Thursday, December 27, 2007
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
I have been very caught up in things lately so I apologize for the lapse in posting.
I think this video is an excellent representation of the possible future of media. Dubbed "NetCenter08," It is 2 new media personalities: Dan Manatt from Politics TV.com, and David All from TechRepublican.com to discuss the latest CNN Republican Presidential debate which used YouTube questions.
It looks to me like they are talking on webcams much like the old media talks through satellite links. These two webcam videos are then composited together with some graphics and footage from the debates. It is a really good use of widely available, relatively low cost, technology to create the look and feel of your typical news debate. Because it is coming from the netroots rather than TV producers, this conversation feels more authentic to me. I hope we see more of this format. Todays TV media feels more like a pro wrestling circus among elite media pundits and hosts. That is what the old media thinks is good television but it has been done to death. This new media technology can bring more diversity to the national conversation. That is what this site is created to celebrate.
As for this CNN YouTube Debate, I like the national town hall format that it represents. The problem for me is in the details, however. Stalin once said that it's not who votes, it's who counts the votes. In this case it's not who asks the questions, it's who chooses the questions that make it in. There were 5000 submissions for this debate. CNN chose somewhere around 34 questions without any input from anyone but CNN. Now, do you think if CNN had a list of questions they wanted to ask ahead of time that they couldn't find one of the 5000 that asked it for them? What's to stop them? In that sense this whole thing feels more like an exploitation of the new media as a pool for low cost content ideas and as a marketing gimmick rather than an authentic tool of democracy. In that measure, it troubles me.
I have the same issue with Current TV. They talk about democratizing the media by letting anyone submit things but that is useless if some group of staff TV producers then gets to choose from those submissions and sit down with editors and change the perspective, or cut stuff out and put on their own graphics to "punch it up". How is this any different from approaching any producer anywhere to pitch our work? The democracy is in letting the people decide what goes on the air and putting it on as chosen. It is not bestowing people with the privilege of pitching your video to a media person. In this area both CNN and Current TV are failing the democratic potential of the web media. When these old media and new media representatives decide they will have the guts to put real democracy into the process, then they can talk about how great and innovative their ideas are. Until then they are just selling used cars with a new paint job.
If you want to see real political democracy in action go to 10questions.com THAT is a YouTube town hall forum worth praising. Both PoliticsTV and TechRepublican and tons of other netroots organizations are sponsors. On that site you submit YouTube videos and then vote for the ones you want and the top 10 are presented to the candidates to make their own response videos. The submission and voting phase is over but the questions chosen are all good and it will be nice to hear some answers. You also get to vote on how well each candidate's answers to the questions are. So far Mike Huckabee, Rona Paul and John Edwards have agreed to participate. Barack Obama also answered 1 question by putting in a clip from one of his speeches as an answer. You can send a mass email to every candidate from their website. Please do so if you want to support real democracy in the new media.
Friday, November 23, 2007
Here is an interesting YouTube upload of a local news story about a man who has put together a hydrogen fuel cell that breaks down water. There is a bit of controversy in the YouTube comments, as to the authenticity of this technology but I think it is, at very least, worth seeing the kinds of concepts that are out there.
Hat Tip to Color Miracles for the video
This is a pretty significant story. The Iraqi parliament has voted for a timetable for the US withdrawal but Maliki the prime minister of Iraq has ignored it and pretends that it is a non binding resolution. This effectively ignores the Iraqi constitution which says that the Parliament's resolution is law without a veto. Imagine that. . . what kind of country has a president that ignores the will of his congress. . . . oh wait. . . nevermind. . . moving on. .
Everybody is all excited now that Musharraf, Pakistan's dictator in chief, has suspended their constitution. Unfortunately, America has helped provide an excellent role model in Iraq. Bush stands at a podium and says if the government wants us out we will leave but all the while they have their inside man keeping that from happening. Isn't this whole spreading democracy to the middle east thing grand?
Friday, November 16, 2007
My thoughts exactly. This Nevada debate looked like a scripted sham to me. The audience was stacked. Dennis Kucinich got 5 minutes worth of time while others got three times that much. Who the hell boos when candidates try to point out the differences between them and others? Who the hell thinks that pointing out that a candidate is a corporate democrat with huge ties to insiders and lobbyists is "mud slinging?" That is a very important distinction to make about a candidate and any audience that boos and hisses when that is pointed out is a fake audience that is stacked with supporters. CNN also stacked the questions. They bullied a teenager into asking a stupid diamonds or pearls question when she wanted to ask a serious one.
Our elections have become a crock and I really hope we somehow manage to get it back from these entrenched insiders who are blatantly gaming the system.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
Friday, November 9, 2007
The Real News Network senior Editor sits down with David Swanson, the founder of www.impeachcheney.org
He is hitting all the nails perfectly in this issue. I am deeply ashamed and outraged at the Democrats in congress for sweeping Kucinich's impeachment resolution under the table in the cowardly manner that they did. I think they are some of Bush's biggest supporters these days, even when his own Republicans are abandoning him.
Pelosi and Hoyer should be removed from office as far as I am concerned for breach of their oath to protect the constitution. Impeachment is not a political decision, it is not something you promise to take off the table any more than promising that prosecution of criminals is off the table. If any district attorney made such a proclamation they would be run out of office by a screaming mob with torches and pitchforks. The fact that Nancy Pelosi is able to promise such a thing about impeachment is a testament to how out of touch our citizens and politicians are with the law.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Zfrank is a very prolific and popular internet personality that did a daily show for a year between 2006 and 2007. It is by far the most prolific comedy web show I have ever seen to date. His works range from commentary to stand up comedy to music videos and responses to viewers. I like him because he has a great delivery and a lot of different talents that he brings to bear.
Saturday, November 3, 2007
Thursday, November 1, 2007
This is the full length commentary I recently created about supporting the troops. I have decided to break with Current TV. Sorry Mr Gore. They have abandoned their original vision and they are now trying to be and uber hip wannabe MTV network that dictates everything rather than a special and unique interaction between web producers and a TV outlet. The above version is from Metacafe which will pay me if I get enough hits so feel free to link to it or visit the metacafe page where you can get the embed code and rate the video, which is also important to it's success.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Brouha Joe is an online video activist who has been very prolific on YouTube. I was browsing his videos and this one really left me in a stunned silence.
I worry more and more every day about the subject of this video. I've long believed tazer to be a really troubling weapon because it is very often used beyond it's intent. It was designed to stop someone who is dangerously out of control or about to attack you with a weapon. Todays police use it when someone won't get up from the ground after they've been handcuffed or when someone won't get off the phone quickly enough or when some kid shoots off his mouth for too long. It's the latest trend in "resisting arrest" tools. Unfortunately this one actually kills people.
The fact of the matter is, though, that the police could just as easily be using good old fashion tools like mace or billy clubs. The problem is the same. Todays police seem to have a much more aggressive, cowboy like, posture when it comes to citizens rights. Todays society is also a problem because I am often hearing variations on the idea that citizens deserve to be smacked around when they "get out of line" as if the government is our parent who has the right to spank us. Parents are not democratic leaders. Parents are a dictatorship. As a US citizen you have a right to back talk your "parent". You have a right to get in their face and tell them to sit down. It is sad to me that so many people who call themselves patriotic Americans unwillingly endorse the ideals of a dictatorship when they justify the bullying tactics of police superiority.
I am working on a commentary video where I address the issue of supporting the troops which I will be posting within the next day or two hopefully. This question was done after that shoot as a submission to a website called "10 questions". Anybody can submit a question and vote on the questions that have been submitted. The top 10 submissions will be answered by the presidential candidates with their own response videos. This question is really for a member of congress, but I think it is still applicable since there are members of congress running for President. I am also interested in knowing how the candidates will feel about their own power as President being restrained by the people through congress if necessary.
NOTE: I changed the upload and it is still processing currently so it may not be available to those who read this too soon.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Who has the right to own a nuclear weapon? I've been pondering this for a while now. When Russia and the US both had enough nuclear weapons to destroy each other, we arrived at peace. When India and Pakastan both achieved nuclear weapons, they were forced to decide how far they were willing to go. It seems to me that nuclear weapons may actually be one of the best war deterrents that has ever existed. It brings two sides of a conflict face to face with annihilation. It forces them to decide how important their hatred of the enemy really is. When only one side of a conflict has a nuclear weapon, the side without it is at a decided disadvantage.
The yahoos over here in the US are always running around saying "we should just nuke em" to just about any small country that represents the slightest threat. With this kind of casual attitude about our power, what would they be saying if we attacked a country like Iran and they then shut down the oil infrastructure crippling the US economy? How easily would desperate people in the US, who are now paying $10 per gallon for gas, be convinced that nuking Iran was actually a good idea if it might make it all stop? How likely would they need to be to decide nuking Iran was a good idea if Iran could nuke us back?
So I ask again. Who has a right to own nuclear weapons? Who has a right to say "we should just nuke em?" Now that the genie is out of the bottle with nuclear weapons how can only some people be forced to live under the threat of nuclear annihilation while others can casually sit back and gloat about their ability to annihilate? Don't gun advocates always argue that the best defense against a man with a gun threatening your family is to own a gun yourself? How is it these same people would say that we should attack someone for wanting the national defense equivalent of a gun to protect their families?
I'm just sayin. . . .
Friday, October 26, 2007
Davis Fleetwood is the start of an MTV show called "The Hermet" that never aired. He now does commentary in YouTube videos which have become very successful. I have done some work in this technique myself and I am glad to see that it is showing more and more potential. It is currently the most viewed video on YouTube. With 1.9 million views. I can't think of a more important kind of video activism than this.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
A YouTube member named Puppetgove has created this visual interpretation of one of George Carlin's stand-up segments. I have always loved George Carlin's activism. He has a great way of cutting through the static of daily life and telling it like it is without sounding preachy. That takes real talent. I also admire the political activism that is happening on YouTube and other internet video mediums. It just may save this country.
Friday, October 5, 2007
This is video activism at it's finest. Presented by the activist group: Campaign For America's Future this is a video that any articulate kid could make themselves. It sends a really powerful message to congress, and a really great idea for kids everywhere: No help for us, no photo ops with us for you. Bush has vetoed a children's health care program known as SCHIP that was trying to fill in some gaps for kids from families that don't qualify for medicade but also can't pay for private health insurance. It has been a very successful program and this expansion passed congress by a wide majority, The Senate has a veto proof majority but there is not quite enough votes in the house just yet. That means those of us who think this is a good idea need to put pressure on their representatives if they have been voting no up to this point. This is going to be a very close call. Please get active yourselves on this if you can.
I can't think of a more basic service a wealthy government should provide than making sure children from families with modest means are healthy. For me that ranks up there with law enforcement, fire protection, and public education. Of course these services to the public are socialism in the eyes of conservatives. Except, of course, for those services they use or need themselves. You know things like cheap clean water for their lawns or publicly maintained roads to their houses or massive search efforts when some billionaire crashes his plane or hot air balloon. Oh yea, and all those taxpayer funded health insurance policies that every member of congress and probably the President himself enjoys today. Socialist bastards.
The true free market would say that every road has a toll, the fire department and police will only come if your are subscribed to their services, water for your tap and clean air to breath should be paid for at market commodity prices, food that has been certified "safe" would be more expensive than uncertified food, all mail would be sent at Fedex prices, and any billionaire in a baloon or anybody who gets lost on their hunting trip better have his own rescue contractor at the appropriate market price. All that would cost individuals, even billionaires, many times more than they pay for these things in taxes but "socialism" is a great buzz word when politicians and pundits want to manipulate ignorant fools who feel smarter squealing at boogeymen than they do looking at facts and working out the math themselves.
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
The Carver Car is a new Dutch concept vehicle that combines elements of motorcycle and automobile. It is currently more of a sports vehicle, at this point, but there is a hybrid model and a lower power model in development that will target conservationists. The fact that it tilts like a motorcycle or an airplane as it turns could just make it a "killer ap" for the green motoring crowd because of the fun factor. The only challenge now is getting wider US distribution. There are assembly lines tooling up apparently but it is still an expensive, made to order thrill toy at this point coming in at around $40,000.
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Nigel Ryan Is a video producer in Brooklyn who has recently had his work picked for broadcast on Current TV. This project is the only one he has uploaded at Current so far and it is a very touching emotional piece about a parents wishes for a new child.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
I have no beef with the search for spiritual truth and if someone can happily accomplish that within the confines of an organized religion that is just fine with me. Religious fundamentalism, however, is the enemy of mankind. It is spiritual death bringing physical suffering to the world behind a mask of love and compassion. It is McDonalds religion that fills people up with tasty comfort food and makes them feel good to eat but it is full of fattening, artery clogging crap for the soul.
Marcus Bridgestock is an English comedian who has done one of the most pointed and amusing rants against the fundimentalist, fanatical face of religion, I have ever heard. He points specifically at the 3 religions that come from Abraham: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
This video tells the story behind the net roots movement that has become known as the "Fox Attacks" series. It covers several very important points about the power of video activism as it relates to the internet. Web producers should pay attention. You can do a lot more than just film your dog on a skateboard these days.
Robert Greenwald founded foxattacks.com as an answer to the distortions and propaganda that Fox News creates in their very agenda driven excuse for reporting. The Fox motto is "We Report, You Decide" but the reporting is so slanted that it is designed to help you arrive at the conclusion they want. Foxattacks.com has countered with the slogan "They Distort, We Reply." The victory that helped move this website into provenance in the blogosphere is the influence that they had, with the help of other online activists, on the Nevada Democratic Presidential debate that was supposed to be hosted by Fox. The argument was that Fox is not a legitimate news organization and therefore, they could not be trusted to host an event of such important public interest. I could not agree more.
The pressure of this movement was so strong that the major candidates, beginning with John Edwards, backed out of the debate and the Nevada Democrats eventually folded and backed out themselves. I consider this a major public relations victory for journalism. For the first time there was a very large and very public blow back against the Fox News brand.
In my view, we need more activism like this because Fox News is activism on a massive scale. Fox tells their audience what they want to hear based on the conservative agenda rather than what they need to hear based on objective reality. Fox also slants the stories to the benefit of themselves and their political allies and to the harm political opponents, all under the audacious title of "Fair and Balanced".
Their claim to balance is not that their individual stories are balanced but, rather, that their bias as an organization helps to "balance" out the bias of the "liberal media." The problem is that the "liberal media" holds the ORIGINAL ideal of balance first represented by the Fairness Doctrine and journalistic ethics. This definition says that they strive to give equal weight to both sides of any controversial story. Individual reporters can slip in both directions, at times but the goal of each story is supposed to be true balance. Those who are not following this practice are either bad journalists or editorial writers. At Fox, slating the story is the ideal. The majority of the programming is also editorializing and opining over events rather than trying to provide the facts in an objective way. This is not journalism and it does not deserve the respect or privileges that are attached to journalism.
In todays media journalism is failing and a great deal of the reason behind that is that Fox news has almost single handedly changed the definition of what journalism means. Journalism today means making money off stories not providing importaint information about issues of great public interest. The public is left to "decide" based on criteria that is first tested for ratings value. That is the Fox effect. If there were no political angle at all this would still be a great harm to the "fourth estate" that Fox has helped bring. The political angle just makes it twice as bad.
Lets take a look at the Fox Attacks examination of the latest issue Fox covered: The General Petraeus hearings, which were critical to the public understanding about the progress in the Iraq war. The very lives of our soldiers are at stake here so it is vital that we all know exactly where things stand. How was Fox's coverage of this event? Well. They sat down and counted the stories that were for and against the facts that Petraeus laid out and edited it all together. See for yourself:
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Thursday, September 13, 2007
This isn't an entry about media, but rather one from weather.com.
This came off the wire 5 minutes ago, and was the likes of which I've NEVER seen:
"BASED ON OPERATIONAL ESTIMATES...HUMBERTO STRENGTHENED FROM A 30 KT DEPRESSION AT 15Z YESTERDAY TO A 75 KT HURRICANE AT 09Z THIS MORNING...AN INCREASE OF 45 KT IN 18 HOURS. TO PUT THIS DEVELOPMENT IN PERSPECTIVE...NO TROPICAL CYCLONE IN THE HISTORICAL RECORD HAS EVER REACHED THIS INTENSITY AT A FASTER RATE NEAR LANDFALL. IT WOULD BE NICE TO KNOW...SOMEDAY...WHY THIS HAPPENED."
I've captured and archived this little oddity from the weather.com folks, and archived it for your viewing pleasure at these locations:
Additional Information on Humberto:
Humberto Dumps Rain in Texas, Louisiana
Hurricane Humberto breaks record for rate of intensifying
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Why We Fight
The BBC presents Why We Fight by Charlotte Street, a documentary on the commerce of war, and how the military industrial complex profits so much from war, that it must create wars to continue the growth of it's business.
Broken into 4 parts at about 25 minutes each.
This is part 1 of 4:
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
This video is posted on YouTube by an account holder named Knowitz. The account says his name is Justin from Canada and this is the only video he has offered.
Being that this is the date that lives in infamy, I thought it would be nice to review how politics has handled it all. This is a flashback to 2004. Very little has changed.
I'm beginning to wonder if our government finds it more convenient to leave Osama Bin Laden alive. If he really is as marginalized as they like to say he is then he poses no real threat to us while alive. At the same time he seems to be an endless well of political capital for the "strong on national security" crowd. They mention his name and deeds whenever possible and people understand instantly how to feel. This year they scheduled major hearings on capital hill about the Iraq war around this date. I'm sure that is partly to evoke the feelings attached to it but a cynical person might also suggest that they expected Bin Laden to release a tape at this time that would probably mentionin Iraq. That way they can point to him with perfect timing and talk about how we should stay there because he mentioned it.
Think about the brand recognition, in the marketing sense, that has been created around Bin Laden. It would take a whole lot of work to create another super villian that reaches into the gut if Joe Beercan like this man does. What if his successor's name is Alani Mohamed Mehomanhobad and nobody has heard of him? Is that going to serve nearly as well as a political tool as good old Osama? It doesn't even rhyme with "Obama" or "Chelsea's momma."
Another thing that has been bugging me is how people who disagree with the administration are automatically labeled, by supporters, as forgetting the lessons of 9/11 and helping the terrorists. If you really look at the facts it is quite the opposite.
When Bin Laden said that he wanted to provoke America into occupying a Muslim contry, George Bush was the one who did it. When Bin Laden says he wants America to stay in Iraq so they can kill as many Americans as possible, George Bush said we should stay. When Bin Laden said that Americans should be afraid, George Bush and all his supporters started screaming "The terrorists are coming! The terrorists are coming! They want to kill your children and destroy our way of life!!" If any force in America is helping the terrorists it is good old fashion political opportunism, in this case mostly by Republicans.
Why did President Bush go to Iraq:
Does Bush Want Saddam Without The Mustache?:
Senior Editor for The Real News Network, Paul Jay, talks with Pepe Escobar, an Asia Times reporter who has been in the middle east. First they discuss Bush's visit to Iraq and then they move on to the problems with the Iraq government.
Sunday, September 9, 2007
Description was written by Adrian Baschuk in January of 2006 So, this piece aired 6 months ago and now we have the benefit of hidsight. What have we learned? Developments? Israel continues with the disengagement process, Hamas won the legislative elections in sweeping fashion, and a university is being built in the area where the Gaza settlements used to be. This piece examined the disengagement soley through an Israeli lens because it was a unilateral move on the part of the Israeli government - the question now is did their efforts pay off? While the US and EU may label Hamas as a terrorist organization, it came into power promising Palestinians a better way of life and an alternative to the old school Fatah party. They have in fact built hospitals, schools, and mosques all over Gaza and generally are perceived to offer good governance. Unfortunately, it's a small minority on both sides, militants on the Palestinian side, and hard line military supporters on the Israeli side that keep the powder keg in place. If this disengagement was supposed to be the first step in restarting the peace process, ask yourself now, has it?
