Media Literacy: An Alternative to Censorship

The Free Expression Policy Project has produced a 56-page report "which surveys the history and current state of media literacy education and illustrates why it is far preferable to TV ratings, Internet filters, 'indecency' laws, and other efforts to censor the ideas and information available to the young."

No Picked for USA Today Hot Site

Tobacco, booze, and restaurant industry front-group website received "hot site" status in USA Today. "In the Internet age, all secrets are open secrets. With gleeful abandon, reveals the diverse and oftentimes surprising sources currently funding nonprofit activist organizations. From Mothers Against Drunk Driving to Greenpeace," USA Today writes. What's missing is ActivistsCash's own funding sources.


The Arab View

"Every Arab is watching this closely," says an Egyptian attorney who, like his neighbors, has been glued to the television in horror watching the Israeli military offensive in the Palestinian territories. "It may be worse for us even than Sept. 11 was for you - because it goes on and on," he says. "Every time you turn on the television, it's as though you were watching someone beat you." According to the New York Times, the story's impact in the Muslim world is comparable "to the way television news reports from the Vietnam War shook Americans in the 1960s.


PBS's "Commanding" Conflict of Interest

PBS has applied its "conflict of interest" guidelines to refuse programming that receives sponsorship from unions, lesbians or battered women, on grounds that these groups have a "vested interest in the subject matter of the program." When it comes to corporations, however, the network follows a different standard. Currently the network is premiering a six-hour series about the global economy which was sponsored by major corporations that have a clear interest in the show's content.


Eighteen Tales of Media Censorship

"Between them, the authors of the incendiary new book Into the Buzzsaw, out this month from Prometheus, have won nearly every award journalism has to give -- a Pulitzer, several Emmys, a Peabody, a prize from Investigative Reporters and Editor, an Edward R. Murrow and several accolades from the Society of Professional Journalists," writes book reviewer Michelle Goldberg. "One is veteran of the Drug Enforcement Administration and a best-selling author, another is a Nieman Fellow at Harvard.


Debunking Lynxgate

Details of "the great biofraud," as the Washington Times dubbed the affair, emerged just before Christmas of last year. Wildlife scientists in Washington State were accused of "planting" clumps of wild lynx fur in national forests. Supposedly the fraud was planned so the Endangered Species Act could be invoked to close the forest to campers and loggers. In reality, as government employees have insisted ever since the beginning, the whole story is a fabrication.


Think Tanks in a Time of Crisis

Conservative and right-leaning think tanks continue to get more mainstream media attention than centerist and progressive groups according to a new report by Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting. "The overall percentages for the year were consistent with findings for previous years, with conservative or right-leaning think tanks garnering 48 percent of the citations, centrists receiving 36 percent and progressive or left-leaning think tanks receiving 16 percent," FAIR writes.


Help Needed to Save Pacifica

Now that community radio advocates have regained control of the Pacifica Radio Network, they are discovering that the outgoing Pacifica managers "treated the network like a trough," in the words of current acting executive director Dan Coughlin. In addition to racking up huge personal expense bills and handing themselves "golden parachute" severance packages, the former managers ran up millions of dollars on attorneys and PR firms.


The Action Coalition for Media Education Takes Off

National conferences of the media literacy movement have been funded by Channel One, AOL/Timer Warner, and other media giants trying to define, co-opt and profit from media literacy. Now, "a new, national organization is forming that will tackle the challenges brought on by our current global media system. ... Join other dedicated and passionate individuals that want to make an impact upon media education at the ACME Summit 2002." The summit will be held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, October 18-20th, and the Center for Media & Democracy is among the supporting organizations.



Subscribe to Media