Posts Tagged ‘censorship’


June 27th, 2011 Comments off


The Bloomington Alternative

There’s plenty of news these days — gas prices are down, the Republican presidential field is shaping up, and U.S. troops will soon be leaving Afghanistan. But despite all the political and media spin to the contrary, there’s not much good news in any of this.

While we can all breathe a little easier now that Anthony Weiner has lost his texting privileges, every silver lining has a dark cloud. Here are a few stories behind the news stories making headlines this summer.

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Annals of Censorship: Local News Edition

June 20th, 2011 Comments off

Earlier this month, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a report entitled “The Information Needs of Communities: The Changing Media Landscape in a Broadband Age.” Among other sobering findings, the FCC warned of a precipitous decline in the quality of local news.

While this may not be news for many of us, the mainstream media’s response to the FCC findings is predictable enough: Keep Quiet.

I ran across this story on AlterNet and a link to a blog post in the LA Times. As usual, the Times account was framed as a business story. Tellingly, the LA Times blog is called “Company Town.”

It should come as no surprise that this tidbit didn’t get picked up by very many local, let alone national news outlets. After all, news workers were busy following public interest titillation stories like Anthony Weiner’s sexting and the Casey Anthony trial.

Call it what you will — dumbing down or just plain old distraction. Either way, the current media system clearly doesn’t serve the “information needs” of our communities.

Annals of Censorship: Award Season Edition

February 21st, 2011 Comments off

Last week’s Grammy Awards certainly generated plenty of chatter, what with all of the surprising winners (Esperanza Spalding, Lady Antebellum), veteran performances (Bob Dylan, Sir Mick Jagger) and more than a few upsets (Justin Bieber, Eminem).

Then there was Lady Gaga’s egg-regious entrance.

Meanwhile, across the pond the British Academy Film Awards (a.k.a. the BAFTAS) made it clear that The King’s Speech was the favorite going into the upcoming Academy Awards.

In between, we’ve been treated to the yearly spectacle of the Golden Globe Awards, the Screen Actor Guild Award, and the AFI Awards — just to name a few. Not to mention all of the award nomination ceremonies that make the award season so very, very exciting.

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Annals of Censorship: Wall Street Edition

April 30th, 2010 Comments off

Time and again, the establishment media ignore progressive protests aimed at the abuses on Wall Street and the subsequent tax payer bailout of the financial services industry.

Shutting out progressive voices, these very same commercial and public broadcasters, can find enough room in the news hole to cover the activities of the Tea Party.

This discrepancy is nothing new of course. Left and liberal social movements are routinely demonized by the corporate media. Conservative and right wing protest tend to get much more traction.

Recall, for instance, how the Terri Schiavo case dominated the news cycle for weeks — despite the fact that the protesters were a relatively small, if vocal bunch.

So it should come as no surprise that when a coalition of progressive activists, labor and community groups march on Wall Street, mainstream media looks the other way.

Fortunately, independent news outlets, like Democracy Now! and AlterNet covered the protest. So too, did Russia Today.

The clip, and its appearance on RT, is one more instance of the willful and purposeful censorship of progressive political movements in the US news media.

Do the math

August 10th, 2009 Comments off

The August recess has taken the health care debate out of the beltway and into Congressional districts across the country. While the health industry has been getting plenty of print/airtime with its Swift Boating of Obamacare, more genuine grassroots efforts are underway to put single-payer “on the table.”

One approach has been to demand that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) do a cost estimate on single-payer. Unlike the so-called public option, single-payer would yield enormous savings in healthcare costs–a major concern for advocates of reform on either side of the aisle.

According to Russell Mokhiber, founder of Single Payer Action, “Obamacare will cost $1 trillion over ten years and not cover 37 million Americans. By contrast, a single-payer system cuts out the private health insurance corporations and thus saves $4 trillion in administrative costs and waste over ten years. Those savings would be used to cover everyone. That’s why in August during the Congressional recess single-payer activists will continue to confront members of Congress all around the country, urging them to dump Obamacare, start from scratch and pass single payer.”

By now it’s crystal clear that Big Media, including so-called public broadcasting, isn’t interested in grassroots activism of this sort. Instead, it’s the astroturf groups that have been disrupting town hall meetings across the country who have been getting all sorts of traction. Isn’t it curious how certain conservative “movements” of late–tea baggers, birthers, and this latest bunch of health reform naysayers–get plenty of media attention while progressive voices are shut out completely?

For anyone interested in this critical issue, look to the independent media for more fair and accurate reporting on healthcare than you’ll get from corporate lackeys.

Annals of censorship

July 18th, 2009 Comments off

Corporate media framing of healthcare reform initiatives limits the terms of the debate, such as it is, in very narrow terms. The single-payer option is “off the table” in both news media discourse and in the halls of Congress.

In this clip, courtesy of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, we see that ABC News “uninvited” President Obama’s longtime, personal physician from participating in the network’s healthcare forum.

The clip ends with an appeal to sign FAIR’s petition calling on ABC, and other news outlets, to include single-payer advocates in press coverage of health care reform legislation.