This was one of Adrian Baschuk's first uploads to Current TV, since then Adrian has gone on to produce several news stories from every corner of the globe for the network. I especially enjoy his work. He has a unique style of reporting and always finds the human elements within the larger story that most major networks seem to forget.
Saturday, September 8, 2007
The story here is that an Iraq veteran and the mother of a marine who did 2 tours of duty in Iraq were part of an activist organization,[ The ANSWER coalition, ] posting signs to announce a Washington protest on September 15. There was a dispute with the city over the posting of signs which they are fighting:
And so they held this press conference demonstrating that they were using the correct paste and that hanging signs was legal. A young cop, with way too much authority for his age, showed up and told them they needed a permit and they were defacing public property. Things went down hill rapidly from there, the press conference continued, the cops got all hot and bothered and the two were arrested.
ANSWER Coalition Press Conference in Washington DC
to Announce Free Speech Lawsuit Against DC Government
Statement by Sarah Sloan
National Staff Coordinator, A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
August 20, 2007
The Department of Public Works is not telling the truth when they say we have improperly posted signs promoting the September 15 March to Stop the War. The fact is that we have posted these signs in accordance with District of Columbia Municipal Regulations.
Specifically, the 65 Notices of Violation sent to us last week from the Department of Public Works claim that we violated Title 24 Section 108.9 of the DCMR which states that “Signs, advertisements, and posters shall not be affixed by adhesives that prevent their complete removal from the fixture, or that do damage to the fixture.”
Therefore, an adhesive can be used to affix posters as long as it does not “prevent their complete removal” or “do damage.” All posters in question have been affixed with a water-based and water-soluble paste. Volunteers have in the past removed these posters following events and found that they are removed easily and quickly.
When politicians campaign for office they plaster their posters everywhere and frequently in a manner that is not in accordance with the law. They are provided 30 days following the election to remove the signs. Frequently they do not remove them. The ANSWER Coalition will remove the Sept. 15 posters following the demonstration…. read on
This reminds me of the time a few years back when an old girlfriend and I were standing on a NYC sidewalk holding signs to protest a business that was ripping us off. We were not blocking anything or anyone. Just standing there, on a public sidewalk, holding the signs and talking to anyone who talked to us. The business called the cops who showed up and told us we needed to leave or be arrested because we didn’t have a permit. Baffled, we left the scene and went about trying to get this "free speech permit." When we got to the appropriate offices, we were told there was no such thing as a permit for 2 people holding signs.
That fact is that this is unconstitutional behavior but freedom is kind of an illusion at the individual level isn't it? The police were wrong in my case, they are in the wrong in this case and they were wrong when they arrested those two people with anti Bush T-shirts at a Bush event, but the people giving the orders don’t care. Those people won an $80,000 judgement against the government but they still got removed from the event. Mission accomplished for the price of a toilet seat in Iraq.
Nobody can challenge the police at the time, they are the authorities and they can taser you or beat you with clubs or even shoot you if necessary. They count on people lacking resources or being too intimidated to challenge them after the fact and, if they do, the government just says “oops” and uses taxpayer money to pay whatever penalty there is. I don’t know of any restrictions on a government from unlawfully arresting people and then paying court judgments against them as often as they want. The worst they will have is a pissed off comptroller. It’s a perfect workaround when you think about it. They basically just buy as many unconstitutional events as they want, and it’s not even their money.
Not to be cynical or anything.
It has been suggested that putting up this poster is a violation of the park rules but I would point out that they are not in the park. They are on the sidewalk of a street that boarders the park posting on a utility box. Cars are whizzing by. The mounted cop almost chases them into the street. This makes pretty clear to me that they are on city property not park property (as if that would really matter) and the law is very clear about the use of lamp posts, traffic signals and the supporting fixtures, such as junction boxes:
24 DCMR 108.4 Any sign, advertisement, or poster that does not relate to the sale of goods or services may be affixed on public lampposts or appurtenances of a lamppost subject to the restrictions set forth in this section.The restrictions include details of how long the poster can stay up, the type of glue, the number of posters per block, the need to tell the city within 24 hours etc. If you follow the above link you can see the details. It is also interesting to note that The Partnership for Civil Justice has filed a lawsuit against the city claiming that many of the restrictions are unconstitutional because they do not provide equal protection under the law. Political campaigns can post for longer than 60 days. Community crime related posters can be posted forever. Grass roots organizations can only leave them up for 60 days. Forcing people to register also violates the right to anonymous speech which is also protected. Would you want to register who you were voting for with the state before an election? The same protection applies here.
So, I will say it again: This cop was a punk who didn't know the law and got uppity with a citizen because he felt like his little tin badge ego was being challenged. It has been reported that he is 35 so I will accept that it is poor professionalism and maturity rather than youthful inexperience.
Thursday, September 6, 2007
I was in NYC during September 11 and I knew very early on that the reason Mayor Giuliani was walking around during all the emergency operations was because the emergency operations center was built, at his insistence, in the world trade center which just fell on top of it. He wanted it built there because it was within walking distance of city hall. The lease holder of WTC, that the city gave the rental contract to, was also a crony of the mayors. All most of America sees when they think of Giuliani is the mayor who got his hands dirty and was out among the people when the disaster hit. If the emergency command center was in Brooklyn like all the planners were recommending, he wouldn't have gotten that image so I guess his incompetence worked in his favor. . . like it seems to with all republicans.
Sunday, September 2, 2007
Friday, August 31, 2007
Thursday, August 30, 2007
The Largest Minority is a progressive news blog that also posts videos and other imagery. In the above video the editor, Manila Ryce AKA John Harrison, addresses a growing scandal about the ABC news coverage of the most recent Democratic debate. This outrage couldn't come a moment too soon for me. I have been disgusted with ABC/Disney and George Stephanopolis in particular lately. It began for me when they allowed a political hack to create a miniseries that blamed Clinton for 9/11. More recently, Stephanopolus was interviewing Ron Paul and he flat out told him to his face, on national TV, that he was not going to win the election. This is not journalism or even newscasting. This is smug hackery.
I have been thinking a lot about the media's role in shaping public opinion about candidates and I wonder why this is not more heavily regulated by the elections commission. Why can ABC decide which candidates get more time to speak in a debate when it is happening on the public airwaves? How can they get the rights to this public process and then bury two seperate polls on their website that says it was Kucinich people liked and not the other candidates? Why wouldn't Kucinich coming out on top even be mentioned?
I have been wondering why it is that Dennis Kucinich seems to be saying all the right things and offering all the right solutions, yet, everybody seems to perceive that his will not win. Why is that? Who is it creating that perception that one candidate is a winner or a looser so early out? Why is it that polls that show one front runner are trotted out daily and polls that show another are buried? Could it be that when a mega corporation has massive manufacturing going on as well as massive media holdings that it would try to marginalize the one candidate that promises to crack down on corporate labor practices and strengthen unions? What about NBC who is owned by GE? Are they not just good capitalists if they marginalize the news coverage of the political candidate that will cost them money? Fox news is full of political hacks but this is an even bigger problem. Why can these companies with such a conflict of interest put a stage around the whole campaign season and literally tell us who the best options are? How is it that we put up with that?
