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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


By Brad Friedman on 3/31/2010 3:13pm PT  

Sorry this took a few days to get posted. Have been busy. As noted last week, on Saturday I made my third appearance in as many years at the annual "L.A. Media Reform Summit" sponsored by CA Common Cause. It was again held at Occidental College, and I was honored to serve as their keynote speaker for the first time this year.

Below is the video of my full speech, in which I discussed the serious crisis we now face as our corporate mainstream media hit full fail mode. That point, as I argued, is exemplified by 1) the massive failures of the old "dead tree" media to meet their constitutional responsibilities to help protect the public from bad guys (as illustrated by the NYTime's months of damaging and flagrant misreporting on the ACORN "Pimp" Hoax, as we've been covering at The BRAD BLOG for months), and 2) the full, rightwing take-over of nearly every inch of the public's broadcast spectrum by a handful of corporations that do not meet their FCC license obligations to manage those airwaves in the public's interest (as we've been covering at The BRAD BLOG and elsewhere for years).

I also discussed your responsibility in doing something about both of those serious problems!

The video is posted below the fold, since it's about 40 minutes in all, and might otherwise get interupted by the main page's auto-refresh routines. Enjoy. And get to work!...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




'Without freedom of the airwaves, there's no freedom of the press'...
By Brad Friedman on 10/14/2009 8:35pm PT  

Alternet has just published my most recent op-ed article written for the Commonweal Institute (where I am a Fellow). The subject is the desperate need for media reform, particularly reform of our publicly-owned airwaves. The piece calls on Progressives to begin this most important conversation, while calling out Democrats for running away from it with their collective tails between their legs.

The article starts this way...

Our Media Need a Fair and Balanced Doctrine
Without freedom of the airwaves, there is no freedom of the press.

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.

The rightwing-dominated media's War Against Restoration of the Fairness Doctrine had been won before those who might have joined the battle were even aware there had been a first skirmish...

For more, please read, comment and/or hit recommend on the full piece at Alternet...




And the death of real talk-radio...
By Brad Friedman on 9/6/2009 12:16pm PT  


Jim White, 1936 - 2003

A few personal observations... I doubt that I'd be involved in radio at all these days myself, were it not for the many late nights, as a child, in the dark, when I should have been sleeping, listening to Jim White broadcast over the 50,000 watt KMOX blow-torch in St. Louis, MO. Back in the days when talk radio was something very different than what it has now become...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




By Sue Wilson on 8/18/2009 2:00pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Sue Wilson

On August 11, 2009, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, in a unanimous vote, became the first elected body in the United States to stand up to Hate Radio. Their resolution urges "the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to conduct a comprehensive investigation on hate speech in the media, allowing public participation via public hearings, and asks the NTIA [National Telecommunications and Information Administration] to update its 1993 report on the Role of Telecommunications in Hate Crimes."

For two years, San Francisco's Hispanic/Latino Anti-Defamation Coalition (HLADC) has been trying to get some traction on this issue. They've staged rallies against Michael Savage, worked with the Media Alliance, Common Cause and Broadcast Blues to protest hate radio, and supported the National Hispanic Media Coalition's campaign to convince the FCC and NTIA to act. But HLADC leader Aurora Grajedas saw she could better effect national change by working with her own city's board of supervisors. Acting locally is a good lesson for all activists.

Still, there is resistance to any such study, as opponents charge these groups are trying to shut down the first amendment. But let us be clear, Radio Speech is not Free Speech. I will stand by Glenn Beck's right to stand on the street corner and say illegal immigrants should be made into a new fuel called "Mexinol." I may not like it, but I stand by his right to say it. But there is a difference between shouting on the street corner and broadcasting all over the country.

Broadcasting pioneers witnessed the power of propaganda with radio Tokyo Rose, so they worked with government on two key broadcast regulations. First, to qualify for a license to broadcast on the public airwaves, stations had to serve the public interest, which became defined as local news, political debates, equal time, and a rule that said no personal attacks. Second, one person could own just 6 radio stations, nationwide. There were a lot of "street corners" in radio.

Today there are almost none...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




Two Segments, Four Guests, All Republicans...
By Brad Jacobson on 1/29/2009 3:03pm PT  

Guest blogged by Brad Jacobson of MediaBloodhound

If you're Chris Matthews and you're attempting to regain a reputation for being "fair and balanced" after famously exhibiting excitement about Barack Obama and his presidential campaign, what do you do? How about facilitating a discussion about Obama's proposed stimulus plan with two lawmakers from the same party, the Republican Party?

That's precisely what Matthews did during a segment on his January 27 edition of Hardball, inviting only Senator John Ensign (R-Nevada) and Representative Mike Pence, the House Republican Conference Chair, to discuss the plan.


