when Kaufmann and his Vocalo bloggers moved to WBEZ in 2010, Feder didn't make the trip. And at the staid and far older parent station, it wasn't clear even to some bloggers what role WBEZ wanted them to play. "I never had a great idea of what their strategy was for the blog network," Zulkey tells me. She had the impression that management wanted more from their bloggers than they were getting, but what that meant never became clear.
The tale told by Abarbanel of his years at WBEZ is a story of someone wisely hanging on to his day job (drama critic for Windy City Times) while enjoying whatever showcase he got at WBEZ, where the smart thing was to go with the flow. He started out there in the mid-90s, contributing pro bono critiques to Victoria Lautman's Artistic License. That show soon ended, and Abarbanel was switched to WBEZ's newly launched morning magazine program, Eight Forty-Eight. In 2007 Abarbanel was asked if he'd like a sidekick. Kleiman by then had been freelancing arts pieces for a few years, and she said she'd like to review some plays. Abarbanel does that, she was told. And she says she replied, "OK, but if you're ever interested in a 'Jane, you ignorant slut' thing, I'm available."
WBEZ was interested and teamed them up. "I didn't want to give up the solo spot," Abarbanel says. "I did it with reluctance—to be a team player. But it worked."
Not that the station left well enough alone. When Kaufmann got to WBEZ he asked them to blog, each posting once a week independently of the other. Abarbanel says they were told that, on the air, instead of simply reviewing shows, they should use those shows to explore big issues in Chicago theater. And they should tie their blogs to whatever it was they were saying on the air. But their on-air appearances, originally every Friday, became more infrequent.
"So the blog ended," says Abarbanel.
"It didn't get any traction," says Kaufmann.
The Dueling Critics were shifted to podcasting. A week before they sat down with Malatia, Kaufmann, and Eisele, they were told informally that their podcasting was over, but there might still be on-air work for them. But at the meeting Kaufmann clarified that. There might be pro bono on-air work for them discussing theater on WBEZ just as there might be for Chris Jones, or the Sun-Times's Hedy Weiss, or the Reader's Tony Adler.
"We'll still have theater," Kaufmann promises me. "I wouldn't be surprised if we have it every week. But it'll be on our producers to go out and find people. It's unfortunate that I can't pay them, but no other radio station does that."
They say you'd been paying them each $600 a month, I tell Kaufmann.
"Yeah, I had their backs."
My reading of the situation is that Kleiman is not eager to return her talents to WBEZ for nothing.
Pay someone and you spoil them, I reflect sadly.
"I know," says Kaufmann. "It's a bummer."
If anyone is still listening to public media they already know that the new corporate format has moved the Voice of America propaganda employees to these much loved public media stations. 2010 brought the change in format and if you travel abroad NPR sounds like the US Chamber of Commerce on steroids.
It is important to note that Obama and a Third Way corporate neo-liberal Congress has not only allowed this legislation pass....one of the first things they did after the 2008 elections was to take 'Fair and Balanced' media off the books officially. Bush had ignored it so Obama just removed it. This is why we have all media free to say anything they want regardless of truth.
'Anti-Propaganda' Ban Repealed, Freeing State Dept. To Direct Its Broadcasting Arm At American Citizens
from the 'our-top-pre-approved-story-tonight...'
dept The US government has a bit of a PR problem at the moment, thanks to Ed Snowden's leaks and a decade-plus of general antipathy towards its constituents' rights and liberties growing out of its War on Terror.
Fortunately, the government now has a chance to aim its official version of today's news at US citizens, thanks to the repeal of a so-called "anti-propaganda" law earlier this month.
For decades, a so-called anti-propaganda law prevented the U.S. government's mammoth broadcasting arm from delivering programming to American audiences. But on July 2, that came silently to an end with the implementation of a new reform passed in January. The result: an unleashing of thousands of hours per week of government-funded radio and TV programs for domestic U.S. consumption in a reform initially criticized as a green light for U.S. domestic propaganda efforts. The Broadcast Board of Governors, which produces programming like the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe, has been prevented from aiming its programming at Americans since the 1970's when the Smith-Mundt Act (which authorized the State Dept. to communicate with foreign audiences via many methods, radio being one of them) was amended to prohibit domestic dissemination of the BBG's broadcasts. This was done to distance the State Department's efforts from the internal propaganda machine operated by the Soviet Union.
Now, the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012 (part of the National Defense Authorization Act) has repealed the domestic prohibition, allowing the government's broadcasting to be directed at/created for Americans for the first time in over 40 years.
BBG spokesperson Lynne Weil says these efforts aren't simply pro-government hype machines. "They don't shy away from stories that don't shed the best light on the United States," she told The Cable. She pointed to the charters of VOA and RFE: "Our journalists provide what many people cannot get locally: uncensored news, responsible, discussion, and open debate."
A former U.S. government source with knowledge of the BBG says the organization is no Pravda, but it does advance U.S. interests in more subtle ways. In Somalia, for instance, VOA serves as counterprogramming to outlets peddling anti-American or jihadist sentiment. "Somalis have three options for news," the source said, "word of mouth, Al-Shabaab or VOA Somalia." As Weil points out, this will bring a new level of transparency to the BBG as communicating to Americans is no longer prohibited. If nothing else, transcripts of BBG programming will be easier for Americans to get ahold of. A court ruled in 1998 that the limitations of the Smith-Mundt Act exempted the Voice of America from releasing transcripts in response to FOIA requests.
Another possible plus is the fact that the BBG will provide a free, "local" news source for immigrant populations. The agency wants to reach diaspora communities, such as St. Paul Minnesota's significant Somali expat community. "Those people can get Al-Shabaab, they can get Russia Today, but they couldn't get access to their taxpayer-funded news sources like VOA Somalia," the source said. These positives aside, the thought of a state-run news agency being allowed to direct its efforts at Americans is still uncomfortable. Despite claims of independence, it's hard to believe the source is 100% trustworthy when its stated purpose is to run flack for the State Department in foreign nations. (Of course, the mainstream media outlets haven't shown much reluctance to regurgitate talking points, which almost makes the BBG's efforts seem redundant.)
While the BBG may provide a less-biased source of news for many foreigners (or at least provide a different bias), the purpose of its broadcasts to its new American audience is less clear. The fact that the State Department is behind the effort doesn't do much to allay fears that the BBG will become a tool of domestic propaganda. The State Department's reaction to the leak of diplomatic correspondence by Wikileaks was to block its employees' access to the site (or any site containing the word "Wikileaks") and demand the digital documents be "returned." How will a state-run press react to developments like these? Will it be forced to play by the department's rules, no matter how illogical, or will it be able to deal with them in a more forthright manner?
In a time where the administration seems to be forced to play defense with increasing frequency, it's hard to believe it won't be willing to exploit this addition to its PR arsenal.
Think about NPR having two political pundits that support free market, free trade global corporations trying to sound like they have opposing views.....EJ Dionne is Third Way corporate from Brookings Institute and serves as the democratic viewpoint when almost all democratic voters are shouting out against global corporations and rule!! Here in Baltimore, our public media WYPR has a political pundit that works for the local Business Journal....a corporate viewpoint again! THIS IS NOT JOURNALISM.....IT IS STATE/CORPORATE MEDIA
I LIKE THIS COMMENTER:
I think it's a bit worse than the article implies. I think journalists by definition (those that chronicle events without orchestration) are rare. And if you are going to engage in news dissemination at all today, it seems one is forced to choose sides in advance. But now at least, there are choices on who to listen to.
Just when did political consultants start passing for journalists? Paid partisans biding their time between elections now sit elbow-to-elbow with real reporters on TV
By Jules Witcover 2:01 p.m. EDT, June 3, 2013 Baltimore Sun
Viewers of the television political talk shows may have noticed a phenomenon in the afterbirth of the last presidential election. High-powered consultants from both campaigns have invaded the studios as panelists, chewing over the political events of the day beside career reporters and analysts who had recently been covering them.
From the winning Obama team, chief campaign strategists David Axelrod and David Plouffe and deputy Stephanie Cutter have signed with such shows, as have Kevin Madden of the Romney campaign and other Republicans. Thus has the pool of commentators been broadened to include special pleaders, on sabbatical until the next campaign.
Unlike the medical and legal professions, which require their practitioners to have a degree and certification, anybody with or without a sane thought in his or her head can be a "journalist." It raises a legitimate question of who is one today and indeed what is journalism.
There was a time when a practitioner, under the commonplace identity as reporter, had the minimum requirement of examining a politician or a campaign from as neutral a stance as possible before presenting the conclusions thereby reached to the reader or viewer.
In the glory days of radio and early television, a jewel of the airwaves was the periodic gathering of network reporters deeply grounded in political and foreign affairs before a microphone or camera to spread their reasonably unbiased knowledge. The old CBS roundups chaired by Edward R. Murrow easily come to mind.
Today, the reportorial successors or reasonable facsimiles thereof sit elbow-to-elbow with political guns for hire in what too often is watered down to another sales job for one or the other party, with the reporters reduced to spear carriers in the scene.
Not only that. With the advent of the Internet, the art of the blog has been born and has flourished, the moniker being an abbreviation of "web log," meaning logging onto the web. A blogger has an unlicensed license to offer all manner of views, speculations, rumors or just plain fantasies to a receptive audience with or without forethought.
The same goes for the addict of Twitter, which requires the product to be squeezed into 140 characters no matter how complex the matter to be discussed may be. All this seems to come under the rubric of today's journalism when much of it is the functional equivalent of radio static on an old Philco crystal set.
In an era in which the Supreme Court declares that corporations are people for the sake of exercising free speech, paid political consultants and propagandists certainly share the same rights as anyone else, no less than folks who earn their living reporting and commenting on events of the day for newspapers, radio and television.
But the growing trend of mixing consultants and spokesmen for politicians and political parties with working stiffs of the news business into a bouillabaisse of chatter almost inevitably tilts the discussion into a scramble for partisan advantage.
Undoubtedly, the presence of practicing politicians, elected or otherwise, adds star power to the television talk shows, endlessly in battles for higher viewer ratings. Repeated appearances of the most prominent consultants similarly don't hurt their own primary businesses, and nobody expects them to leave their political commitments and convictions outside the studio.
But their participation around the panelists' table risks diverting what could have been substantive discussion into a defense of one's clients or party or an attack on the opposition.
Meanwhile, the participating reporters, with less of a partisan ax to grind, often are moved to a bit of showboating to hold their own in the verbal tussles that result. Newspaper reporters hoping to be hired by network television have been known to lobby for spots on such panels.
Of course, laments of this sort from old-time newsies can be dismissed as sour grapes about the decline of the old ways of journalism. So be it. But as Walter Cronkite used to say at the end of his nightly show, that's the way it is.
Jules Witcover is a syndicated columnist and former long-time writer for The Baltimore Sun. His latest book is "Joe Biden: A Life of Trial and Redemption" (William Morrow). His email is email@example.com.
Remember, the goal right now in media is to make sure that the only message that gets out is conservative and neo-liberal...both being free market, free trade, global corporations and rule. That is why these same people are rotated through these pundit media outlets. The first theing Obama did when in office is officially end the Fair and Balanced clause for media coverage of the news. It had been ignored in Bush years and Obama made it official.
These are corporate politicians hired by corporations to make sure the only information that gets out is Third Way corporate neo-liberals and conservative. One has to go online to progressive news outlets to hear what most people in America believe.....get rid of global corporations and rule. No one believes we have free market and free trade...US business is crony and criminal. Maryland is corporate rule on steroids so media will only allow those pols chosen by the 1% get media time. This is called State Media and is what you find in second world autocracies.
Think the revolving door to government couldn't get worse? Welcome to the revolving door of State media! GO TO REAL LABOR AND JUSTICE NEWS OUTLETS AND RUN AND VOTE FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE!
Michael Steele and the disease of cable commentators as candidates This video shows MSNBC as the TV boneyard of unemployed politicos
By David Zurawik The Baltimore Sun 7:10 p.m. EDT, June 3, 2013
This segment of Chuck Todd's "The Daily Rundown" Monday got more media bounce than usual for the show thanks to MSNBC commentator Michael Steele sounding very serious about running for governor in Maryland.
But to me, it was first and foremost the perfect tableau of the troubled channel as TV boneyard for unemployed politicos.
This video featuring Steele and put-out-to-pasture Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs illustrates not only the reason MSNBC is dying in the ratings, but also the deeper disease of our democracy with cable channels handing over airtime to talking heads who are committed to ideology and partisan political gain, not information, analysis or civic enlightenment.
Listen to Gibbs talking about the "so-called scandals" of the Obama administration -- and, oh yeah, the "trumped-up problems" the president faces. Trumped up by who, his attorney general?
Could Gibbs and David Axelrod, the other cherry atop MSNBC's propaganda sundae, carry any more water for Team Obama? And watch how Steele uses the channel to try and inject himself into Maryland politics. Doesn't MSNBC have any sense of public service?
“I love the idea of service,” Steele told Todd whe asked why he was considering a run.
Steele loves the idea of a paycheck. And MSNBC was one of his last, best hopes after Fox News passed on him. And who knows if MSNBC will renew him. With the ratings misery MSNBC now finds itself in, cuts are certainly not out of the question at renewal time. And why not Steele, who has generated less than zero excitement on the channel?
I hated it when Fox let Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich and the smarmy Rick Santorum use its airwaves to essentially campaign. And I hate it that MSNBC is letting Steele have this platform to mess with Maryland's political and civic life.
I know Steele or any Republican becoming governor after Martin O'Malley's term ends is a long shot. But one Bob Ehrlich with his campaign robocalls and attempts to limit press freedom was enough Republican leadership for me in Maryland, thank you very much.
As an academic who researches and writes in science among other disciplines the problem for science writing is the same with all journalism now .. it all involves spin. There is no truth in research as it is now all bought and written for profit. The most famous is the Penn State connection with the Fracking industry or Coffee as good for your health.
Scientists like myself started shouting against this move to corporatize university research two decades ago when the policies started to surface. Several years ago Nature solicited comment from readers as to their thoughts on how tying science academics with corporate R&D would affect quality of research and most shouted the same profit-driven characteristics of lying, cheating, and stealing would take integrity out of academic research long known as one of the most rigorous of standards. Fast forward today and low and behold..the general public no longer believes science.