Wanderingmind42 is a YouTube director who describes himself as a high school science teacher in the process of burning out. This is citizen broadcasting at it's finest if you ask me. It is very simple and low tec. but it cuts through the global warming argument and gets straight to the logic of it, something the old media has yet to accomplish. As might be expected, this video drew the wrath of the global warming critics who proceeded to throw insults and obfuscate the argument into infinity in some of the 1700+ comments that were left about the video.
This led him to produce a number of response videos that are quite entertaining as well as informative so I am including them all below. He is clever in his use of simple, low budget gimmicks to get people's attention. I particularly like the funny hats in video #1 and the way, in video #3 he pokes fun of the short attention span of people on the web by using all his science teacher skills to create a variety of explosions and neat chemical reactions to put in every minute or so.
He calls this series of answers "Patching Holes."
Patching holes #1
Patching holes #2
Patching holes #3
Monday, August 27, 2007
This is PBS which I consider part of the mainstream media but it is not as profit driven as the commercial media so there is some room for more controversial stories. The stories about voter fraud in the 2000, 2002 and 2004 elections, for example, is something the commercial media has turned it's back on completely.
How do you steal an election? Fix the electronic voting machines you say? Send crappy voting machines and ballots to districts that vote for your opponent you say? Not this time.
First, you figure out which populations might be voting for the other guy. Say. . . for example. . . you're a Republican. Black people unions and poor people are a safe bet to be voting for the other guy. Next, you begin collecting addresses of these people who are newly registered to vote. Then you send out a "congratulatory" letter to everyone on the list including the students while they are on break the national guard members who are serving overseas, and people who may have moved since they registered. You mark these letters DO NOT FORWARD RETURN TO SENDER. If the letter is returned because the person didn't happen to be at that address, you put their names on a new list of "caged" voters.
You then break this list up into voting districts and give it to party operatives who use their party's right to challenge fraud and stand at the polls on election day challenging everyone on the list when they show up to vote. In the case of absentee ballots from those guardsman overseas or the students on break, they just challenge it and it goes straight into the junk pile without the voter even knowing their vote won't be counted. In the case of real live voters who show up, they need to jump through several hoops which don't straighten things out until the election is over. Bada Bing! you just kept as many as 80,000 people from voting in one state alone. People whose civil right to vote is challenged because they didn't answer a piece of junk mail.
The real brilliance, however, comes when you get caught doing this. When that time comes you defend yourself by saying that there is rampant voter fraud on the part of Democrats and that this mailing gimmick is designed to help preserve the integrity of the election!! You jump up and down and point to all these lists of registered voters who "don't exist" because they won't respond. You call them "phantom voters" that are part of a fraud conspiracy. George Orwell would be proud.
This brings us to the scandal where 7 US attorneys were fired by the justice department for suspected political reasons. They are claiming that they were asked to push for the prosecution of Democrats for election fraud. This way, the Republicans could point to those cases and say "See there's the fraud we are guarding against!" Unfortunately, these attornies were not able to actually find any Democratic election fraud. They were then pressured to go after cases with flimsy evidence to make a show of it even if the accused were later found innocent. They refused to do this and were then fired, some of them directly by one of Karl Roves assistants.
Oh, and by the way, the Republicans were already caught doing this in the 80's and they signed a legal agreement as a result promising that they would NEVER do it again. Oh and by the way, Greg Palast, an American investigative reporter who works for the BBC actually has emails addressed to Karl Rove with attachments labeled "caging lists." These emails were accidentally sent to the wrong address (georgebush.org rather than georgebush.com) which turned out to be owned by an activist.
Moral values. . . .
Welcome to America.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
I thought it might be good to pick a day that highlights videos or films that are uplifting in some way and Sunday seems like an appropriate choice. These will not necessarily be religious videos but we will not be excluding them either. It could also include philosophical messages, information about positive organizations or just good inspiring stories. These will, of course, also be things that, in the Media Crashers Tradition, are taking a less conventional path.
We'll start this series off with The Shift Movie:
Lighthouse Films is an independent documentary production studio based in Del Rey California who focus on inspiring human interest stories. The Shift Movie is the latest production that Lighthouse is taking on. In a world that is full of corruption, war, global warming and an unsustainable lifestyle, there is a lot of focus on how screwed up things are. I'll be the first to admit I am one of the ones who constantly rails about all the screwups. There is also, however, a worldwide movement of people and organizations who are rising up in record numbers to make a positive difference in the world. Some are suggesting that this may be a global shift in human experience, an evolution of sorts. Here's how Lighthouse pitches the film:
A massive worldwide phenomenon is in progress, offering seeds of great hope for the future.This film is apparently still a work in progress and they offers ways to contribute on the website if you want to get more involved. From this trailer, however, it looks like they already have a lot of significant people on board.
Millions of individuals, organizations and corporations around the world are waking up and embracing a new outlook with an emphasis on their responsibility to contribute positively to our collective future.
We are in the middle of the biggest social transformation in human history, The SHIFT.
At this critical point, it is imperative we make the masses aware of this global movement quickly. This evolutionary phenomenon is broader and deeper than the most visible SHIFT, the environmental movement. It involves our very understanding of who we are as human beings, and our responsibility to the world and to life itself.
THE SHIFT movie raises awareness to the story of our roles in an evolutionary shift in our collective consciousness.
As it chronicles the faces, the stories and leaders assisting in this social transformation, the film reveals its emergence & meaning.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Free-Will Productions is a husband and wife documentary team from Los Angeles who have teamed up with a video editor and a composer. They have been making films since 1995 and they reinvest all the money they make from sales to TV and home video back into new documentaries. In this manner they operate with complete independence. As they put it:
"Free-will productions is proud to say that our only executive producer is our own public."Their work can be purchased directly from their website linked above. In The Oil Factor, they explore all the various relationships, motives and human costs surrounding oil and the complete dominance of energy interests in the US government. They suggest a direct tie between out interest in Saudi Arabia and the attacks against us by terrorists. They did a great job in their investigations and they have a lot of notable people that contribute their voices to the project.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
The Real News Network has released a new video where their Senior Editor Paul Jay sits down with Eric Margolis, a conservative journalist, to discuss the mainstream news coverage of this weeks events in Iraq.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
It is amazing to me that a video like this needs to be made by Dutch TV before people in America can get this information. I have been outraged by the inside nature of this investment group for a long time now. How is it that a former American President can be employed by an investment group that buys businesses that are directly related to government actions or regulations such as. . . say. . . military contractors? How is it that he can do it while his son is the current President? Is there any bigger conflict of interest? How is it that Carlyle can employ a huge roster of former Washington insiders and then use their knowledge to find insider scoops and get any meeting they want in Washington?
