What Does Rupert Murdoch Want?

Jim Fuller: This is your duty as a citizen: Take a deep breath and try to watch and listen to Fox for a half hour or so at a time, at various times of day. More if you can stand it. You’ll rarely catch even a single story that is not twisted to fit an extreme right view of the world.

History: A Rovian Rewrite

tom-degan

Tom Degan: It’s going to be an absolute scream in the next few years watching the Bush Mob try to rewrite history with the flood of books that are sure to come out. The latest screed by Rove is merely the tip of the iceberg. They have quite a chore ahead of them no doubt. Putting a positive spin on the worst administration in American history? I imagine something that tricky would be the equivalent of trying to put a smiley face on a decomposing pig:

Cuéntame: Facebooking Teabagger Bigots

Cuentame

Berry Craig: Caballero also said that “From calling Mexicans ‘filthy, stinking animals,’ to listening the likes of Tom Tancredo and Sarah Palin deliver hateful speech after hateful speech, to the increased use of violence in their words and actions, Teabaggers have come out in full force against our community.”

“Preserving Democracy” Theme of LA Media Event This Saturday

Please join the LA Media Reform Group, California Common Cause, and the Urban & Environmental Policy Institute on March 27, 2010, at Occidental College for our third annual summit. Given the recent Supreme Court decision, the changing media landscape, and the importance of the upcoming election cycle, we’ve decided to make this year’s theme, “Preserving Democracy.”

News/PR Line Gets Blurrier

Ozzy Osbourne, dining.

Michael Sigman: Many of the thirty-thousand-plus newspaper journalists laid off in the past two years have signed on to corporate public relations gigs, further blurring the already-murky line between PR and news. When the handful of corporate chieftains who control most mainstream media hire as PR agents the journalists who used to expose them, they’re one giant step closer to commandeering the information narrative in America.

How to Get Your Own News

Social-media

Sharon Kyle: In a book entitled, Just How Stupid Are We?, author Rick Shenkman asks, “Are America’s voters prepared to shoulder the responsibility of running the most powerful nation on earth? Do a majority know enough?” These questions are not new but the current economic crisis brings to the fore the urgency of an answer.

Corporate Media: All the News that Suits the Suits

Media Control

Tom Hall: One reason that there has been so little outcry about this complete abandonment of the capitalist ideals of the Reagan years is that there is no longer any press competition in the United States. All the broadcast and cable networks are now owned by about five multinational corporations. And in every major city, the same corporations own all of the television and radio stations and the cable systems. Most cable systems have no competition at all.

More than Merely Counting Medals

Hockey

Bob Letcher: Simply to “count medals” egregiously ignores the importance players on both sides of the “GOLD MEDAL” game ascribed to winning that game. And not without reason: the Government of Canada—Team Canada’s Government—had undertaken as a matter of national pride, if not national policy, its own “own the podium” program.

Help Provide Missing Haiti Coverage

Haiti-Georgianne

Dick Price: Next week, Georgianne Nienaber departs on a 12-day investigative research trip to Haiti where she will look to fill in gaps in the mainstream media’s news coverage while also providing emergency medical assistance to rural Haitians. As she works with Haitian human rights organizations to develop story ideas, she also invites LA Progressive readers to contribute their thoughts on where else she might look.

Can the White House Control the News?

Barack Obama and Robert Gates

Sherwood Ross: If an imperial Presidency is defined as one in which an autocratic president can pretty much do as he pleases waging wars around the world, all that a more intensive media environment does is to provide him with heightened supporting coverage. Fox News may attack Obama for his management style but it does not dispute his basic imperialist direction, which is a continuation of the Bush-Cheney wars of aggression. Media dissent these days flickers only on the Internet. Thus the White House succeeds in controlling the news—especially as it derives so much help from the mainstream media.

“Uncle Tiger’s” Not Out of the Woods Yet

tiger-woods

Ed Rampell: Fair play demands that if Woods is sincere about doing a mea culpa, he should start by apologizing to African Americans for his record of turning his back on them in his unbridled, selfish pursuit of money, glory and sexual gratification by currying favor with the dominant majority culture.

On Curling, U.S.-Canada Relations, and Tiger Woods

tiger simpsons

Randy Shaw: The worldwide recession deepens, the impacts of climate change worsen, and health care costs continue to skyrocket — yet people are primarily discussing other matters. Chief among them is why curling is an Olympic sport, since it is the on-ice equivalent of bocce or shuffleboard, two games that do not require much athletic talent.

Evan Bayh and Partisan America

evan-Bayh

Robert Reich: The real problem isn’t partisanship. Bold views and strong positions are fine. Democratic debate and deliberation can be enhanced by them. The problem is the intransigence and belligerence that has taken over Congress and much of the rest of the public — a profound distrust of people “on the other side,” an unwillingness to compromise, a bitterness and anger disproportionate to issues being discussed.

Jon Karl and ABC Give Dick Cheney a Sunday Valentine

Cheney

Linda Milazzo: Karl’s softballs aside, had he rightfully used this interview to take Cheney to task on specific accusations from experts and scholars, Karl may have achieved a newfound respect as a reporter. But he didn’t.

Will Jonathan Karl Confront Cheney’s Crimes In His “This Week” Interview?

Linda Milazzo: This morning, ABC’s Jonathan Karl will audition to replace George Stephanopoulos on the network’s flagship Sunday morning program, This Week. Karl’s exclusive “get” for his hosting debut is former Vice President Dick Cheney, whom Karl last interviewed on December 16, 2008 – a month after Barack Obama was elected President, and a month after Jonathan Karl was named ABC’s Senior Congressional Correspondent.

