B12 Solipsism

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Archive for the ‘Corporate Media’ tag

Reading Around on July 23rd through July 28th

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A few interesting links collected July 23rd through July 28th:

Written by swanksalot

July 28th, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Posted in Links

Tagged with , , ,

Reading Around on July 15th through July 19th

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A few interesting links collected July 15th through July 19th:

Written by swanksalot

July 19th, 2010 at 11:00 am

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Reading Around on July 7th

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Some additional reading July 7th from 09:36 to 13:27:

  • Booze quotes: shaking with style -

     

    The important thing is the rhythm. You should always have rhythm when you’re shaking. Now, a Manhattan you shake to fox trots. A Bronx, to two-step time. A dry martini you always shake to waltz time. —Nick Charles, The Thin Man

  •  

  • ScienceBlogs, we have a problem | Science | guardian.co.uk – •

     

    Should ScienceBlogs.com have agreed to host a controversial blog on nutrition, written by PepsiCo? No, say the site’s readers, as some of its star bloggers stop their blogs in protest

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  • Say hello to…PepsiCo??!? WTF? : Pharyngula -

     

    So what’s with the corporate drones moving in next door? They aren’t going to be doing any scienceblogging — this is straight-up commercial propaganda. You won’t be seeing much criticism of Pepsico corporate policies, or the bad nutritional habits spread by cheap fast food, or even any behind-the-scenes stories about the lives of Pepsico employees that paints a picture of the place as anything less than Edenesque. Do you think any of the ‘bloggers’ will express any controversial opinions that might annoy any potential customers?

  • PepsiCo blog, Food Frontiers, is an affront to those who built the reputation of ScienceBlogs : Terra Sigillata -

     

    I wish to focus my objections specifically on the breach of ethics and community represented by ScienceBlogs hosting this blog and accepting an undisclosed amount of sponsorship funds to do so

    .

Written by swanksalot

July 7th, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Posted in Links

Tagged with , , ,

Hypocrisy: A Parliamentary Procedure Oft Used

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When even Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute is calling out Republican bs for the hypocrisy it is…

Our Lady of the Green

Any veteran observer of Congress is used to the rampant hypocrisy over the use of parliamentary procedures that shifts totally from one side to the other as a majority moves to minority status, and vice versa. But I can’t recall a level of feigned indignation nearly as great as what we are seeing now from congressional Republicans and their acolytes at the Wall Street Journal, and on blogs, talk radio, and cable news. It reached a ridiculous level of misinformation and disinformation over the use of reconciliation, and now threatens to top that level over the projected use of a self-executing rule by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

In the last Congress that Republicans controlled, from 2005 to 2006, Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier used the self-executing rule more than 35 times, and was no stranger to the concept of “deem and pass.” That strategy, then decried by the House Democrats who are now using it, and now being called unconstitutional by WSJ editorialists, was defended by House Republicans in court (and upheld). Dreier used it for a $40 billion deficit reduction package so that his fellow GOPers could avoid an embarrassing vote on immigration. I don’t like self-executing rules by either party—I prefer the “regular order”—so I am not going to say this is a great idea by the Democrats. But even so—is there no shame anymore?

[Click to continue reading Hypocrisy: A Parliamentary Procedure « The Enterprise Blog]

Amazing really, and if you have the stomach, see how often the Republican talking point is repeated in the next few weeks. I’d wager it will be repeated numerous times, even by the so-called “straight” media organizations1.

Footnotes:
  1. not Fox News, in other words []

Written by Seth Anderson

March 16th, 2010 at 7:55 pm

James O’Keefe and the myth of the ACORN pimp

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Yee godz, I hope the terrorist wannabe1 James O’Keefe goes to jail for a long, long time.

Fact: On the guerilla clips posted online and aired on Fox News, O’Keefe was featured in lots of cutaway shots that were filmed outside and showed him parading around with Giles in his outlandish cane/top hat/sunglasses/fur coat pimp costume.

The cutaway shots certainly left the impression that that’s how O’Keefe was dressed when he spoke to ACORN workers.

