Media Justice

Ignorance at the tea party, Fox News & the dumbing down of urban radio

Davey D, Davey D's Hip Hop Corner

So everyone has been talking about Saturday’s Tea Party March on Washington and how it represents a sea change of sorts. Perhaps it does, perhaps it doesn’t. Whether it was 1.2 million people or tens of thousands who showed up, it all has to be put in context.  First, we already know close to 46 million people voted for John McCain and Sarah Palin so close to half the country that voted has a different political outlook on things. We should not be suprised or intimidated by how vocal that opposition is. We have our own troops in large numbers.

Second, many of the rallies that McCain and Palin held were pretty similar to the Tea Party demonstration in the sense they played upon people’s fear of change and were staging grounds for then candidate Obama’s character to be viciously assassinated.  We heard Palin invoke everyone and everything from Obama being a Muslim, to him not being a real citizen of this country, to him being a guy who ran around with ‘terrorists’ like Bill Ayers and ‘racists’ like Jeremiah Wright. You name it,  it was said. Everything but the kitchen sink was tossed at Obama during these McCain/Palin rallies. Many of the outlandish and now disproven assertions uttered from the stage were underscored by corporate media outlets like Fox News.

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Groups nationwide urge FCC to support media diversity

On Wednesday, more than 50 civil rights, public interest and grassroots organizations sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission and congressional leaders supporting Mark Lloyd, the associate general counsel and chief diversity officer of the FCC, and the agency's longstanding mission to promote localism, diversity and competition in the media.

In recent weeks, Mr. Lloyd has been unfairly attacked on cable TV and radio talk shows with false and misleading information about his role and responsibilities at the FCC. A respected scholar and public servant, Lloyd was hired by the agency to expand media opportunities for women, people of color, small businesses, and those living in rural areas.

The full text of the letter and a list of signatories is below.

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National Urban League policy chief takes on 'Hateful' talk shows

Pharoh Martin, Black Press USA

The gatekeepers of political opinion on cable are doing nothing to curb the increasingly incinerate and oft times blatantly false rhetoric coming from their political hosts and commentators against political figures of color such as President Obama and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Therefore, advocates are going for the jobs of conservative pundits like CNN's Lou Dobbs and FOX's Glenn Beck, who have made some of the most inflammatory statements.

“In recent months, we've seen a ramping up of the most hateful rhetoric,” said Stephanie Jones, executive director of the National Urban League Policy Institute. “And also, complete misinformation about President Obama and a bunch of other issues.”

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Latinos to CNN: Dump Dobbs now

Roberto Lovato, Huffington Post

This week, Lou Dobbs is broadcasting his radio show from a national lobbying conference sponsored by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), an organization founded by a white nationalist and designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. At a time when studies document the growing link between anti-immigrant hate speech and increased violence against Latinos, Dobbs' appearance at FAIR generates especially profound concerns among those targeted by his almost daily attacks: immigrants and Latinos.

For years, Dobbs and CNN banked on the fact that many of the Latinos who bear the brunt of his systematic media assaults--Spanish-speaking immigrants--were unaware of the threat that Dobbs posed. But all of that is changing; Latinos are increasingly making the connection between racism in the media and discrimination in their hometowns, and coming to a simple, yet historic conclusion: Lou Dobbs is the Most Dangerous Man for Latinos in America. That's why Presente.org is joining with Latino organizations throughout the United States demanding that CNN get rid of Dobbs. And we are not alone. In the coming weeks, CNN President Jon Klein will be inundated by a growing national chorus of calls to stop promoting Dobbs' brand of "news."

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Ad boycott costs Glenn Beck over 50% of ad dollars

Color of Change

The advertising boycott of Glenn Beck has cost the controversial host over half of his estimated advertising revenue since it was launched by ColorOfChange.org a month ago. This according to data analyzed from industry sources.

Estimated advertising revenue [the total amount of advertising money being spent during a block of commercial time for a program] was collected on a week-by-week basis for a period of two months. According to the data collected, the amount of money spent by national advertisers on Beck’s program per week was at its highest at approximately $1,060,000, for the week ending August 2, 2009. ColorOfChange.org launched their campaign at the end of that week and since then, 62 advertisers have distanced themselves from Beck. Data collected for the week ending September 6, 2009 shows Beck’s estimated ad revenue at $492,000, equal to a loss of $568,000.

