jonathan's blog

Hey, Seattle City Council: This is what we were talking about

During Reclaim the Media's campaign to persuade the Mayor's office and the City Council to negotiate a more publicly-beneficial deal with Comcast, one of the arguments we made was that the government-programmed Seattle Channel needs to be run with greater public oversight, and needs to devote more of its programming time to the nuts-and-bolts of civic government accountability--i.e. broadcasting (and rebroadcasting) pCouncil meetings, public hearings, etc. The channel is the past has been criticized for serving as a propaganda mouthpiece for the Mayor and for powerful City Council officials, rather than supporting government accountability.

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Interns! Interns!

The times, they are a-changin', at least according to the academic calendar. And as RTM says goodbye to our spring intern, we welcome a summer intern from whom we expect great things!

This spring we've been lucky to work with Vanessa Collier, a rising senior at the University of Washington. During the spring quarter, Vanessa worked with RTMer Daniel Hannah to compile information on local TV media monitoring, and to design a local monitoring project for Seattle. RTM, working with the Backbone Campaign and local volunteers, will be completing this project in the fall. We'll be making Vanessa's research available on the RTM website as the project continues. Thanks Vanessa!

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Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush
by Eric Boehlert [Free Press]

Boehlert’s coverage of national journalism and politics was one of the best things about for years. Now his first book, a characteristically articulate indictment of the DC press corp’s soft-glove treatment of the Bush administration, does not disappoint. In addition to detailing and analyzing press failures which will be familiar to many readers, Lapdogs attempts to catalog and fathom the administration’s contempt for press access and the national media’s willingness to be cowed and marginalized. Self-consciously following in the footsteps of fellow media observer Eric Alterman, Boehlert also explores the connection between mainstream journalists' behavior and right-wing attacks on the "liberal media." -jl

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Seattle School Board considers selling high school station

The cash-strapped Seattle School board is desperately trying to figure a way out of a $20 million budget hole; the options they've placed on the table include selling Mercer Island High School's 30-year old student-run station KNHC. Get the details here and here.

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Sacred Activism and the Media

RTM is organizing a couple of sessions at this weekend's Sacred Activism conference in Lynnwood, WA.

The first is a panel on Media and the Good Life, which I'm moderating. Panelists are YES! Magazine managing editor Sarah van Gelder, and independent filmmaker Velcrow Ripper, director of Scared Sacred and the forthcoming Fierce Light.

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Democracy's Edge

Democracy's Edge: Choosing to Save Our Country by Bringing Democracy to Life
by Frances Moore Lappé [Jossey-Bass]

Lappé’s latest book contains grassroots recipes for a functioning participatory democracy, what she calls a “revolution of hope.” The book’s snapshots of effective activism and simple ways to get involved are intended for a broad audience (buy it for your parents), but also are guided by an uncompromising vision for social and economic justice. Lappé’s chapter on media activism contains one of the best summary accounts of the 2002-2003 US fight against media consolidation. -jl

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Henry R. Luce, Time, and the American Crusade in Asia

Henry R. Luce, Time, and the American Crusade in Asia
by Robert Edwin Herzstein [Cambridge]

Dense with biographical and historical detail, Herzstein's study examines how a powerful and connected media tycoon helped influence both the course of American foreign policy and the publc's understanding of East Asian societies. Motivated by a strident and unquestioning anti-Communism, Luce and his senior editors at Time and Life mainstreamed a style of subtly partisan international news coverage which led some critics to call Luce's company the unofficial propaganda wing of the Eisenhower administration. -jl

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Journalistas: 100 Years of the Best Writing and Reporting by Women
by Eleanor Mills, Kira Cochrane and Naomi Wolf [Carroll & Graf]

Provides highlights of the often-overlooked history of 20th century women advocacy journalists and essayists, from Emma Goldman to Erica Jong to Alice Walker. the field of writers included is somewhat canonical, however. Excerpts are regrettably short, and numerous major figures (Ida B. Wells) and contemporaries (Naomi Klein, Arundhati Roy, Irshad Manji, Jill Nelson, etc.) are overlooked. -jl

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Prometheus Northwest Radio Tour 2006

This spring, folks from the Prometheus Radio Project will be traveling around the Northwest, meeting with community broadcasters, allies and others interested in safeguarding democratic communications in the US. They'll be joined on some tour stops by Reclaim the Media - we'll be talking about our plans for organizing a Northwest Community Radio Network.

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The End of Empire: David Barsamian and David Korten, April 29

Reclaim the Media, NW Unitarian Univeralists for a Just Economic Community, and YES! Magazine present:

THE END OF EMPIRE: Another World is Possible
an evening with David Barsamian and David Korten
Saturday, April 29, 2006, 7pm
(doors open at 6:30pm)

University Unitarian Church
6556 35th Ave. NE, Seattle (65 or 71 bus)

Please join us for a public conversation on imperial power and the prospects for democracy in a globalized and interconnected world; featuring two of today?s most articulate critics of American empire.

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The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey