Tag Archives | Journalism

CBS Still Under Attack for Benghazi And Other Reports

240px-CBS_logoGood news amidst the bad at CBS: Their drama, “Criminal Minds” had its biggest audience this week. Am I alone in believing that the network, once known for the stellar journalism of Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite can at the same time be on the receiving end of at least three attacks, suggesting there is something far from kosher going on in the minds of the people in charge?

First, we have the now infamous 60 Minutes Benghazi report, which when criticized, was defended, as if it was a papal encyclical, by the powers that be, until problems were acknowledged, a lukewarm apology offered by chief correspondent, Lara Logan, that, boo hoo, did not quite silence the doubters who are still besieging CBS HQ at the Manhattan building known as Black Rock with fresh doubts and unanswered questions.

Back to Benghazi, once known as Al Qaeda’s favorite Libyan port, in a hot second.… Read the rest

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The Battle Over The Future of Journalism is Becoming More Intense

free pressNew York, NY: I was among the many media wannabe reformers to attend the tenth anniversary party of Free Press, the mostly online organization and lobby that promotes itself as a movement to transform our media system, and save our democracy.

I certainly support their policy goals like net neutrality and curbs on media consolidation,  and also admire their staying power, even if their style is very upwardly mobile, and rather un-left like, starting with this trendy soireee in an ultra modern upscale hotel lounge where drinks went for $15.00.

Free Press has been very effective in raising large sums of money using top-down means of organizing support.  (To be honest, as the editor of Mediachannel.org, a site that is barely holding on, I am a bit jealous of their evident skills as fundraisers and organization builders.)

I would like to see them do more to encourage other progressive groups to do more than electoral politics and take on media issues.… Read the rest

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Daniel Domscheit-Berg’s Big Brother Bundle

Reagan’s relaxation of media ownership rules in the 80s not only caused a massive loss of jobs, it seems, but distorted the flow of information that’s essential to democracy. Corporate news media is in it to make money and to help those who have it — not inform citizens.

So what can we do about it? The Internet and citizen journalism has been seen by many as the way to fill the media vacuum, but it’s still a challenge getting critical perspectives out there. VODO’s Big Brother Bundle is one promising attempt. Combining serious critical documentaries like Shadows of Liberty and Secrecy, which looks at the case for and against keeping secrets in the context of the “war on terrror”, with graphic novels and even games, VODO is aiming to take the debate around privacy mainstream.

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Having known Daniel Domscheit Berg through old friends at The Pirate Bay, VODO asked the ex-spokesperson of Wikileaks to help them curate this collection of media.… Read the rest

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Glenn Greenwald Gets $250 Million For Startup News Channel

Glenn greenwald portraitFirst Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos buys the Washington Post, now eBay founder Pierre Omidyar is chucking a quarter billion dollars at Glenn Greenwald to create a news organization that, presumably, will reflect the progressive politics that are Mr. Greenwald’s stock in trade.

Who will be the next Silicon Valley billionaire to buy his or her own major media presence? From Mr. Greenwald’s erstwhile employer, The Guardian:

Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay, has revealed more details of the media organization he is creating with journalist Glenn Greenwald.

Greenwald announced on Tuesday that he was leaving the Guardian, where he has broken a series of stories on the National Security Agency, based on documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden.

In an interview with Jay Rosen, media critic and NYU professor of journalism, Omidyar said he was committing an initial $250m to the as-yet-unnamed venture. Omidyar told Rosen the decision was fuelled by his “rising concern about press freedoms in the United States and around the world”.

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Journalist Raymond Bonner on How Telecommunications Company Helped Government Spy On Him

Not-SpyingJournalist Raymond Bonner has good reason to doubt the government’s reassurances that only terrorists need worry about its snooping powers.

Via ProPublica:

In 2004, my telephone records as well as those of another New York Times reporter and two reporters from the Washington Post, were obtained by federal agents assigned to investigate a leak of classified information. What happened next says a lot about what happens when the government’s privacy protections collide with the day-to-day realities of global surveillance.

The story begins in 2003 when I wrote an article about the killing of two American teachers in West Papua, a remote region of Indonesia where Freeport-McMoRan operates one of the world’s largest copper and gold mines. The Indonesian government and Freeport blamed the killings on a separatist group, the Free Papua Movement, which had been fighting a low-level guerrilla war for several decades.

I opened my article with this sentence: “Bush Administration officials have determined that Indonesian soldiers carried out a deadly ambush that killed two American teachers.”