The corporate 1% try to blame the backlash on people's trust in science to the backward creationists with little education, but it is in fact widely held that scientific research/data is generated to benefit corporate grwoth and profit. Look at the fight over the release of the Gulf Oil Spill data that no one ever believed. Seafood from the gulf safe to eat just one season after tons of chemicals washed ashore? REALLY? Who wants to be a writer of spin?
Hopkins closes science writing program, citing low selectivity Alumni say quality of graduates should outweigh drop in applications
By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun 9:25 p.m. EDT, May 24, 2013
Graduates of the Johns Hopkins University's master's program in science writing have explained the prospects of life on Mars, the promise of neuroscience research and the ethics of animal testing on the pages of Scientific American, Nature and Popular Science, on the airwaves of NPR and in books.
But after 30 years among a small tier of similar programs across the country, the tiny one-year program has trained its last writers in the art of translating science for the layman. Hopkins officials discontinued it this month, citing a decline in applications that rendered it not selective enough.
The university plans to add undergraduate classes in the field eventually, leading to a potential return of graduate studies, but the director of the program resigned rather than oversee the changes. Administrators are uncertain why there were fewer applicants for the science writing master's program this spring; media upheaval could be one factor, they said.
Alumni, baffled but respectful of the decision, questioned why statistics and rankings should outweigh a history of supplying correspondents to some of the world's top scientific publications — particularly at an institution best known for its medical discoveries. The program also had no full-time faculty.
"If any university in the country should be able to support a graduate program in science writing, it's Johns Hopkins, for goodness sake," said Deborah Rudacille, the writer of three books since graduating from the program in 1998. "I've always thought the program should be expanded, not cut."
Launched in the 1980s, the program typically graduated about five students each year. It was housed in Hopkins' writing seminars program, which draws hundreds of applications annually for about 10 spots each in poetry- or fiction-writing studies.
The science writing division was less popular — each class was chosen from a pool of about 30 applicants. But that figure fell by nearly two-thirds for the Class of 2014, administrators said.
"With an applicant pool of 11 and then admissions of half of those, and maybe half again decide to come here, it's just not looking as robust as a Hopkins program needs to be," said Katherine Newman, dean of the university's Krieger School of Arts and Sciences.
Ann Finkbeiner, a science writer who had organized the program as an adjunct faculty member since the late 1980s, agreed that the drop was troubling. Calls to similar departments at other universities showed an overall decline in applications, she said.
But Finkbeiner decided to stop worrying about it and move forward with the applications she received. Earlier this month, the day she planned to extend invitations to the program, Newman told her not to.
"I was really blindsided," said Finkbeiner, who resigned soon after. "I had heard no hint of disapproval or, 'Can you beef this up?' or 'We have a problem here' or anything like that."
Alumni were equally surprised when they received an email from Finkbeiner.
"My heart sunk," said Virginia Hughes, a 2006 graduate who is a freelance writer in New York. "Being this institution about medicine and science, to get rid of this arm that does so much for communicating that science makes no sense to me."
The program gave aspiring writers some freedom in their studies as they worked on a yearlong thesis project. The size of the program was kept small, in part, because Finkbeiner was responsible for advising each of the students and reading each thesis.
Most graduates went on to successful careers in science writing, on staff or freelancing for such outlets as The Economist, Science, New Scientist, Radiolab and National Geographic.
The science media, like others in the news industry, have seen upheaval in recent years, program alumni said. However, the rise in blogs and websites has also created more opportunities to write, some said, though it takes persistence to freelance.
"It's a tough field. I can understand why there were fewer applications," said Geoff Brumfiel, an NPR reporter who graduated from the program in 2001 and previously wrote for the journal Nature. "The people who come into these programs are smart people."
Other universities that offer science writing master's programs include Boston University, Columbia University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of California, Santa Cruz. Hopkins also offers master's degrees focused on science and medical writing through a Washington-based program that is largely online.
Hopkins administrators said the science program grew increasingly different from the poetry- and fiction-writing seminars, which shifted from one-year Master of Arts degree programs to two-year Master of Fine Arts degree programs.
"That doesn't mean that I want, or that any of us want, science writing to disappear at Hopkins," said Mary Jo Salter, co-chairwoman of the writing seminars. "Quite the contrary."
Administrators plan to add more undergraduate science writing classes, potentially in specializations that include brain science, environmental science and public health. A large number of undergraduates seek double majors in science and the humanities and have shown interest in such classes, Salter said.
They hope to eventually add an option for undergraduates to stay a fifth year and earn a Master of Arts degree in science writing, similar to the old program, she said.
Alumni nevertheless were disappointed. Beefing up on science writing at the undergraduate level doesn't replicate what Rudacille called "a professional program," she said. The quality of the graduates should outweigh their numbers, she said.
"They're looking at where the sausage goes in rather than the product that comes out," Rudacille said.
YET ANOTHER ATTACK ON FREE PRESS AND INTIMIDATION OF JOURNALISTS.....IT HAS TO STOP! You know whoever is elected President will assume all of this is OK
Press freedom Fox News and Julian Assange May 21st 2013, 16:18 by M.S.The Economist
THE first outraged tweet I saw about it came from the Associated Press's Ron Fournier: the Department of Justice (DOJ) had "tracked Fox News reporter via key card and seized personal emails. #Chilling @AP". That turned out to be a little off-point. The DOJ had checked the visit log of Fox News reporter James Rosen as he was entering and leaving the State Department one day in 2009, and that of State Department officer Stephen Kim, to back up the suspicion that Mr Kim had leaked information from a top-secret intelligence report on North Korea which had just been distributed that day, and which led to Mr Rosen's article a few hours later. This seems unsurprising, and no more or less upsetting than checking an old-fashioned sign-in book would have been. Further, the DOJ had gotten a search warrant from a judge to read two days' worth of Mr Rosen's e-mails. This goes significantly further, but in a sense it's not terribly surprising either: in an age when the FBI can issue secret National Security Letters to get the authority to read anyone's non-encrypted electronic communications for virtually whatever reason they want, it seems rather quaint to be outraged that the DOJ is using the old-fashioned, relatively transparent route that requires it to show probable cause and get a warrant first.
But the question remains, why did the judge grant the government a warrant to search a reporter's e-mails? And that's where the troubling part comes in. To convince the judge there was probable cause, the government said it believed Mr Rosen had been a "co-conspirator" with Mr Kim, because he had actively solicited the leak. It is not a crime in America to publish classified information, but it's a crime to leak it, and in this case, the Obama administration was saying Mr Rosen was culpable for encouraging an official to leak. That sort of charge does have a chilling effect on the press: it's supposed to be a reporter's job to press sources to leak as much information as possible. When reporters worry they might land in jail for pushing their questions too hard, that's basically the definition of "chilling effect".
Here's the thing, though: although the DOJ charged Mr Kim in 2010 under the Espionage Act, it did not actually charge James Rosen as a co-conspirator in the case. Prosecutors presented the theory that he was a co-conspirator to the judge when they wanted access to e-mails they needed as evidence to charge Mr Kim with leaking, but having obtained the e-mails and charged Mr Kim, they then left Mr Rosen alone. If they were seeking to intimidate the press, burying this accusation in a search-warrant request and then declining to follow up on it is an odd way to do so. Indeed, the government kept the search warrant secret for a year, and it's taken three years for a newspaper to finally notice it happened.
There is, however, another prominent figure whom the US government has aggressively and publicly sought to prosecute as a co-conspirator for encouraging a US government official to leak classified documents. That would be Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, and currently an international fugitive holed up in the Ecuadoran embassy in London. Let's go to Glenn Greenwald:
That same "solicitation" theory, as the New York Times reported back in 2011, is the one the Obama DOJ has been using to justify its ongoing criminal investigation of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange: that because Assange solicited or encouraged [US Army Corporal Bradley] Manning to leak classified information, the US government can "charge [Assange] as a conspirator in the leak, not just as a passive recipient of the documents who then published them." When that theory was first disclosed, I wrote that it would enable the criminalization of investigative journalism generally...
That's what always made the establishment media's silence (or even support) in the face of the criminal investigation of WikiLeaks so remarkable: it was so obvious from the start that the theories used there could easily be exploited to criminalize the acts of mainstream journalists. That's why James Goodale, the New York Times' general counsel during the paper's historic press freedom fights with the Nixon administration, has been warning that "the biggest challenge to the press today is the threatened prosecution of WikiLeaks, and it's absolutely frightening."
The mainstream press, regardless of ideological colouration, has reacted with uniform anger to the revelation of the buried years-old co-conspiracy theory the government used to get its search warrant on Mr Rosen. The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza has been tweeting furiously about it. There was no such solidarity in reaction to the government's open, public accusations against Mr Assange. Indeed, Fox News commentators were dismissive of Mr Assange's free-speech claims; further on the right, the Washington Times* ran an op-ed piece advocating that Mr Assange be assassinated, and National Review Online's Jonah Goldberg wondered puckishly why he wasn't dead already. Yet Mr Assange's actions were formally exactly the same as those of Fox News's Mr Rosen: he encouraged an American official to leak top-secret information, and then he published it.
What we are seeing here is basically class solidarity on the part of the mainstream press. When the offender was just a weird foreign hacker running a blog staffed with encryption-happy radical volunteers, people who thought of themselves as regular journalists were often disdainful of the effort and ambivalent about how the government treated him. Yes, he felt the full force of the US government come down on his strange white-blonde head, had his money flows interdicted, and ended up as an international pariah, but you know, what he did was pretty shady, right? But now that it seems the US government has leveled the same charges, for the same behaviour, against someone working in the classic model of mainstream American journalism, a regular old reporter like us—well, that's another story.
*Correction: We initially identified the Washington Examiner as the newspaper/website that ran the assassination op-ed. It was the Washington Times. Apologies to the Examiner.
This issue effects all the newspapers falling under the Chicago Tribune as it heads for bankruptcy....including the Baltimore Sun....can you image the Sun with casino magnet Cornish as owner? REALLY????
Thank the LA Times staffers who said they will quit if the Koch Brothers buy the newspaper
Right-wing super villains Charles and David Koch are looking to purchase media outlets in order create new mouthpieces for their propaganda. Staffers of the Los Angeles Times, one of the media outlets targeted by the Koch brothers, are not taking this lying down.
Last week, at an in-house awards ceremony for Los Angeles Times staff, columnist Steve Lopez asked everyone in attendance, "Raise your hand if you would quit if the paper was bought by the Koch brothers."
About half the staff raised their hands, perhaps dooming the sale of the newspaper to the Kochs.
Please sign our petition supporting the journalists and staff at the Los Angeles Times who are willing to quit their jobs if Charles and David Koch purchase the newspaper.
To the staff of the Los Angeles Times–
We stand in solidarity with you in opposition to the Koch Brothers purchasing the Los Angeles Times. Thank you for taking a stand.
As someone who watches as Baltimore's political class simply tell Sun reporters what to print and seeing the same political lines in almost all articles..the republican said this and the democrat said that..while tons of crime, corruption, lies and videotapes are ignored, we have doubts as to the sincerity in bringing to MD a media outlet that builds on free press and the democratic principle of that free press having as its main task holding the powers - that -be accountable.
The Baltimore Sun was of course a leader in journalism for decades when journalism was democratic but we have watched as corporate powers have sent real journalists packing and news becomes simple talking heads. Alatzas has an opportunity to 'Move Maryland Forward' as is the DAVOS Zeitgeist mantra by breaking the crony out of Maryland politics and give people a reason for wanting to live in a state with a thriving democracy. As a transplant I watch as people move here and leave very quickly because of that crony. The state's media is key in that impression.
The people have finally understood what the 1% have as an agenda and not many people like it. When a major newspaper fails to even mention societal events that make Hurrican Katrina and 9-11 look like page 5 events there is no honor or prestige to be had for the people leading that journal and that is towards where the citizens of MD are moving!!
Alatzas named top editor of Baltimore Sun Media Group Baltimore native has led digital efforts
By Matthew Hay Brown, The Baltimore Sun 8:21 p.m. EDT, March 20, 2013
Triffon G. Alatzas, who has served The Baltimore Sun as head of digital media and also led the sports and business departments, was named top editor of the 176-year-old news organization Wednesday.
As executive editor and a senior vice president of the Baltimore Sun Media Group, the Baltimore native will lead Maryland's largest newspaper, its websites and other digital platforms, as well as its community newspapers and magazines.
"Growing up in Baltimore, it was always my dream to work for The Sun," said Alatzas, 46. "We have terrific journalists, and I get excited every day when I watch the passion, the excitement when people rally around a great story, the way folks work together."
At the same time, he told a meeting of Sun reporters and editors Wednesday, the promotion is bittersweet. He succeeds former editor Mary J. Corey, the popular longtime Sun journalist who died in February after a long battle with cancer. Alatzas had worked closely with Corey as the No. 2 editor in the newsroom, and had run day-to-day operations during her absences.
Born in Baltimore and raised in Baltimore County, Alatzas first came to know Sun journalists while working part-time at the Bridge Restaurant, the diner his parents owned a block and a half from the Sun building on Calvert Street. It was one of them who gave Alatzas his start in journalism in 1987 with a reporting internship at The Evening Sun.
As head of digital media since 2010, Alatzas oversaw The Sun's website and other electronic platforms during the transition to paid digital subscriptions.
"The Sun's journalism is thriving, and Trif Alatzas has been a driving force behind our success," Timothy E. Ryan, publisher, president and CEO of the Baltimore Sun Media Group, said in a statement. "He was especially instrumental in directing the integration of our print and online news divisions and ensuring that our journalists are skilled in both platforms."
During Alatzas' tenure, The Sun expanded its mobile technology and social media offerings, added more than two dozen hyperlocal news sites and launched the Darkroom photo and video blog — its most popular digital feature ever.
Most recently, Alatzas led The Sun's coverage in print and online of the 2012 elections, the Ravens' Super Bowl championship, and The Sun's investigation into Baltimore's troubled speed camera program.
Alatzas said The Sun remains committed to its "core mission" of "providing the kind of urgent and in-depth local news that our readers demand," and to ensuring that information is available around the clock across its print and digital publications.
