Wednesday, May 11, 2005

A bit of sense in Congress and more proof the NY Times is a Wolf in Sheeps' Clothing

Well, it's nice to see that some Congresspeople realize that the news that we get these days is not quite as liberal as FUX News would have us believe. As Rory O'Connor reports on Alternet, Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) has establishedthe Future of American Media (FAM) Caucus. The primary concern of the caucus will be protecting the diversity and volume of sources of news in the United States and ensuring "reasoned debate, expert analysis, and diverse points of view can come together to address critical media policy issues." As Hinchey notes, 1996 Telecommunications Act, which consolidated media outlets in fewer and fewer hands has consolidated media perspectives into ever diminishing numbers of increasingly powerful corporations. He states "We need to correct many problems that are currently in the Act, and we're going to have a huge fight on our hands to do so,". It would seem, as O'Connor notes on Alternet, that Hinchey and his Democratic colleagues on the FAM caucus are well aware of the poor state of media diversity in the United States today. Hinchey also notes that the reliability, diversity, and depth of news coverage has been on a downturn "since the Reagan administration trashed the Fairness Doctrine in 1987." This is a long downward cycle and it would seem that without intervention on the part of citizens there is little hope for its rectification. Rep. Hinchey also notes that the airwaves are a public property and this might be the sort of reminder that the public needs to re-claim control of the airwaves. Hopefully Hinchey and co. will anchor a bold movement to protect and call attention to media's increased consolidation in the US. We certainly wish them all the best.

Unfortunately, it seems that the NY Times is out to lunch, now believing that they need to tone down their outre liberal views and escape the stigma of being such a liberal voice on the media landscape. Hmmm.....and it seems like Our Fearful Bushleader might need to do botch his handling of Iraq so that he isn't quite as popular because he just can stand the adoring crowds when he is abroad. Yeah, and that Enron group shouldn't get too arrogant over their success. Sooner or later I got a feeling that house of cards is gonna collapse.......that's right, the Old Grey Lady believes that its editorial page is much too liberal and so, in order to better reflect the diversity of readers in the United States, it will try to recruit writers who will reflect religious and current events happenings occurring in Middle America. NYT editor Bill Keller welcomes the report, seeming to accept its basic terms. The fact that the NY Times believes it is too far left, at least editorially, is further proof of the ignorance of Americans of the paucity of media sources present, especially in this day and age of blogs and niche material for seemingly every sub-group under the sun. Of course it takes some curiosity to find some of this material, but again, this pronouncement, or "admission" by the NY Times that it is "too liberal" might be seen by Middle America as further "proof" of how "out of touch" the NY Times is. And of course the Grey lady is out of touch, but she's out of touch on the right, as opposed to the left, where she claims her disorientation. But in the constant echo chamber that is cable news and "commentary" (a.k.a shouting on cable TV), this will be received as proof of the fraudulence of claim that the media is liberal. Of course, none of this can have any bearing on the work that the true liberal media must do, but again indicates how clueless the NYT is and propagates the idea that the Times has been some sort of left-wing rebel for so long. This story, in reaching large numbers of readers, will "confirm" the "liberal" image that many already have of the NYT in their heads.

And finally, a truly sad story heartbreaking story I hadn't read anywhere else until I get to the ever splendid Get Your War On. Turns out that the poor Kurds who Saddam gassed back in 1988 now have no clean drinking water. A clean water project in Halabja, part of the area where Saddam targeted Kurds 17 years ago has been shut down. The usual sources offer the usual excuses and explanations and (ostensibly) apologies but this is just another terribly sad story emanating out of an already war-ravaged and decimated land. This encapsulates the US' perspective on other countries-disinterested, oblivious, and disingenuously apologetic.


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