If you are a former politician and you know where a new highway and it's exit ramps are going to go, can you really leave office and then be employed by a company that buys real estate to advise them on what land along the planned route of this highway is the best choice? If you are the secretary of defense can you really set up policies while in office at the Pentagon that will then benefit you when you leave that office and become an "adviser" for a firm that invests in military contractors?
Yep. . . apparently you can. . .
Welcome to America folks. On Wall Street this is called "insider trading" and it's illegal but in Washington this is called being a good capitalist and leveraging your public service experience into profits because, lets face it, serving the people doesn't pay very well when you can just pick their pockets later.
Being that this video is Dutch, it has subtitles and brief segments are in Dutch but the majority of it is in English. The minute or so of introductory narration segment is in Dutch however. Just wait it out and things will become understandable.
Here's what they are saying:
The Bush family, the Saudi Royal family, Osama Bin Laden's family and Donald Rumsfeld's inner circle - these are just some of the high profile figures who have played a direct role in the rise of one of the most powerful and influential and secretive firms in Washington.
The company is called The Carlyle Group. And in the wake of the events of September 11th and the invasion of Iraq, its power and influence have become significantly stronger.
The company operates within the so-called iron-triangle of industry, government and the military. Its list of former and current advisers and associates includes a vast array of some of the most powerful men in America and indeed around the world.
This program exposes the history of the Carlyle Group, from it's inception as a private equity firm to it's precent status as one of the largest defence contractors in the world.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Dan Rather, formerly of CBS, now has an investigative news show on the new High Definition TV network HDnet.
This is a cable HD network but I think this particular segment still falls into media crashers territory because of the importance of the subject matter. The traditional media has had ample opportunity to look into the scandalous conditions of our computer based election system and the people who run it but they have offered nothing but appeasement to the status quo. This kind of reporting cuts right into the subject and it's about time. Today there are even bigger problems than the computers but at least some people are trying to shed more light on this subject.
I am particularly disturbed by the revelations in this piece from several former Sequoia Voting Systems employees that many of the 2000 Florida ballots may have, in fact, been deliberately printed on inferior paper and with odd specifications at times, to create errors and shake people's confidence in the punch card system. This uncertainty then opens up the market for the new high tech and much more expensive electronic voting machines. . . . that Sequoia also happens to make. Imagine that. You put private corporations in charge of voting equipment and they game the market so they can sell the government and the people on upgrading to more expensive product. The only problem is that this is our democracy they are gaming.
Please consider Signing The Petition that is going around to open an investigation.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Andy Cobb is a web video producer who works in conjunction with AmericaBlog, a very large liberal blog. He has done several very good videos including a call for impeachment done in musical form. This is the most recent video he has posted on his YouTube account and I think it is an excellent exercise in low tech satire.
Friday, August 17, 2007
OK, so this isn't something that you are used to seeing on this blog, however I think it lives up to the Media Crasher idea.
I am a huge baseball fan, not a Yankee fan but rather an Oakland A's fan. But my brother showed me this video the other day and I thought it was great. I visited Yankee stadium one time and that was 12 years ago. But I could not remember the famous "roll call." My brother actually said to me after watching this, "You know , it's too bad TV just shows the games and doesn't let you in on what it really feels like to be in the park itself." Well, he's right! You would never see this if it wasn't for some guy, in this case Michael Stewart, who takes us into the heart of the Yankee crowd and shares this moment that happens at the beginning of every game at Yankee Stadium. As a baseball fan I'm sure you are going to love this, if you're not a fan, well, forgive me.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Oilwellan is a YouTube producer who offers some very powerful slide shows, also known as montage videos, using a variety of historical and candid photography in a Ken Burns like style with relevant pop culture music to go along. I am a big fan of this technique because photos can often bring us even closer to the reality of life than video or film does for a variety of reasons: still images can include paintings and other kinds of art that takes us much further back in history, more people have still cameras so there is a much wider variety of imagery available, still photographs are much faster to grab and far less labor intensive and it is far easier for someone with low resources to access full resolution stills through the power of the internet than it is to access full resolution video. This makes still imagery a goldmine as a creative outlet. The drawback is that pretty much everyone with a computer is able to take a crack at slide show videos so there is a nauseating amount of them out there trying to be seen.
It does take talent to do a really good montage, however, because it draws on the same kind of visual and storytelling skill that filmmaking does. This video had my jaw permanently dropped as I marveled at the idiocy that Oilwellian has uncovered. The description is very simply:
The 29 percent
Monday, August 13, 2007
So I came across this marine rapping about his feelings. I thought I would post it here for two reasons. One, this guy has something important to say and two, who knew someone could actually rap about something other than sex, money, and drugs?
You can find the lyrics at www.badassmarine.com but I thought I would include them as they are a bit difficult to hear.
and She called...
African Americans and Caucasians, Asians, excuse me.
Vietnamese, Philipenes, Koreans and Jamaicans or
Haitans, waitin' Hispanics y'all.
Please be paitent
Mexican, Puerto Ricans, Venezualean, Cuban, v Dominican, Panamanian Democrats
I beg your pardon, you partied with the late, great Reagan?
Republican, Independent, Christian, Catholic,
Methodist, Baptist, 7th Day Adventist, 5 Percenters,
Hindu, Sunii Muslim, Brothers and Sisters who never seen the New York city
skyline when the twin towers still existed.
But still She called.
From the bowels of Ground Zero she sent this 911 distress signal.
Because She was in desperate need of a hero,
and didn't have time to decipher what to call 'em,
so she called 'em all Her children.
The children of the stars and bars who needed to know nothing more than the fact that she called.
The fact that someone attempted to harm us
this daughter who covered us all with her loving arms.
And now these arms are sprawled across New York City streets.
A smoke filled lung, a silt covered faced,
and a solitary tear poured out of her cheek.
Her singed garments carpets Pennsylvania Avenue and the Pentagon was under her feet.
As she began to talk, she began to cough up small particles of debris
and said, "I am America, and I'm calling on the land of the free."
So they answered.
All personal differences set to the side
because right now there was no time to decide which state building the Confederate flag should fly over,
and which trimester the embryo is considered alive,
or on our monetary units, and which God we should confide.
You see, someone attempted to choke the voice
of the one who gave us the right for choice,
and now she was callin.
And somebody had to answer.
Who was going to answer?
So they did.
Stern faces and chisled chins.
Devoted women and disciplined men,
who rose from the ashes like a pheonix
and said "don't worry, we'll stand in your defense."
