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Media -- "There are no unacceptable questions, only unacceptable answers.”-Helen Thomas

Wars in Middle East Revealing Truth About the Media

Validated Independent News

Attention has shifted from media coverage of the war in Iraq to the war in Afghanistan in recent weeks. Alissa Rubin, former Baghdad bureau chief for the New York Times, recently expressed her views in a New York Times’ editorial on the media’s role throughout the war in Iraq and how lessons must be learned from her experience. Rubin was sent to Iraq three days after Saddam Hussein fled Baghdad in 2003 and left the country in 2009, six years later. Ms. Rubin addressed writers and journalists analyzing the war mentality from the beginning of the war to its present state. All major media outlets covering the Iraq War expressed positive ideas that promised a smooth Iraqi transition from an intolerant country to a law-abiding democracy. As years passed, the conditions and brutality continued to worsen for soldiers and civilians, and the media continued to focus press attention on “phony-patriotism.” Rubin admitted that she should have reported on the brutal truth she witnessed within the country, yet she too wanted to believe in this new democracy. With Rubin’s evaluation of media coverage during the Iraq War there has been a new trend in the media to follow the government’s shifting attention in wars.

As President Obama changed gears from the war in Iraq to Afghanistan, there is a noticeable migration of journalists following the military. Alissa Rubin is one of them who have been reassigned from Iraq to Afghanistan. Now she worries that what she has learned in Iraq will be forgotten as new wars are initiated. Rubin admits that during this time in Afghanistan, skew the media needs to look at the lessons learned from Iraq and present the Afghan War truthfully instead of painting it as an altered version of democracy.

Student Researchers: Claire Apatoff, Erin Kielty, Tom Rich
Faculty Evaluator: Jeff McCall, Department of Communication & Theater, DePauw University
Faculty Instructor: Kevin Howley
The New York “Time’s Alissa Rubin Leaving Baghdad to cover Afghanistan; Steve Lee Myers Named Baghdad Bureau Chief.”John Koblin
AlterNet. “Why Can’t the Corporate Media Just Tell the Truth About Iraq & Afghanistan?” Rory O’Connor
The New York “ From Iraq, Lessons for the Next War”.Alissa J. Rubin


Sen. Franken: Comcast Merger Will Raise Cable Rates
Sen. Al Franken discusses the implications of the Comcast/NBC merger with Attorney General Eric Holder during a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting on April 14, 2010. The Department of Justice is investigating the merger.

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April 23, 2010 From Bill Moyers Journal Interview with Michael J Copps

"FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps is passionate about the role of media in the United States. That's why two recent court rulings are troubling him. One rolled back restrictions on cross-media ownership (owning a broadcast entity and a newspaper in the same market). The other, in a big victory for telecomm companies, basically states that the FCC has little authority under current law over Internet service providers. Find out more about these and other media issues below.

The Comcast Case and Net Neutrality

In 2006 Bill Moyers investigated the complicated debate about net neutrality in the documentary THE NET @ RISK. Some activists describe the ongoing debate this way: A few mega-media giants owns much of the content and controls the delivery of content on radio and television and in the press; if we let them take control of the Internet as well, immune from government regulation, who will pay the price? And how can we assure equal access for all materials and ideas? Their opponents say that the best way to encourage Internet innovation and technological advances is to let the market — not the federal government — determine the shape of the system. As Michael Copps defines it: "This isn't about regulating the Internet, this is making sure that the Internet is kept open and that others don't close the doors and become gatekeepers or the keepers of those tollbooths."