But inside each and every office, according to one independent review that looked at the public videos, O’Keefe entered sans the pimp get-up. In fact, he was dressed rather conservatively. During his visit to the Baltimore ACORN office, he wore a dress shirt and khaki pants. For the Philadelphia sting, he added a tie to the ensemble.

Instead, the ’70s-era, blacksploitation pimp costume was a propaganda tool used to later deceive the public about the undercover operation. It was a prop that was quickly embraced by the mainstream media and turned into a central part of the ACORN story.

It’s true that Giles was seen on the ACORN office tapes scantily clad as she discussed her future prostitution plans with ACORN workers. But it was the pimp costume, or the idea that O’Keefe was sitting there getting ACORN advice while decked out in it, that really hit the laughter button and caused the press — and public — to guffaw at ACORN’s apparent cluelessness. Read: Not only were the ACORN employees morally suspect for doling out tax advice to a would-be prostitute, but the low-income advocates were dumb as stumps to boot!

[Click to continue reading James O'Keefe and the myth of the ACORN pimp | Media Matters for America]

Amazingly2 the corporate media has endlessly repeated, breathlessly, as if the facts were just as idiot O’Keefe described them. Click the URL link above if you want to be amused3 by the gullibility of the 4th Estate…

Footnotes:
  1. just imagine for a second that an Arab Muslim, in full desert regalia, attempted to wire-tap the office of a Republican member of the Homeland Security committee. Right, there would be 25 hours of outrage each and every day until the offender was waterboarded into confessing he killed Millard Fillmore. But since Senator Landrieu’s affiliation is with the Democratic Party… []
  2. well, not really, if you have an iota of memory of the history of political theatre in the US []
  3. or sickened []

Written by Seth Anderson

February 21st, 2010 at 9:25 pm

Michael Chertoff is Not to be Trusted

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Michael Chertoff is Not to be Trusted, part 564

It Pays to Play

WHEN The Times interviewed Michael Chertoff about airport security after the underwear bomber tried to blow up a passenger jet on Christmas Day, he said full-body scanners should be deployed at airports. Chertoff, the former secretary of homeland security, did not volunteer that he is a consultant to a company that makes such equipment, and though they spoke to him twice, reporters never asked if he had a financial stake in the matter.

Chertoff, who championed full-body scanners as head of the Department of Homeland Security, long before he went into private business, said it was no secret that he had become a consultant to corporate clients through the Chertoff Group, a risk-management firm he formed in March. He said that when two Times reporters, Eric Liptonand John Schwartz, called and the subject turned to scanners, it was up to them to ask whether he had ties to that industry. “I always answer when I’m asked,” he said. “But I don’t think it is my obligation to put myself in the head of a reporter” to decide what the reporter needs to know.

Chertoff did tell NPR and CNN interviewers when they asked.

Lipton and Schwartz agreed that they should have asked Chertoff, but both expressed disappointment that he did not volunteer obviously germane information. Bob Steele, a professor at DePauw University and a journalism values scholar at the Poynter Institute, said, “I believe a source does have an affirmative obligation to reveal any competing loyalties, even if the source isn’t sure they create a direct conflict of interest.”

Interestingly, Chertoff wrote an Op-Ed article for The Washington Post, published New Year’s Day, that carried a one-sentence biography divulging that his clients included a scanner manufacturer — a note he said he volunteered. “If I’m affirmatively getting out there,” he said, as opposed to being called by a reporter, “I make it my business to disclose.” That’s a distinction I don’t buy. What difference does it make whether a source seeks a forum or a reporter happens to call? Knowing Washington’s culture of revolving doors and news spin, the Times reporters should have asked the obvious question. But if Chertoff had a connection he thought the public needed to know in one instance, he should have made it clear in the others.

[Click to continue reading The Public Editor - The Sources’ Stake in the News - Op-Ed - NYTimes.com]

How about stop pretending political hacks like Chertoff even have anything relevant to add to the conversation in the first place? Start by assuming they always have a conflict of interest, and that’s why they agreed to be quoted.