"The world continues to change, and the way our readers demand information has changed," he said. "And the great thing, I believe, about The Baltimore Sun is we have embraced all of these platforms. We are committed to print, we are committed to online, we are committed to mobile and social and who knows what else?"
He takes over as The Sun's parent, Tribune Co., emerges from four years in bankruptcy and weighs offers for its newspapers. The newspaper industry as a whole has been challenged in recent years by declining print circulation and advertising revenues.
"What we've done is we focus on good journalism," he said. "That's what we can control."
Alatzas joined The Sun as an assistant business editor in 2002, taking responsibility initially for the real estate section.
He was promoted to business editor in 2008, and led coverage of the financial crisis, housing bust and recession. The Sun was recognized by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers for work during that time.
Sandy Banisky, a former deputy managing editor at The Sun, helped to choose stories for the front page each day.
"We would read a story and say this might not be going in the right direction, or there are some questions that need answering," said Banisky, now a journalism professor at the University of Maryland, College Park. "By the time I made my way over to the business desk, Trif was already standing with the reporter, working on changes."
Bill Marimow was the Sun editor who hired Alatzas.
"From the time I met him, I was predisposed to like him as a person," said Marimow, now editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer. "Once I saw his work, it was clear he was an excellent journalist."
In 2009, Alatzas was named sports editor, and expanded online coverage. In 2010, he became head of digital news.
THIS STUDY WAS RELEASED SIMPLY AS A HEADLINE THAT WILL BE USED FOR POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS AND HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH REALITY. LOOK AT THE CITIES HAVING THE HIGH GRADES......ALL OF THEM ARE KNOWN TO BE SOME OF THE MOST CORRUPT. PIRG DID THE SAME A FEW YEARS AGO WITH DATA THAT CONFLICTED WITH THE CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY STATE STUDY OF CORRUPTION AND TRANSPARENCY. I ASKED PIRG HOW IT COULD GET RANKINGS SO MUCH DIFFERENT THEN THE CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY------
THEY SAID 'WE USE A CURVE TO RANK THESE DATA' WE DO NOT SET A BENCHMARK TO BE MET.
In scientific research terms......THEY ARE LYING!!!
Baltimore gets B+ in spending transparency Grade given by Maryland PIRG Published 11:50 AM EST Jan 25, 2013
- WBAL TV Baltimore
BALTIMORE —Baltimore City gets a B+ when it comes to spending transparency, according to the Maryland Public Interest Research Group.
The organization graded the nation's largest cities on how effectively they allow the public to track budgets, contracting, subsidies, grants and other requests.
Get a copy of the report here
Baltimore was praised in the report for its searchable and downloadable checkbook, its level city spending information and its service request center that allows residents to notify city officials of issues that need to be fixed.
Baltimore scored better than many other cities with significantly larger budgets and populations.
New York City, Chicago and San Francisco received A's.
Tell the FCC: Open Up More Spectrum for Public Use
Earlier this month, a Washington Post story claimed that the Federal Communications Commission planned to create free public Wi-Fi networks for the whole country.
Well, hold it right there. First of all, there’s no such plan. Second, you can’t have public Wi-Fi if you don’t have the unlicensed spectrum to support it. That's why Free Press and our friends at DailyKos are teaming up to urge the FCC to open up more spectrum for unlicensed, public use.
Tell the FCC: Open Up More Spectrum for Public Use
The FCC is currently considering how to allocate high-quality spectrum between licensed (e.g., cell phone companies) and unlicensed uses (e.g., Wi-Fi). Free Press and other public interest groups have urged the FCC to open up a bigger slice of high-quality wireless spectrum for unlicensed (or public) use. This would be an essential first step toward making public Wi-Fi — and thousands of other innovations we haven’t heard of yet — a reality.
Surprise, surprise: The wireless industry doesn't like this idea. Companies like AT&T and Verizon want to hoard all the high-quality wireless spectrum and leave next to nothing for public use.
This isn’t cool. Giving more spectrum to carriers that already have a ton of it will lead to even less competition in the wireless market. And a lack of competition is one of the reasons broadband service in the United States is too slow, too pricey and unavailable to too many people.
Join Free Press and DailyKos in sending a message to the FCC:
More unlicensed spectrum is the first step to more public Wi-Fi. The FCC must make more high-quality wireless spectrum available to the public.
We have a long way to go before we all have access to free public Wi-Fi. But making sure that private carriers don't hog too much of the best spectrum is a key first step.
Josh, Kate, Amy and the rest of the Free Press team
An Insider's View of the Progressive Talk Radio Devolution Sunday, 10 February 2013 07:39 By Peter B Collins, Truthout | Op-Ed
As someone who took substantial personal risk in syndication and station ownership, I can tell you that progressive talk has not panned out as a viable business. Clinton's 1996 deregulation of broadcasting and the end of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987 didn't help. I do think the FCC should require some balance of viewpoints on the stations it regulates, through the license renewal process, but there is simply no interest on the part of Obama and his appointees in regulatory reform - even as the president is pilloried by right-wing radio on a daily basis. Air America's parade of management blunders produced the downward spiral that brought us to this tipping point for progressive talk radio, and most station owners, rightly or wrongly, see that failure as an indication that audiences won't support liberal talk radio.
In radio, we always like to end on an upbeat note. Here's the best I can muster: if you want to help keep the surviving progressive talk shows alive, subscribe to the podcasts of your favorite progressive hosts - it's a critical stream of revenue as these programs fight for survival.
FCC Poised to Open the Door for Unbridled Expansion of Media Empires
Monday, 04 February 2013 00:00 By Sam Knight, Truthout | Report FCC chairman Julius Genachowski at CES 2010. (Photo: jdlasica)If the world can learn anything from Britain's phone-hacking scandal, it's a lesson about the brute force of a media empire.
Rupert Murdoch's conglomerate was so powerful, it was allegedly able to invade people's privacy and pay police officials to grease its dodgy news gathering machine; all while playing kingmaker in British Parliamentary elections and gaining access to the highest reaches of state power.
The wealth of scandal generated by Murdoch's ventures has led to renewed calls for media reform in the UK - particularly in the realm of newspaper ownership. According to the Guardian, Ed Miliband called for Murdoch to sell at least one of his major papers - either the Times or the Sun - in June. The paper reported that the Labour leader said "News Corp had a sense of 'power without responsibility', which meant that some of the company's newspapers could operate with a 'sense of immunity' and engage in practices such as phone hacking."
But despite the problems that have emerged from Britain's concentrated media market, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) could soon open the door for an oligarch like Murdoch to acquire more newspapers in the United States by relaxing the so-called rules on cross ownership.
In December, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski quietly circulated a proposal among other commissioners that would allow mergers between a radio or television station and a newspaper in the twenty largest media markets.
The proposal, according to the New York Times, would allow mergers only if they kept eight "major media voices" in a market intact. But restrictions that would remain haven't made the floated changes any less controversial. Permanent exemptions to the rules already exist and enable mergers that could be seen as serving the public interest - Murdoch, for example, obtained such a waiver when he re-purchased the bankrupt New York Post in 1993, after having to sell the paper due to his acquisition of a New York City television station in 1988. Many Americans fear that rule tweaks like the sort Genachowski is promoting could spell the end of independence for their favorite local rag or alt weekly.
"Some three million people signed petitions and made comments in opposition to that proposal when it was brought forth by the Bush administration," Senator Bernie Sanders, (I-Vt.), said on January 24 at a discussion about the proposed rule changes at the Newseum, just blocks from the Capitol. "Unless we act very strongly and very effectively, within the next few weeks, it will be Chairman Genachowski's FCC which, in fact, brings forth that resolution."
Aides to Senators Sanders and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), another opponent of cross-ownership deregulation, said that if FCC does pass its proposal, the two will consider introducing a resolution of disapproval in a bid to negate it. Truthout contacted the offices of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada), Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Chair John Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va) for comment on a possible resolution of disapproval, but had not heard back by publication time.
When the FCC attempted to relax cross-ownership rules in 2008, the Senate, with the support of then-Senators Obama and Biden, passed such a resolution. The House never voted on it because the rule changes were challenged in court and, eventually, sent back to the FCC in 2011.
But President Obama would have to decline to veto the likely resolution that would arise; a move that would pit him against one of his own appointees.
And if another probable appointee - Treasury Secretary choice and laissez-faire disciple Jack Lew - is any indication, the general preservation of regulatory regimes isn't high on President Obama's agenda.
What could scupper the FCC's initiative, however, is the fact that the Obama administration hasn't exactly been forthcoming about its plans for telecommunications policy.
"They have really tried to operate under the radar screen, and we are where we are," Sanders said at the Newseum. "And where we are is there is a likelihood that within the next few weeks - very quietly - that decision will be made."
Senator Cantwell echoed that criticism at a December 6 press conference with Sanders.
"Unfortunately, the draft rule was circulated behind closed doors. The commission should hold firm to ensure that this rule won't get a majority if it's voted on," she said, before praising the FCC for at least deciding to delay its vote until after the new year.
If the FCC does proceed in such an opaque manner, legal precedent indicates that the courts could undo Genachowski's initiative. The appellate court that remanded the Bush administration's proposed rule changes back to the FCC in 2011 ruled against the commission on procedural grounds. The court found numerous problems with the public comment period that occurred before the changes were approved in December 2007 - namely, that the commission's appeal for input was too vague and that the time allotted for meaningful criticism and counter-proposals was far too short. The prevailing opinion stated that the FCC didn't live up to "its obligation to make its views known to the public in a concrete and focused form so as to make criticism or formulation of alternatives possible." The court also found that the FCC failed to produce sufficient studies and draft adequate language to support its claim that the proposed deregulation would increase ownership among minorities and women.
That the commission believes it can go ahead with similar proposals in an even more furtive way has opponents up in arms. Tim Robinson, a staffer for Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) present at the Newseum event, criticized the commission during the question-and-answer period, for "proposing rules without developing a record that substantiates the predictive judgments that regulators are making when they're developing these rules."
"That's not enough," he said.
In December, Representative Rush penned a letter, with four other Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, stating that the five were "deeply concerned" with the proposed changes, saying that it's the FCC's duty to "to protect and promote this localism and diversity in our marketplace of ideas."
But it seems self-evident why supporters of deregulation are proceeding without conducting procedures required by statutes: There is really only one way that rule relaxation has changed the market historically.
"A rule that makes it easier for corporations to control more media voices will not increase the diversity in the marketplace," Senator Cantwell said at the December press conference.
"When you come up with these cross-ownership rules, as are proposed now, you're going to push out the few independent people that are left," she later added.
At the Newseum, Sanders cited a statistic he often mentions when discussing the effects of ownership deregulation.
"The bottom line is that in 1983, 90 percent of American media was owned by 50 companies. Today, that same 90 percent is controlled by six multinational media conglomerates. That's GE, News Corp, Walt Disney, Viacom, Time Warner, and CBS," he stated. This oligopoly emerged as a direct result of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
It's not necessarily that the small fries are unprofitable, either. The New Orleans Times Picayune, for example, was recently downsized significantly by its parent company Newhouse - moving from a daily to a three times per week publication - despite being a profitable venture.
But with the internet and the onset of the Great Recession - itself partially a byproduct of a corrupt corporate media - margins have diminished, putting pressure on privately owned and publicly traded companies to cut back or sell up.
The big fish have, in turn, pressured the FCC and Congress to relax regulations that restrain their lust for acquisitions. Media conglomerates routinely lure FCC executives through the revolving door. On Jan. 29, the Los Angeles Times reported that the latest such passenger was Genachowski's former chief of staff Edward Lazarus, who was hired as general counsel by The Tribune Company, a company lobbying the FCC to relax cross-ownership rules. The National Association of Broadcasters - a major supporter of deregulation - has also increased its lobbying spending from $8.9 to $14.5 million from 2007 to 2012, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. And the stakes couldn't be higher.
"If you are concerned about the economy, if you are concerned about health care, if you are concerned about foreign policy, you must be concerned about the media," Sanders intoned. "Our right-wing friends have been able to set the stage that spending and deficit reduction are the major economic issues facing America when, in fact, recession, mass unemployment, decline in income and the growing gap between the rich and everybody else is, in fact, according to the American people, a far more important issue."
Even if media conglomerates in America don't engage in illegal activities - such as phone hacking or bribery - they still wield immense power.
"That a nation in which a handful of multinational media conglomerates control what we see, hear and read is a very dangerous situation for what many of us believe democracy should be," Sanders said. "That's the message. It's pretty simple."
It's also a message that the editors and broadcasters who reach the majority of Americans will neglect to give significant voice to - even for the purposes of rebutting it.
For those who do not realize how relentlessly corporate Obama is....his Justice Department is almost singularly focused on law that protects businesses and their profits. Online subscriptions at libraries have been around for years and are necessary for most people to access general information. If people cannot use libraries for this access we will be left to the devises of Nancy Snyderman on NBC or Scott Pelley on CBS.
February 1, 2013 - 3:00am By Scott Jaschik
Inside Higher Ed
Why would the U.S. Justice Department want to get involved in the appeal by publishers of a landmark ruling by a federal judge on the issue of e-reserves in college and university libraries?
That's the question being asked by many observers -- and more than a few on the college library side of the debate are upset that the Obama administration would even consider getting involved on behalf of the publishers. Given the administration's general support for the idea that technology is a tool to improve education, some librarians are stunned that the Justice Department might back the publishers' appeal.
To date, the Obama administration hasn't officially joined the appeal by publishers of a May ruling that rejected the vast majority of publishers' complaints of copyright violations by Georgia State University in how it uses e-reserves. While the ruling found a few instances in which it said Georgia State did violate publishers' rights, the judge's determination that most of what Georgia State was doing was acceptable was a huge relief to colleges and universities nationwide, which similarly rely on e-reserves for their students.
What the Justice Department did that caught everyone by surprise was file a brief asking for an extension on the time available to file on the publishers' appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. The request for an extension doesn't state the department's view on the case, but it seems fairly clear that both parties believe the department may back the publishers. It is customary when groups ask for such extensions for them to seek the blessing of those facing off in court, and while the publishers have said that they are fine with the extension, Georgia State has said that it is not.
The university said it had no comment on the Justice Department action. And a spokeswoman for the Association of American Publishers said that she did not know what the department was planning to do. The Justice Department did not respond to an inquiry about its plans.