They tightened up their bootlaces
and said goodbye to loved ones, family and friends.
They tried to bombard them with the "hold on", "wait-a-minute's", and "what-if's".
And "Daddy, where you goin?".
And, "Mommy, why you leavin?".
And they merely kissed them on their foreheads and said "Don't worry, I have my reasons.
You see, to this country I pledged my allegience
to defend it against all enemies foreign and domestic.
So as long as I'm breathin, I'll run though hell-fire,
meet the enemy on the front lines,
look him directly in his face,
stare directly in his eyes and scream,
"I AM AMERICA! WE WILL NOT BE TERRORIZED!
WE WILL NOT BE TERRORIZED!
I REFUSE TO BE AFRAID!
I'LL FIGHT YOU ANY COUNTRY, ANY CONTINENT, ANY TERRAIN.
I'LL FIGHT TO MY LAST BREATH!"
And if by chance death is my fate,
pin my medals upon my chest,
and throw Old Glory on my grave.
But, don't y'all cry for me.
You see, my Father's prepared a place.
I'll be a part of his Holy army standing a watch at the Pearly Gates.
Because freedom was never free.
POW's, and fallen soldiers
all paid the ultimate sacrafice
along side veterans who put themselves in harms way.
Risking their lives and limbs just to hold up democracy's weight,
but still standing on them broken appendages anytime the National Anthem was played.
You see, these were the brave warriors that gave me the right
to say that I'm Black. Or white.
African American or Caucasian,
I'm Asian, excuse me.
I'm Vietnamese, Philipene, Korean, or Jamaican.
I'm Haitan, Hispanic
Y'all, Please be paitent.
I'm Mexican, Puerto Rican, Venezualean, Cuban,
Dominican, Panamanian, Democrat
I beg your pardon, you see I partied with the late, great Reagan.
I'm Republican, Independent, Christian, Catholic,
Methodist, Baptist, 7th Day Adventist, 5 Percenters,
Hindu, Sunii Muslim,
Brothers and Sisters We're just Americans.
So with that I say
"Thank You" to the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines,
for preserving my rights
to live and die for this life
and paying the ultimate price for me to be...FREE!
Friday, August 10, 2007
Kenneth foster is on death row in Texas and all of his appeals have been exhausted. He is scheduled for execution at the end of this month. It is now a matter of very narrow legal options and a the possible notice of the governor. Kenneth is unique in that he will be someone who the state is executing even though they admit he didn't committed the crime he is being executed for. Kenneth was driving the car that a different man stepped out of and, without the knowledge of anyone else in the car, got into an altercation 80 feet away and ended up killing someone. Because Kenneth and these men were driving around committing crimes earlier, he is seen as a party to the murder that one of them spontaneously committed after the fact and without his knowledge. The law making this connection is called The Law of Parties. Under this law, if you are participating in a felony and a murder results, you are guilty of the murder as well. The problem here is that the murder was not the result of the felony, it was a seperate incident that occurred while they were all heading home. The prosecutor has basically claimed that the crimes were still in progress. The Jury was instructed that if they believed Kennith was doing something wrong by driving the men around, they must find him guilty of the murder itself under the law of parties and, therefore, qualify for death. The man who committed the murder was executed already but, adding insult to travesty, the state is not applying the same standard to the other two men that they applied to Kenneth. Those men will simply go to jail like most other felons.
If I had to define my political views I would say that I am either on the progressive side of conservative or on the conservative side of liberal. One of the things that has always put me on the more conservative side is my support of the death penalty when it comes to the worst of the worst offenders who have been proven, with direct indisputable evidence, to have committed the crime. The story of Kenneth Foster, however, gave me an epiphany. It may have single handedly changed my mind because it proves to me beyond any shade of a doubt that the prevailing social culture and the government structure in the USA today does not have the wisdom or integrity to handle the grave responsibility of taking someones life on it's own terms. Politics is the result of society and government is the result of politics. If a society is "sick" with destructive attitudes and ideologies, the government, the laws it makes and the process of enforcing those laws will carry the same sickness.
American Heritage New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition:I think that the combination of advertising, dirty politics and a culture of consumerism, celebrity worship and rabid self interest has led our society as a whole into the realm of a collective sociopath. Until we have a society, a political system and, therefore, a government that doesn't reward this sociopathic behavior we have no business letting our government set up a system that decides how to take someones life.
sociopath [(soh-see-uh-path, soh-shee-uh-path)]
Sociopaths are interested only in their personal needs and desires, without concern for the effects of their behavior on others.
Texas has now become the poster child for me of why the death penalty is too much for politicians and prosecutors to handle wisely. Not only have they killed almost 4 times more than any other state, they have allowed themselves to codify that lust for tough punishment onto the heads of people who didn't even commit the crime. This is the worst kind of perversion of justice and responsibility I can imagine. If this is the result that our society is bringing to our law enforcement today, then this whole level of punishment should be done away with completely, in the name of humanity, until we have a more socially stable, wisdom driven, society. Kennith Foster deserves to be in jail as an accessory to armed robbery and maybe even manslaughter or accessory to second degree murder if you want to be really tough. He should NOT be on death row for failing to realize a murder might take place. Go to www.freekenneth.com If you want to see all the details of this case. There is also a Save Kenneth blog. There is an article from the Galviston County Daily News there with a good summary of the case.
Thursday, August 9, 2007
The Real News Network is a project begun by and organization by the name of Independent World Television. Their goal is to create a non profit, independent, cable news network that will first launch on the internet this fall and then move to TV a year or so after that. An introductory video which they call The Promise can be found on the front page of their website and as the featured video on their YouTube account. They are hiring professional journalists from all over the world to contribute and they will have no financial ties to corporations or government and no commercials. The reasoning is that information should not be a for profit venture because that corrupts it. I happen to agree. Just think about the ratings mongers who run the news shows today and want sexy, novelty and celebrity content for ratings. Think about how they define their success on those ratings rather than the quality of the content or the service they provide. Consider that corporations have been known to pull advertising for their products if a news story on that channel paints them in a bad light. When you consider how one parent corporation could represent hundreds of products to be advertised that represents a whole lot of influence.
Jeff Cohen (not to be confused with the child actor) is a former cable news host and producer and today he is a respected media critic. He is also the founder of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting a watchdog group that collects information on the news media for analysis. They check things like how many liberal viewpoints are featured on cable news shows vs. conservative viewpoints (as many as 5 to 1 I believe). They also noticed that PBS has lots of investor shows and business shows that feature owners and business leaders but not one show that represents the labor movement. He is appearing on The Real News Network here to talk about the corruption that exists in todays mainstream media and to explain how important a project like this is.