The NYT appended the following mushy Editor’s Note below their Chertoff story:

Editors’ Note: January 15, 2010

Articles on Dec. 28, 29 and 30, about the apparent bombing attempt on a flight to Detroit, discussed the use of full-body scanners for airport security. They cited Michael Chertoff, the former secretary of homeland security, as supporting wider use of the scanners. Mr. Chertoff has confirmed in several recent interviews that a manufacturer of the devices is a client of his consulting company. That connection should have been noted in the articles.

Written by Seth Anderson

January 17th, 2010 at 4:13 pm

Posted in politics

Tagged with , , ,

Falling for the Far Right’s ACORN Agenda

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ACORN is not the problem, FOX News1 is

Wheel of transformation

The Washington Post’s Darryl Fears and Carol D. Leonnig describe “The $1,300 mission to fell ACORN.” It started with a phone call to James O’Keefe III (the “pimp”) from Hannah Giles (the “prostitute”), daughter of a conservative blogger named Doug Giles. The plan from the very beginning was to damage the reputation of the organization. O’Keefe admits that his enmity for ACORN derived from its success helping Democrats win elections, not from any charges of corruption. The Post also points out that in Philadelphia ACORN employees called the police when the duo left the offices there. The videotape of that encounter has yet to be released, and so the prevailing image of ACORN in the mainstream media has been the one that the video makers, with a vendetta against the organization, wanted out there.

Hysterical Fox News commentators have blown this story up like a hot air balloon, and much of the rest of the media appear to believe that what Fox says goes. Andrew Alexander complains that “traditional news outlets like The Post simply don’t pay enough attention to conservative media or viewpoints.” But writing in the Columbia Journalism Review, Rick Perlstein responds: “Why would a newspaper like the The Post be training its investigative focus on ACORN now? Whether you think ill or well of ACORN, they’re a very marginal group in the grand scheme of things and about as tied to the White House as the PTA.”

This right-wing stunt proved such powerful catnip to mainstream media bigfeet that amazingly, George Stephanopoulos thought it worth discussing with the President of the United States during a rare one-on-one interview opportunity. The president quite understandably explained that that he wasn’t following the story very closely, and that the country was dealing with more serious problems right now. (U.S. grants to ACORN, already suspended, account for literally 52 seconds of annual U.S. government spending, according to one careful estimate.) Stephanopoulos had nothing else to say. As though he were correcting himself, he continued, “Afghanistan is a serious problem facing the country right now.” Oh, yeah, Afghanistan….

[Click to continue reading Think Again: Falling for the Far Right’s ACORN Agenda]

Constantly amazed at how pliable the news media is to whatever is the Right Wing smear-de-jour. Sickeningly familiar from constant repetition.

Footnotes:
  1. and their masters []

Written by Seth Anderson

September 25th, 2009 at 11:33 am

Glenn Beck advertisers

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Brief follow up to an earlier post, these are the advertisers who used to advertise on Glenn Beck’s hateful show, but have since gotten cold feet.

Mathematical Calmness

Last week, ColorOfChange.org began emailing the 150,000+ people who signed their initial petition, asking them to call five major advertisers who continued to refuse to pull their ads: Clorox, Experian (creator of FreeCreditReport.com), Lowe’s, Red Lobster and Vonage. Hours after members began making calls, Lowe’s contacted ColorOfChange.org, pledging not to run additional ads on Beck’s programs. Clorox followed suit Thursday, and Experian did the same on Friday. Vonage’s recent defection leaves Red Lobster as the only company in the group that has not yet responded.

Previous companies who have corrected advertising errors and/or pulled their ads entirely include Airware Inc. (makers of Brez anti-snoring aids), Allergan (maker of Restasis), Ally Bank (a unit of GMAC Financial Services), Ancestry.com, AT&T, Best Buy, Blaine Labs Inc., Broadview Security, Campbell Soup Company, ConAgra, Clorox, CVS, Ditech, The Elations Company, Experian (creator of FreeCreditReport.com), Farmers Insurance Group, GEICO, Johnson & Johnson (makers of Tylenol), Lawyers.com, Lowe’s, Men’s Wearhouse, NutriSystem, Procter & Gamble, Progressive Insurance, RadioShack, Re-Bath, Roche, SC Johnson, Sanofi-Aventis, Sargento, Sprint, State Farm Insurance, Travelocity, The UPS Store, Verizon Wireless and Wal-Mart.