Some observers of the case said that they were shocked and angry that there was even a chance that the department would back the publishers in the case.
"It is flat out ridiculous that the Obama Administration may be supporting the publishers here," wrote Mike Masnick, editor of the blog Techdirt. "Two out of the three publishers are foreign publishing giants, and it would be supporting them against a public university library tasked with helping to educate students. The entire purpose of copyright law is supposed to be to promote the progress of learning." (The suit was brought by Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press and Sage Publications -- with backing from the publishing industry.)
"And yet ... these publishers, along with the U.S. Copyright Office and (perhaps) the DOJ, would like to ignore all of this, and reject fair use in such public learning centers? It is ridiculous. Oh, and did we mention that the lawsuit by these publishers is really being funded by the Copyright Clearance Center (who, shockingly, would be in charge of collecting fees for such uses...) and the [Association of American Publishers]? If the Obama Administration wanted to appear any more in the pocket of 'Big Copyright' and against the public interest when it comes to learning and education, I'm not sure of any better position to take."
Jonathan Band, a Washington lawyer who is an expert on copyright law, said via e-mail that his "suspicion is that the Copyright Office has asked DOJ to file an amicus brief in support of the publishers. Hopefully other agencies, e.g., the Department of Education, will weigh in and advise the DOJ that supporting the publishers would be a bad idea from a political, public policy, and substantive legal point of view."
Tracy Mitrano, director of IT policy and the Institute for Computer Policy and Law at Cornell University (and a blogger for Inside Higher Ed), said she was very concerned about the possibility that the administration might back the publishers in the case. Mitrano, however, was less surprised than some others at this prospect. While the Obama administration "likes to talk about technology" and its role in education, she said, officials seem to have "a bright line between technology and information."
The administration, despite its support for education technology, "does not have a good track record when it comes to copyright reform in a way that would make the law more balanced, or would allow for greater access," she said. "They appear to still be listening way too much to content owners and the content industry," she said.
Barbara Fister, a librarian at Gustavus Adolphus College and a blogger for Inside Higher Ed, said "I can't imagine why the Department of Justice would oppose what a lower court considered a fair use and support the plaintiffs, who were trounced out of court by a thoroughly researched decision." She said the issues in the case matter to all colleges.
"For some reason uses that were patently fair in print are being called [by publishers] unfair in a digital era, even when it's the very same kind of use," she said. "This is bad for education and ultimately bad for publishing scholarship. If faculty can only teach from material that has to be paid for, they'll start looking for material that is not pay-per-use and scholars' work will have an ever smaller audience. It's not as if there's a lot of money yet to wring out of students or libraries."
You know mainstream media has all become captured by corporations when hard-hitting 60 minutes becomes the field team for corporate media anchors like Scott Pelley. Pelley is so pitiful he makes himself look like a North Korean state media reporter. This has happened in all sectors and even public media is now corporate media with Marketplace giving us Wall Street all the time.
Obama ran in 2008 saying he saw media consolidation in the US as a threat to free press and then he appointed someone to the FCC who is allowing just that in most cases. He also made his first act to remove 'Fair and Balanced' from media requirements basically institutionalizing this HYPE media that simply spouts views from each political party rather than truth. NPR was always Fair and Balanced until this law disappeared and then they proudly announced they were Third Way think tank only.....corporate and global/wealth.
We can reverse all of this by simply taking the democratic party back from Third Way corporate pols in the leadership now. It is the democratic party that would fight for these protections and with 80% of democrats as labor and justice, we need to shake that 20% corporate out of the rug by running labor and justice candidates against DNC corporate ones!
60 Minutes serves the president some softballs What would Mike Wallace say about the Obama/Clinton lovefest?
By Cal Thomas 6:00 a.m. EST, February 2, 2013 Baltimore Sun
In the days of the late Mike Wallace, "60 Minutes" was known for hard-hitting, aggressive journalism that asked the questions viewers wanted answered and held the powerful accountable.
The Jan. 27 program on which Steve Kroft interviewed President Obama (at his request, no less) and outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton fell far short of that high standard. It was the kind of softball toss you might have expected if Oprah Winfrey or Barbara Walters had conducted the interview.
The president said of Ms. Clinton, "...a lot of the successes we've had internationally have been because of her hard work." Mr. Kroft should have asked if one of those successes included Russia, a nation with which Ms. Clinton promised to push the "reset button." Yet, as the Washington Post reports, "A poisonous unraveling of U.S. relations with Russia in recent months represents more than the failure of President Obama's first-term attempt to "reset" badly frayed bilateral relations. It threatens pillars of Obama's second-term foreign policy agenda as well." And how about the Middle East, which is not exactly headed toward peace and stability?
Late in the interview, the president rattled off his administration's foreign policy successes. He mentioned Egypt and said, "...had it not been for the leadership we showed, you might have seen a different outcome there."
Ms. Kroft should have followed up with: "Different from Mohamed Morsi, Egypt's president and Muslim Brotherhood proponent, who agrees with the Koran that Jews '...are descendants of apes and pigs'"?
Mr. Kroft brought up the 2008 presidential campaign during which Ms. Clinton had some tough things to say about Barack Obama, including that he had little or no accomplishments to speak of. That would have been a good moment to remind viewers what she said. Instead, Mr. Kroft said, "I'm going to spare you reading some of the things that you said about each other..." Why? He might have asked, "Did you mean it then, or was this a political game?"
Mr. Kroft did concede that there had been no big foreign policy achievement in Mr. Obama's first four years in office, though the president maintained that winding down two wars, keeping pressure on terrorists and "dismantling" al-Qaida's core leadership constituted success.
Mr. Kroft could have countered with: "Terrorism appears not to be about leaders, but followers of an ideology. Is your policy simply to keep killing terrorists? Do you think you can kill them all?"
Mr. Kroft mentioned the terrorist attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya and properly called it "...the biggest diplomatic disaster of this administration," but the question he put to Ms. Clinton was limp: "Do you blame yourself that you didn't know or that you should have known?"
Before conducting the interview, Mr. Kroft should have read several questions tweeted by CBS News' investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson. As published on Breitbart.com, Ms. Attkisson wanted to know, "Who is the highest-ranking official who was aware of pre-9/11 security requests from U.S. personnel in Libya?" "Who is/are the official(s) responsible for removing reference to al-Qaida from the original CIA notes?" "What is your response to the president stating that on Sept. 12, he called 9/11 a terrorist attack, in light of his CBS interview on that date in which he answered that it was too early to know whether it was a terrorist attack?"
Politicians go on shows that won't confront them with hard questions they don't want to answer. If those questions are asked, they'll likely not appear on those shows again. The media need ratings and to get them they need high-profile guests. Politicians know this. That's the unholy alliance between much of big media and political leaders.
Something similar occurred on Sunday's edition of ABC's "The Week." Reporter Martha Raddatz interviewed Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) for six minutes and never asked him about reports in The Daily Caller alleging that he has frequented underage prostitutes in the Dominican Republic, sometimes flying there on private planes paid for by a campaign contributor. Mr. Menendez's spokeswoman has called the report "unsubstantiated garbage." Still, Ms. Raddatz should have asked him about it.
The primary role of journalists is to question authority. In these two instances, Mr. Kroft and Ms. Raddatz fell short.
Readers may e-mail Cal Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There really is a grave concern about freedom of speech and the attempts to create a message by the 1% here in Baltimore. There is so much corruption and crime and so much inequity that these pols are determined to provide a revisionist history of events.
Activists arrested as democratic dictatorships look to censor free speech
- Activists arrested and banned from City Hall
- January 24, 2013
- By: Hassan Giordano
From Governor-approved media credentials to the banning of outspoken citizens from the hallways of local government, the tactics being taken by Maryland's democratic leaders border on a fine line of violating America's first and most prevalent constitutional right – the freedom of speech. And while many cases have highlighted a short-sighted arrogance of local political leaders, in excluding the voices of the opposition; the recent arrest of local Baltimore activist Kim Trueheart seemed to only exacerbate an existing problem – the violation of the people's rights.
Trueheart, one of Baltimore's most vocal and committed activists, was arrested yesterday while trying to enter City Hall for the weekly Board of Estimates meeting, where she remains a constant presence for the people. She was approached by the local police that secure the front door of Baltimore's legislative chambers, and was asked to leave the facility as she was 'banned' from the building for a period of 30-days, for her actions during a press conference last week.
Asking the officers exactly what law she had violated by simply asking the Mayor of Baltimore why she was wasting her, and other citizen's, hard-earned tax dollars regarding a questionable phone system; Trueheart was placed in handcuffs when officers apparently become irate, according to sources who were present at the scene.
According to Ms. Trueheart, she attended a January 16th press conference involving Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake – who Trueheart once supported but has since become one of her most outspoken critics – in which she began questioning the first term mayors decision to waste what City Comptroller Joan Pratt says is upwards of $400,000 a month in taxpayer dollars on a phone system that has become a 'hot topic' amongst local leaders.
Persistently questioning the Mayor, who continued to ignore her pleas, Trueheart was asked to leave City Hall because of 'disorderly behavior' – though Trueheart believs that the officers were acting 'disorderly' by pushing her around. “I was at City Hall as I always am, filming the press conference, and as she headed to the elevator after Jayne Miller and Luke Broadwater decided not to ask her any questions; Ian Brennan, the mayor's second-in-command in the press office, brought her back to answer my questions,” says Trueheart, giving an accurate account of both incidents.
“Her officers then proceeded to begin bumping and pushing me as I tried to film the mayor while asking her why she was spending this amount of money, which mind you was immediately following the BOE meeting and a Pratt press conference where she accused the mayor of such mismanagement.”
Trueheart was then placed on a frequently used 'banned' list created by this Mayor, in which her picture was posted in the downstairs security area and prohibited from entering the building that essentially is paid for by taxpayer dollars. She questioned why she was now being 'banned' from a building that she frequents and has no prior issues of 'disorderly behavior', in which Lt. Morris – the Mayor's security details supervisor – had no clear answer for; yet told her that the ban would remain in effect until February 15th, at which time he'll then decide whether or not to remove the ban.
It was this ban that led authorities to ask her to leave yesterday's proceedings, though she says she was there for about an hour before anyone suggested that she exit the building. “I was there at 8:30am as usual, and actually wasn't asked to leave for about an hour, as I sat and spoke civilly with the officers like usual; and it wasn't until I began leaving the building that they decided to put the handcuffs on me, forcing me back in to make it look as if I was arrested inside the facility – as five officers proceeded to rough me up yet again,” says Trueheart.
“This type of treatment of citizens simply holding our elected officials accountable is not something that should be tolerable by any member of the city council.”
However, Trueheart isn't the first person that has been banned from City Hall by this Mayor, as other outspoken activists such as SCLC President Cortly 'CD' Witherspoon were recently banned as well, and even faced criminal charges for their persistent actions representing the people.
“The problem is that the Charter specifies that the City is owned by the Mayor and City Council, but our attorney argued effectively that police officers work for the Baltimore City Police Department, not the Mayor; thereby setting a precedent that doesn't allow for outspoken activists like Kim to be criminally liable for their presence at City Hall,” says Witherspoon, who was found 'not guilty' on Tuesday, along with Sharon Black of the All People's Congress, as they were both charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct stemming from an incident last year when they tried to hand-deliver a letter to the Mayor requesting an 'emergency meeting' to discuss issues regarding police brutality and the funding, or lack thereof, of city rec centers.
“It was clear that both the arrest – which was handled by the city's SWAT team – as well as the continued prosecution of Sharon and I, were politically motivated; as I remained banned from City Hall while these charges were pending – yet Sharon did not,” stated Witherspoon. “She faced the same charges and was present with me, yet she wasn't banned and I was, which is the real question; how come some are 'banned' and others are not? And what gives her [the Mayor] the authority to implement such a ban? And since the City Council is a co-owner of the corporation known as Baltimore City, can't they essentially override her ban through legislative action or a vote of dissent?”
Those questions remain unanswered at this time, though Trueheart now finds herself in a similar predicament as Witherspoon and Black; as she was released from Baltimore's Central Booking and Intake Facility in the wee hours of the morning (3:15AM) facing charges of trespassing, disorderly conduct and failing to obey an officers command.
"And this is the person the DNC wants as their new secretary? A dictator who doesn't allow for criticism of her policies, and gets those who disagree with her locked-up and placed on some illegal ban list," questioned one social media critic.
She says that she was quite pleased with the treatment she received in the detention facility, and was enormously grateful for Mike McGuire of the Occupy Movement waiting hours for her release to drive her home – with hot chocolate in tow. “I certainly was pleasantly surprised and appreciative of his commitment and compassion regarding my situation; and it's that type of humanity that seems to lacking from those in City Hall?”
Posting a Tweet upon her release that 'The rights of all people must be preserved ... Justice, equity and liberty are NOT just for some @MayorSRB', and facilitating a more in-depth discussion about the Mayor's actions and that of the officers regarding her arrest on Facebook; many local leaders lined up behind Trueheart, severely criticizing the totalitarian efforts being conducted by the 42-year old Chief Executive of Baltimore.
Local Islamic activist David Anthony Wiggins questioned the Mayor and her decision: 'What lawful authority do you hold as a trustee to "ban" a taxpayer/beneficiary of the municipal corporation from a public facility that is consistent with the Maryland Constitution and the Public Accommodation Act?'
Others remained committed to rising up and showing a force of solidarity highlighting the rights of the people. 'I think its time to stop hiding and as many as possible unite and standup! I've long seen the handwriting on the wall as the parallels to Rome are not surprising,' says Mark Mosley; while local tech leader David Troy followed suit suggesting that many people may rally around Trueheart and becoming City Hall surrogates for the activist.
“I think you will find there are people who are willing to go to City Hall in your stead. By banning you they are asking for 10, 100 others to show up as well. They cannot ban everyone, and they cannot silence inquiry and dissent.”
However, Rawlings-Blake's decision to silence those who don't accept her policies 'hook, line and sinker', seem to be a tactic taken out of her good friends book of politricks – Governor Martin O'Malley. The former Mayor of Baltimore, who Rawlings-Blake supported in his quest for higher office in 1999, has a history of censoring media outlets and reporters (citizen journalists) who do not agree with his positions as well.
