Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Rich Media, Poor Democracy: Researching the Issues

(HUM 121: Ask them to write their "message of peace" for International Peace Day)

Rich Media, Poor Democracy (Inspired by and framework modeled on Robert McChesney’s book and the Media Education Foundation documentary.) Notes/sources for the War and Recession panel discussion at Al's Bar tonight.

Part One: Media Ownership

1) The job of media’s new corporate bosses is to maximize profit for shareholders, not to provide greater choice and diversity for consumers.

Free Press: Who Owns the Media?

Various Charts of Media Ownership (Take Back the Media)

Robbie Graham/Mathhew Alford: The Power Behind the Screen (The New Statesman)

From Media Reform Information Center:

In 1983, 50 corporations controlled the vast majority of all news media in the U.S. At the time, Ben Bagdikian was called "alarmist" for pointing this out in his book, The Media Monopoly. In his 4th edition, published in 1992, he wrote "in the U.S., fewer than two dozen of these extraordinary creatures own and operate 90% of the mass media" -- controlling almost all of America's newspapers, magazines, TV and radio stations, books, records, movies, videos, wire services and photo agencies. He predicted then that eventually this number would fall to about half a dozen companies. This was greeted with skepticism at the time. When the 6th edition of The Media Monopoly was published in 2000, the number had fallen to six. Since then, there have been more mergers and the scope has expanded to include new media like the Internet market. More than 1 in 4 Internet users in the U.S. now log in with AOL Time-Warner, the world's largest media corporation.

In 2004, Bagdikian's revised and expanded book, The New Media Monopoly, shows that only 5 huge corporations -- Time Warner, Disney, Murdoch's News Corporation, Bertelsmann of Germany, and Viacom (formerly CBS) -- now control most of the media industry in the U.S. General Electric's NBC is a close sixth.

Media Matters with Bob McChesney: Deepa Kumar on the limitations of the corporate media system (audio)

2) Although the airwaves belong to the people, government policy has favored private, not public interests.

Free Press

Electronic Frontier Foundation

3) The 1996 Telecommunications Act was passed with very little public debate over how deregulating ownership rules would lead to massive consolidation of these new telecommunication technologies.

Consumer's Union: Lesson from the 1996 Telecommunications Act

Robert McChesney: The FCC's Big Grab--Making Media Monopoly Part of the Constitution (Counterpunch)

Part Two: Journalism and Democracy

1) More and more, the first amendment is being interpreted as a protection for owners and advertisers, and not editors and reporters.

Robert McChesney: The New Theology of the First Amendment (Monthly Review)

Robert McChesney: The New Global Media (The Nation)

Exploring Congessional Conflicts: Levels of First Amendment Protection for Different Media

Google Search "media and first amendment": Big Business Law Firms Protecting Corporate Media Interests Under the Auspices of the First Amendment

Matt Zoller Seitz: Copy Rites--YouTube vs. Kevin B. Lee (The House Next Door)

Philip K. Dick: If You Can Control the Meaning of Words...

2) What Happened to the News
Due to cost cutting and the consolidation of news departments, investigative journalism is on the decline. In its place, news that is high on sensationalism and low on information.

Media Matters

On the Media (NPR/WNYC)

Project Censored: The News That Didn't Make the News (Sonoma State University Sociology Department)and their annual list of the top 25 censored news stories

International News Coverage in a New Media World: The Decline of the Foreign Correspondent

The Flog of War: Media Reliance on Paid Military Experts (On the Media)

2008 Plagiarism/Fabrication Round-Up; Crunks 2008: The Year in Media Errors and Corrections (Regret the Error)


1) Myth of the Liberal Media
There is ample evidence to support the existence of corporate bias and little to suggest the supposed liberal bias of the media. The “myth” is effectively propaganda to silence criticism of those in power. Likewise the call for "objectivity" in journalism (and other forms of documenting history/events) is a smoke screen for silencing the critiques of a dominant conception of reality that benefits those in power.