Saturday, August 4, 2007
Bev Harris at Black Box Voting teamed up with Simone Ardizzone, Russel Michaels and Robert Carillo Cohen to create what was first called Voteregate. Votergate was a huge web success and it was later picked up by HBO, renamed Hacking Democracy and turned into a full length Documentary . It is very revealing about this whole new age of voting on computers and trusting that they count the vote correctly even though people these days are still afraid to buy stuff on the internet because of how hackable computers are.
Friday, August 3, 2007
Twistedhumor.com seems to have been an email list from back in the late 90's that would send out jokes. The best I can tell now is that it is no longer functioning. If I go to the website I get an offer for a money making scheme on myspace. This video is halarious, though so I thought it deserved notice.
Brave New Films appears to be reaching out more for video contributors to their blog. Sam Seder, a talk show host on Air America Radio introduces the concept. Sam also speaks to the importaincs of web video. Web video's influence over elections is becoming very important. For the first time the people are moving the conversation and creating their own buzz and the media is having a downright hard time controlling the narrative. The CNN YouTube debate is the most recent example of web video's direct effect on modern politics. The internet may just save America from complete corporate takeover if we can keep their grubby hands off net neutrality.
Thanks goes out to C&L for pushing it into the blogosphere proper.
Thursday, August 2, 2007
Billy Vegas is the featured name on www.puppetgov.com who posts these videos via their YouTube page. I Can't find much out yet about who they are but it appears to me like another great example of grass roots video activism. This particular video uses this administrations own words to show how corrupt they are. It also shows how some people are reacting to this outrage.
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Politics TV is an independent Media site put together by PTV Media, an independent production and consulting firm. They are focused on the power of the web to get independent perspectives bringing information to people on video, about politics in particular. They do web syndication in podcast type format and they also have a YouTube Page with over 655 videos on it ranging from senate hearings to the presidential debates to their own original programming.
This clip struck me as an incredibly powerful testimony, at the Democratic Congressional forum on Iraq, that puts a human perspective on Iraq in a way that the "dog and pony show" visits from politicians and media pundits just can't capture. The YouTube link describes it like this:
Dr. Dahlia Wasfi was born to a Jewish mother and an Iraqi father. She recently put her medical career on hold to visit with family members in Iraq, and recently returned from a three-month stay in Basrah and Baghdad. Dr. Wasfi described her experience in Iraq and discussed the life of Iraqis under occupation on April 27, 2006 in Washington, DC.
Brave New Films is once again documenting the deliberate smearing of serious issues that Fox News advocates in it's programming.
Fox On Global Warming:
This is a Catalog of errors they have represented on global warming during their broadcasts.
Fox On Bloggers:
With no substantial proof that I have seen, Fox has characterized the liberal blogs as outlets of hate. The "hate speech" they provide are from the comments sections of the postings where anyone, including Fox producers could post with anonymity. Anyone who has ever seen comment sections know that people can get really ugly. Go to any popular YouTube video page and there are often several off the rocker, foaming at the mouth, nonsense posts that you just blow off. None of the "hate speech" cited by Fox is ever from the blog articles themselves. The quotes they will find from the bloggers themselves are usually tame when compared to right wing talkers like Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coulter.
Let there be no doubt about my feelings on this issue: Fox News is the enemy of anyone who wants real information. They have created a slick, car salesman like, image with groovy graphics, controversy hungry hosts and hot blond anchors with tons of lip gloss. This entertainment packaging of news brings ratings and, as a result, the other news programmers in the country have jumped to imitate it. It's just good capitalism after all right? Unless, of course, the purpose is to get real information out.
What it is is the perversion of the whole news industry and a redefining of the word "balance". In a coordinated assault with talk radio and mega church broadcasters, Fox smeared the idea of "liberals" so that nobody in their audience would ever believe anything they say. They then went on to smear the rest of the news world as both "liberal" and "unbalanced" in order to convince these same people that they need Fox's brand of news if they really want the truth. All the while, Fox is as brazenly biased and idealogical as they want to be. They justify this by saying they are "balancing" out all those liberal media outlets. Get it? It's not the coverage itself that is fair and balanced. It is Fox, the slanted spin job propaganda outlet, "balancing" out the flow of "liberal"(formerly known as "journalistic") information in the national dialog. This means if "liberals" say there is gravity, they will have someone on arguing that there is no agreement on gravity to provide "both sides of the story." If the existence of gravity is dangerous to their ideological purpose, they will have one soft spoken intellectual arguing for gravity and two loud aggressive debaters arguing against it. All the while their audience has been conditioned to believe that liberals are too confused to bother listening to what they say.
This model of getting both sides of a story, one that is factually true and one that is factually false, has even begun to make appearances on other news outlets who have taken Fox's dog and pony show success to be a sign that the rest of them must really be "too liberal." So we now have news outlets falling over themselves to be more "Fox like." It is, perhaps, the most public and successful con job on an open information industry that has ever existed.
This is why I have so much respect for Brave New Films. They have taken Fox on directly and they are building a movement to begin calling them out for what they are. If you are a network with a 4 minute "straight news" break every half hour followed by 28 minutes of hosts and pundits spouting opinions can you really call yourself news? I think Fox can say anything it wants. This is a free country, but they should not be allowed to present themselves as either "fair and balanced" or a "news outlet" unless they meet the same specific journalistic standards that the rest of the news media was trying to follow before Fox arrived. I urge everyone to get active on this issue because this is really about getting good information so we can make hard decisions. It's not about tailoring all the the information we get so that it fits into what we WANT to hear. That puts us in a bubble where we can be controlled and manipulated.
If you haven't seen their feature film Outfoxed yet, I highly recommend it. It elaborates much more clearly on what I have said here. If you want to get more directly involved become a Fox Attacker.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Jackie and Dunlap have been YouTube stars, among other internet outlets, for a while now but they got a huge boost lately as a result of the CNN YouTube debate which they submitted several questions to, at least one of which was used. This got the attention of CNN who then began doing post debate interviews with them. In this episode they discuss Bush's colonoscopy and Michael Moore going to Cuba.
Another great documentary by The Media Education Foundation. This one examines the Israeli Palestinian conflict and the way the media shapes people's opinions about it.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
I posted a link to the flash version of this video in a past post but it really needs to be highlighted so I found the embeddable YouTube version and I am giving it it's own spot. It addresses issues of liberty and, in particular, the danger presented by people who want surrogates to defend their liberty for them rather than doing it themselves:
It is based on part of a very influential book by Ken Schooland named The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible. They also have a website based the book. that features the video.
This is Michael Korschbaum's first post on YouTube under the account name Whitehousedotgov and it has alread hit 21,247 views in 2 months. I can't find much else about him but the video speaks for itself. This is YouTube and free speech in action. It's shocking and some might even say offensive but I think it makes a point that needs to be slapped upside some people's heads. What is being done by our leadership in this country today is just as perverse and offensive as what it is being represented by in this video.