In fact, he became the only Governor in Maryland history to mandate that all media credentials given by the state's Department of General Services, be approved first by his communications office; even after he criticized former Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich in 2006 for shutting out two Baltimore Sun reporters from media events.
In fact, it was the Governor's Office that withheld their approval of this Examiner’s state media pass in years past, finally approving the credentials only after certain African American and Republican lawmakers called him out for such censorship. However, he seems to be back to his old tricks, as multiple online media outlets – including this Examiner – have had their re-approved passes for the 2013 session delayed for weeks now.
“We're already two weeks into the legislative session, and a process that usually takes hours, or at the very most a day or two, has been prolonged for weeks to keep us locked out of the process,” says one independent media journalist. “If you don't agree with the King, and/or Queen now as well, you'll be shut-out and silenced – 'by any means necessary'? I'm not sure that's what Malcolm meant by his statement, but its certainly the meaning behind the exclusion of certain citizen critics who have a constitutional right to be present in the hallways of justice here in Maryland – or anywhere in this country.”
The people who speak on media outlets on issues that are progressive are carefully managed by the people in power. Whenever an independent opinion makes its way into an interview it is edited out! The State of Maryland and especially Baltimore has the most repressive media coverage in America!!!!
Tuesday, January 12, 2010 Pew Study Examines Baltimore Media “Ecosystem”
The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism has released a new study examining the relationship of new and old media in Baltimore. Their findings: new and old media are extremely interdependent, but the old media’s role remains critical to original reporting in the city.
Pew looked at all media - including newspapers, radio, TV, blogs and more - producing news content in the Baltimore area in the week of July 19-25, 2009. They then studied six stories in depth, tracing their origins, spread and development – in some cases, as they moved across the nation. Pew’s basic conclusions include:
1. Nearly 95% of the stories that contained original information came from old media, mostly from newspapers. Those stories “tended to set the narrative agenda for most other media outlets.”
2. But the old media are producing less than they used to:
For all of 2009, for instance, the Sun produced 32% fewer stories on any subject than it did in 1999, and 73% fewer stories than in 1991, when the company still published an evening and morning paper with competing newsrooms. And a comparison of one major story during the week studied—about state budget cuts—found newspapers in the area produced only one-third as many stories in 2009 as they did the last time the state made a similar round of budget cuts in 1991, and the Baltimore Sun one seventh as many.3. New media are not compensating for the decline of the old media. Pew describes most new media, including blogs and Twitter, as “mainly an alert system and a way to disseminate stories from other places.” They are not filling the gap of creating the original content that was once provided by the old media in greater volume years ago.
4. Rapid cyber-spread of stories has a cost:
As news is posted faster, often with little enterprise reporting added, the official version of events is becoming more important. We found official press releases often appear word for word in first accounts of events, though often not noted as such. In the growing echo chamber online, formal procedures for citing and crediting can get lost. We found numerous examples of websites carrying sections of other people’s work without attribution and often suggesting original reporting was added when none was. We found elements of this in several major stories we traced. And sometimes old stories that were already obsolete were posted or linked to after events had changed and the original news site had updated them.Of the six stories Pew studied in depth, only two were broken by new media. One was a police shooting originally reported by a Twitter feed. The other was MPW contributor Paul Gordon’s scoop on a spying proposal by the Maryland Transit Administration. Sun reporter Mike Dresser followed up with MTA right away, causing them to drop the plan. Pew tracks that story across the U.S., noting the failure of other media outlets to credit either MPW or Dresser.
We have criticized the mainstream media (MSM) plenty on this blog, but we do it for a reason: true democracy cannot exist without an informed citizenry, and the latter is dependent on paid, professional and objective journalism. Amateur bloggers as a group have not yet shown the ability to produce enough original reporting to compensate for the cutbacks at major outlets like the Post and the Sun. Unless the old media finds a way to make a profit again, the information sphere of the future will likely consist of a relative handful of stories amplified by innumerable outlets that add few if any new facts or follow-up other than spin. We deserve better than that.
Posted by Adam Pagnucco at 3:00 PM
OUR FREE PRESS IS DISAPPEARING IN LEAPS AND BOUNDS AND IT IS HAPPENING UNDER THIRD WAY CORPORATE DEMOCRATS.....
Media is being managed across the Western nations as the Finance Industry runs all the decisions in formerly democratic countries
Journalists in Greece Are Becoming Targets
By LIZ ALDERMAN Published: January 12, 2013New York Times
The Greek police on Saturday were looking for the people responsible for detonating makeshift bombs at the homes of five journalists in Athens, the latest in a series of actions taken against reporters in Greece that have raised questions about a deteriorating climate for media freedom.
Connect With Us on Twitter Follow @nytimesworld for international breaking news and headlines.
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An anarchist group calling itself Lovers of Lawlessness claimed responsibility for Friday’s attacks, citing coverage of the financial crisis that the group denounced as sympathetic to the austerity programs being imposed by the Greek government and its foreign lenders.
The news media are the “main managers of the oppressing state designs, manipulating society accordingly,” the group said in a statement posted to the Internet.
Reporters Without Borders condemned the bombings, in which explosives tied to gas canisters caused minor damage at the homes of the editor of the Athens News Agency, Antonis Skylakos, and two broadcasters, Giorgos Oikonomeas and Antonis Liaros, from private television stations. Petros Karsiotis, a crime reporter, and Christos Konstas, a former journalist who is now a spokesman for the government agency in charge of privatizing Greek assets, were also targeted. No injuries were reported.
“These attacks are the most visible expression of an increasingly dangerous climate for all journalists, who are being turned into the scapegoats of a crisis they are just analyzing,” Reporters Without Borders said.
Activism by far-left groups appears to be on the rise after a series of attacks and threats against journalists last year by Golden Dawn, the far-right neo-facist group.
On Thursday, about 50 men entered the private radio station Real FM and demanded that a recording be played expressing solidarity with hundreds of squatters evicted earlier from the Villa Amalia, a gathering point in central Athens for far-left groups and students.
“Yesterday they raided radio stations; today we have explosions at journalists’ homes,” said Simos Kedikoglou, the coalition government’s spokesman. “There is an open effort to terrorize the media, a vital part of our democracy.”
The Greek police have also increased their activity. Dimitris Trimis, the head of Greece’s Journalist’s Union, said the police on Saturday blocked journalists in Athens for several hours from covering the trial of people arrested at Villa Amalia. A police spokesman denied journalists were kept out.
In November, about 15 officers surrounded the home of a Greek magazine editor and arrested him hours after he published a list of more than 2,000 Greeks who were said to have accounts at a bank in Switzerland. Kostas Vaxevanis, the editor of the magazine, HotDoc, was put on trial for privacy violation and quickly cleared by a judge, but faces a retrial after the prosecutor appealed the verdict.
Dimitris Bounias contributed reporting.
VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUR OF OFFICE!!!!
Think Media Consolidation Is Good for Journalism? Think Again By Josh Stearns, Free Press
05 January 13
The Federal Communications Commission is pushing a plan to gut its 30-year-old newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership ban. This proposal would allow one company to own a local paper, two TV stations and up to eight radio stations in a single market. Advocates of more media consolidation argue that allowing TV stations and newspapers to merge is critical to cutting costs and saving local journalism.
This is the same argument the Bush FCC used to try to push through the same bad rules in 2007. Back then, the Senate voted the rules down and the courts later threw them out. It’s time to put this argument to bed for good: More media consolidation won’t save journalism.
Banks have toxic assets. Journalism has media consolidation.
When we think about the state of journalism today, let’s not forget that media consolidation is largely what got us into this mess in the first place. Newspapers and TV stations have long been hugely profitable enterprises — and many still are.
Rick Edmonds at Poynter recently highlighted the fact that 2012 was a good year for newspaper stocks. Indeed, the top publicly traded newspaper companies remain quite profitable. In 2011, the McClatchy Company enjoyed 27 percent profit margins, Lee Enterprises had 24 percent profit margins and the Gannett Company’s profits were at 22 percent.
This sounds good, but not that long ago many media companies reported 30 or 40 percent profits. But instead of investing in their product during those flush times — hiring more journalists, diving head-first into the Web — most companies went on a buying spree. The biggest news organizations in the country got over-leveraged with debt as they gobbled up competitors.
Ad revenue eroded as a result of the economic downturn and the media companies’ failure to invest resources online. These companies could have weathered all of this if they weren’t also drowning in debt.
As media companies are bought and sold, as they go bankrupt and get traded by private equity firms, the people who get hurt are journalists and communities. Journalists lose their contracts or their jobs and communities are left with newspapers whose revenues are used only to pay off debt.
More media consolidation will only make the situation worse.
Letting one company own both a newspaper and broadcast stations in the same market isn’t just bad for the community; it’s also bad business. Cross-ownership doesn’t save anything; it simply drags down the performance of both broadcasting and print operations.
Media General was once one of the biggest advocates for gutting the newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership ban, but the company is silent on the issue now. In fact, over the course of 2012 Media General broke up its four cross-owned properties. Similarly, Belo Corp. spun off its broadcasting and newspaper operations. Margins at both then improved, with the newspaper’s profit margin doubling.
The Tribune Company has cross-owned print/broadcast holdings in five cities around the U.S. The company just emerged from the largest bankruptcy in media history and plans to unbundle its cross-owned properties.
The only company actively lobbying the FCC to weaken the cross-ownership rules is Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., which sent representatives to meetings with the FCC chairman’s office just last month. That may be why the FCC proposal looks like such a plum handout to Murdoch, who wants to buy the L.A. Times and the Chicago Tribune — but can’t unless the agency changes its cross-ownership rules.
Media consolidation leads to less local news.
Here at Free Press, we’re concerned as anyone about the future of journalism. We need a system where communities have access to a full range of news and information, where diverse perspectives are part of the national debate, where journalists make a living wage and are protected enough to hold power to account.
However, relaxing the newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership ban will move us in exactly the wrong direction. While the FCC’s 2007 studies indicated that cross-ownership leads to increased news production at the cross-owned station, that finding was later debunked in peer reviews. It turns out the FCC was counting sports and weather segments in its calculations. Those categories aside, cross-owned stations actually aired less hard news than non-cross-owned stations.
In addition, if you look beyond the one station and take into account the entire region being served by local TV and newspapers, both FCC data and outside studies indicate that cross-ownership leads to less total news produced locally. Cross-ownership crowds out the competition. The presence of a cross-owned station leads other stations in a market to collectively curtail their news output by about 25 percent.
The FCC’s plan to relax the newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership ban will lead to more absentee landlords controlling our nation’s public airwaves, and it will hurt media diversity. The same old media consolidation policies are not a solution for the new challenges (or opportunities) facing journalism today.
THIS WAS MY POST ON MY LOCAL PUBLIC MEDIA STATION THAT HAS BEEN CAPTURED BY CORPORATE INTERESTS:
Tony Brandon tells us that WYPR has strong financing. If you look at the annual report from last year you see 2/3 of revenues from corporations and their non-profits making WYPR clearly a commercial station. Brandon says WYPR has strong programming yet never once does it educate the public on the corruption and crime that grips American institutions, government and corporate, having created the wealth inequity we have today. They won't tell you the consequences of the Maryland political delegation's vote to institutionalize this wealth inequity that will ever more impoverish most Americans. The American people understand what is happening and can envision what that future will be even as corporate and wealth interests capture all of public media in an effort to hide the facts. North Korean media reports food is plentiful and grocery store shelves are full of food choices for the people of North Korea as the people die of starvation......WYPR claims itself a public interest media.....see the similarities!
Meetings of Board of Estimates, two others to be broadcast live on TV25 and online by city by Andrew Zaleski on October 29, 2012
As of Thursday, meetings of the Municipal Zoning and Appeals Board, the Board of Estimates and the Board of Liquor License Commissioners will be broadcast live by the city, according to a press release from the mayor’s office.
According to the release, the Mayor’s Office of Cable and Communications will broadcast the meetings “on the city cable station, TV25, and online.”
Follow the respective links for meetings schedules for the following:
TV25 reaches about “115,000 Baltimore households that subscribe to cable television,” according to the mayor’s office. Funding for TV25 is “provided through a subscriber fee that is part of Baltimore’s existing cable franchise agreement.”
Airtime for scheduled meetings/hearings:
City Council Meeting - Mondays at 5pm with a replay the following Tuesday at 5pm
(next scheduled meeting today, 12/3 and Thurs, 12/6)
City Council Hearing - Wednesdays at 5pm with a replay the following Thursday at 5pm (no hearings scheduled for the month)
Board of Estimate Hearing - Wednesdays at 9am
THIS WAS MY QUESTION FOR MEDIA WATCHDOGS ABOUT THE STATE OF FREE AND FAIR MEDIA IN AMERICA. WE ARE FINDING IT HARDER AND HARDER TO GET THE TRUTH OUT ABOUT ALL MANNERS OF TOPICS. WHILE I CAN EMAIL ALL ACROSS THE COUNTRY AND ASK GROUPS TO LINK TO MY WEBSITE, IF YOU GOOGLE O'MALLEY, YOU WOULD NEVER SEE ONE OF MY BLOGS IN THE SEARCH. I KNOW I GET MORE ACTIVITY COMING TO MY SITE THAN THESE POLS, YET THEY ARE ALLOWED TO BUY THEIR PLACE AS FIRST IN SEARCH AND COMPLETELY BLOCK ME.
WE WILL WORK ON THIS!!! SHOUT OUT AGAINST THIS EVER-INCREASING LOSS OF FREE MEDIA/SPEECH.
Please look into these two media issues:
1) Corporate media and a corporate public media are causing media blackout of primary elections and as such, challengers to incumbents have no ability to get name recognition and therefor raise funds to challenge incumbents. Issues can't be discussed as media only covers what two corporate pols are saying.
In Maryland we have:
A law two years ago that forbids campaigning on social media as that is the only way to circumvent a captured media.....gone.
Online registration and soon to come voting all open the election process to hacking and fraud says everyone....moving forward.
Public media has been usurped by wealth interests at all levels. I don't see how they can be said to meet 'public interest' mission with this Wall Street format and local stations filled with wealth/shareholder interests.
