"The campaign for the 'professionalization' of radio is surreptitiously removing community voices from the dial," reports Tracy Jake Siska.
ABC, CBS and NBC all decided not to carry President Bush's speech live at 8 Monday night. "They said yesterday that they made this call because the White House never asked them to carry the speech live," reports the Washington Post. "But the White House said it did not put in the usual formal request because it wanted to keep the American public from thinking we were going to war." However, the fact that we are going to war did manage to register with a few pundits.
Ever since TV talking head Paula Zahn jumped to CNN from Fox News Channel last fall, her former employers have badmouthed her relentlessly. "The jibes are sometimes brutal, sometimes humorous and once even profane," writes David Bauder. "The underlying message seems clear: It's not wise to cross Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes." In an interview, Ailes compared Zahn to a "dead raccoon." Radio shock jock Erich "Mancow" Muller, a vassal of the Fox empire, called her a "knucklehead" and said, "I just want to punch her in the face. ... I'll kill you, Paula. We will kill you, Paula."
Bob Somerby examines recent media furor over three detained Muslim medical students in Florida and shows how "little lies" can be used to make the innocent look guilty of larger things. After the three students were arrested, the media widely broadcast a false claim by police that the students had illegally blown through a toll booth without paying the toll. "Over and over, pundits and reporters repeated the charge that one of the students' two cars blew through the toll," Somerby writes. "The assertion was used to build suspicion that the men were up to no good. ...
No one really knows what police tipster Eunice Stone heard Ayman Gheith and two other Arab-American medical students saying at a Shoney's restaurant in Georgia. The evidence now suggests that the whole sorry episode was based on a misunderstanding, but that hasn't stopped pundits from simply assuming that the medical students were perpetrating a deliberate hoax. "Almost uniformly, the cable press corps simply assumed that Gheith and his colleagues had behaved inappropriately," writes Bob Somerby.
PR Watch editors Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber are among the supporters of a new activist coalition that aims to promote critical thinking about today's corporate-dominated mass media and encourage democratic reforms.
The maker of Sam Adams beer is following the standard PR script for crisis management and offering a public apology for encouraging people to have sex in public places, including St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York.
"After learning that some celebrities who talked on its news programs about their health problems were being paid by drug companies, CNN has issued a new policy and will tell viewers about the stars' financial ties to corporations," New York Times' Melody Petersen writes. In an August 11 Times article, Petersen revealed the widespread testimonial practice. Petersen reports stars like Lauren Bacall and Kathleen Turner "had been paid to help promote drugs or other medical products" on network morning "news" programs.
The American Civil Liberties Union is denouncing the Bush administration's "surreal" decision to channel Operation TIPS calls to FOX-TV's "America's Most Wanted" program. "It's a completely inappropriate and frightening intermingling of government power and the private sector," said ACLU's Rachel King.