Why TV and Radio Journalists Can't Be Like Murrow Anymore

No it's not your imagination, the media does suck, and here's why. With some action you can take. - Todd

It's a fact: Media conglomerates' labor practices are harming the quality of TV and radio news.

A CBS television newswriter says: "We take a lot of stuff from 'Entertainment Tonight.' We watch it at 6:30 and decide what to use."

Most Americans still get their news from "old media" like newspapers, TV and radio. There's concern about how Rupert Murdoch will gut the Wall St. Journal when he gets his hands on it.  MSNBC Anchor Mika Brzezinski recently tried to burn a script on air in frustration over being asked to lead the day's news with a story about Paris Hilton rather than Richard Lugar's declaration that Bush's Iraq strategy is failing. Who can we trust to tell us what's really going on? Now, a new study of broadcast journalists from the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) gives an inside look at how the media conglomerates are destroying broadcast news quality with the same tactics other big companies are using against their workers. Replacing full-time newswriters with part-timers and temps, cutting staff and resources, and requiring more and more "multi-tasking" in the newsroom, equals bad news for the public. Literally.

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Ever Feel Like You've Been Cheated?

I've written up a lengthy post for my own blog about PBS host Jim Lehrer's false claim to an Australian media reporter that 85% of Congress supported the Iraq war.

But I wanted to share one item I ran across in my research for that post here. The Pew Research Center did a poll after the presentations to the UN Security Council by UN weapons inspector Hans Blix and US Secretary of State Colin Powell that went to the heart of the media coverage of the arguments for war and claims by people like Jim Lehrer that they informed the public to the best of their ability. Even though only 26% of the respondents opposed the war under all circumstances at that point (another 23% felt more international support was needed), 42% of the respondents said that they had heard too little from war opponents.

I wonder why that was?

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ABC News (GOP) tries to bait Obama into defending...

... free speech for pedophiles. I wondered when I first read about this at Smoking Gun if there could be some kind of RW trap involved and I think the free speech charge is the angle they're shooting for...sick, pathetic, desparate assholes!

Criminal or Just Creepy?
Barack Obama's Campaign Threatens a Pedophile Who Posted Pics of the Candidate's Daughters

http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=292921 9&page=1
Ashford says that his intentions were purely innocent. "I didn't write anything more than that they're pretty. I didn't write that I want to take their knickers off. ... There's not even a hint that I wanted to stalk them or anything like that."

That may end up being his strongest defense. Several First Amendment lawyers said that it was doubtful that Bauer or the Obama campaign would prevail in court.

"Individuals can make comments about the candidates and the candidates' children without running afoul of the law until someone crosses the line into actual or criminal activity," said Lawrence G. Walters, a lawyer who has handled many cases involving pornography and the Internet. "For better or worse, pedophiles retain their free speech rights. If he's a professed pedophile and if he says, 'Let's try to find these kids,' then it could be in furtherance of a criminal conspiracy, then he may be liable."

Walters and Jonathan Katz, another First Amendment lawyer, were surprised that the Obama campaign had threatened legal action in this case.

"If Obama knows that his lawyer is doing this, then that's one reason not to vote for him," Katz said. "These are clear free speech issues."
"The big concern I would have is that if in the abstract, you don't allow free speech for these kinds of people, that's something to really think about," Walters said. "When we're looking at the platform of the campaign, who else doesn't get free speech rights? You have to think through the implications."

Despite the threat, Ashford is still supporting Obama. "I'm not going to change my support for him based on this issue," he said.

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Glenn Beck's common senselessness

All-around bad guy Glenn Beck, you'll recall, is joining ABC's "Good Morning America". While ABC's rightturn isn't the news here, what is remarkable is the degree to which supposedly reputable journalists - in this case Diane Sawyer - have fallen all over themselves to pander to the lowest-common denominator. Reported Beck, when talking about his joining "Good Morning America", "She [Sawyer] said to me, 'It's nice to watch someone you think you're going to disagree with ... but at least there's some common sense behind it.'" Diane, would you mind if I asked you a few questions?

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Disturbing Case of Anti-Gay Harassment of a Junior High School Student

A 13-year-old student at Harper Junior High School in Davis, California was apparently harassed over a long period of time by a large number of his peers.  His biological father is now divorced and has a male partner, who has become a father as well to the boy.  So he now has two dads.

The kids are harassing the kid calling all sorts of anti-gay things, apparently one kid asked him what it was like to sleep with his father, etc.  BTW, the kid is not gay.

This went on for a long time and then the family car was arsoned and burned to the ground on their driveway and it took some quick thinking by the kid to alert the family before the house burned down as well.

It was at that point that the family was alerted to the ongoing harassment problem.  The principal was told, he disciplined some of the kids.

The family is upset at the leniency of the punishment--apparently only two kids were suspended and five were given detention and a number no punishment at all.

Second and more seriously is that when the kid has come back to school--twice, he has been harassed again and he's now missed a considerable period of time.

The Fischers filed suit against the Davis Joint Unified School District this week in a dispute stemming from the perceived failure by the school district to properly deal with an harassment incident.

Some of the details of the suit included: in-home tutoring for the junior high school district, institution of a mandatory suspension for all students making homophobic comments, appoint a nondistrict neutral third party ("other than Harper Principal David Inns") to monitor and implement a zero-tolerance program toward homophobia, and finally to pay a sum of $100,000 damages for failure to follow California law.

Mr. Fischer's son has not been in school now in well over a month. He was pulled out on October 31 following incidents of harassment that resulted in the suspension of two students, detention for a number of others, and  no action toward a larger number of more minor participants. The Fischers do not believe that these students received a punishment commensurate with the offense.

The key concern at this point is that the student was harassed on two different days when he returned to school.

The school has recommended several alternatives including independent study. However, the family believes that independent study would be a blemish on his academic record that could prevent him from going to law school which is his goal.

Thurday night on the Sacramento ABC affiliate, they had a four-minute news broadcast:

ABC Video Link

For additional background on this read this link from the bottom up:

Additional information and Background

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