2) Bloggers are systematically being blocked from internet search engines. Somehow, my website and blog can only be found if you key the site's name. None of my keyword subjects show in a search. So, as I try to blog about the politics and politicians records, if you google/yahoo that pols name you never see my comments. They appear to have bought a place in the search as first in line as I know my site gets more hits than these pols. When I look at the search for my website, I see CATEGORY 1 by it.....seeming to mark it for different handling.
We are being left with no way to get the truth about political issues or politicians out.
It goes from bad to worse for the country’s premier free press newspaper. Once the venue for holding government accountable, it is now a cog in the corruption spokes.
Owned by for-profit education and now for-profit home health care and hospice, two of the industries with the most fraud, guarantees no bad press for those industries. Where is the public to go for accountability?
Check my website!
Washington Post buying bulk of Celtic Healthcare Posted: 2:30 pm Mon, October 1, 2012
By Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The Washington Post Co. is getting into the health care business with the purchase of a majority stake in Celtic Healthcare Inc., a provider of home health care and hospice services.
The media and education company said Monday that the deal is part of its strategy to invest in companies with earnings potential and strong management.
“It also fits with our decentralized operating philosophy,” Chairman and CEO Donald E. Graham said in a statement. “We are a diverse group of businesses sharing common goals and values but each with its own identity and workplace culture, and with management responsible for its operations.”
The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Arnie Burchianti, the founder and CEO of Celtic Healthcare, will continue to run the company.
Mars, Pa.-based Celtic provides home health care and hospice services in Pennsylvania and Maryland. It offers in-home nurses and therapists and other health care workers. It also offers services to the elderly such as housekeeping, help with errands or companionship.
Though best known for The Washington Post newspaper, the Post Co. derives more than half of its revenue from its Kaplan education business. But new federal regulations aimed at lowering student debt have led to lower enrollment at many for-profit schools, including Kaplan.
On Friday, the company said it has halted new enrollments at nine of its Kaplan Higher Education campuses and will consolidate operations of four campuses into other locations. The move is part of its restructuring of the education business.
Washington Post’s shares climbed $3.83 to $366.86 in afternoon trading Monday.
AS WE WATCH NBC NIGHTLY NEWS BRING US PRIVATIZING OF PUBLIC EDUCATION COURTESY OF ITS SPONSOR PHOENIX UNIVERSITY AND 'EDUCATION NATION', A PRO-CHARTER, TEACH FOR AMERICA GROUP AND BELOW YOU SEE THE WASHINGTON POST BEING TAKEN TO TASK FOR THE SAME THING.......BELOW IS MY COMMENT TO ALL MEDIA.......REMEMBER, PRESIDENT NIXON WAS FORCED TO RESIGN WITH THESE POLITICAL CRIMES....NOW WE WATCH AS A PRESIDENT GOES ON TV AND SAYS TO THE CAMERA.........'I SEE NO CRIME ONLY GREED' WITH THE ENTIRE WORLD KNOWING HE IS LYING:
FROM WASHINGTON POST:
Thanks for taking the time to write. I just wanted to pass along the ombudsman's column from this past weekend in response to this issue.
All the best,
Editorial Aide to the Ombudsman
The Washington Post
1150 15th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20071
From: Citizen's Oversight <email@example.com>
To: "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>
Date: 09/17/2012 01:45 PM
Subject: WHERE ARE THE DAYS OF WATERGATE?
We are losing all of our government investigation and accountability at a time when crime and corruption is flourishing. Can you image an Obama back at the time of Nixon turning to the camera as saying 'I see no fraud only greed' when the entire world knows the fraud is systemic?
We are watching the corporate interests of for-profit education and now big oil develop your story-lines.
It is a sorry state of affairs for a once great newspaper.
Patrick B. Pexton Ombudsman Post Live: Brought to you by Big Oil?
By Patrick B. Pexton, Published: September 21
Was The Post too cozy with the American Petroleum Institute — the main oil and gas industry lobby — which sponsored two Washington Post Live panel discussions on energy policy at the recent political conventions?
And when it published two pages of excerpts from these discussions, should The Post have disclosed who sponsored the events?
These are among the questions raised by the left-leaning media watchdog Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, which got its many followers to shower me with e-mails objecting to the way The Post handled the events and published excerpts.
Post Live is a division of The Washington Post Co. that produces on-the-record newsmaker events and expert panel discussions on national issues.
Such events are a growing part of the news business and a growing source of revenue, not just for The Post but also for other publications. My former employer, National Journal, does many such events, as does its sister publication, the Atlantic. So do the Wall Street Journal, Politico and a host of other D.C.-centered publications.
No one is charged admission to these events, and they’re popular among Capitol Hill staff, lobbyists, reporters and policymakers, who attend to get the latest expert thinking in a policy field.
These events earn revenue through corporate sponsorships. The corporations pay a fee and may pay for rental of the event room and refreshments. In return, they get to put their logos all over the room, receive nice thank-yous from the moderator when the event begins and be perceived by the audience as a player in that policy arena.
Accordingly, the American Petroleum Institute (API) and The Post sponsored panel discussions in Tampa and Charlotteon the differences between President Obama’s and Mitt Romney’s energy plans and what they might mean for the future of energy policy.
But let’s be clear on some points:
Mary Jordan, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist in charge of Post Live, did not consult API on whom to invite. She and her staff did the inviting, wrote the questions, moderated the discussion and chose the excerpts that were published in the paper. API, Jordan said, had no editorial input, nor do other corporate sponsors of Post Live events.
The energy discussions had two additional sponsors, Hilton Worldwide and Huawei, a Chinese telecommunications company. And the event was co-hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington think tank whose name actually means what it says.
Panelists included members of Congress, nonpartisan energy experts, and oil and gas industry representatives. The speakers were not paid; they came voluntarily.
Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting makes a couple of worthwhile points. First, “Entirely missing from this ‘debate’ were environmentalists or any strong critics of the fossil fuel industry,” stated the group’s action alert. That was certainly true at the Tampa panel. In Charlotte, Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a strong environmentalist, appeared. No representatives from any of the major environmental groups were present, however, at either panel.
Jordan said she invited representatives from two well-known national environmental groups, but they declined. Part of the problem, Jordan said, was the timing of the conventions — many people were on vacation in late August and around Labor Day, and lots of groups decided to skip the conventions this year.
The second point the watchdog group made is that The Post’s two-page spread on Sept. 11 should have said that API, under its Vote 4 Energy campaign, sponsored the events. I agree. In the paper’s explanation about Post Live, I think the corporate sponsors should have been named, along with a sentence pointing out that sponsors had no editorial input on Post Live events. Jordan said she plans to do that for future published excerpts.
With the economic model for the news business broken, the pressure to get more revenue from these corporate-sponsored events is considerable. But they almost always come close to the line of looking like pay-for-a-point-of-view. It’s important that the rules on these events be clear to readers and that participants come from a wide spectrum of views.
Journalists are in the business of transparency; it’s incumbent that we bend over backward to behave that way.
Patrick B. Pexton can be reached at 202-334-7582 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BELOW IS MY COMMENT ON WYPR WHO IS A STAUNCH SUPPORTER OF PRIVATIZING PUBLIC EDUCATION WITH CHARTERS. HISTORICALLY IT WOULD BE PUBLIC MEDIA FIGHTING FOR THE ISSUES THESE TEACHER NOW FIND THEMSELVES FIGHTING. THE MEDIA TRY TO MAKE THIS SOUND AS IF IT IS ABOUT WAGES AND TENURE, BUT THERE IS FAR MORE TO IT THAN THAT. THE ONLY HINT AT THE REAL PROBLEM CAME IN A VERY BRIEF COMMENT ALLOWED ON AIR BY NBC NIGHTLY NEWS WHEN A TEACHER SAID THAT EMANUEL WAS TURNING MUCH OF THE CHICAGO SCHOOL SYSTEM TO CHARTERS AND THOSE CHARTERS WOULD NOT BE UNION. THAT IS THE ISSUE AS PRESSING FOR TEACHERS AS WAGES. THEY KNOW AS WE DO THAT THIS PRIVATIZING IS NOT ABOUT WHAT IS GOOD FOR THE CHILDREN. WE NEED TO RECLAIM OUR PUBLIC MEDIA FROM CORPORATE HANDS......WE DO NOT WANT ALL MEDIA REPORTING THE SAME PROPAGANDA. ALL MAINSTREAM NEWS IS DOING THIS. NPR DID ALLOW A BLURB OF ONE OF ITS REPORTERS DECRYING HAVING TO REPORT 'SPIN'....THAT IS ALL THAT IS COMING AT US. YOU MUST WRITE AND CALL ALL MEDIA AND HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE FOR FAILING TO PROVIDE BALANCE AND INTEGRITY IN THEIR REPORTING!!!
Since there is a Chicago Teacher's strike that is being completely ignored by public media in Baltimore.....because it is an uprising against the charter privatization that WYPR so strongly supports....we want to thank these teacher's unions, not only in Chicago, but in New York and California, for standing up and fighting back against the wholesale handing over to Wall Street America's public education system. Got that stock in KIPP yet? Teachers understand that having a small group of people writing lesson instructions and deciding what is taught is not democratic...it isn't American...it isn't first world. They understand that a policy that places children in front of computers all day and again at home isn't healthy and doesn't allow for personal growth and interaction skills. It is the wrong approach. This is what the strike is about.....not only wage and job security issues as media tend to say.
TO THE NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL NEWS AGENCIES I SENT THIS:
We know the Democratic Party is currently held by corporate Third Way leadership so all the policy issues being tossed about by them are corporate/wealth oriented. We are telling all media outlets to get REAL progressive policy input in this mix. If you are using CATO and Brookings Instititutes you are giving us free-market perspective with no anti-global perspective.....and believe me most Democrats are anti- mega corporation. You are sitting there reporting these ECB/IMF stories of European debt crisis as you did the Fed/Treasury bailout of the banks.....acting as if these are legitimate entities doing democratic business when we all know they are a huge cartel usurping national sovereignty. It is bizarre!
You have Nancy Schneidermann telling seniors to get used to staying at home with robots because health care can't afford you. Baby boomers spent 3-4 decades paying not only payroll taxes but income taxes that paid for all the medical advances that make this country's health care the greatest. We have paid for access to this care and we expect that to be the media mantra. We know that $200 billion each year for some decades have been lost to health fraud....that is a low estimate. So trillions need to come back to the Trust in the form of corporate taxes on the health industry. Instead, we watch as the health industry decides how it will save its profits from the cuts in Medicare/Medicaid.......their answer, cuts in care.
Dr. Schneidermann knows that health care reform is all about creating mega-health systems that will become global and act as Wall Street banks.....unaccountable, greedy, and preying on the poor and elderly. So, if there is no dialog on keeping these health systems regional, there is no entitlements .....all this debate on Medicare is window-dressing as these mega-health systems will ignore/end public programs. This is bigger than Hurricane Katrina and yet nothing on these real issues.
Hello, Education Reform is about privatizing education to Wall Street and creating a 19th century tiered learning with elite schools as leaders and the masses in vocational schools. This is not democratic education and should be reported as such. Charter school policy breaks all the laws of equal opportunity, equal education basically gutting all the Supreme Court rulings around Brown vs Board of Education......this is big news......where is it on your programming? You are waiting to give it a retrospective?
These are the people's issues that you are trying hard not to cover. We will have them circulating the online news system, but I must say that mainstream media is writing itself off as a journalistic organization and becoming a mouthpiece for propaganda. As NPR reporters decried 'they are making us report spin'. Check out my website for REAL NEWS.
Citizens Oversight Maryland.com
I had to respond to the Open Letter you signed intended for journalism schools. I want you to know that the American people are deeply disturbed by the mainstream media capture today.....these professional journalists of which you speak are simply corporate talking heads.....no one respects them. So to suggest that these people mentor and somehow have something to teach future journalists is an insult to the American people. We want our journalism graduates, like all academic disciplines, to be free of corporate influence as this influence stifles free thought and creative growth.....both very important to a democracy and both of which is currently missing from mainstream journalism. Just look at what has happened to NPR to see a disturbing corporate drive to take a stellar news program and turn it into a mediocre version of CNN and a few of these very foundations are sponsors to NPR. They are often located in conservative/corporate states.
Please stop this approach!
Yesterday's News August 6, 2012 - 3:00am By Kaustuv Basu
A group of foundations that support journalism education issued a letter Friday saying that top professionals in the field, not career academics, need to be doing much more of the teaching of journalism students.
As digital media have evolved, so have journalism programs. But the open letter criticized them for not changing quickly enough.
“We believe journalism and communications schools must be willing to recreate themselves if they are able to succeed in playing their vital roles as news creators and innovators. Some leading schools are doing this but most are not,” said the letter addressed to university presidents, and signed by senior officials of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, the Scripps Howard Foundation, the Brett Family Foundation and the Wyncote Foundation.
The letter said that the “teaching hospital” model – where programs not only teach journalism students, but serve their local communities by producing news – has enormous potential. One example of this model is Arizona State University, which houses News 21, an initiative by the Knight Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York to train a new generation of journalists. The initiative began in 2005 with five programs in the country.
But programs taking part in such initiatives may be the exception.
Eric Newton, senior adviser at the Knight Foundation, said that many journalism schools still teach analog broadcasts and treat newspaper, magazine, radio and television as separate components of a program.
“Students cannot be taught in silos such as print, radio, TV or magazine. There are still journalism programs where there is no experiential or service learning involved,” Newton said. As for journalism faculty members from the “pre-web” days, they need to constantly update their skills, maybe even indulge in “reverse mentoring” and learn about digital media from their students, Newton said.
“If you are in a recession, and you decide to cut the school’s website instead of the newspaper, then that is a problem. The schools should be willing to give up the things that should be given up,” Newton said. “We know that most jobs in journalism now involve digital media. These programs should change like society has changed. If you continue to teach things from the 1980s, you are going to become irrelevant."
He said the main purpose of the letter was to call attention to these problems and to point out that there is a tremendous opportunity for those programs that want to make the transition. Those that don’t, Newton said, will find that their graduates are unemployable in the mass communications industry.
According to Newton, four broad areas in journalism education need change: curricular innovation with programs better-connected with the rest of the university, technological innovations with programs serving as incubators, the teaching of an open collaborative model where schools can share resources with outside organizations, and providing content to the community while engaging in a two-way conversation with its members.