I also reported that two FBI agents had travelled to Indonesia to assist in the inquiry and quoted a “senior administration official” as saying there “was no question there was a military involvement.’’

The story prompted a leak investigation.

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Obama’s Justice Department: Trumpeting a New Victory in War on Freedom of the Press

US-DeptOfJustice-SealThere’s something profoundly despicable about a Justice Department that would brazenly violate the First and Fourth Amendments while spying on journalists, then claim to be reassessing such policies after an avalanche of criticism — and then proceed, as it did this week, to gloat that those policies made possible a long prison sentence for a journalistic source.

Welcome to the Obama Justice Department.

While mouthing platitudes about respecting press freedom, the president has overseen methodical actions to undermine it. We should retire understated phrases like “chilling effect.” With the announcement from Obama’s Justice Department on Monday, the thermometer has dropped below freezing.

You could almost hear the slushy flow of public information turning to ice in the triumphant words of the U.S. attorney who led the investigation after being handpicked by Attorney General Eric Holder: “This prosecution demonstrates our deep resolve to hold accountable anyone who would violate their solemn duty to protect our nation’s secrets and to prevent future, potentially devastating leaks by those who would wantonly ignore their obligations to safeguard classified information.”

Translation: This prosecution shows the depth of our contempt for civil liberties.Read the rest

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Is The Western Media Promoting War on Syria? Are All The Facts in? Does It Matter?

Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile -cropAs the United States threatens to target Syria militarily, how can we expect the military strikes to be covered?

First, there are very few US or western journalists stationed in Syria,  and many of the citizen reporters on the ground have become casualties, and/or have been intimidated and forced to leave.

That assures poor coverage of  those who will be hurt or become predictable and disposable “collateral damage.”

A front page New York Times article on Friday reporting on Syria, carries no dateline and was filed from Beirut. The Times explains that mainstream journalists cannot work freely in Syria, and contends that social media offers better coverage.

The paper quotes Absi Smesem, Syrian journalist, as saying,

“There are no objective sources of information on either side, neither with the regime nor the rebels .We need to get out of this Facebook phase, where all we do is whine and complain about the regime.”

Writing on Salon, in a piece picked up by Mediachannel.org, Patrick L Smith indicts western “lapdog media,”  asking,

“When was it that journalists began thinking of themselves as national security operatives?

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Rise to the Call for Real American Media

Screen Shot 2013-08-05 at 2.19.40 PMRemember when corporate owned mainstream media was relevant? Me either. Not to any meaningful extent anyway. Of course, there are a few good exceptions. “60 Minutes” is not so bad. We always have “The Daily Show” and “Colbert Report” to fall back on. Some crazy percentage of people get their news from these Comedy Central shows. Jon Stewart still refuses to admit he is a news reporter of any kind. Is he embarrassed to be a part of that once proud profession? Has it gotten so bad that a stigma is now permanently attached to the field? Or do people just prefer comedy with their news? After all, a spoonful of sugar does make the medicine go down. Stewart and Colbert are masterful at that, and deserve their warehouse full of Emmys.

The two remaining examples of relevant mainstream news are essentially mirror images, now largely overlooked remaining bastions of a bygone era in which the everyman felt he could connect with the powers that be.… Read the rest

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Obama’s Escalating War on Freedom of the Press

Newseum 5 Freedoms 1st AmendmentThe part of the First Amendment that prohibits “abridging the freedom … of the press” is now up against the wall, as the Obama administration continues to assault the kind of journalism that can expose government secrets.

Last Friday the administration got what it wanted – an ice-cold chilling effect — from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled on the case of New York Times reporter James Risen. The court “delivered a blow to investigative journalism in America by ruling that reporters have no First Amendment protection that would safeguard the confidentiality of their sources in the event of a criminal trial,” the Guardian reported.

The Executive Branch fought for that ruling — and is now celebrating. “We agree with the decision,” said a Justice Department spokesman. “We are examining the next steps in the prosecution of this case.” The Risen case, and potentially many others, are now under the ominous shadow of the Appeals Court’s pronouncement: “There is no First Amendment testimonial privilege, absolute or qualified, that protects a reporter from being compelled to testify … in criminal proceedings.”

At the Freedom of the Press Foundation, co-founder Trevor Timm calls the court ruling “the most significant reporter’s privilege decision in decades” and asserts that the court “eviscerated that privilege.” He’s not exaggerating.… Read the rest

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