Media Justice

Why are some civil rights groups and leaders on the wrong side of net neutrality?

James Rucker, The Seminal/FireDogLake

It’s said that politics creates strange bedfellows. I was reminded how true this can be when I traveled to D.C. in recent weeks to figure out why several advocacy groups and legislators with histories of advocating for minority interests are lining up with big telecom companies in opposition to the FCC’s efforts to pass “Net Neutrality” rules.

Net Neutrality is the principle that prevents Internet Service Providers from controlling what kind of content or applications you can access online. It sounds wonky, but for Black and other communities, an open Internet offers a transformative opportunity to truly control our own voice and image, while reaching the largest number of people possible. This dynamic is one major reason why Barack Obama was elected president and why organizations like exist.

So I was troubled to learn that several Congressional Black Caucus members were among 72 Democrats to write the FCC last fall questioning the need for Net Neutrality rules. I was further troubled that a number of our nation’s leading civil rights groups had also taken positions questioning or against Net Neutrality, using arguments that were in step with those of the big phone and cable companies like AT&T and Comcast, which are determined to water down any new FCC rules.

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Turmoil at radio KDNA, La Voz del Campesino


Turmoil at Spanish-language radio station KDNA continues long after the end of an employee strike, with employees staging a sit-in Wednesday night that carried into Thursday.

Protesting and picket signs, led by teamsters, fired KDNA employees and other members of the local Hispanic community. It's an all too familiar site in Granger.

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Sesame Street got It right on race

Lome Anderson, ColorLines

As a child, I was drawn to Cookie Monster's manic love for baked goods, but my most vivid recollection of Sesame Street is Gordon. I can't remember when I first saw him, whether he was having one of his chats with Oscar about O’s grouchy outlook on life or whether he joined in a song urging us to do something good for ourselves, but I do recall his presence: warm, joyful, thoughtful and firm. Not a caricature or stereotype of a Black man, Gordon represents Sesame Street's greatest value for me as a father—a world where people of color are celebrated without being tokenized, satirized or exaggerated.

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Dobb's parting shot at media justice activism

UCC Office of Communication, Inc.

CNN commentator Lou Dobbs abruptly announced that he was quitting the news network last night, but not before he included misleading information about the United Church of Christ and its support for the interfaith media justice coalition, So We Might See. In October, through its website, the coalition asked individuals to sign onto a letter to the Federal Communications Commission calling for a public hearing into the effects of anti-immigrant hate speech in the media.

On his final show, Dobbs whose anti-immigration diatribes had become commonplace interviewed the American Spectator's Jeffrey Lord, a UCC member, who has written lengthy unsubstantiated opinion pieces over the past five weeks critical of the involvement of the United Church of Christ's Office of Communication, Inc. (OC, Inc.) the church's historic and independently incorporated media justice organization in the So We Might See coalition.

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Murdoch: Beck was right to call Obama racist

Rachel Slajda, Talking Points Memo

In an interview with SkyNews last week, Rupert Murdoch, whose News Corp. owns Fox News, said Glenn Beck "was right" when he called President Obama "a racist" this summer.

Some background: In August, after a white cop mistakenly arrested a black Harvard professor in his own home, touching off a nationwide debate about race, Obama said during a news conference that James Crowley, the police officer, "acted stupidly."

Beck jumped on the comment, saying Obama has "a deep-seated hatred for white people." He later said, "I'm not saying he doesn't like white people. ... He has a, this guy is, I believe, a racist."

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Zogby Poll Falsely States: ‘FCC to Force Good White People’ Out for ‘African-Americans and Gays’


Conservative right-wing author Brad O’Leary, who heads PM Direct Marketing and is promoting his new book, “Shut Up America–The End of Free Speech,” co-authored a poll with Zogby, filled with misleading questions and false statements that could have been written by Glenn Beck. Not surprisingly, O’Leary is a frequent guest on Fox News programs.

The not only misleading, but also race-baiting and bigoted Zogby/O’Leary Poll, claims that the results show that, “President Obama’s Attacks on Free Speech Opposed by Most Americans,” as announced in a mass email sent out by O’Leary. How convenient for O’Leary’s book sales.

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CNN special on latinos stokes debate over Dobbs

Brian Stelter, New York Times

Instead of being simply a draw for Hispanic viewers, CNN’s four-hour documentary, “Latino in America,” turned into a political rallying cry for activist groups who are calling on the cable news channel to fire Lou Dobbs, a veteran anchor with well-known views on immigration.

An array of minorities held small protests in New York and other cities on Wednesday, the first night of CNN’s presentation. They are trying to highlight what they say are years of lies about immigration by Mr. Dobbs, who anchors the 7 p.m. hour on CNN.

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Beck event, protest was a costly embarassment for Mt. Vernon

Erik Lacitis, Seattle Times

Glenn Beck Day in Mount Vernon was an expensive lesson for this small town, as it found out the cost of hosting a controversial celebrity.

It's on the hook for $17,748.85, mostly for 239 hours of police overtime.

Isn't that a little steep for a one-day event?

"Honestly, I'm a bit surprised at how big the cost was," says Alicia Huschka, the town's finance director.

Well, says Ken Bergsma, the town's police chief, better to be prepared than not.

The chief says the crowd of 800 to 1,000 demonstrators that greeted Beck for his early-evening appearance on Sept. 26 was the biggest protest he's seen in his 32 years as a Mount Vernon police officer.


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Lou Dobbs invites Basta Dobbs onto his show

Maegan la Mamita Mala, VivirLatino

After a successful day of events across the country yesterday that coincided with the airing of Latino in America, seems like CNN’s Lou Dobbs realizes that it’s gonna take more than calling Latinos who call him out “fleas” to get rid of us. The producers of Lou Dobbs’ show emailed Roberto Lovato of BastaDobbs to be on the show. Roberto, never one to shy away from a good opportunity, said claro pero on one condition…

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Dobbs does CNN no favors with Latinos

Paul Reyes, USA Today

This week, in a nod to Hispanic Heritage Month, CNN will premiere a two-night, four-hour Latino in America. The documentary purports to thoroughly examine the Hispanic experience. We'll see. After a recent Los Angeles preview of the special, the first question from the audience came from Real Women Have Curves screenwriter Josefina Lopez. She asked whether Lou Dobbs, CNN's self-declared immigration expert, was featured or mentioned in the documentary. The answer was no, that Dobbs was just one voice on CNN.

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