Not enough?...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




Or, The Return of Fairness...
By Brad Friedman on 1/21/2009 1:47pm PT  

Promises on the campaign trail are one thing, as are position statements posted on one's campaign website. But positions posted at Whitehouse.gov by a President are quite another and raise the bar, as far as I'm concerned, in regard to holding feet to the fire for any particular promise, statement, or posted position.

Thus, while perusing President Barack Obama's new White House website last night, there was much I found of interest. There was a bit, here and there, on issues of Election Reform --- particularly of note to this site, of course --- which I'm sure I'll get to in a bit. But, for the moment, this comment from the "Technology" page caught my eye, as posted in the section titled "Ensure the Full and Free Exchange of Ideas through an Open Internet and Diverse Media Outlets" [italics mine]...

Encourage Diversity in Media Ownership: Encourage diversity in the ownership of broadcast media, 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.

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




Milwaukee's Dan Shelley Exposes How 'Conservative' Talkers Create Their Phony Narrative on the Publicly-Owned Airwaves...
By Brad Friedman on 12/1/2008 3:36pm PT  

This article in Milwaukee Magazine was published last week, but I only had the chance to read it today. It was written by Dan Shelley, the former news director/program manager at one of Milwaukee's largest and most powerful radio stations, WTMJ. The article offers a lot of inside skinny on how Rightwing Radio chooses its slanted topics, marches in lockstep with GOP talking points, sets up its "conservative" listeners as victims, and shuts out all but the most artfully selected opposing viewpoints.

Shelley points to the popular Charlie Sykes, who hosts one of the shows he'd produced for years at WTMJ, and some others by way of examples of how the scam works.

"There is no way to win a disagreement with Charlie Sykes," writes Shelley. "Calls from listeners who disagree with him don’t get on the air if the show’s producer, who generally does the screening, fears they might make Charlie look bad. I witnessed several occasions when Sen. Russ Feingold, former Mayor John Norquist, Mayor Tom Barrett or others would call in, but wouldn’t be allowed on the air."

I'll take this moment to mention, yet again, that this is all being done on the publicly owned airwaves, which we grant license to out of the kindness of our public hearts, and which the wingnuts enjoy as public welfare queens to bludgeon Americans into voting against their own self-interest.

There's a reason guys like Hannity, Limbaugh and O'Reilly are so frightened of some form of restoration of the Fairness Doctrine. It's not because it would remove them from the air, as they like to lie about to their listeners, but because it would actually require them to be fair by carrying opposing viewpoints. Ya know, that balance thing you've heard so much about on Fox "News" where they're just kidding about it. If they weren't kidding about it, why would they be so terrified about restoring what Reagan did away with in 1987, which then allowed for the Hannitys, Limbaughs and O'Reillys to go on air, on virtually every single station, in every single market, to freely lie to the public via its own airwaves?...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




Didn't Mention that Night is Day, But May as Well Have
His Guests from 'Both Sides' Agree With Him, Of Course...
By Brad Friedman on 6/10/2008 11:21am PT  

Black is white. Up is down. And it's those calling for media reform who are "fascists" and "pose a danger" to this country according to Fox "News" entertainer clown Bill O'Reilly. Yes, that's what he claimed during the coverage of last weekend's National Conference for Media Reform in Minneapolis.

Happily, O'Reilly was able to find two "Fair and Balanced" guests, rightwing pawn Mary Katherine Hamm of Townhall.com and Fox's own "non-Rightwinger" Juan Williams (who has, clearly, enjoyed his fill of delicious Republicanist-flavored Fox "News" kool-aid over the years) to agree with him. Go figure.

There is more to comment on in this clip, than I possibly can, and still have time to prepare for guest hosting the Peter B. Collins' radio show again later today. But I hope to speak more about this on air with one of my scheduled guests, Greg Mitchell of Editor & Publisher, author of the new book, So Wrong for So Long: How the Press, The Pundits --- and the President --- Failed on Iraq ...


BTW, contrary to O'Reilly's and guests' claims that those of us who favor corporate media reform wish to shut out "Conservative" voices, when I guest host I regularly try to include such voices, as on today's show, for example, when one of my first guests will be Ron Prentice of the California Family Council and the "Protect Marriage Coalition." His group is sponsoring the "California Marriage Protection Act" [PDF] ballot initiative this November, which would amend the state Constitution to ban same-sex marriage here. I look forward to the conversation on the air later today.




