In honor of "Sunshine Week," a national initiative to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) would like to recognize Wisconsin's champions of backroom deals, secret pledges and cloaked campaign contributions.
Fox Business News recently ran a segment criticizing a collective bargaining agreement struck between workers and management in New York City's hotel industry. Analysts on the program called the deal "a nightmare," singling out the provisions raising wages for housekeepers as "shocking." Fox's reaction is consistent with its past coverage of worker's issues, which has portrayed union efforts to secure higher wages and benefits for the working class as an affront to capitalism.
It was just another balmy-frigid February 28 for Andrea Musher. She stood outside the Wisconsin State Capitol with a green parasol, a pink frangipani, and a sign with palm fronds rising forth.
Madison's former poet laureate, Musher was one of about 25 protesters who gathered on what they called "Palm Tuesday" to celebrate the emergence of a new Wisconsin state tree, which could be dubbed the "O'Reilly Palm."
The event commemorated the anniversary of the day Fox News ran video of violent "Wisconsin" protesters, with palm trees waving in the background. Musher's palm was intended to help people understand that Fox "pretends to be a news source. Instead they are a source of propaganda and fabrication."
The Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College has selected the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) for its annual "Izzy Award," which recognizes outstanding achievement in independent media. CMD was recognized for its ALEC Exposed project, and shares this year's award with Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous, who was recognized for his exceptional reporting from Tahir Square. The award is named for the legendary I.F. Stone, the maverick investigative journalist who challenged Joe McCarthy's scare campaign and was the first to question the Gulf of Tonkin hoax.
It was not a happy Valentine's Day for the Heartland Institute's climate change denial campaigns. First, Heartland's plans for a $75,000 K-12 reeducation curriculum to turn America's children into climate change deniers was leaked to the DeSmog Blog along with Heartland's fundraising plan, which reveals support from the Charles G. Koch Foundation and a "free Koch summer intern."
Last week, the Center for Media and Democracy reported on the amusing mistake made by a Politico reporter who misidentified the blue Wisconsin state flag as a "union flag" that signaled President Obama's support for the Wisconsin labor struggle. The story rocketed around the state and caused many chuckles.
President Obama visited Wisconsin today to speak at Master Lock, a union firm that that has brought 100 manufacturing jobs back from China to the United States. Because it was the President's first visit to the state since the historic fight over collective bargaining broke out over one year ago, everyone was watching to see if he would address the controversy or signal his support. Some saw signals where none were intended.
Hundreds of thousands surrounded the Wisconsin State Capitol building a year ago in response and protest of Governor Scott Walker's radical agenda, including his proposed "budget repair bill" to balance the budget on the back of state workers. There to document history in the making, was independent filmmaker Sam Mayfield from Burlington, Vermont. Sam was seen everywhere with her high definition camcorder, at Walker press conferences and climbing though Capitol windows with protesters. In the many months she was in Wisconsin, she obtained hundreds of hours of footage -- often at moments when hers was the only camera present. Among her hundreds of interviews with newsmakers and protesters, the Center for Media and Democracy's Mary Bottari was interviewed for the project on the role that ALEC played in shaping the Walker agenda. "People really need to pay attention to this and start bird-dogging these institutions, these legislators and these corporations and taking back their democracy," Bottari said of ALEC.
Confronted with a report by ProgressVA stating that through the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) corporate lobbyists get access to legislators "behind closed doors," ALEC politician Bill Howell dismissed the claim and told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that all ALEC meetings were open to the public.
That would be breaking news to both traditional press and the online media that have been blocked from ALEC meetings and are increasingly being threatened with arrest.
Contrary to most press accounts, there was a decisive winner in the Iowa caucuses last night, and it was neither Rick Santorum nor Mitt Romney. The "winner" was the so-called "Super" PACs (political action committees), the mutant front groups for political candidates that were "created" in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court's 5-4 decision that unleashed corporations and billionaires to spend unlimited money influencing elections.