"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
NBC has hired a PR firm that specializes in crisis management to help deflect mounting criticism over its decision to carry hard-liquor ads. Shepardson, Stern & Kaminsky will help the network fend off criticism from groups like the American Medical Association, which recently ran a full-page ad in the New York Times, saying that NBC has "let down America's children."
Rick Berman started ConsumerFreedom.com with $900,000 from the Philip Morris tobacco company. He is waging a corporate-funded smear campaign against public health, environmental and animal welfare organizations and the non-profit foundations that fund them.
The stranglehold that a dozen giant corporations now exert on media in the US will tighten even more in the wake of a federal court ruling. The ill effects of corporate media control such as mind numbing content, self-censorship to serve advertisers, neglect of minority opinions and dissent, sensationalized if-it-bleeds-it-leads news, plagiarism of PR as 'news,' are all set to worsen. Schiesel and Carter write in the New York Times, "Investment bankers, start your engines.
For $15,000, Canada's "Business Television" program will produce a puff piece about a company's "philosophy and future vision," "innovative aspects" and "specific products or services, as well as successes and challenges." It will broadcast the show as news, without any information in the credits to inform viewers that money has changed hands.
"Proving that irony is alive and well post-Sept. 11," observe Steve Rendall and Peter Hart, "a book deriding the national press corps for its flagrant liberal bias has been the subject of enormous attention in the same mainstream media that, the book argues, suppress conservative views." In their critical review of Bernard Goldberg's book, Bias, they note that "right-wing media watchdogs ...