Defends Bush for Appeasement Comments, Doesn't Even Know What He's Defending
Unfortunately, He's Just One of Many...
By Brad Friedman on 5/15/2008 5:54pm PT  

Wow, and this guy, Kevin James, actually gets paid to do a radio show, on the public airwaves, in Los Angeles. While progressive talkers, who actually know what the hell they're talking about, get shut out by the corporate megalopolies sucking off the goodwill teat of Government largess, allowing them to use our airwaves for free. Go figure.

No doubt, this is the very type of clueless wingnut to whom conservative icon Richard Viguerie referred yesterday, when he charged this bunch has destroyed both the Conservative Movement and the Republican party. [UPDATE: Viguerie was my guest on Friday, when I filled in to Guest Host the Peter B. Collins Show. You can listen to the interview now online here.]

Unfortunately, there are millions of Kevin James' in America right now. Which is, in no small part, why we're in the mess we're in. Glad to see one of 'em get outed, and face the public humiliation they deserve for a change. Behold...





'We're talking about remodeling the furniture in the house, while the house is burning down'...
By Brad Friedman on 4/2/2008 6:35am PT  

As mentioned last Friday, over the weekend, I spoke at CA Common Cause's "Media Reform Conference" out in Pasadena. The panel discussion, "Have the media undermined our democracy?" included myself, along with Congresswoman Hilda Solis (D-CA), Alex Nogales of National Hispanic Media Coalition, Jonathan Taplin of USC Annenberg School of Comm. and Kevin Uhrich of the Pasadena Weekly. It was moderated by Tracy Westen of the Center for Governmental Studies.

The short video of my opening remarks, naming names and doing what I do, along with my comments on the panel --- naming still more names and still doing what I do --- during the Q&A section, follows below. Text transcript (courtesy of VelvetRevolution's Emily Levy), follows below that...


Text transcript of the remarks follows below...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




Replaced With Spanish Music Station
As KLSD in San Diego Hangs on by a Thread...
By Brad Friedman on 10/18/2007 4:26pm PT  

Austin's Air America affiliate went off the air late last night (early this morning). The website for KOKE 1600-AM is also gone without explanation left behind.

The blog, Liberal Talk Radio, has a few details.

Thanks to "RFKin2008," who also has more thoughts, for the heads up.

In the meantime, AM 1360 KLSD in San Diego hangs on by a thread. And, aside from Mike Gravel, not a single Democratic Presidential candidate, that we're aware of, has said or done anything about the next likely casualty of media deregulation (Bill Clinton) and the abolishment of the Fairness Doctrine (Ronald Reagan), which will leave America's sixth largest city without a progressive talk radio station during a Presidential Election year.

Disgraceful.




But Will the 'Fairness Doctrine' Ever Return to Bring Real Fairness and Balance Back to the American Media Landscape?
RELATED-ISH UPDATE: Sen. Norm Coleman Injured 'Dumpster Diving'!
By Brad Friedman on 1/29/2007 12:26pm PT  

Blogged by Brad from on the road...

Melinda Henneberg at HuffPo reports Air America Radio, currently under bankruptcy protection, will be bailed out by a new investor. As well, she reports that Al Franken is officially leaving to explore a bid for the U.S. Senate up in Minnesota. (But who is funnier? Franken or his expected Republican opponent, Sen. Norm Coleman? Tough call.0 UPDATE: Since asking the aforementioned question, as if the gods wished to underscore it, see this just-in hilarious Coleman-related story.)

Perhaps without the need to cover Franken's large salary --- his noon-3pm ET show slot is expected to be filled by our friend, the good Thom Hartmann --- AAR's top-down business model, which has crippled them from the beginning, may be eased a bit and bring a chance for profitability to the only large non-Rightwing media outlet of note.

Of course, with media monster Clear Channel putting AAR onto stations with some of the weakest signals in many of the major markets --- in our estimation, in order to limit their feasibility in such markets and keep other stations with stronger signals from carrying AAR programming --- it could still be an uphill climb.

On a related note: We're currently in Phoenix where we'll be Guest Hosting The Peter B. Collins Show later this week. The indie-owned Air America affiliate station out here, 1480 KPHX (flagship station for the new Nova M Radio network), is very difficult to pick up cleanly after sundown, even just on the outskirts of the city.

If the Fairness Doctrine ever returns --- as may be introduced soon in the Congress --- perhaps such stations and non-Rightwing programming will be given a legitimate shot to compete on a level playing field with their Republican-owned counterparts. They've not been allowed such a fair and balanced shot since Reagan dissolved the Fairness Doctrine in 1987 in order to make way for the Republican-owned media take-over of our public airwaves.

The disastrous decision --- along with subsequent vetoes by both Reagan and Bush I of Congressionally-passed legislation to restore fairness and balance to the publicly-owned airwaves --- has had an inestimably negative impact on America and our once-respected position of leadership in the world.




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