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How to Restore Truth in Media Reporting?

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  • The late New York University media scholar Neil Postman once said about America, “We are the best entertained least informed society in the world." From Jessica Simpson’s weight and Brangelina’s escapades, to Britney Spears’ sister and the Obama’s First Puppy, Americans are fed a steady “news” diet of useless information laden with personal anecdotes, scandals, and gossip.
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  • The media democracy movement
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  • ...And in Other News
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  • Stop Blacking Out Progressive Protests
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Mickey Huff and Peter Phillips, Centre for Research on Globalization

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The late New York University media scholar Neil Postman once said about America, “We are the best entertained least informed society in the world." From Jessica Simpson’s weight and Brangelina’s escapades, to Britney Spears’ sister and the Obama’s First Puppy, Americans are fed a steady “news” diet of useless information laden with personal anecdotes, scandals, and gossip.

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Since the middle of the 1980’s, Project Censored at Sonoma State University has annually researched this phenomenon making list of the most important censored news stories and the most insignificant. Topics and in-depth reports that matter little to anyone in any meaningful way are given massive amounts of media coverage in the corporate media. In recent years, this has only become more obvious.

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...And in Other News, Dan Rather, Huffington Post
What bothers me is the hypocrisy. The idea that we can't afford to throw resources at an important foreign story, but can afford to spend this kind of money on a story like the royal wedding is just plain wrong.

Stop Blacking Out Progressive Protests, Fairness in Accuracy & Reporting (FAIR)

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  • Thousands marched against war in New York City on April 9. Two thousand protested the Koch brothers in Washington, D.C. Neither event was covered by major media. A sparsely attended Tea Party rally just a few days earlier, though, was big news. We call on news media to explain the journalistic principle that makes thousands of progressive activists far less newsworthy than dozens of Tea Party protesters.
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  • ...And in Other News
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Stop Blacking Out Progressive Protests

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  • Thousands marched against war in New York City on April 9. Two thousand protested the Koch brothers in Washington, D.C. Neither event was covered by major media. A sparsely attended Tea Party rally just a few days earlier, though, was big news. We call on news media to explain the journalistic principle that makes thousands of progressive activists far less newsworthy than dozens of Tea Party protesters.
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  • ...And in Other News
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Fairness in Accuracy & Reporting (FAIR)

This article is made possible with the generous contributions of readers like you. Thank you!

A sparsely attended Tea Party rally in Washington, D.C., on March 31 in support of federal spending cuts received generous media attention. One report (Slate, 3/31/11) suggested there was "at least one reporter for every three or four activists," and a Republican politician joked that there might be more journalists than activists at the event.

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An antiwar rally in New York City on April 9 was in some respects very similar. Protesters were speaking out on an equally timely issue (wars in Afghanistan and Libya), and connecting them to the budget and near-government shutdown in Washington.

The difference? The ratio of activists to journalists. The antiwar protest had thousands of attendees--and received almost zero corporate media coverage.

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Related:

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...And in Other News, Dan Rather, Huffington Post
What bothers me is the hypocrisy. The idea that we can't afford to throw resources at an important foreign story, but can afford to spend this kind of money on a story like the royal wedding is just plain wrong.

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White House Threatens to Blacklist Paper for Covering Protest

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The White House threatened Thursday (April 28) to exclude the San Francisco Chronicle from pooled coverage of its events in the Bay Area after the paper posted a video of a protest at a San Francisco fundraiser for President Obama last week, Chronicle editor Ward Bushee said.

Peter Hart, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)

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The San Francisco Chronicle is apparently in trouble with the White House for posting video of a protest against the White House's treatment of suspected WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning. The Chronicle's Carolyn Lochhead reports:

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The White House threatened Thursday (April 28) to exclude the San Francisco Chronicle from pooled coverage of its events in the Bay Area after the paper posted a video of a protest at a San Francisco fundraiser for President Obama last week, Chronicle editor Ward Bushee said. White House guidelines governing press coverage of such events are too restrictive, Bushee said, and the newspaper was within its rights to film the protest and post the video.

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Chronicle reporter Carla Marinucci was the designated "pool" reporter at an Obama fundraiser--meaning that her write-up would be shared with other reporters who were not allowed into the event.

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...And in Other News

What bothers me is the hypocrisy. The idea that we can't afford to throw resources at an important foreign story, but can afford to spend this kind of money on a story like the royal wedding is just plain wrong.

Dan Rather, Huffington Post

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

The next time you hear about another round of layoffs at a TV news division, the closing of a bureau, the decision not to cover a foreign story with full force, remember this week (April 24-30) of silliness in April.

Remember the millions of dollars, hundreds of staff and hours of coverage spent on a wedding in London when crises around the globe and here at home festered. Remember the unseemly pas de deux between the press and a reality TV show huckster peddling racially-fraught falsehoods, as both interviewers and the interviewee seek a bump in ratings.

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The Blowjob that Shall Not Be Named

This problem is a well-funded scandal industry that plays all type of press successfully, from Drudge and viral emails to the New York Times.

emptywheel, FireDogLake

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Thomas Sklarski

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Politico has a festival of stupidity on yesterday’s (April 27) release by Obama of his long form birth certificate. The varieties of stupid in the article include:
•    Ignoring the real precedent of the blowjob that shall not be named
•    Blaming birtherism on the InterToobz, and not cable TV
•    Conflating correct doubts about Bush ignoring warnings about al Qaeda with 9/11 Trutherism

The central argument of the piece relies on Robert Gibbs’ claim that “we’ve crossed some Rubicon” into a realm in which “there are no arbiters of truth.” And while Politico reports Obama’s advisors trace this new era to, “the decline of traditional media and the rise of viral emails and partisan Web and cable TV platforms,” Politico labels this new era simply “the Internet era.”

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