Activism

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Video: Media, Politics & Social Change: An Overview of The Echo Chamber Project

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Flash Version

This video provides explains how the media fits into political and social change and specifically addresses the following questions:

* How is the Press supposed to Work?
* How and why does the Press act like an Echo Chamber?
* How is media changing?
* What does it mean that the "news is becoming a conversation"?
* Will these new media changes affect the nature of politics?
* How does The Echo Chamber Project fit into all of this?

Featuring: Amy Goodman, Lawrence Grossman, Jim Lobe, Jonathan Landay, Richard Sambrook, Jay Rosen, Dan Gillmor, Jeff Jarvis, Doc Searls & Merrill Brown.

You can subscribe to the Interview Audio here or browse it here.

Additional interview transcripts are here.

Sign up as a user here.

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Interview Audio: Markos Moulitsas, DailyKos.com

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Listen to the Interview with Markos Moulitsas of DailyKos.com (Length: 12:15)

More interviews from the Personal Democracy Conference.

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Transcript Coming Soon...
May 16th, 2005

kentbye's picture

Interview Audio: Mindy Finn, Republican National Committee Deputy eCampaign Director

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Listen to the Interview with Mindy Finn (Length: 7:23)

More interviews from the Personal Democracy Conference.

Subscribe to Interview Audio

Transcript Coming Soon...
May 16th, 2005

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Interview Audio: Halley Suitt, Halley's Comment Blog

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Listen to the Interview with Halley Suitt of Halley's Comment Blog (Length: 18:18)

More interviews from the Personal Democracy Conference.

Subscribe to Interview Audio

Transcript Coming Soon...
May 16th, 2005

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Why US Media Ignores International Law Insights from Downing Street Memos

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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

What does this legal document transcribed by the The London Times and published in full by the Associated Press reveal about the United States and International Law?

kentbye's picture

A Flood of Downing Street E-mail Alerts

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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.

A more detailed overview is here and here are all of my blog postings tagged International Law.

Plenty more about the latest Downing Street developments can be found in the flood e-mails listed below...

kentbye's picture

Killer CivicSpace Apps on the Horizon

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I attended a CivicSpace User Summit in NYC after the Personal Democracy Forum, and there were a couple of really exciting expansions to the Drupal/CivicSpace platform coming down the pipe.

The first was OpenNetwork.TV that CivicActions was contracted to do. OpenNetwork.TV is still password protected, but we got a sneak peak at the user summit. WOW! It's going to take what's possible with Drupal/CivicSpace to the next level.

UPDATE: CivicSpace Labs is not responsible for the development of the Drupal modules for OpenNetwork.tv. CivicActions' Aaron Pava merely gave us a demo of OpenNetwork.tv at the CivicSpace User Summit.
kentbye's picture

Progressive Media Reform Conference

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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.

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Activist Technology M16 Meeting after SxSW

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I was invited to a gathering of Activists & Technologists on March 16th at the Ventana del Soul Internet Cafe in Austin after the last day of the SXSW Interactive Conference.


[inline:DSCN4195.jpg=Post-SXSW Activist Technolgy Gathering]

There seemed to some potential overlap with what I intend to do with The Echo Chamber Project and with what others are planning on doing with the same CivicSpace/Drupal platform.

I'm in the process of going over my lessons learned and planning my next steps for this project. I'm starting to solidify where I want to be in a year from now and what I need in order to get there. Hopefully I'll be able to form some symbiotic relationships with some of the participants of this Activist Technology group.

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment

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This article is about the link between Mind and Social / Environmental-Issues. The fast-paced, consumerist lifestyle of Industrial Society is causing exponential rise in psychological problems besides destroying the environment. All issues are interlinked. Our Minds cannot be peaceful when attention-spans are down to nanoseconds, microseconds and milliseconds. Our Minds cannot be peaceful if we destroy Nature.

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment

Subject : In a fast society slow emotions become extinct.
Subject : A thinking mind cannot feel.
Subject : Scientific/ Industrial/ Financial thinking destroys the planet.

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