Brad Friedman's blog
(This article originally appeared at Guardian.co.uk )
It must be stated over and over again: the Fox News Channel is not a news channel.
It's a Republican party propaganda channel. As such, its first
amendment right to say whatever it likes ought to be protected, but not
its "right" to call itself "news". That's false advertising, and it
ought to be outlawed by whoever regulates such things.
Perhaps if they changed the name to the Republican News Channel (RNC for short), there would be no complaint. Until they do, however, they need to be called out by the rest of us for exactly what they are.
(This article originally appeared at Alternet.org)
Just minutes after noon, on January 20, 2009, "hope" arrived for Constitutionalists and supporters of its First Amendment. A slight, little-noticed, but exceedingly noteworthy paragraph appeared on the new Administration's White House website "Technology" page.
"Encourage diversity in the ownership of broadcast media," the paragraph began, "promote the development of new media outlets for expression of diverse viewpoints, and clarify the public interest obligations of broadcasters who occupy the nation's spectrum."
After more than a decade of private corporatization of virtually every inch of bandwidth across the public airwaves, a new day seemed to be dawning with a new Administration's indication that they might reverse years of cynical, self-serving mismanagement of the people's airwaves by a few, very large, very far-right leaning corporations who had been granted priceless government largesse in the form of broadcast licenses without the responsibility of serving the public interest in exchange.
"Hope" would be short lived. By summer, the paragraph had been quietly excised from the White House website without a trace, apology or even an explanation.
A shorter version of this article, of Op-Ed suitable length, can be found here.
Democracy's Gold Standard: Hand-Marked, Hand-Counted Paper Ballots, Publicly Tabulated at Every Polling Place in America
Last March, the country's highest court found that secret, computerized vote counting was unconstitutional. Unfortunately, the country was Germany, and the Constitution violated by e-voting systems was the one that the U.S. wrote and insisted Germans ratify as part of their terms of surrender following WWII.
As of tomorrow, the increasingly useless Washington Post will become more so. Dan Froomkin, one of the few journalists at the once-credible newspaper who bothered to do his job by investigating and asking the questions that mattered during the Bush Administration's historic gutting of America and so much of what it stands for, filed his final "White House Watch" column today. He described, today, what he does as "accountability journalism". We could use dozens more like him in the MSM.
His piece today echoes FBI whistleblower Coleen Rowley's exposé on these pages yesterday, in his description of Bush as "the proverbial emperor with no clothes". He goes on to note how, after 9/11, "the nation, including the media, vested him with abilities he didn't have and credibility he didn't deserve."
Without citizen oversight and transparency, 'faith-based' elections threaten democracy no matter where they are held...
It sounds a lot like Ohio 2004. A less than popular old-line incumbent facing massive public demonstrations against him and in favor of his main progressive challenger promising reform; polls that suggest a swell of support for the challenger; unprecedented turnout on Election Day; long lines at polling places; paper ballot shortages and names missing from voter rolls; widespread rumors, concerns, and evidence of voter intimidation and vote-rigging, all accompanied nonetheless by a general feeling among the populace that the incumbent has been turned out, only to learn from officials, late on Election Night, after secret vote counting, that the incumbent has been declared the winner of a second term.