There are some journalism schools that are committed to these areas, where students learn by “doing,” Newton said.
Some examples: The City University of New York has an entrepreneurial journalism program that encourages student innovation by partnering with start-ups or traditional media companies, while Mercer University in Macon, Ga., has teamed up with the The Telegraph, a daily newspaper, and Georgia Public Broadcasting for a collaborative journalism center. Columbia University’s journalism school started a digital project called The New York World last year to provide accountability journalism about state and local government, while journalism students at three public universities in Ohio – University of Akron, Youngstown State University, and Kent State University – have been producing news for regional and statewide media through a partnership called The News Outlet.
Administrators at journalism and mass communication schools said they understand the frustrations of the foundations, but they also said programs are trying hard to keep up with changes in digital technology.
Beth Barnes, director of the school of journalism and telecommunications at the University of Kentucky and president of the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication, said that programs can't always change quickly. “We have to weigh in the cost factor, and the challenge for faculty to keep up with these changes,” she said.
Regional accrediting bodies have certain expectations about academic faculty, and their rules don’t make it easy to hire faculty members from professional institutions, she said. “Sometimes we have to make the case to administrators to hire someone who doesn’t have a terminal degree, but has current professional experience,” she said.
The letter urged programs to challenge such roadblocks from regional accreditors and suggested that "competence as the primary concern" for faculty in these programs. If they don't, they would have a hard time raising money from the foundations, the letter said.
Barnes said most j-schools are trying to change. “The changes may not happen quickly, but they [the foundations] should keep pushing us,” she said. “It keeps us honest and gives us some leverage we can use on our own campuses."
She said that the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications, which is currently reviewing changes to accreditation standards, is likely to add more specific requirements, such as multimedia storytelling. “These changes are going to make us more innovative,” Barnes said.
While the letter from the foundations said it supported efforts by the ACEJMC, which accredits 109 journalism and mass communication schools in the United States, to modernize standards, it also suggested that the organization develop standards that highlight the importance of technology and innovation.
Susanne Shaw, ACEJMC’s executive director and a professor of journalism at the University of Kansas, said that one proposed change in standards relates to the number of credit hours a journalism and communications major is required to have outside the major. The previous requirement was 80 credit hours with 65 of those hours coming from the liberal arts and sciences. The proposed new standard would enable 72 credit hours outside the major, but not restricted to the liberal arts and sciences, thus encouraging more collaboration and innovation. “So, for example, those who want to take a business class … we will be able to accommodate those folks,” Shaw said.
Another proposed change in the accrediting standards will let schools offer six hours of credit instead of three for unpaid internships. “Accreditation can only help some of the problems. I also want to help students and faculty get better,” Shaw said. “We are making the changes that the majority of our schools want.”
These proposed changes will be discussed at an ACEJMC meeting later this month, said Shaw, who said the council's members are open to discussing new ideas. Shaw said that the process of revising the standards had been ongoing for a year and a half, while the letter was less than a week old. “The council may want to talk about it. Some people might feel we already address these issues in our standards,” Shaw said, referring to standards for keeping the curriculum “current” and a separate one for equipment and facilities.
She said that the accreditation standards would have to be changed every month if the council were to respond to new technology. “Nothing is perfect. Of course, we are trying to address changes,” Shaw said. Shaw said that the standards already ask for a "current" and "demanding" curriculum and there is a separate standard for resources and equipment.
Susan King, dean of the school of journalism and mass communication at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, can understand the arguments from both sides. King previously was the vice president for external affairs at the Carnegie Corporation of New York and is well-acquainted with the world of funders.
“I agree that it is imperative to prepare the next generation of journalists, and to prepare them [students] for jobs that do not yet exist,” King said. “We have to prepare them for a digital future that might change twice before the end of the decade.”
King said programs have to constantly sharpen their focus and do so without losing their core values, but added that theoretical research is as important as applied research. “Universities have a greater chance to experiment. Businesses cannot experiment as much,” she said.
She said that she expected someone like Eric Newton to be provocative. “There is this myth that journalism professors spend their time telling stories about what they did,” King said, but her experience had been different. “There is a lot of worthwhile innovation going on. The challenge is to attract more schools to do the same. But I don’t think we are your daddy’s journalism school any more,” King said.
My message to the LA Times, Chicago Tribune, New York Times, Washington Post, and others!
AT WHAT POINT DOES AMERICA'S PREMIER NEWS JOURNALS STOP GIVING LEGITAMACY TO THE CRIMINAL FINANCIAL ENTERPRISE?
Op-Ed Contributor Keep the Dictators Out of Malibu By KEN SILVERSTEIN Published: July 2, 2012
IT IS A MUST TO SEE WHO OWES THE MEDIA IN AMERICA. WE ARE SEEING WARREN BUFFETT POSITIONING HIMSELF AS A LEADER IN MEDIA OWNERSHIP. WITH CORPORATIONS AND VENTURE CAPITALISTS TAKING THE HELM OF ALMOST ALL JOURNALISM, YOU SEE HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO GO WITH ONLINE ALTERNATIVE MEDIA. REMEMBER, IF WE MOVE AWAY FROM THESE AS A SOURCE, ALL OF THE CORPORATE SPENDING IN ELECTIONS WILL BE NEGATED AS WELL!
News Corp Split, Buffett’s Bet Top Year of Big Media Ownership Changes June 26, 2012
In May, 2012 Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Company announced the purchase of 63 newspapers, including 23 dailies, from the debt-ridden Media General Company. The transaction was a course reversal for Buffett, who earlier had said he wouldn't buy newspapers, and created a major new player in the industry. It also left Media General-whose history with newspapers dates back to the mid-1800's-with only one remaining daily, the Tampa Tribune, which many predict it will still try to sell.
The purchase, seen as a rare vote of confidence in a struggling industry, also capped a period of intense change in U.S. newspaper ownership. In the last 18 months many better known newspaper companies divested most or all of their holdings while a number of new entities, including hedge funds and private equity firms, jumped in.
According to the investment banking firm of Dirks, Van Essen & Murray, which monitors newspaper transactions, a total of 71 daily newspapers were sold as part of 11 different transactions during 2011, the busiest year for sales since 2007.
And newspapers were not the only media to undergo major changes. The last 18 months also saw local television sales reach new heights, the merging of Newsweek and the Daily Beast, Comcast's acquisition of NBC Universal, the Huffington Post's movement into web TV and further reach among U.S. broadcast companies into the Hispanic market.
The Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism has compiled a new interactive database to help users make sense of the changes at the highest levels.
Who Owns the News Media provides detailed statistics on the companies that now own our nation's news media outlets, from newspapers to local television news stations to radio to digital, and this accompanying summary highlights the major changes of the year.
- In transactions other than the Buffett deal with Media General, The New York Times Company sold 14 daily newspapers to Halifax Media and Journal Register Company (with 20 dailies) was acquired by one of its investors, Alden Global Capital. The Times Company's sale of its Regional Newspaper Group left it with only three remaining dailies, the flagship New York Times, The Boston Globe and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
- The Chicago Sun Times was sold to a new company called Wrapports LLC, an organization led by technology executive Michael Ferro Jr. and former Newsday publisher Timothy Knight.
- The San Diego Union-Tribune was sold in November 2011 by the private equity firm Platinum Equity, which bought it in 2009, to a company owned by a local hotel developer.
- Freedom Communications announced on June 11 the sale of its remaining dailies, including the Orange County Register (163,000 print circulation) to the investment group 2001 Trust LLC. That sale ended the company's almost 80-year history as a newspaper publisher. And as was the case with Journal Register, Freedom had recently emerged from bankruptcy protection.
- Once known as the crown jewel of the now defunct Knight Ridder chain, The Philadelphia Inquirer (along with its sister Philadelphia Daily News) was sold in April for the fourth time in six years. A group of local businessmen bought the company for a reported $55 million, roughly 10% of the $515 million the papers fetched in 2006 when they were purchased by another group of local investors led by advertising executive Brian Tierney.
- Hedge Fund Company Alden Global Capital bought the Journal Register Company with twenty papers including the New Haven Register (CT), the Oakland Press (MI) and the Daily Times (PA). Alden Global has also invested in several other newspaper organizations.
- Versa Capital Management, which purchased a number of small dailies in Ohio in 2011, acquired the Times Leader in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania in March of 2012.
One exception was the San Diego Union-Tribune. Hotelier Doug Manchester acknowledged paying significantly more than $100 million for it. That is at least twice as much as Platinum reportedly paid, under $50 million, for the paper in 2009.
With daily newspapers still providing the majority of original news reporting, what will these new owners mean for the future of our daily news? What is their background? What is the breadth of their news properties and their properties in other industries? PEJ's Who Owns the New Media helps answer those questions.
As the Poynter Institute's Rick Edmonds noted in PEJ's "State of the News Media 2012" report, it can be "hard to discern...a general strategy" being pursued by these private equity newspaper owners because they "tend to say little or nothing publicly." But they are generally regarded as advocates of aggressively transforming newspapers into more digitally-oriented operations.
- 53 stations were sold in 2011, which brought in a total of $307 million dollars in revenues. While the total value of station mergers and acquisitions was still minuscule compared to the decade before the recession hit, transactions topped a billion dollars for the first time since 2007 and were almost ten times the value of station sales the year before.
- Sinclair Broadcasting was the biggest player in 2011. It bought 15 stations from two ownership groups. In the single largest acquisition in four years, the company paid $385 million for the eight-station broadcast division of Freedom Communications, which had been on the block since the company declared bankruptcy in 2010. These 8 stations brought in $62 million in revenue in 2011. Sinclair also bought seven stations owned by Four Points Media Group for $200 million, whose stations earned $98 million in revenues in 2011.
- ABC and CBS affiliate stations, that produce news across markets, continued to lead in revenues. Both reported $2.9 billion in 2011, down from $3.2 billion in 2010. Fox affiliates followed with $2.2 billion in revenues for 2011, down from $2.3 in 2010.
- While stations in all market sizes lost revenue on average in 2011, the top 25 markets saw the greatest declines by far. The 176 stations in the top 25 markets averaged a 24% decline in revenues in 2011 ($48.5 million dollars). That compares to a 9% loss in midsize markets (26-50), 8% loss in markets 51-100, 12% in markets 101-150 and 9% in the 44 stations in the smallest markets (151+). Even with a 24% decline, though, the largest markets still bring in far more total revenue, an average of $49 million in 2011.
- The sales of consumer magazines rose by nearly a quarter in 2011 (23%) compared to a year earlier. Thirty-two acquisitions were announced, compared to 26 in 2010. The value of these deals grew even more sharply-up 15 times more-a 1395% jump from the previous year. According to the Jordan, Edmiston Group, the total value of these acquisitions was $3.2 billion, compared with $214 million the prior year.
- Two of the most noteworthy deals in 2011 were Hearst Corporation's acquisition of Lagardère's international magazine group for $651 million in February 2011 (including Elle and Car and Driver) and Axel Springer's acquisition of WAZ Media Group for $613 million in October 2011. Other notable deals in the last quarter of 2011 included a $38 million investment in Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia by J.C. Penney; Hearst Corporation's acquisition of Hachette China, the regional publishing operation owned by Hachette Filipacchi Medias Group; and Meredith's acquisition of Everyday with Rachel Ray from Reader's Digest.
- Newsweek's website was integrated into The Daily Beast's site in August 2011, nine months following the merging of the two companies. Combining the two websites was supposed to boost traffic; instead traffic has fallen significantly. When the deal closed, The Daily Beast's audience was 2.2 million, while Newsweek drew 3.1 million unique monthly visitors, according to Compete.com. Combined traffic for the two sites for the five months following the August 2011 website merger averaged 2.5 million; in January 2012, that inched up to 2.9 million. Newsweek used to have an online partnership with MSNBC since 2007, which generated more than 50% of its online traffic. But the partnership ended in February 2011, a few months after the merger of Newsweek and The Daily Beast companies.
- Comcast increased its total revenue by 47% in 2011, thanks to the acquisition of NBC Universal and Universal Orlando. Apart from the impact of those deals, company revenues increased 5%. Comcast's cable communications businesses such as video and high-speed internet (up 5%) performed slightly better than NBCUniversal segments, which together rose 4%. Within NBCU, aside from 24% growth at the relatively small theme parks division, it was cable programming, which includes MSNBC and CNBC that experienced the strongest revenue growth at 11%.
- For News Corp., the phone-hacking scandal in Britain and the associated legal proceedings and parliamentary investigation, including closing of the News of the World tabloid (Britain's largest paper) hung over the company in 2011. In its August 2011 annual report, News Corp. noted, "(i)t is possible that these proceedings could damage our reputation and might impair our ability to conduct our business." Revenue projections at Fox News Channel, a key News Corp. holding, continued to climb. One Morgan Stanley analyst estimated the value of Fox News Channel at $12.4 billion.
- Comcast's merger with NBC Universal in January 2011 was the first ownership change for the network since General Electric acquired NBC from its original owner, RCA in 1986. Comcast now has a 51% stake in NBCUniversal, making it a majority owner. Perhaps the most notable change so far has been an effort to bring in more diversity, both in ownership and programming. As part of its commitment to the FCC, in February 2012, Comcast/NBCU announced the scheduled release of the first four minority-owned channels as the first of 10 new independently-owned and operated channels established by 2018. Comcast/NBCU also agreed to allocate $20 million to these channels.
- In addition, the FCC imposed several other conditions on Comcast in order for the merger to go through:
- It would have to expand its existing broadband network to reach 400,000 more homes and six additional rural communities.
- It would have to provide free video and high-speed internet service to 600 new schools or libraries in underserved and low-income areas.
- It would have to make broadband available for less than $10 a month to 2.5 million low-income households. The same households must also be given the option of buying personal computers or netbooks for less than $150.
- The Huffington Post took several steps in 2012 to expand its brand into new formats. It announced that in July it would begin offering the first web-only 24 hour news network in the same spirit as CNN or Fox News. The "network," originally called Huffington Post Streaming Network but re-christened Huffpost Live, is projected to carry 12 hours of live video each weekday, with the content replayed for the other 12 hours of each day. In June, the Huffington Post launched a new iPad-only publication called "Huffington" that has the look and feel of a traditional print magazine in a digital form. Huffington hit the Apple store on June 14th priced at 99 cents per issue, $1.99 for a monthly subscription, or $19.99 per year. The publication features both repackaging of Huffingtonpost.com content and content exclusive to the iPad as well.