[From ColorOfChange.org]

Why these corporations advertised in the first place baffles me, Fox News is not their friend, nor is Glenn Beck a friend of their customers. At least they have come to their senses, momentarily at least.

Written by swanksalot

September 1st, 2009 at 9:40 pm

Philip Anschutz is building his own empire

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Denver billionaire and conservative Christian Philip Anschutz has, uncharacteristically, been in the news recently. First for purchasing Dick Cheney’s favorite magazine, The Weekly Standard:

Right Turn Ahead

[ Right Turn Ahead]

In June, [The Weekly Standard] was handed from one conservative billionaire, [Rupert] Murdoch, to another, Philip F. Anschutz, for about $1 million, according to an executive close to Mr. Murdoch who spoke anonymously because the terms of the deal were meant to be confidential. The new ownership comes at a time when conservatism, especially the version espoused by The Standard involving American muscularity to spread freedom abroad, is not in the ascendancy.

Mr. Anschutz, who made his billions in oil, real estate, railroads and telecommunications before turning to media, is more closely aligned with Christian conservatism, a thread not associated with The Standard.

Staff members say Mr. Anschutz, who has visited the magazine’s Washington offices once since buying it, did not meet with the staff as a whole. He instructed the two top editors — William Kristol, who last year was also a columnist for The New York Times, and Fred Barnes — not to alter the publication’s ideological complexion.

[From New Owner for Weekly Standard as Political Tastes Change - NYTimes.com]

and second, for purchasing a crowd-sourced news web site, NowPublic

Examiner.com, a media company controlled by the conservative billionaire Philip F. Anschutz, said on Tuesday that it had acquired NowPublic, an innovative Web site for citizen-generated media.

With the sale, Examiner.com, a unit of Mr. Anschutz’s Clarity Digital Group, became the latest company to show interest in a lively corner of the Web: the tools that let people read and share the news around them, sometimes down to neighborhood blocks.

[From Examiner.com Buys NowPublic, a Citizen-Media Web Site - NYTimes.com]

Random Anarchists

[for instance, this photo of mine was used by a NowPublic user]

The Weekly Standard does not interest me, except in abstract terms,  ((liberals would do well to at least have a vague idea of what the latest conservative talking points are)) but NowPublic’s users have used dozens1 of my photos in various articles over the four years of their existence. Not a huge number, but at least ten that I noted. I don’t want my photography to be anywhere close to any corporation owned by Philip Anschutz.

Who is Phil Anschutz you might ask? Well, for starters, from his Wikipedia entry:

Anschutz, a Republican donor and supporter of George W. Bush’s administration, has been an active patron of a number of religious and conservative causes:
Helped fund Colorado’s 1992 Amendment 2, a ballot initiative designed to overturn local and state laws that prohibit discrimination against individuals on the basis of sexual orientation.[13]

Helped fund the Discovery Institute, a think tank based in Seattle, Washington that promotes intelligent design and criticizes evolution. [14]

Supported the Parents Television Council, a group that protests against what they believe to be television indecency.[14]

Financed and distributed Christian films, such as Amazing Grace and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, for mass audiences through his two film production companies and ownership of much of the Regal, Edwards and United Artists theater chains. In addition, as a producer Anschutz reportedly required the removal of certain material related to drug use and sex in the 2004 film Ray because he found it objectionable.[14]

Financed The Foundation for a Better Life.

[From Philip Anschutz - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia]

There’s more, but that was enough for me to send an email to NowPublic co-founder Michael Tippett, asking

In light of super conservative Republican Philip Anschutz purchasing your company, how do I go about removing my photos from the various stories they’ve been used on?

Cheers, and hope you haven’t been fired, or forced to take a loyalty oath to the anti-evolutionary forces

If I get a response, I’ll add it to this post.

