Submitted by kentbye on Tue, 2006-02-28 11:06. Journalism | MediaCriticism | newmedia | Politics | trends
For the past couple of days, the Drudge Report has been running excerpts from Bill Sammon's latest book "Strategery" [sic]. Today's Drudge top headline was "Bush Cheers Decline of Mainstream Media, Rise of Alternative Press" -- which provides further validation to the trend that I elaborated in this video: Government Bypassing the Press.
Sammon interviewed Bush and a number of senior advisors about the pre-election "Memogate," where Bush claims that CBS explicitly "conspired" to harm his campaign. Drudge writes that "Memogate has helped accelerate the decline of the mainstream media, generally defined as CBS, NBC, ABC, The New York Times and other establishment news outlets."
Submitted by kentbye on Thu, 2006-02-16 07:14. civicjournalism | Dialogue | elgin | Interview | InterviewAudio | Journalism | MediaCriticism | Theory
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Submitted by kentbye on Mon, 2005-06-20 12:11. Activism | DSMemos | InternationalLaw | MediaCriticism | New Media | Political
Jay Rosen's latest essay deals with why the Downing Street memos weren't originally covered by the US media, and quotes Josh Marshall as saying, "New stories have a 24 hour audition on the news stage, and if they don’t catch fire in that 24 hours, there’s no second chance."
But now with the Internet, the attention span of news editors have been extended by Internet Activism and political blogs. Rosen says that "when the second look was taken, some key editors judged themselves at fault" and concludes that this is "called winning on appeal."
There are many other stories that have broken over in Britain both before the war and after the war that have failed to break through the US media bubble, and deserve a second look and "appeal" to US editors and investigative journalists.
The US bureau chief of the Guardian of London Julian Borger describes the myopia of the US media in an interview with the Echo Chamber Project:
If a story breaks abroad, especially in Britain, and the American press haven't got there, the instinctive reaction is, "Well, Ah. Those Brits -- Who knows if it's true?" And there's almost more of a tendency to ignore the story rather than even to check it out. And I found that again and again. If a story breaks in Britain, there's almost the automatic reaction is "Ah. It's the British press. It's tabloid. It's sensational" -- which is justified in many, many instances. The tabloid press and some of the broadsheet press in Britain can be fairly wild, and a lot of unsubstantiated stories get out. But on top of that instinctive reaction of "Well, it must be sensational because it was in the British press" is a reluctance to check it out properly. Or an over-readiness to accept assurances from the institutions -- the White House, whatever -- that although -- "There's nothing to the story. It's just a British story. Ignore it." There's a lack of -- almost a lack of hunger when it comes to stories that question the Administration's position. Until, that is, the Administration was so weakened by the failure of any WMD to appear. There was almost a turning of tides sometime last year, in 2003, when you suddenly saw a greater readiness to go over these stories. It was like the herd changing direction. It was very visible.
The tide seems to be shifting again with the Downing Street Memos because they provide documentary evidence for theories about the justifications and true motivations for the war that have long been suspected but never confirmed by primary sources or documents.
Almost all of the focus in the US media up to this point has been on the question of WMD and the intelligence around it, but this is only half of the story of how the Bush Administration sold this war. The other half has to do with how they used the UN as a legal pretext for going war, and the documentary evidence has started to pour out of the UK press like a sieve.
Yesterday The London Times published yet another "Downing Street" memo -- legal advice that goes through all of the options that the United Nations could be used as a pretext for going to war in Iraq -- the Associated Press actually published the same document in PDF on Saturday.
What is clear is that the United Kingdom cares about the normative standards of International Law while the United States could care less about what the rest of the world thinks.
There are new revelations regarding the United States' controversial positions on International Law in this latest memo, but since there has never been a news peg for Iraq and International Law in the United States up to this point, then this latest memo will be inevitably be completely ignored by the US media.
But there are some revealing insights that confirm that the UK had many of the same doubts that academics have had about the legality of the war
Submitted by kentbye on Wed, 2005-06-15 17:16. Activism | DSMemos | InternationalLaw | MediaCriticism | New Media | Political | PR | Transparency
I've been flooded this week with e-mail notices about the upcoming Downing Street Memo Congressional hearings being held tomorrow initiated by Representative John Conyers (D-MI).
I think it's interesting to watch how these progressive grassroots organizations have helped keep this issue alive through the Internet. I'll pass along all of these e-mails for you to read through down below.
I used to consume about 90 minutes of political news a day, but I've parsed that down to about 10 minutes of scanning headlines per day with the rest of my 30 minutes of spent surfing blogs covering the New Media movement.
I pick up the slack by scanning the titles of e-mails that I'm sent by a number e-mail lists (mostly progressive but a few conservative).
If more opposition Congressmen and Senators pick up on this, then this story could have legs -- especially if more documentary evidence or testimony turns up tomorrow. Otherwise this story will have a hard time breaking out of progressive anti-war circles and into the mainstream consciousness.
I personally think the Downing Street documents contain some pretty compelling circumstantial evidence that the Bush Administration never took the United Nations weapons inspection process seriously. It reinforces the hypothesis that the US only went through the UN because Tony Blair's demanded it as one of two conditions for being a part of the Coalition of the Willing -- (the other being a concrete plan for Israel & Palestine).
The UK takes International Law seriously, and the US political establishment and therefore media don't think it's all that important. But these latest memos have helped introduce these International Law issues into the US media bubble where they have been almost universally ignored leading up to the war and up to the present moment.
After the Congressional resolution passed in early October 2002, war was seen as inevitable by the US media and the inconsistencies in the Bush administration's arguments presented at the UN and the ones presented at home were largely overlooked by a myopic US media.
Plenty more about the latest Downing Street developments can be found in the flood e-mails listed below...
Submitted by kentbye on Thu, 2005-05-12 12:06. Activism | Conference | Diversity | Economics | FCC | MediaCriticism | Worldview
The Institute for Public Accuracy just put out a press release about the Media Reform Conference taking place in St. Louis this weekend. I'm unfortunately not going to be able to make it, but it would've been a good event to meet up with the progressive media activists.
I'm forgoing the progressive wing at the moment to focus on the more Democratic & Republican technologists who are going to be at the Personal Democracy Forum this coming Monday.
Submitted by kentbye on Tue, 2005-01-11 21:10. Dialogue | Journalism | MediaCriticism | Objectivity | Political Bias | Theory | Wilber | Worldview
There have been acknowledged failures of the mainstream media leading up to the war in Iraq.
My Echo Chamber Hypothesis proposes that the "He Said/She Said" objectivity constraints of journalistic production broke down after there was a consensus within the political leadership in Congress to authorize military intervention in Iraq.
After October 2002, the media served as an uncritical Echo Chamber to the Executive Branch's countdown towards war.
* How can this dichotomous objectivity constraint be overcome without resorting to a partisan press?
* Is there a new paradigm of journalistic production that can more comprehensively cover the complex issues of the day?