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Comcastrophe: Obama's FCC Approves Enormous Corporate Media Merger for Comcast/NBC

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  • Culmination of the deal, combined with the FCC's recent, loophole-ridden "Net Neutrality" rules, sets the table for Comcast to turn the Internet into cable television, where it has the ability to speed up its content, slow down or block its competitors such as Netflix, and hike the rates for its programming and services. We'll all end up paying more -- whether you're a Comcast subscriber or not.
    The new Comcast will control an obscene number of media outlets, from TV and radio to movie studios and a network of millions who subscribe to cable and internet.
    Free Press Denounces FCC Approval of Comcast-NBC Merger
    Let Washington know there are consequences to blessing this bad deal.

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Josh Silver, Free Press/AlterNet

On Tuesday (Jan 18), the Federal Communications Commission blessed the merger of Comcast, the nation's largest cable and residential Internet provider, with NBC-Universal. The Justice Department immediately followed suit, removing the last obstacle to the unprecedented consolidation of media and Internet power in the hands of one company.

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You should be afraid and mad as hell.

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The new Comcast will control an obscene number of media outlets, including the NBC broadcast network, numerous cable channels, two dozen local NBC and Telemundo stations, movie studios, online video portals, and the physical network that distributes that media content to millions of Americans through Internet and cable connections.

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Free Press Denounces FCC Approval of Comcast-NBC Merger, Free Press
According to press reports on Tuesday (Jan 18), the Federal Communications Commission announced its decision, by a vote of 4-1, to approve the merger of Comcast and NBC Universal, one of the largest media mergers in history.

Comcastrophe, Free Press
Let Washington know there are consequences to blessing this bad deal.

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The Media in America: Selling Views, Calling it News

America's journalists are not "newshounds." They are nothing more than salesclerks, hocking the products their employers want to sell. The pretty faces that now function as most television news anchors are no different than the pretty models used to sell other products. The American "free" press is comprised of nothing more than a number of retail outlets which sell stories slanted to please their target audiences. As such, they exist merely to sell snake oil.

John Kozy, Centre for Research on Globalization

Sometime in the 1960s, I took part in a university symposium along with three other faculty members—a political scientist, a historian, and a journalism professor. The topic was Freedom of the Press—Good or Bad.

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During the sixties, the Cold War was being fought mightily. The Soviet Union's news agencies, TASS and Pravda, were continually attacked by the American "free press" as untrustworthy. A common claim was that a controlled press could never be trusted while a free press could, and my three colleagues on the panel supported that view. I did too, but only partially.

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A controlled press, I argued, most certainly could not be trusted when reporting on governmental actions or policies, but I pointed out that much news is not affected by government, and I saw no reason to be suspicious of a controlled press' reporting on such matters. But I also argued that there was good reason to distrust the so called free press no matter what was being reported.

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For the New Yorker, Women Are Invisible

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  • December and January issues of the New Yorker had almost no content by women. Why do publications so often fail to include female voices?
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  • Ms Magazine Pushes Protest
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Tana Ganeva, AlterNet

Last week (Jan 2-8), Anne Hays put her latest copy of the New Yorker back in the mail, with a note explaining that the august publication owed her a refund for putting out the second issue in a row featuring almost no pieces by women. In a December issue of the New Yorker content by women made up only three pages of the magazine's 150; one January issue contained only two items by women, a poem and a brief "Shouts and Murmers" item.

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"I am baffled, outraged, saddened, and a bit depressed that, though some would claim our country’s sexism problem ended in the late ’60s, the most prominent and respected literary magazine in the country can’t find space in its pages for women’s voices in the year 2011," wrote Hays in the letter, promising to send back every issue containing fewer than five female bylines. "You tend to publish 13 to 15 writers in each issue; five women shouldn’t be that hard," she concluded.

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An Open Letter to New Yorker, Anne Hays, Ms. Magazine
Dear Editors of New Yorker, I am writing to express my alarm that this is now the second issue in a row in which women have only two bylines in the Table of Contents of your print issue. The January 3rd, 2011 issue features only a (tiny) Shouts & Murmurs (Patricia Marx) and a poem (Kimberly Johnson). Every other major piece—the fiction, the profile, and all the main nonfiction pieces—is written by a man. Every single critic is a male writer.