Footnotes:
  1. or more, I stopped keeping track []

Written by swanksalot

September 1st, 2009 at 8:38 pm

Glenn Beck and His Friends at Fox

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Couldn’t happen to more despicable folks

Why Im Glad We Moved Away from East Texas

Despite media reports to the contrary, Fox News executives explicitly refused to distance themselves from Beck’s claim that President Obama is a “racist,” let alone reprimand the host for the shockingly hateful comments. Fox News’ initial knee-jerk response of failing to question any of the gutter rhetoric Beck dishes out, and the cable news giant’s decision to treat the transgression as a nonstory unworthy of a serious response, of course, is what led to the boycott drive.

The fact that nobody anywhere inside Fox News had enough sense to hold Beck accountable or to even suggest that calling the president of the United States (aka “this guy”) a “racist” on national television was well outside the bounds of professional broadcasting — the fact that Fox News could not even for a moment publicly contemplate that Beck had stepped over a glaringly obvious line of common decency — is why those same executives have been forced to watch as an avalanche of A-list advertisers go public with their plans to make sure they are no longer associated with Beck.

Looking back, it’s hard to imagine how executives at Fox News could have handled Beck’s “racist” smear any worse. And it’s hard to imagine how Fox News could have inadvertently cultivated the ground any better for a sweepingly successful advertising boycott than the cavalier way they dealt with Beck’s presidential race-baiting.

And if you don’t think the snowballing ad boycott has left Fox News suits stunned and knocked back on their heels, then I don’t think you understand the kind of arrogance that runs through the water supply over at its Manhattan headquarters on Sixth Avenue. Execs there this year no doubt have been congratulating themselves on their ratings success and patting each other on the back for having the brilliant insight to unleash a hatemonger like Glenn Beck on the airwaves.

But suddenly, uh-oh, there’s a price to be paid for peddling hate? And worse, it’s a free-market penalty where blue-chip advertisers — those bastions of corporate America that Fox News idolizes — are deciding for themselves that they cannot afford to be associated with Fox News’ wonder boy? Corporate America is turning its back on the new face of Fox News?

[Click to continue reading Why Glenn Beck, and Fox News, can't escape the "racist" trap | Media Matters for America]

Glenn Beck’s vile show may get good ratings, but if blue chip advertisers stay away from sponsoring it, what good does the high ratings do for the network? Money is king, after all. Can the Fox News division survive on a diet of penis enhancement pills and other bottom of the proverbial barrel fare? I doubt it, there are summer homes in Aspen to pay for, and times are tough for corporate executives all over.

Looking for a complete list of advertisers who’ve bailed, here’s a partial list:

The A-list collection of disgruntled Beck advertisers is staggering: Applebee’s, AT&T, Bank of America, Best Buy, Campbell Soup, Clorox, ConAgra, CVS, Ditech, Farmers Insurance Group, GEICO, General Mills, Johnson & Johnson, Lowe’s, Nutrisystem, Procter & Gamble, Progressive Insurance, RadioShack, Sprint, State Farm Insurance, The UPS Store, Travelers Insurance, Verizon Wireless, Vonage, and Wal-Mart, among others.

Written by Seth Anderson

September 1st, 2009 at 10:24 am

The Finacial Press vs. Matt Taibbi

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Really a trinity, the financial press, their client, Goldman Sachs, and their new enemy Matt Taibi

Mainstream financial journalism is doing its level, eye-rolling, heavy-sighing best to stuff Matt Taibbi back into the alt-press hole he came from, but he’s not going along with it, and the mainstreamers in any case are making a big mistake.

The Rolling Stone writer cemented his status as the enfant terrible of the business press with “The Great American Bubble Machine,” a 10,000-word excoriation of Goldman Sachs, a muckraker’s-eye view of Goldman history, exploring the bank’s and Wall Street’s contributions to various financial disasters, starting with the Great Depression, skipping to the Tech Wreck, the Mortgage Wreck, the oil bubble of 2008, the bailout, and the looming cap-and-trade plan. Salted with “fuck”s, “shit”s and written with brio and hyperbole in the New Journalism tradition, it caught the financial community, which very much includes the financial media, utterly off-guard, unused as it is to hearing its flagship described as a “giant vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity.”

[Click to continue reading Don't Dismiss Taibbi : CJR]

Well worth reading to see what exactly all the over-paid pundits say in their defense of Goldman.