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No celebration of occupation: 1,500 artists and writers sign letter protesting Toronto Film Festival decision to spotlight Tel Aviv

Democracy Now

The Toronto International Film Festival is renowned as one of the world’s top cinematic events, the staging ground for the top films in any given year. But since the festival’s opening last week, a protest over the Israel-Palestine conflict has taken center-stage. At issue is the festival"s decision to host a showcase on Israeli films from Tel Aviv for its inaugural City to City program.

Palestinian activists say the TIFF spotlight plays into Israel’s attempt to improve its global image in the wake of the assault on the Gaza Strip and the ongoing occupation of Palestinian land. In the weeks before the festival, a group of artists and writers drafted a letter of protest against the Tel Aviv spotlight. The letter is called The Toronto Declaration: No Celebration of Occupation. It says in part: “…Whether intentionally or not, [TIFF] has become complicit in the Israeli propaganda machine… We do not protest the individual Israeli filmmakers… nor do we in any way suggest that Israeli films should be unwelcome at TIFF. However, especially in the wake of this year’s brutal assault on Gaza, we object to the use of such an important international festival in staging a propaganda campaign on behalf of… an apartheid regime.”

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Framing Tel Aviv

Mark Levine, Al Jazeera

t is not surprising that the organisers of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) chose to turn a spotlight on Tel Aviv this year, the city's centennial.

The city has featured prominently in many important Israeli films, and is home to what has become the archetypical Israeli identity: modern, hip, liberal and even progressive.

But a great film festival, like great art more broadly, is not supposed to uncritically mirror uncritical depictions of subjects and spaces.

Rather, it is supposed to sponsor films that interrogate the most basic perceptions of reality, particularly when that reality is grounded in intense and long-term conflicts, in which various narratives of what is the 'true' history and present circumstances are in contrast.

By turning a spotlight on Tel Aviv, the festival intervened in an ongoing and deeply divisive conflict. Organisers had a responsibility to ensure that their intervention would encourage soul-searching and the search for a more accurate representation of the city's, and country's, past and present.

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CNN's Lou Dobbs problem and the immigration debate

Media Matters

In light of Lou Dobbs' reported plans to help lead the upcoming lobbying campaign of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) -- an organization designated a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center -- Media Matters for America reviews some of the most egregious conspiracy theories, hate speech, and undisclosed conflicts of interest in Dobbs' immigration reporting.

Dobbs fails to disclose ties to "hate group" FAIR while citing it as credible immigration source

Dobbs has close ties to "hate group" FAIR. In August, FAIR -- an organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated a "hate group" -- announced that Dobbs is scheduled to help lead its annual "Hold Their Feet to the Fire" radio host rally. A year earlier, Dobbs broadcast his CNN show from the FAIR rally and announced on the air that "the Federation for American Immigration Reform is to be commended." In addition, the group has given Dobbs an award for "his continued efforts in leading the immigration reform movement through both his talk radio show and his television show." In the past year, Dobbs has cited FAIR as a credible source on immigration issues at least six times and has routinely failed to disclose his close association with the group.

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Will Genachowski help Obama find a heart, brain and courage to face Glenn Beck and his army of flying monkeys flinging poo?

Harold, Tales from the Sausage Factory

There are several rather astounding things about the current campaign of Glenn Beck against various Administration appointees. Most astounding, however, has been the Obama Administration reaction to date: quick capitulation in the face of relatively small pressure. Indeed, one of the reasons there was so little initial defense of Van Jones in progressive circles was because most of us were unaware of the attack until the Van Jone's “resignation.” As compared to previous campaigns in the Clinton years or Bush years to oust various officials, pressure to fire Van Jones had not even approached noticeable, let alone “scary.” Indeed, I am sufficiently cynical wrt the DLC/Rahm Emmanuel faction of the Ds that I cannot help but wonder if the Beck-led anti-Jones campaign was merely a convenient excuse for pushing out a smart and effective progressive.

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The New shape of the culture war: Glenn Beck, Yosi Sergant, Van Jones, and hip-hop

Jeff Chang, Can't Stop Won't Stop

Are you mad yet? You should be. Glenn Beck has now taken down Yosi Sergant, the second hip-hop activist to be forced to leave the Obama administration in a week.

Last night the 34-year old communications director at the National Endowment for the Arts was asked to resign. Why? Because he was trying to organize artists to support President Obama’s national service program, United We Serve. If your next question is: so what? That was ours too. But Glenn Beck compared the effort to "Nazi propaganda." (Just sick–especially since Sergant, a Jewish American, has worked as an activist for peace in the Israel-Palestinian conflict.)

This was the same logic paleocons used to batter Obama’s school speech. If he does it, it’s indoctrination. If they do it, it’s "journalism." But there’s much more to this story…

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