Avatar: Beauty & the Beastly Ideas

Avatar Oscars

Tom Hall: Cameron is a closet Republican. While mouthing anti-corporate platitudes, he embraces the “Party of No” stance that all social strife can be solved with more force, less thought, simple sloganeering and appeals to fear and anger. And, like his Republican compatriots, he rakes in the dough with a stirring yarn which evades, rather than deals with, real social problems.

If Michael Jackson’s Last Doctor Is Guilty of Manslaughter, So Am I

Dr. Conrad Murray

Jasmyne Cannick: If Dr. Conrad Murray is guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson, well then so am I and about half of America.

Calling a Disaster a Disaster

Haiti-disaster

Robert Letcher: For decades until the recent economic “troubles”, middle classes readily bought into the elite-serving argument: if we don’t question the morality of—and possible connections between—extreme poverty and extreme wealth, elites will act to assure that most of us will never be as poor as those poor Haitians (best delivered with a Glenn Beck quiver).

The Upside of Hell

Tel Aviv

H. Scott Prosterman: I’m told by a fellow traveler that the upside of hell is knowing that all of your friends will be there. I can hardly wait. Such was the feeling I had when I saw my name among many more important people on the Masada 2000 website. They are an ultra-right Zionist organization, bent on destroying the reputations and careers of any Jew who dares to utter or publish a criticism of Israel . They call this the Self Hating and/or Israel Threatening (SHIT) List. And there are over 8,800 names.

Beyoncé’s Soulless Starbucking of Music Industry

beyonce grammys

Randy Shaw: Beyoncé has been a great star since childhood, and has gotten to the top through hard work, dedication, good looks and a powerful singing voice. But she seems to have gone through a corporate homogenization machine that has deprived her of real passion, real soul, and of the ability to express true feelings and emotions in her songs.

Emergency for LA’s Arts Community

The Price Arthur Miller

John Gallogly: There are always going to be those who say the arts are a luxury we can’t afford. The truth in Los Angeles — according to Jack Kyser, chief economist for LA, Inc, and author of the 2009 Otis Report — is that the arts are an economic engine that employ over 35,000 people directly and contribute at least that many jobs indirectly in tourism, restaurants, printing and ancillary businesses, not to mention the economic multiplyer at other local businesses where those employees shop like grocery stores.

Bhutto:The Film — Heartbreaking, Thought-Provoking History Lesson

Benazir Bhutto

Georgianne Nienaber: Bhutto: The Film presents the story of a woman whose strength of personality and conviction totally dominates the constraints of a fundamentalist religious society where women had no intrinsic value. The voice over of Bhutto describing her birth is the ghost in the room. Her extended family was in mourning that Benazir entered the world in a society where the only desire is that the firstborn be a boy. “Dogs and cats were giving birth to boys,” she narrates from the grave.

Howard Zinn And J. D. Salinger: Two Heroes

howard zinn jd salinger

Wendy Block: Both Zinn and Salinger remained true to themselves. Zinn maintained his radical stance when many of his contemporaries softened. Salinger rejected what he considered the phoniness of fame, and even stopped publishing (but maybe now, secreted works will go public). Though some of his rumored actions, if true, were eccentric, there’s nothing reclusive about wanting to live a life free from an obsessively attentive outside world.

At Home in the World Joyce Maynard

Salinger

Jules Siegel: Coming across as pompous, astoundingly unfeeling, deceptive and defiantly hypocritical, Salinger indoctrinates her with his homeopathically inspired theories about food, teaches her how to induce vomiting in order to avoid absorbing “toxins,” has her share a diet so austere that she stops menstruating, and generally makes himself the absolute center of not only her personal world but also life as we know it. In one scene, commenting scornfully on the Beatles and their Maharishi, he takes rueful credit for having created the Oriental philosophy fad, conveniently ignoring the Transcendentalists, Herman Hesse and Alan Watts, among others.

Howard Zinn

howardzinn

Joseph Palerrmo: I saw Howard speak in Ithaca and in Santa Cruz and his talks were always so emotionally powerful and sensitive to human suffering and injustice. But he could also be hilariously funny, with a comedian’s sense of timing. And he had the most developed sense of irony — and the ability to convey irony — of anyone I’ve ever seen or read.

2010 Media Summit: Call for Participation

media event

If you are as concerned that our democracy is being usurped by today’s media, that communities are being harmed by the absence of local issues covered by mainstream media, and that diverse groups lack access to the media, now is the time to act!

Massachusetts Calling: Harnessing Independents’ Anger and Disillusionment to Form a Second (i.e. Non-Corporate) Party

Corporate Free Speech

Gary Corseri: Can these radio jockeys really believe half of what they say? They serve the system that butters their croissants. They are the corporate media, they are the Republicratic party—two sides of the same coin—the tarnished coin, the cheapened, sinking coin of this realm.

Media Coverage of Haitian Earthquake Can’t Go There

haiti's lament

Joseph Palermo: When the television cameras stop whirring and the famous correspondents leave Haiti and move on to the next Tiger Woods scandal, we should take a hard look at the power relations between the United States and Haiti that not only tolerated but helped create the Western Hemisphere’s best known economic, medical, political, judicial, educational, and ecological disaster long before the natural disaster hit.

The Beginning of the End of Competing Newspapers in LA

Birds and Newspapers

Ron Kaye: The corporate rules of journalism sucked the life out of newspapering, eliminating the kind of robust wars when there 12 newspapers in New York, eight in LA, six in Chicago with multiple owners and very different points of view.

Reinventing Journalism: The Emerging New World Order of News

Balloon News

Ron Kaye: If you’re reading this, you know what a revolution is taking place in how we get our news and information because of the Internet. It’s energizing and liberating to play a small part in it on TV, on my blog and on my community-based news site OurLA.org which brings together citizen and professional journalism to tell the story of LA’s political and civic culture.