Written by Seth Anderson

August 9th, 2009 at 1:30 pm

A.P. Cracks Down on Unpaid Use of Articles on Web

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Will be curious as to how this shakes out.

Taking a new hard line that news articles should not turn up on search engines and Web sites without permission, The Associated Press said Thursday that it would add software to each article that shows what limits apply to the rights to use it, and that notifies The A.P. about how the article is used.

Tom Curley, The A.P.’s president and chief executive, said the company’s position was that even minimal use of a news article online required a licensing agreement with the news organization that produced it. In an interview, he specifically cited references that include a headline and a link to an article, a standard practice of search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo, news aggregators and blogs.

[Click to continue reading A.P. Cracks Down on Unpaid Use of Articles on Web - NYTimes.com]

Alternative Google

Websites like Google are going to be in for a bit of a dustup

Search engines and news aggregators contend that their brief article citations fall under the legal principle of fair use. Executives at some news organizations have said they are reluctant to test the Internet boundaries of fair use, for fear that the courts would rule against them.

News organizations already have the ability to prevent their work from turning up in search engines — but doing so would shrink their Web audience, and with it, their advertising revenues. What The A.P. seeks is not that articles should appear less often in search results, but that such use would become a new source of revenue.

Right, there is a simple addition that webmasters can add to their site that tells Google’s automated indexing software to “go away”:

The robot exclusion standard, also known as the Robots Exclusion Protocol or robots.txt protocol, is a convention to prevent cooperating web spiders and other web robots from accessing all or part of a website which is otherwise publicly viewable. Robots are often used by search engines to categorize and archive web sites, or by webmasters to proofread source code. The standard is unrelated to, but can be used in conjunction with, sitemaps, a robot inclusion standard for websites.

[Click to continue reading Robots exclusion standard - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia]

Not a Good Sign

If A.P. did that, they would lose search engine generated traffic, but that isn’t really what A.P. wants. A.P. wants traffic, and to be paid for the traffic. I doubt it will happen as seamlessly they want, but we’ll soon see. Newspaper executives also don’t like blogs much:

Executives at newspapers and other traditional news organizations have long complained about how some sites make money from their work, putting ads on pages with excerpts from articles and links to the sources of the articles.

but I don’t know if that particular genie could ever be crammed back into its bottle; the bottom of the bottle is missing, and digital content flows wherever it can, instantly.

and this is puzzling:

Each article — and, in the future, each picture and video — would go out with what The A.P. called a digital “wrapper,” data invisible to the ordinary consumer that is intended, among other things, to maximize its ranking in Internet searches. The software would also send signals back to The A.P., letting it track use of the article across the Web.

If someone cuts and pastes an A.P. article from some other site, how is this magic technological bullet going to still be attached? Either there is more to the process than the A.P. admits, or else they are really deluded1.2

Footnotes:
  1. not that it matters, but John Gruber, always an astute observer of these sorts of matters, agrees with me []
  2. corrected the URL, oopsie []

Written by Seth Anderson

July 24th, 2009 at 8:39 am

This is not going to end well for CBS

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Dan Rather’s lawsuit against his former employers, CBS News, for firing him because of discussion over George W. Bush’s lack of National Guard service is continuing.

One Eye to Rule Them

The New York Times reports:

Dan Rather won significant victories Tuesday in his suit against his former network, CBS. He won access to more than 3,000 documents that his lawyer said were expected to reveal evidence that CBS had tried to influence the outcome of a panel that investigated his much-debated “60 Minutes” report about former President George W. Bush’s military record.

Mr. Rather also won an appeal to restore a fraud charge against CBS that had been dismissed. Martin Gold, the lawyer representing the former anchor of the “CBS Evening News,” called it “a very successful day for us; we got everything.”

Mr. Rather called it a “good day” for his side and — referring to the name for the CBS headquarters — “a bad day for Black Rock.”

