Posts from December 1, 2004

Oh, just go read it

Oh, just go read it

: Mark Glaser and Jay Rosen team up for a great post on what an ideal media company should look like. I won’t quote. I’ll just link. Read it all.

Find your balls, broadcasters

Find your balls, broadcasters

: I found a shocking fact in this week’s Mediaweek: “The last time a broadcaster refused to pay an indecency penalty sought by the Federal Communications Commission,” the magazine says, was in 1994.

That is to say that the last time a broadcaster had the balls to take the Federal Censorship Commission to court to fight for the First Amendment was a friggin’ (no, fucking) decade ago!

Why? Well, because the FCC holds the broadcasters by their shrunken balls. The FCC holds it in its power to not only fine them but revoke their licenses and shut down their businesses — as the FCC warned it would do in its Bono F-word decision.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is precisely why 66 stations in this great nation refused to air Saving Private Ryan: They had been told by the FCC that airing the F word was illegal and could cost them their businesses.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is also why Viacom just castrated itself by paying a $3.5 million consent decree with the FCC that includes all kinds of onorous clauses and why the dickless Clear Channel settled its fines … and why every broadcaster has settled every fine for a damned decade.

Thus, the First Amendment never gets its day in court. Thus, the fined broadcasters — not to mention we, the people — never get the chance to test the constitutionality of what the FCC is doing to free speech in this nation.

MediaWeek (no direct link available, damn them) says that at long lost, broadcasters are getting ready to fight: Viacom did not settle the Janet Jackson case; NBC wants to argue the Bono F word; Fox will decide this week whether to fight its $1.2 million fine brought about by three prigs and prudes.

I fear it’s too little, way too late.

In those 10 years, the FCC has ramped up its war against free speech and Congress has joined in with its indecent indecency legislation.

It is time for broadcasters to fight back!

I met yesterday — on other matters — with some good people running TV stations in this country. They didn’t air Private Ryan for just the reason I said above. They’re pissed at the FCC. I felt like I was inciting a riota and throwing beer on them from the bleachers as I beseeched: Fight the FCC!

I told them about plans for an After The FCC conference that are actually moving ahead, thanks to David Isenberg’s brilliance, passion, and energy.

I said that they should be doing more than writing a few letters or appearing before a few legislators. They should be going public and defending our free speech on our airwaves.

But in all fairness, it’s not just the broadcasters who should be fighting.

Newspaper editorialists should have been defending the First Amendment when the FCC was going after Howard Stern. They didn’t. They waited until they went after Private Ryan.

We on the internet should be fighting the FCC — for they’ll come after us next.

There is still a chance. Only 22 members of the House had the balls to vote for free speech and against the indecent indecency bill. The rest sang soprano because they didn’t want to go home and be accused of voting for smut. Well, we need to give them cover. We need to pressure them to vote for free speech and the First Amendment and the Constitution and everything America holds holy.

So let’s hear it, TV and radio executives and personalities. Let’s hear it, editorialists. Let’s hear it, journalists. Let’s hear it, cable executives (they want to get you, too). Let’s hear it, satellite executives (they want to get you, too). Let’s hear it, internet executives. Let’s hear it, bloggers.

It’s time to fight back.

: UPDATE: Thanks to a commenter, here’s a link to the Mediaweek story, which is online.

Now they’re bleeping Jesus

Now they’re bleeping Jesus

: My sister, the Rev. Jarvis, sent me this outrageous news: CBS and NBC have refused to air a commercial from the United Church of Christ because it’s “too controversial.”

Go here to watch the ad; it merely says that “Jesus did not turn people away. Neither do we.” It is about welcoming all people to worship God.

That is controversial?

Well, the commercial says it’s OK for gays and lesbians and people of color to worship.

If you think that is controversial, then — logically — that means that you don’t think that gays and lesbians and people of color are God’s children. That means, CBS and NBC, that you’re a bunch of homophobic bigots.

I’d call that indecent. But, of course, the FCC wouldn’t.

The UCC announcement says:

The ad, part of the denomination’s new, broad identity campaign set to begin airing nationwide on Dec. 1, states that — like Jesus — the United Church of Christ seeks to welcome all people, regardless of ability, age, race, economic circumstance or sexual orientation.

According to a written explanation from CBS, the United Church of Christ is being denied network access because its ad implies acceptance of gay and lesbian couples — among other minority constituencies — and is, therefore, too “controversial.”

“Because this commercial touches on the exclusion of gay couples and other minority groups by other individuals and organizations,” reads an explanation from CBS, “and the fact the Executive Branch has recently proposed a Constitutional Amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, this spot is unacceptable for broadcast on the [CBS and UPN] networks.”

Similarly, a rejection by NBC declared the spot “too controversial.”

“It’s ironic that after a political season awash in commercials based on fear and deception by both parties seen on all the major networks, an ad with a message of welcome and inclusion would be deemed too controversial,” says the Rev. John H. Thomas, the UCC’s general minister and president. “What’s going on here?”

Negotiations between network officials and the church’s representatives broke down today (Nov. 30), on the day before the ad campaign was set to begin airing nationwide on a combination of broadcast and cable networks. The ad has been accepted and will air on a number of networks, including ABC Family, AMC, BET, Discovery, Fox, Hallmark, History, Nick@Nite, TBS, TNT, Travel and TV Land, among others.

Is this America?

Kiss Hug Shake hands and make up

Kiss Hug Shake hands and make up

: Glenn Reynolds says:

BACK BEFORE THE ELECTION, Tony Pierce was a bit, er, uncharitable where I was concerned. But that won’t stop me from mentioning his new book. I haven’t read it, but I liked the last one.

I got interviewed by a reporter who’s doing a story on blogs and the election, and who seemed anxious to gin up more conflict between me and Jeff Jarvis than I thought was really there. I do think that a few people got a bit excited for a while. But I see blogs as intensely personal. And just as you’d forgive a friend or relative a bit of overexcitability on a key subject or two, I think you should do the same with fellow-bloggers.

Yes, I forgive you, Glenn. Heh.

: Punchline aside, if we can’t discuss issues with fellow bloggers and disagree and debate, then what good are blogs?

A missed opportunity in the battle against terrorism and for democracy

A missed opportunity in the battle against terrorism and for democracy

: A year ago this month, the people of Iraq demonstrated against the terrorism they warned was coming — but big, old Western media thought it wasn’t a story. What if they had covered that demonstration and reported that story and drawn attention to the need to protect the people and embryonic democracy of Iraq? What if they had brought pressure to bear to make sure that sufficient resources and force were brought by our forces? What if they had not ignored the plea of these good, freedom-loving, democracy-loving Iraqis? How many lives would have been saved?

Zeyad and Omar covered that demonstration (that’s Zeyad’s picture from a year ago). The New York Times did not. They said they didn’t know about it, which is to say that they didn’t bother to read the blogs that had just started, which is also to say that they didn’t care to cover this story. It was a story that mattered.

I’d say that big, old Western media missed the story of terrorism (or call in insurgency, if you must) big time. The people of Iraq tried to tip them off. But they wouldn’t listen.

: Zeyad tried to warn us but this is what is now happening at his front door.