In early April 2010 a federal appeals court handed a set-back to the FCC's ability to police the Internet — ruling that the FCC's purview under current law gives it little authority over broadband services. Copps believes that the companies providing and making a profit from Internet services are not the right people to police the system. And Copps doesn't mince words about the importance of the net neutrality issue:

"Our future is going to ride on broadband. How we get a job is going to ride on broadband. How we take care of our health. How we educate ourselves about our responsibilities as citizens. This all depends upon being able to go where you want to go on that Internet, to run the applications that you want to run, to attach the devices, to know what's going on. That's what net neutrality is all about." "

More About Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality Resources
"Court rules for Comcast over FCC in 'net neutrality' case," Cecilia Kang, WASHINGTON POST, April 7, 2010.
"U.S. Court Curbs F.C.C. Authority on Web Traffic," Edward Wyatt, THE NEW YORK TIMES, April 6, 2010.
Watch The Net @ Ris


Mega-Media Era Begins as Comcast/NBC Merger Nears


Josh Silver, executive director of Free Press

December 1st, 2009
On Monday night, French media giant Vivendi and NBC parent company General Electric agreed to terms that will clear the way for US cable giant Comcast to take a controlling stake in NBC Universal. An announcement from Comcast is expected within days. The proposed merger would create a media behemoth, and clear the way for an unprecedented era of media consolidation across cable, the Internet and broadcast television.

Be afraid. Comcast is both the largest cable company and the largest residential broadband provider in the United States: a $34-billion business with 24 million subscribers, reaching nearly one out of every four homes in the country. NBCU owns NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, Universal Studios, 27 television stations, and a host of other properties.

President Obama has promised that his administration would finally begin enforcing antitrust laws to prevent unreasonable consolidation of market power. If ever a media deal posed such a threat, this is it. The merged Comcast would be to media what Goldman Sachs is to Wall Street: “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money,” as Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi once described the latter.

It should come as no surprise that Wall Street and Washington are saying this is already a done deal: The media and telecommunications industry is second only to drug companies in how much it spends lobbying Washington. Its army of PR firms, lobbyists and sock-puppet think tanks is already blitzing the press corps and Capitol Hill. It’s readying Comcast CEO Brian Roberts for his close-up as a new media mogul and neglecting to mention the impact of this deal on everyday people.

Comcast has raised cable rates for years while raking in record profits nearly every quarter. It is anti-union. It cares nothing for independent, alternative programming. And if you’re a startup television channel, you can forget about getting a spot in Comcast’s lineup. Comcast will charge you far more for space on its lineup than you could possibly pay. Just ask Al Gore about his failed effort to get his Current TV a reasonable position in the cable lineup.

Let’s not forget that Comcast is the company that was caught illegally blocking peer-to-peer Internet downloads and then lying about it—earning a smack-down from the FCC for breaking Net Neutrality rules. And the company is known for blocking TV ads it didn’t like. The company’s track record of protecting the public’s interest isn’t exactly stellar. ... Read more » Media PDF

Read the whole story here: Free Press Urges FCC to Closely Examine Proposed CenturyLink and Qwest Deal

Free Press, April 23, 2010
CenturyLink and Qwest Communications serve large swaths of rural America that have yet to see deployment of high-quality broadband services. We expect the FCC to closely examine the merged company's commitment to deploying next-generation technology and their willingness to adhere to open Internet principles.


The Near-Death and Rescue of ABQ’s Public Access

By Marvin H. Gladstone

(Editor’s Note: This article addresses problems which have confronted Quote. . . Unquote, Inc., a nonprofit corporate fiscal sponsor of FOAT, the nonprofit corporate publisher of TheTrial Balloon. The author is a board member of both of these nonprofits. The opinions expressed below are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect those of either entity or its other directors or officers.) .

Such phrases as “cooked and baked” and “tailoring the specs” are familiar to those engaged in the fine art of evading legal standards governing procurement. They are less familiar to the victims of such evasions, typically both the honest bidder and the taxpayer, the former having been cheated by reason of his honesty, the latter receiving less quality for more of his money. The beneficiaries of dishonest procurement practices are those contractors who have successfully rigged the bids, and the equally-crooked politicians who have favored them as quids pro quo for campaign contributions or worse.

Examples of “cooking and baking,” “tailoring specs” and other forms of bid-rigging abound, but a particularly egregious episode occurred here recently. Had the scheme succeeded, it would have adversely impacted not only the “honest bidder”, but cable subscribers numbering in the six digits, an unsuspecting public and the First Amendment guarantees of speech and press freedoms. This article summarizes the relevant events giving rise to the jeopardy and the salvation of our Public Access channels.

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