- Yahoo in the last year struck two partnerships aimed at expanding its news content, particularly in video. In the fall of 2011 Yahoo announced a partnership with ABC News. Yahoo News, the most popular online news destination in the United States according to Nielsen, comScore, and Hitwise has in-house reporters and produces some original content but is nowhere near the size of ABC News. Under the agreement Yahoo News would carry content from ABC News, and the editorial teams from both organizations would collaborate to create original content. In June 2012 Yahoo news entered into a very similar agreement with CNBC. Under the new agreement CNBC will provide financial reporting and information for Yahoo News. This partnership deal does not include a payment by either company, but the two companies will share advertising revenue.
- The hyperlocal news site Patch, owned by AOL, continued to face criticism that its business model is not viable. In May, 2012 a shareholder in AOL, Starboard Value which owns 5.3% of AOL, released a report sharply criticizing Patch, which included its estimates (AOL does not release earnings for Patch in any regular form) that the local news operation lost $147 million and generated just $13 million in ad revenue in 2011. AOL continues to defend its investment in Patch and in early 2012 revealed a new ad team that it hoped would boost ad sales.
- Fox Networks Group announced in April 2011 the formation of Fox Hispanic Media, a partnership between Fox International Channels and Fox Global Networks. At its outset, it was composed of three Spanish-language networks, Nat Geo Mundo, a sister channel to National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo WILD; as well as Fox's existing Spanish-language networks Fox Deportes (sports) and Utilísma (women's lifestyle). Another broadcast channel, MundoFox, is expected to be released in fall 2012. MundoFox, a partnership between Fox International Channels and Columbian broadcaster RCN Televisión SA will air a mix of content from several outlets, including some news content: two half-hour live newscasts every weekday evening, one for the east coast and the other for the west coast.
- ABC News and Univision made plans in May 2012 for a 24-hour cable news channel that will be in English but will target Hispanic Americans. The channel and its corresponding website will be jointly owned by the two companies and will provide both traditional news and lifestyle programming. The television channel will launch sometime in 2013, but its website will come out in summer 2012. The channel will have its own staff, but resources will be shared between ABC News and Univision.
- Comcast, which was required to launch minority-owned channels as part of securing federal funding approval for its merger with NBC Universal, launched its first such channel in May of 2012 BabyFirst Americas, is designed for young children and their parents with a "special focus on series that reflect the Latino culture." In addition, Comcast announced plans to launch El Rey, an entertainment network in English for both Latino and general audiences in January 2014. (Comcast also announced two African American-targeted channels to be released in 2012: Aspire and Revolt.)
If you look under the Financial Reform site you'll see a complement of the article below. What we are seeing as austerity falls apart in Europe is a rush of financial journalists to say what should have happened and calling it hindsight. They are of course simply saying what I have been saying ....what is good for the public rather than the banks. This is serious because it exposes yet again mainstream media allowing corporate interests to trump public interest and is a sign of a captured media.....not free press. This story of Europe of course is the same in the US. The failure to address fraud and down-size the banks is causing this extended crisis and recession.
We need people to write to these publishers and demand free press working in the public interest! COMMENT OFTEN, SHOUTING LOUDLY AND STRONGLY....IT DOES HELP!
You failed to mention the initial cause of the Spanish crisis, as with PIIGS, and that is a similar attempt to hide sovereign debt by complex financial instruments created by German and US banks. This is what allowed these countries to borrow sums of money that everyone knew would blow these economies and preceded the need to introduce this accounting standard. This all involved fraud, as it is illegal to deliberately hide/misrepresent bank balances. We know the same accounting tricks are in place in America and all Western nations as an attempt to manufacture bank health trumped Rule of Law.
The EU Smiled While Spain’s Banks Cooked the Books
By Jonathan Weil Jun 14, 2012 6:30 PM ET Bloomberg Financial
Only a few years ago, Spain’s banks were seen in some policy-making circles as a model for the rest of the world. This may be hard to fathom now, considering that Spain is seeking $125 billion to bail out its ailing lenders.
But back in 2008 and early 2009, Spanish regulators were riding high after their country’s banks seemed to have dodged the financial crisis with minimal losses. A big reason for their success, the regulators said, was an accounting technique called dynamic provisioning.
About Jonathan Weil Jonathan Weil joined Bloomberg News as a columnist in 2007, and his columns on finance and accounting won Best in the Business awards from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers in 2009 and 2010.
More about Jonathan Weil By this, they meant that Spain’s banks had set aside rainy- day loan-loss reserves on their books during boom years. The purpose, they said, was to build up a buffer in good times for use in bad times.
This isn’t the way accounting standards usually work. Normally the rules say companies can record losses, or provisions, only when bad loans are specifically identified. Spanish regulators said they were trying to be countercyclical, so that any declines in lending and the broader economy would be less severe.
What’s now obvious is that Spain’s banks weren’t reporting all of their losses when they should have, dynamically or otherwise. One of the catalysts for last weekend’s bailout request was the decision last month by the Bankia (BKIA) group, Spain’s third-largest lender, to restate its 2011 results to show a 3.3 billion-euro ($4.2 billion) loss rather than a 40.9 million-euro profit. Looking back, we probably should have known Spain’s banks would end up this way, and that their reported financial results bore no relation to reality.
Name Calling Dynamic provisioning is a euphemism for an old balance- sheet trick called cookie-jar accounting. The point of the technique is to understate past profits and shift them into later periods, so that companies can mask volatility and bury future losses. Spain’s banks began using the method in 2000 because their regulator, the Bank of Spain, required them to.
“Dynamic loan loss provisions can help deal with procyclicality in banking,” Bank of Spain’s director of financial stability, Jesus Saurina, wrote in a July 2009 paper published by the World Bank. “Their anticyclical nature enhances the resilience of both individual banks and the banking system as a whole. While there is no guarantee that they will be enough to cope with all the credit losses of a downturn, dynamic provisions have proved useful in Spain during the current financial crisis.”
The danger with the technique is it can make companies look healthy when they are actually quite ill, sometimes for years, until they finally deplete their excess reserves and crash. The practice also clashed with International Financial Reporting Standards, which Spain adopted several years ago along with the rest of Europe. European Union officials knew this and let Spain proceed with its own brand of accounting anyway.
One of the more candid advocates of Spain’s approach was Charlie McCreevy, the EU’s commissioner for financial services from 2004 to 2010, who previously had been Ireland’s finance minister. During an April 2009 meeting of the monitoring board that oversees the International Accounting Standards Board’s trustees, McCreevy said he knew Spain’s banks were violating the board’s rules. This was fine with him, he said.
“They didn’t implement IFRS, and our regulations said from the 1st January 2005 all publicly listed companies had to implement IFRS,” McCreevy said, according to a transcript of the meeting on the monitoring board’s website. “The Spanish regulator did not do that, and he survived this. His banks have survived this crisis better than anybody else to date.”
Ignoring Rules McCreevy, who at the time was the chief enforcer of EU laws affecting banking and markets, went on: “The rules did not allow the dynamic provisioning that the Spanish banks did, and the Spanish banking regulator insisted that they still have the dynamic provisioning. And they did so, but I strictly speaking should have taken action against them.”
Why didn’t he take action? McCreevy said he was a fan of dynamic provisioning. “Why am I like that? Well, I’m old enough to remember when I was a young student that in my country that I know best, banks weren’t allowed to publish their results in detail,” he said. “Why? Because we felt if everybody saw the reserves, etc., it would create maybe a run on the banks.”
So to sum up this way of thinking: The best system is one that lets banks hide their financial condition from the public. Barring that, it’s perfectly acceptable for banks to violate accounting standards, if that’s what it takes to navigate a crisis. The proof is that Spain’s banks survived the financial meltdown of 2008 better than most others.
Except now we know they didn’t. They merely postponed their reckoning, making it inevitably more expensive. Someday maybe the world’s leaders will learn that masking losses undermines investor confidence and makes crises worse. We can only hope they don’t manage to blow up the whole financial system first.
(Jonathan Weil is a Bloomberg View columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.)
Read more opinion online from Bloomberg View. Subscribe to receive a daily e-mail highlighting new View columns, editorials and op-ed articles.
Today’s highlights: the editors on Obama’s economic speech and why Europe is not ready for a Greek exit; William Pesek on China’s economic slowdown; Virginia Postrel on making your own Michelangelo; Donald Haider on avoiding the fiscal cliff; Steven Greenhut on why “top two” primaries are bad for democracy.
To contact the writer of this article: Jonathan Weil in New York at email@example.com
THIS IS THE WASHINGTON POST BELOW CONTRIBUTING TO POLITICAL BIAS BY REPORTING FRANCE'S NEW PRESIDENT HOLLANDE AS A SOCIALIST RATHER THAN AS A SOCIAL DEMOCRAT........TWO VERY DIFFERENT THINGS. THE MEDIA ALWAYS MADE THAT DISTINCTION UNTIL THESE PAST FEW YEARS. YOU'LL NOTICE THAT HE IS DOING ALL THE THINGS AMERICANS WANT FROM THEIR ELECTED OFFICIALS!
Socialists, allies take lead in France
By Edward Cody, Published: June 10
The Washington Post PARIS — President Francois Hollande’s Socialist Party and allied leftist groups appeared headed for a working majority in parliament after the first round of France’s legislative elections Sunday.
Exit polls showed that the Socialists and their allies were likely to easily win more than half of the 577 seats in the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, if the results are confirmed in a runoff round scheduled for Sunday. Hollande’s Socialists control the Senate, giving him the prospect of a free legislative field for his program designed to lighten the burden imposed by Europe’s financial crisis on lower-income French families.
Among measures promised by Hollande during his election campaign were tax increases for the rich, a hike in the minimum wage and earlier retirement for those who have worked more than 40 years. Hollande, who took power after defeating Nicolas Sarkozy just over a month ago, has had Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault implement some of the measures by decree in what was denounced by conservatives as an electioneering stunt and praised by leftists as a swift fulfillment of campaign promises.
Analysts cautioned that the matchups in Sunday’s voting could produce unexpected results based on the personalities of candidates and other local factors in widely varying districts spread across this nation of 65 million people. Citing this possibility, Jean-Francois Cope, secretary general of the conservative Union for a Popular Movement, called on rightist voters to continue the struggle in another burst of campaigning this week.
“The game is not that over yet,” he said.
Hollande’s foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, said the first round shows that voters wanted to be coherent with their May 6 presidential vote. But he also pointed out that the opening for a Socialist legislative majority has to be confirmed in the runoff round and urged Hollande’s followers not to be complacent.
The exit polls, approximations taken for several television stations, gave the Socialists between 270 and 335 seats to the Conservatives’ 235 to 270. The Greens party, which has an electoral alliance with the Socialists, was estimated to have won between 12 and 18 seats, and the Leftist Front, a far-left group headed by Jean-Luc Melenchon, was expected to have won more than a dozen.
The outcome, assuming it is confirmed Sunday, means the Socialists probably will have to rely on support from the Greens and the Melenchon group to pass some legislation. Conservative commentators have warned this could force Hollande to take a more leftward course than he would be inclined to adopt.
“The Socialists should rethink their alliance with the Leftist Front,” former prime minister Francois Fillon said after the results became known.
Fabius predicted, however, that the Socialists and the Greens would be able to form a majority without help from the Leftist Front.
Melenchon was eliminated after a bitterly fought first-round campaign against Marine Le Pen of the far-right National Front in the northern city of Henin-Beaumont.
The MarylandReporter.com is a good source for what is happening in Annapolis. I do not see any attempt to be investigative; they simply provide information. They would be the go-to for resources and as you see below, even they know of no way for the general public to find out in advance when and where open public meetings across Maryland will occur. IT IS INCREDIBLE THAT THERE IS NO CENTRAL ACCESS SITE ON THE GOVERNMENT'S WEBSITE FOR CURRENT, UPCOMING PUBLIC MEETINGS! THIS IS THE TRANSPARENCY AND CORRUPTION PIECE........WHO ATTENDS THESE PUBLIC MEETINGS AND HOW THEY ARE PORTRAYED AS 'PUBLIC CONSENT' FOR ISSUES THIS MARYLAND ASSEMBLY WANTS TO PUSH FORWARD.
You will notice that only after the fact will you hear on your local news that a public meeting on issues in front of the Public Works or Public Service Commission has taken place.......and almost every time, the groups supporting the issue as the governor or assembly leaders want amass a good crowd while the dissenters have relatively few. WELLLLLL, IT'S BECAUSE NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT THESE MEETINGS IN ADVANCE. UNLESS YOU CHECK EVERY COMMITTEE, AGENCY, OR ORGANIZATION'S WEBPAGE ALL THE TIME, YOU CANNOT BE APART OF THESE PUBLIC MEETING ENFORCE. THIS IS HIGHLY IRREGULAR AND UNDEMOCRATIC.
So, when you see these paltry crowds outside the General Assembly......it has as much to do with one or two organizations having contact with politicians on the issue. I'm not saying that apethetic crowds are a problem, BUT THESE CROWDS MAY BE APETHETIC BECAUSE THEY ARE LEFT OUT OF THE LOOP AT EVERY TURN!
IF YOUR POLITICIAN IS NOT SHOUTING LOUDLY AGAINST THE FAILURE OF THE STATE TO GET INFORMATION OUT ON THESE PUBLIC MEETINGS.....A CUMULATIVE LISTING ON THE GOVERNMENT WEBSITE, PRESS RELEASES THAT LOCAL MEDIA ARE REQUIRED TO BROADCAST WELL BEFORE THE MEETINGS........VOTE THAT INCUMBANT OUT!
BELOW IS THE RESPONSE FROM ONE OF THE BEST SOURCES FOR GOVERNMENT RESOURCES:
You can’t get what you want. You generally have to go to the right site, and know where to look. Sorry. And compiling these while useful would be mighty time consuming.
Check out the General Assembly hearing schedule. They have things other than legislative meetings. http://mlis.state.md.us/2012RS/hearsch/0524_date.htm
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How does one get news alerts that tell, in advance when and where public meetings across Maryland will occur? All I can find is the Board's regular meeting schedule.....