Media Justice

Groups ask the FCC to track media hate speech

National Hispanic Media Coalition

The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC), one of the country’s foremost Latino media advocacy and civil rights organizations, announced today that thirty-three organizations have signed on to a letter urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to grant NHMC’s Petition for Inquiry into hate speech in media.

The Petition requests that the FCC initiate an inquiry into the extent, nature and effects of hate speech, and explore ways to counteract or reduce its negative impacts. These signatory organizations represent a variety of diverse communities and include the Asian American Justice Center (AAJC); Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good; the National Organization for Women (NOW); Reclaim the Media; and the Office of Communication of the United Church of Christ. (see letter below for full list).

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Free Minds Free People promotes youth education for liberation

Melissa Forbis, Facing South

"There is no more apt theme for this conference at this fear-driven moment in political history."

With those words, journalist and scholar Charles E. Cobb Jr. kicked off his keynote address Friday to the national Free Minds Free People Conference in Houston, which took place at the city's convention center from June 25 to 28. The gathering drew a diverse crowd of about 400 U.S. teachers, high school and college students, researchers, parents, and community-based activists/educators build a movement developing and promoting education for liberation by engaging youth of color and low-income youth in the fight for social justice.

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FBI arrests white supremacist radio host Hal Turner for threatening judges

Amanda Terkel, Think Progress

Today, FBI agents went to the New Jersey home of white supremacist blogger/radio host Hal Turner and arrested him “on a federal complaint filed in Chicago alleging that he made internet postings threatening to assault and murder three federal appeals court judges in Chicago in retaliation for their recent ruling upholding handgun bans in Chicago and a suburb,” according to a statement released by the Justice Department. A summary of Turner’s dangerous tirade against the judges:

Internet postings on June 2 and 3 proclaimed “outrage” over the June 2, 2009, handgun decision by Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook and Judges Richard Posner and William Bauer, of the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, further stating, among other things: “Let me be the first to say this plainly: These Judges deserve to be killed.” The postings included photographs, phone numbers, work address and room numbers of these judges, along with a photo of the building in which they work and a map of its location.

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Sotomayor falls in journalism's blind spot

Roberto Dr. Cintli Rodriguez, New America Media

The president’s nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court has come during a most awkward time in the history of U.S. journalism, which many analysts claim is in serious decline, if not on life support.

What her nomination clearly shows us is that what this nation needs is more incisive journalism, not less. Yet, to be sure, the rise of right-wing media, which include FOX News and virtually all the known right-wing radio talk show hosts, is the antithesis of journalism.

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Turning racial language upside down

Richard Prince, Journal-isms/Maynard Institute

"Rush and his ilk have come up with a name for the first Hispanic on the Supreme Court, a Supreme Court that has been 99 percent white men for 200 years; and that name is 'reverse racist.' She is a racist and someone has to stop her because for too long white men have been kept down by powerful Puerto Rican women."

Bill Maher's riff on the Supreme Court nomination of federal appeals court judge Sonia Sotomayor was a refreshing cut-to-the-chase about the tactic of using the word "racist" outside of its actual meaning, a calling-out that most of the journalists on the Sunday shows were unwilling or unable to do.

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On media reform and hate sspeech

Hannah Miller, Racialicious

The media reform movement is an offshoot and part of the civil rights movement. It was born in 1963, when Dr. Martin Luther King and Rev. Everett Parker of the United Church of Christ initiated a lawsuit against white-owned TV stations in the South for consistently portraying African Americans in a racist manner, while refusing to show any coverage of the civil rights movement.

Because of their pressure, the FCC shut down a Mississippi TV station, stating that the power and influence that media companies have gives them the responsibility to operate with the broader public interest at heart – with special consideration given to oppressed minorities.

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The terrorists that aren't in the news

Jennifer Pozner, Newsday

RTM note: This article, first published by Women in Media and News founder Jenn Pozner in October 2006, unfortunately remains highly relevant among today's headlines.

On Sept. 11, 2006, the fifth anniversary of the terror attacks that devastated our nation, a man crashed his car into a building in Davenport, Iowa, hoping to blow it up and kill himself in the fire.

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A Socially responsible DTV transition: Countdown to June 12

Reclaim the Media

While urging local viewers to plan ahead for the DTV transition, public interest groups and elected officials ask local retailers to do their part

On April 17, Seattle City Council president Richard Conlin and Energy, Technology and Commerce Committee chair Bruce Harrell joined community groups to remind local residents that the time is now to get prepared for the June 12 DTV transition, by applying for converter box coupons, and installing and testing new equipment if needed. Councilmembers also repeated their call, first made earlier this year, for local retailers to do their part for a socially responsible DTV transition, by providing a no-cost converter box option for consumers redeeming $40 coupons distributed by the federal government.

"In the current economy, nobody should be faced with economic hardship just to maintain their access to local TV news and emergency information," said Conlin. "Free TV is an essential service for many households, not an optional expense."

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Retailers called on to help minority groups make DTV transition

Elizabeth Baier, Minnesota Public Radio

Minneapolis — Local and national organizations are calling on retailers to help people in minority communities with the government transition to all digital television broadcast.

The transition to all digital broadcast will take place on June 12.

All U.S. households are eligible to request up to two coupons -- worth $40 each -- for the purchase of converter boxes. But the converter boxes are selling for as much as $70 in some stores.

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Retailers need a better approach to DTV transition

Omar Ahmed, New Mexico Independent

The June 12th date of the much discussed Digital Television (DTV) Transition looms nearer, but Nielsen Media reports that 3.8 million households are still not ready and 3.4 percent of all homes would no longer have any TV service at all if analog service disappeared today.

Though the federal government’s coupon program is back on track and people with expired coupons can now reapply, millions of people of color, poor and working class people, the elderly, and disabled communities remain unable to afford the costly converter boxes needed to maintain television access once broadcast signals are no longer available.

By now most people agree that the DTV Transition was poorly conceived. Still, the burden of the cost laid in the laps of the poorest consumers hasn’t really been sufficiently alleviated — even with the recent additional allocation of $600 million by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) for education and coupons to subsidize the cost of converter boxes.

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