Free Press: Examining the "Liberal Media" Claim

The Myth of the Liberal Media: The Propaganda Model of the News (Noam Chomsky/Edward Herman/Media Education Foundation video) and another clip here

Eric Alterman: What Liberal Media? (The Nation)

Eric Alterman: Debunking the Myth of a Liberal Media (AlterNet/Center for American Progress)

Jay Rosen: The Dangerous Myth of Journalistic Objectivity (Press Think/NYU School of Journalism)

Jay Rosen: The News about the News (Open Source)

Richard Taflinger: The Myth of Objectivity in Journalism (Washington State University Edward R. Murrow School of Communication)

Jay Davis: Beyond the Myth of Objectivity/How To Analyze a News Story (Center for Media Literacy)

Resources for Studying Propaganda (Sourcewatch)

2) The Fox Guarding the Henhouse
The gradual weakening of the FCC is the ultimate triumph of the commercial media system over the rights and needs of the public.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

House Report Investigates FCC Problems Under Martin (Radio Magazine)

Free Press: FCC Media Ownership Rulings Archive

Electronic Frontier Foundation: Net Neutrality Rulings

Cindy Cohn the Legal Director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (Fora TV)

3) A Classic Case of Corporate Journalism
The absence of investigative reporting on the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, lack of coverage of the lies in regards to the case to invade Iraq, and the cutting of foreign correspondents is further evidence of the decline of journalism in the age of corporate ownership.

Bill Moyer's Journal: Buying the War (PBS Documentary)

Source Watch

PR Watch

Spin of the Day

International News Coverage in a New Media World: The Decline of the Foreign Correspondent

4) This Ad was Paid for By
Political advertising has taken the place of political campaign coverage—a financial gain for broadcasters, but a loss of information for the public.

Online Communication Studies Resources: Political Advertising (University of Iowa Department of Communication Studies)

The Democracy Project: 30 Second Candidate (PBS)

Mixed Messages: tracking political Advertising (711 ads) (Washington Post)

Political Advertising Resource Center (Center for Political Communication and Civic Leadership at the University of Maryland)

Political Advertising Archives and Resources (Glenn W. Richardson Jr. of the Department of Political Science at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania)

5) Hands Off My Mouse
Copyright law has been extended to protect the monopoly power of private interests to keep cultural and intellectual materials out of the public domain.

Electronic Frontier Foundation: Defending Freedom in the Digital World

Cory Doctorow: Content--Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright and the Future of the Future (Entire Reading of this book available at Internet Archive) and description of the book here

Cory Doctorow: Why I Copyfight (Locus Magazine)

John Perry Barlow: A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace (1996)

John Perry Barlow: The Economy of Ideas

James Boyle: The Public Domain--The Enclosing the Commons of the Mind (Internet Archive Audio)

Lawrence Lessig: Free Culture--How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity (Entire Book Online) and more on his Website

U.S. Copyright Office: Copyright Law of the U.S.

Georgia Harper: Copyright Law in the Electronic Environment (Office of General Counsel
University of Texas System)

6) There Are Alternatives
Independent media are a vital alternative to the corporate media system and need our support.

Democracy Now

Robert McChesney/Josh Silver on the 2008 National Conference for Media Reform

Robert McChesey/John Nichols: Platform for Media Reform (Media Alliance)

Free Culture: Students for a Free Culture

Media Education Foundation

Jay Rosen: Citizen Journalism (Professor of Journalism at New York University)

Rising Voices and Global Voices

Independent Media Centers

Media/Communication/Journalism 2008-2009: Archive of Organizations, Resources and Reports (Compiled by Michael Benton, Humanities Professor at Bluegrass Community and Technical College)

RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA: Web Sites That Dig for News Rise as Watchdogs

Michael Wesch: A Portal to Media Literacy/Michael Benton: Thinking About 21st Century Multiliteracies

Business/Labor/Economics 2008-2009 (Compiled by Michael Benton, Humanities Professor at Bluegrass Community and Technical College)

Peace/Conflict Studies 2008-2009 (Compiled by Michael Benton, Humanities Professor at Bluegrass Community and Technical College)

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