Tag Archives: media matters

Lou Dobbs leaves CNN

Media Matters for America has the transcript of his announcement here.  For reference, Dropdobbs.com also has a “history of hate” list here.

Congratulations to all who participated and supported the bastadobbs.com and the dropdobbs.com campaigns and put pressure on CNN to fire this guy for viciously attacking immigrants and Latinos in particular (and as of late for joining in the vile racist attacks against President Obama coming from the extreme right-wing) on a day-by-day basis, going as far as making up stuff out of thin air and having guests and using them as ‘authorities’ on the subject of immigration and that were well-known to have ties to racist white supremacists (and without even disclosing them as a true journalist would).

He can now go off freely to where his conservative racist and ultra-corporatist views belong: Fox News.

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Filed under Economic Refugees, Immigration, Media Literacy, Political

Obama’s birth conspiracy theory was concocted by an anti-Semite & circulated by racist extremists

Southern Poverty Law Center has an action alert on this; see below:
 

July 24, 2009
 
Dear Friend,
 
Lou Dobbs is at it again.
 
We’ve told you about how the CNN host has used his platform to spread
hateful propaganda that demonizes Latinos.
 
Now, Dobbs is supporting the bizarre claims of so-called “birthers” who insist that President Obama isn’t really a citizen of the United States and that his presidency, therefore, is not legitimate.
 
The truth about Obama’s birth in Hawaii is not in dispute. It has been verified by many reputable journalists, including CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, who called the claims “a joke,” and even a reporter on Dobbs’ own show. Yet Dobbs continues to fan the flames.
 
It’s important to note that this conspiracy theory was concocted by an anti-Semite and circulated by racist extremists who cannot accept the fact that a black man has been elected president. Among those who helped disseminate the lie was the neo-Nazi who killed a security guard at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in June.
 
Respectable news organizations should not be peddling propaganda that supports the agenda of radical extremists who are only interested in stirring up hate and fomenting violence. But Dobbs continues to do just that. And it’s irresponsible for CNN to let him continue trading in falsehoods.
 
Enough is enough. Today, I’ve written to the president of CNN urging that Dobbs be removed from the air
[to read the statement, visit]:

http://www.splcenter.org/news/item.jsp?aid=390&splcnewsletter=newsgen-072409
 
I encourage you to contact CNN yourself. If enough of us speak up, the network will listen.
 
[To contact CNN, visit]:
http://www.cnn.com/feedback/forms/form6a.html?2
 
Thank you for standing strong against hate.
Sincerely,
J. Richard Cohen
President, Southern Poverty Law Center
Southern Poverty Law Center
400 Washington Ave.
Montgomery, AL 36104

Update 08/08/09: Looks like this same racist crowd is mobilizing people on the far far right to oppose and even shut down a simple townhall conversation on Healthcare and on caring for the sick.  It’s gone so far that the subtext of the extremist far-right is becoming clear: the promotion of violence and murder. Truly scary … watch:

Update 08/09/09: The American Jewish Congress issued a statement, “The Limbaugh comments comparing Obama (and Pelosi) to Hitler and the Nazis are grossly offensive and intolerable. They reflect a nasty and hyperbolic tendency on our political culture, one which makes reasoned discourse impossible, confuses disagreement with evil, and which makes it impossible to distinguish evil from ordinary politics. … It behooves all participants in the political process to unequivocally disavow the comparison and to make it plain that peddlers of such noxious comparison have no place in our politics, no matter how large their audiences. And all Americans should make plain their disgust at the comparisons by talk show hosts by a prompt use of the off button.” Read the story by clicking here.  

Media Matters for America also has a revealing piece on all this, focusing on another right-wing propagandist of hate, Glenn Beck:

…a perfect example of the game conservatives in the media are playing: pouring gasoline on the fire, and then, once they are criticized, saying that they were only kidding. But what does Beck expect his viewers to take away from his broadcasts? After a week of increasingly violent protests at town halls around the country, including one such event at which protesters reportedly mentioned Beck by name when explaining what inspired them, he cannot seriously contend that his rhetoric isn’t having an impact, isn’t stirring up the rage and confusion that is defining opposition to Democratic reforms.  Read the rest here.

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Filed under Health, Political, Progressive Media Personalities

Oh poor little innocent Miss California…

So no doubt you’ve heard about Miss California and how she answered a question about Gay Marriage in a beauty pageant.  The question was asked by media-drama queen Perez Hilton:

It’s been interesting to watch how the various media outlets have cut and spliced the event

There are multiple reasons why I think these made such big news; but I think there are two that stand out the most:

1) The event was pretty unusual-anything outside of the norm steals the show.  Remember when the media picked up on Miss Teen South Carolina’s response?:

We stereotype beauty pageant constentants as not being, ehr shall we say, Albert Einsteins.  Because Miss Teen South Carolina’s response was so way out there even for beauty pageant standards, it made huge news because the news media thrives on the unusual. 