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Mainstream Media Have Ignored the Perspective of Mental Health Consumers and Psychiatric Survivors About Arizona Tragedy

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  • This past week (Jan 9-15) mainstream media have aired a flood of perspectives about the mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona on 8 January 2011.
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  • Today (Jan 17), on Martin Luther King Day, MindFreedom director David Oaks points out that major media have silenced the voices of groups representing mental health consumers and psychiatric survivors, with only a few exceptions.
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  • What Creative Responses Can Prevent Future Tragedies like the Tucson, Arizona, Shooting?
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David W. Oaks, MindFreedom International

If you like reading this article, consider contributing a cuppa jove to Evergreene Digest--using the donation button in the above right-hand corner—so we can bring you more just like it.

Congresswoman Gabrielle "Gabby" Giffords has often expressed concern about mental health issues.

Rep. Gabrielle "Gabby" Giffords has been well known for expressing concern about those using mental health care services. After she and so many others were so brutally shot in Arizona, the mainstream media do not appear to be showing that same concern.

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The point of view of organizations made up of, by and for mental health consumers and psychiatric survivors has largely been absent in the major media avalanche following the shootings in Tucson.

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What Creative Responses Can Prevent Future Tragedies like the Tucson, Arizona Shooting? David W. Oaks, MindFreedom International

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  • MindFreedom director David Oaks was once a college student diagnosed with severe mental and emotional problems. His blog entry with personal reflections about preventing future disasters like Tucson is here.
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  • Unfortunately, those who push more forced psychiatric drugging are using this opportunity to advertise their agenda.
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Blocking Netflix

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  • A terrible new service plan from MetroPCS — the fifth-largest U.S. mobile phone carrier — is the latest phone industry attack on Net Neutrality. The company is limiting users' ability to access certain websites and services, unless they pay extra for the privilege.
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  • Special Report | Fake Net Neutrality
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Josh Levy, FreePress.net

When we access the Internet on our phones — as more of us do every day — we expect to be able to go wherever we want, whenever we want.

But a terrible new service plan from MetroPCS — the fifth-largest U.S. mobile phone carrier — is the latest phone industry attack on Net Neutrality. The company is limiting users' ability to access certain websites and services, unless they pay extra for the privilege.

Free Press just alerted the FCC to this blatant violation of Net Neutrality.1 Please click here to tell the FCC to launch an investigation.

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Here's what MetroPCS’s new pricing scheme looks like:

Customers purchasing the most expensive plan will have to pay extra to access Netflix, Skype or any website using “advanced HTML” on their phones.

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Those with the cheapest data option won't be able to access any of these online services, except for YouTube -- despite its similar data usage.

It gets worse. MetroPCS’s plans disproportionately affect people of color and urban communities, whom the company recognizes as a major portion of its customer base, and who largely depend on mobile phones to access the Internet.2

There is a way that we can stop MetroPCS's discriminatory practices. Last month, the FCC adopted weak rules that leave mobile Internet users virtually unprotected from these types of abuses, with two big exceptions: They prohibit the blocking of websites and competing video and voice communication applications on mobile phones. Yet that’s exactly what MetroPCS is doing.

The FCC must now take action to protect the public and enforce these new rules. If the agency does nothing, we could see a domino effect in which larger carriers like AT&T and Verizon introduce their own forms of mobile blocking and discrimination. We can’t let that happen.

The FCC must take MetroPCS to task before other carriers follow suit. Tell the FCC: Enforce your new rules. Investigate MetroPCS’s outrageous, anti-Net Neutrality practices.

Mobile Internet users should have the freedom to access any sites or services they want. The FCC must respond to our concerns3, protect our online rights and investigate MetroPCS now.

Have friends with MetroPCS service? Forward this e-mail to them and make sure they sign our letter as well.

1. "Groups Ask FCC to Investigate MetroPCS for Violating Net Neutrality Rules," National Journal, 1/11/11
2. "For minorities, New 'Digital Divide' Seen," USA Today, 1/11/11
2. "Letter Urging the FCC to Investigate MetroPCS," Free Press, 1/11/11

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Special Report | Fake Net Neutrality, David Culver, ed., Evergreene Digest

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  • "The darkest day of the year may end up marking the beginning of a long winter's night for Internet freedom."
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  • Net Neutrality at risk!!!
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  • FCC Commissioner: Net Neutrality A 'Threat To Internet Freedom'
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