Media Literacy/Bias

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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Bill O'Reilly's campaign against murdered doctor

Gabriel Winant,

When his show airs tomorrow, Bill O'Reilly will most certainly decry the death of Kansas doctor George Tiller, who was killed Sunday while attending church services with his wife. Tiller, O'Reilly will say, was a man who was guilty of barbaric acts, but a civilized society does not resort to lawless murder, even against its worst members. And O'Reilly, we can assume, will genuinely mean this.

But there's no other person who bears as much responsibility for the characterization of Tiller as a savage on the loose, killing babies willy-nilly thanks to the collusion of would-be sophisticated cultural elites, a bought-and-paid-for governor and scofflaw secular journalists. Tiller's name first appeared on "The Factor" on Feb. 25, 2005. Since then, O'Reilly and his guest hosts have brought up the doctor on 28 more episodes, including as recently as April 27 of this year. Almost invariably, Tiller is described as "Tiller the Baby Killer."

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When watchdogs are asleep, we all get robbed

Greg Mitchell, Editor and Publisher

In the wake of the financial collapse, I wonder if the remaining (if relatively low) public respect for the press is gone for good. Yes, the delivery platform of the future will change, but the content still has to be credible. And now it must be said: The media blew both of the major catastrophes of our time.

ometimes, pieces that may not really fit come together in revealing ways, especially nowadays, thanks to immediate distribution and then saturation via the Web. It happened again recently.

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Reid leaves Frontline after disagreement over healthcare policy program

Dru Sefton, Current nline

Following a very public dustup, Frontline and correspondent T.R. Reid have parted ways. The split leaves series producers and freelance on-air correspondents examining their complex and sometimes contentious relationship.

Which of them can claim ownership of a documentary — the producer who crafts the piece or the journalist whose face and voice make the personal connection to viewers?

In the case of Frontline’s “Sick Around America,” which aired March 31, it’s a sticky issue.

Reid expected the film to be a sequel to his April 2008 Frontline, “Sick Around the World,” which followed the former Washington Post reporter around the globe as he showed how well health-care systems worked in other developed countries, and found that some of the best were single-payer systems like Britain’s and Canada’s.

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Three key rules of media behavior shape their discussions of "the 'torture' debate"

Glenn Greenwald, Salon

Karl Rove on torture prosecutions:

It is now clear that the Obama White House didn't think before it tried to appease the hard left of the Democratic Party.

Gloria Borger on Karl Rove:

When Rove speaks, the political class pays attention -- usually with good reason.

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Bailouts for media moguls? Thinking outside the (newspaper) box

DeeDee Halleck

John Nichols and Robert McChesney have written a widely posted article searching for answers to the current emergencies in the newspaper business. They recognize the crisis as an opportunity to rethink public media in general and their suggestions for remedy are at least a provocative starter for the needed reassessment and creative activism. They suggest the government pump in $60 billion over the next three years, a pricetag that is similar to, though less than, the handouts to AIG and the US banks. It's hard to believe, however, that anyone could seriously want to salvage the "print-fitted" U.S. corporate news.

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Persephone Miel: What Should PBS Do?

Josh Wilson, Independent Arts and Media

Persephone Miel, a fellow at Harvard's Berkman Center, brings some Internet-era vision for the idea of public media. Rather than look to new nonprofits and new structures, she says the real opportunity is to activate existing public media -- PBS, NPR, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting -- to more effectively serve people and communities. But this may require a reinvention of what an NPR or PBS "station" is, as well as a reimagining of the role of taxpayer funding in this picture.

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An open letter to journalists

Peggy Holman, Journalism That Matters

It’s time for a new compact between Journalists and the Public. We need you. Your work is vital to the well-being of us all. I can’t imagine a functional democracy without the passionate commitment journalists make to digging deeply into what matters. It is a sacred trust and I thank you for doing it on our behalf.

If I – and others –believe that, why do so many of us seem hostile to the press? Because we feel betrayed. Where were you when we needed you? Where were your warnings about the state of the economy? About the lies of weapons of mass destruction? About the many stories closer to home that affect our lives and well-being? Did you miss the clues yourself? Did you know and not help us hear your messages? How could you let us down?

If you don’t feel trusted, please understand that it is in part the corporation behind you that many of us don’t trust. When my primary identity shifted from citizen to consumer something died. You are not your corporation. I don’t need them. I need you.

If you’re frustrated or angry about the state of the media, you are not alone. We are all frustrated. It’s time to take that energy and refocus it together.

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