2) Usually during the beauty pageants, questions of such complexity or controversy are not asked-the more usual questions are those that have to do with neutral topics like “what is your opinion of world hunger” or the like.  Miss California’s response stood out also because it was not a “neutral” response but rather one loaded with conflict, which the media just loves.    

3)The massive right-wing media is having a field day with this.  She’s now being paraded around as an example of how the “gay mafia” is trying to take over the world because it took poor little innocent Miss California’s crown away.  Yes, I can almost see the commercials on the right-wing propaganda network Fox News starting with Miss California crying over what “was done to her” and then ridiculously asking “what’s next? putting you in jail for opposing gay marriage?”  Amazing how they can manipulate the public’s perception huh?

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The “Raising Awareness” Passive Cliché

 

One of the few "how-to-manuals" in existence that goes beyond the "raise awareness" academic approach.

One of the few "how-to-manuals" in existence that goes beyond the "raise awareness" academic approach.

 How can we protect ourselves from the illusion that we are being informed about the important events of the day when we faithfully expose ourselves to news messages in the media?  The key is to develop higher media literacy with more elaborated knowledge structures and stronger higher oder skills. 

W. James Potter

“Media Literacy”, 4th Edition (page 187).

Such are the words of a textbook that seeks to inform you of the state of the media in the United States.  While I find Mr. Potter’s book incredibly informative and essential in the process of educating yourself about how the media influences our worldviews, I cannot help but feel that the approach the book takes is a bit on the conformist side.  But perhaps I’m being a bit too harsh on the author; after all, my frustrations have more to do with a larger trend I see in academic pursuits of the subject rather than with this particular author’s approach with how the book was drafted.

What I mean by all this is that oftentimes you’ll hear about how “raising awareness” about a particular issue is of most pressing concern.  I agree that it is extremely important to “raise awareness” on the influence of media and on any other issue for that matter.  Yet, the following question remains: once we raise “awareness” what do we then with it?  I can’t help but feel that raising awareness within myself for my own personal intellectual pursuit and/or benefit is a bit of a rather selfish and narrow-minded view.  It almost seems that within the parameters of the topic of “raising media literacy”, there is almost no room for dicussing in a serious, meaningful, and in-depth manner that ways that we (together-not just on my own and for myself), average citizens, can band together to bring about change for the better in the way the media functions and serves our society.  This textbook, Media Literacy, to its credit, dedicates a chapter to the topic of “helping others to increase media literacy” but it does so without even talking about collective grassroot action options.  In fact, it barely sort of alludes to it on a one-pager with vague descriptions of how “Often, people start PAC’s” (page 355) and then it just sort of puts off any elaboration on it and just dismissively points to an “Appendix C”-and when you go to that you realize that that is is just a list of various organizations that have something to do with media but never really explains in detail what they do, how they function, or how they could be influenced by the average citizen. 

Again, I am not faulting the author for coming up short and my apologies to him if I seem a little too demanding.  Rather, I think that his approach is merely a reflection of how sometimes academia approaches various subjects: devoid of any sort of collective and/or activist call to action via a concrete how-to manual.  I understand that there is a need to give the appearance of neutrality within academic circles but yet I find it very ironic (and even sometimes elitist) that such an approach only helps to reinforce the status quo because collective conformity, silence, or inaction often just breeds the preservation of that very same status quo.  

I guess I’m just tired of reading about how the world sucks and hardly ever encountering material that goes beyond that initial proclamation.  I wish there were more academic materials that instructed me how to change such a world that sucks; the lack thereof is what really frustrates me.  For example, in this Media Literacy textbook, there is no mention of how one forms a “PAC” (political action committee),  no mention of how one can form a nonprofit watchdog group or of the alreay pre-existing ones that might have had some successes, or case studies/reports of how average people were able to change the status quo. 

I am aware of a few places where one can “join the fight” and actually contribute towards the change for the better, which I’ve only found out about randomnly here and there.  Here are a few places to start with:

Free Press Campaigns:

http://www.freepress.net/media_issues/campaigns

Media Matters for America Action Center:

http://mediamatters.org/action_center/ 

Maybe one day we’ll have a “Rules for Media Literacy Activists” manual like the one that Saul Alinsky wrote for community organizing almost 40 years ago.  Until then, I can only hope that at least some people will continue to step up and make the jump from the raising awareness stage to the grassroots activist stage in the ongoing battle against the negative forces of media on our society. 

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