[Click to continue reading Rather Wins a Round in Lawsuit Against CBS - NYTimes.com]

Eric Boehlert of Media Matters adds:

You’ll recall that late last year we learned, via Rather’s lawsuit, that internal memos indicated that CBS when first facing the right-wing firestorm over its 60 Minutes report about Bush’s National Guard years, considered appointing Matt Drudge to sit on an “independent” fact-finding board to investigate the scandal. (A board which Bush refused to answers questions about his Guard service from.)

In fact, we learned that CBS was in full panic mode and was willing to take whatever step necessary to placate the right-wing fanatics frothing about Memogate. The picture painted by the CBS memos and documents already reviewed by Rather suggest a craven news organization that was less interested in uncovering the truth about the disputed memos, and more interested in appeasing Rush Limbaugh. It wanted to “mollify the right,” as one internal CBS memo put it.

As I said, my guess is that with Rather and his lawyers about to dive into a new batch of documents, that portrait will only become more vivid.

And here’s the kicker for the former Tiffany Network: Rather has vowed to never settle the case out of court.

[Click to continue reading This is not going to end well for CBS | Media Matters for America]

Like I’ve said1 before, I wish Dan Rather well in this lawsuit, and not just because he once lived in the same apartment as me2. The shrill right-wingers who seemingly control CBS should be deported, at the least.

Footnotes:
  1. in those URLs above, and probably in others I’m too lazy to find right now []
  2. at different times obviously, an apartment located on Rio Grande near West Martin Luther King Boulevard, near UT-Austin campus, according to my landlord at the time. []

Written by Seth Anderson

July 23rd, 2009 at 5:17 pm

Sinclair Broadcast Group nearing bankruptcy

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Clear Channel is in a bit of financial trouble, and apparently so are their cohorts in “Republican-slanted news is the only news people want” category, Sinclair Broadcasting. Good, I hope they both become nothing more than a footnote to future histories of the George Bush administration.

Lonely Zenith

you’ll remember Sinclair Broadcast Group as the TV group that carried the anti-Kerry smear documentary in prime time, just before the November 2004 election. You may also remember them for the infamous “The Point” editorial segments during their stations’ newscasts — featuring the right wing rantings of corporate management.

Perhaps you even recall their experiment in “central casting” — firing most of the news departments at their local stations, and instead running “local” newscasts from all over the country out of a central studio in Baltimore.

Well, it now appears that Sinclair is on the verge of bankruptcy

Five years ago, Sinclair was also the darling of the right for running that anti-Kerry documentary on all 58 of their stations, and for conservative editorials on all of those stations as well. Those who saw ever greater consolidation as the road to maximizing corporate profits were enamored of Sinclair’s experiment with producing “local” newscasts for their stations from a central studio at corporate headquarters in Baltimore.

Unfortunately for Sinclair, viewers were unimpressed by “local” newscasts that were produced hundreds or even thousands of miles from home — and tuned out in droves. And the right wing editorials created negative publicity for Sinclair’s stations. Ultimately. the central studio for producing newscasts was shut down, and the right wing editorials were cancelled. And the group has, by and large, floundered in mediocrity ever since. So far as I’m aware, none of Sinclair’s 58 stations is a market leader, and few are even in the top three — when you run a group on the cheap and attempt to push a national agenda onto your local stations, the result is predictable: poor ratings and a weak identity in your local markets.

As a result, Sinclair was poorly positioned for dealing with the advertising downturn of the past 18 months.

[Click to continue reading Daily Kos: Sinclair Broadcast Group nearing bankruptcy]

Bwa-ha-ha! Couldn’t happen to nicer corporations1

Footnotes:
  1. and by nicer I mean of course the opposite. Sinclair Broadcasting is just scum, plain and simple. []

Written by Seth Anderson

July 16th, 2009 at 1:07 pm

Minions of Rupert Murdoch illegally hacked 3000 cellphone accounts

with 2 comments

Either Rupert Murdoch is too close a friend of most US media conglomerate CEOs, or else they are scared of incurring Murdoch’s wrath. What other explanation for the lack of coverage of the juicy Guardian UK scoop regarding Murdoch illegality?

