Politically Incorrect No More

It's official: Bill Maher's TV show has been cancelled. Maher's program, Politically Incorrect, came under attack when Maher made allegedly "unpatriotic" remarks in the aftermath of September 11. But Matthew Nisbit points out that there's more to the story: Maher has been replaced by comedian Jimmy Kimmel, whose show appeals to young males with what it calls "a half-hour of joyous chauvinism ... each variety-style episode contains a whole truckload of man-fun. ... It's all the stuff you see on beer commercials. And every show ends with girls on trampolines."


Hiding a TV Commercial in Plain View

"An NBC-owned talk show is offering marketers the chance to buy guest spots for their products and executives, further blurring the line between programming and advertising. The sponsored segments were included in about two dozen shows appearing during the 2001-02 season of the entertainment program "The Other Half," which is owned, produced and distributed by the NBC Enterprises division of NBC, part of General Electric. ...


Rather Contrite About "Patriotism Run Amok"

CBS news anchor Dan Rather said in an interview with British television that "patriotism run amok" was keeping American journalists from ask tough questions about the "war on terrorism." Rather even admitted that he himself had participated in self-censorship following September 11. "You know there was a time in South Africa that people would put flaming tires around people's necks if they dissented. And in some ways the fear is that you will be necklaced here, you will have a flaming tire of lack of patriotism put around your neck," he said.


New Wrinkle on Conflict of Interest

When KENS-TV in San Antonio, Texas aired a glowing story about a "miracle wrinkle cream," it failed to mention that the product's sole distributor in San Antonio is Jennifer McCabe, an employee of the TV station who also happens to be engaged to the station's executive producer.


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.



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