But so far the Guardian, which last Wednesday broke the news of how two newspapers belonging to Rupert Murdoch illegally hacked into the mobile phone accounts of “two or three thousand” people, as well as “gaining unlawful access to confidential personal data, including tax records, social security files, bank statements and itemized phone bills [belonging to] Cabinet ministers, MPs, actors and sports stars” has the story pretty much to itself.

On the surface this is surprising. Here, after all, is a story that combines boldface names like Gwyneth Paltrow, Elle MacPherson, Nigella Lawson and George Michael with the official spokesman of the Conservative Party (Andy Coulson, media strategist for Tory leader David Cameron, was editor of the News of the World when the paper allegedly paid private investigators for access to the celebrities’ accounts) and Rupert Murdoch, the world’s most powerful media baron. The BBC put the story at the top of its world news lineup, and followed up the next day with a story about how some of famous targets were contemplating lawsuits. So why has the Guardian’s incredible scoop turned out to be a 2 day wonder?

[Click to continue reading  The Dog That Didn't Bark]

Quite curious, no?

Rupert Murdoch’s News Group News papers has paid out more than £1m to settle legal cases that threatened to reveal evidence of his journalists’ repeated involvement in the use of criminal methods to get stories.

The payments secured secrecy over out-of-court settlements in three cases that threatened to expose evidence of Murdoch journalists using private investigators who illegally hacked into the mobile phone messages of numerous public figures as well as gaining unlawful access to confidential personal data, including tax records, social security files, bank statements and itemised phone bills. Cabinet ministers, MPs, actors and sports stars were all targets of the private investigators.

Today, the Guardian reveals details of the suppressed evidence, which may open the door to hundreds more legal actions by victims of News Group, the Murdoch company that publishes the News of the World and the Sun, as well as provoking police inquiries into reporters who were involved and the senior executives responsible for them.

[Click to continue reading Murdoch papers paid out £1m to gag phone-hacking victims | Media |The Guardian]

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When the high court last summer ordered the News of the World to pay damages to Max Mosley for secretly filming him with prostitutes, the paper was furious. In an angry leader column, it insisted that public figures must maintain standards. “It is not for the powerful and the influential to run to the courts to gag newspapers from publishing stories that are TRUE,” it said. “This is all about the public’s right to know.”

Even as those words were being published, lawyers and senior executives from News International’s subsidiary News Group were preparing to run to court to gag Gordon Taylor, the chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association, who was suing the News of the World for its undisclosed involvement in the illegal interception of messages left on his mobile phone.

By persuading the high court to seal the file and by paying Taylor more than £400,000 damages in exchange for his silence, News Group prevented the public from knowing anything about the hundreds of pages of evidence which had been disclosed in Taylor’s case, revealing potentially criminal behaviour by journalists on its payroll. It also protected some powerful and influential people from the implications of that evidence.

[Click to continue reading  Trail of hacking and deceit under nose of Tory PR chief guardian.co.uk ]

Red Light Night

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Scotland Yard disclosed only a limited amount of its evidence to Taylor. The Guardian understands that the full police file shows that several thousand public figures were targeted by investigators, including, during one month in 2006: John Prescott, then deputy prime minister; Tessa Jowell, then responsible for the media as secretary of state for culture; Boris Johnson, then the Conservative spokesman on higher education; Gwyneth Paltrow, after she had given birth to her son; George Michael, who had been seen looking tired at the wheel of his car; and Jade Goody.

When Goodman, the News of the World’s royal editor, was jailed for hacking into the mobile phones of Palace staff, News International said he had been acting without their knowledge. One of the investigators working for the paper, Glenn Mulcaire, was also charged with hacking the phones of the Lib Dem MP Simon Hughes, celebrity PR Max Clifford, model Elle MacPherson and football agent Sky Andrew as well as Taylor. At the time, the News of the World claimed to know nothing about the hacking of these targets, but Taylor has now proved that to be untrue in his case. Others who are believed to have been possible targets include the Scottish politician Tommy Sheridan, who has previously accused the News of the World of bugging his car; Jeffrey Archer, whose perjury was exposed by the paper; and Sven-Göran Eriksson, whose sex life became a tabloid obsession.

Written by Seth Anderson

July 14th, 2009 at 7:29 pm