Tag Archives: fourth estate

Media Response to the Growing Influence of the 9/11 Truth Movement, Part II

By Elizabeth Woodworth

Part II: A Survey of Attitude Change in 2009-2010


In the past year, in response to emerging independent science on the 9/11 attacks, nine corporate, seven public, and two independent media outlets aired analytic programs investigating the official account.  Increasingly, the issue is treated as a scientific controversy worthy of debate, rather than as a “conspiracy theory” ignoring science and common sense.

This essay presents these media analyses in the form of 18 case studies.

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Venezuela Launches English Newspaper

By Eva Golinger

Saludos Friends of Venezuela!

Our Correo del Orinoco International – English Edition for the week of January 29, 2010 is now available! Click here for a digital version of Venezuela’s first and only English-language weekly newspaper. This edition will be distributed in print for free in Venezuela on Friday, January 29, as an insert in the Correo del Orinoco en español, our sister publication.

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GMO article goes viral

By Rady Ananda

Well, this is fun. After five years of research, writing and ‘rithmatic, a piece of mine went truly viral. Global Report produced this 2-min news video:

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Is OEN Dying?

By Rady Ananda

Since the literary bloodbath on May 24, 2009, when OpEdNews.com banned 30 of its most popular radical writers, readers continue to abandon the site. Last month, OEN saw a nadir of 83,503 unique visitors – a stat on par with its 2005 inception readership. This is down 70% from last year’s zenith of 280,000 visitors. Continue reading

The Tossed Shoe Award

dying MSM (468 x 322)By Robert C. Koehler

Businesses exist to serve the general welfare. Profit is the means, not the end. It is the reward a business receives for serving the general welfare. When a business fails to serve the general welfare, it forfeits its right to exist.

Do Adam Smith’s famously forgotten words of caution for capitalists apply to journalism? Is this why, when I go to the newsstand these days, I see my city’s two great newspapers sitting there like twin anorexics, panhandling (I mean pandering) for quarters?

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Just HOW Wanky Are TED Lectures?

TED talks bioenergy cropd

By New Matilda’s Blog Watch

While many bloggers seem to regard the ongoing series of TED presentations by leaders in various fields as nuggets of divine wisdom, Blogwatch is not so sure …
Once upon a time, attending a TED talk was by invitation only. Since 1984, these Technology Entertainment Design (TED) chats have been a hot-bed of the latest thought-shower and paradigm shifting awakenings of industry leaders, academics and thinkers who are far, far smarter than you. No really.
In fact it was only recently that TED, relaunched in 2002 as an “idea-based non-profit endeavour”, decided to chop down its genius tree, build a town hall and let the masses in. Now TED (“Ideas Worth Spreading”) can be viewed online for free, as pithy 15-minute keynote addresses. And doesn’t the blogosphere just love it!
Here are a couple of typically breathless endorsements:
“omg someone else who’s heard of TED talks? I LIVE for those things. Check this one out: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/vilayanur_ramachandran_on_your_mind.html”  S.C., Newton, MA
“Yeah — they’re fantastic. 20 minute bus ride = get your learn on.”  C.C, San Francisco, CA
As an outlet featuring key people doing often very interesting things in a wide range of fields, TED has apparently grown in the minds of many bloggers into a kind of oracle.
Paul Sheehan, whose recent rant in the Sydney Morning Herald suggested Google was a new religion, should probably check out the competition. The aura surrounding TED presentations reminds Blogwatch of the demagoguery of old time revivalism. Down the left-hand-side of its homepage TED categorises its talks as: “Jaw Dropping, Persuasive, Courageous, Inspiring and Ingenious”.
Perhaps the best way to measure just how valid this assessment is might be to look at two particular talks which have been received quite differently in the blogging community.
A recent example over which many viewers, Blogwatch included, “got their learn on” was the unveiling of an unusual symbiosis of existing technology — a system that uses off-the-shelf products costing a total of US$350. The project is called SixthSense by its creator Pranav Mistry who works at MIT Media Lab’s Fluid Interfaces Group, and the talk was presented by senior Media Lab figure Pattie Maes.
They describe the SixthSense as “a wearable computing system that turns any surface into an interactive display screen. The wearer can summon virtual gadgets and internet data at will, then dispel them like smoke when they’re done.”
Apparently this presentation was the buzz of the annual TED Conference this year and it’s easy to see why. The device gives the wearer a digital “sixth sense”, which allows you to view additional information and suggestions or preferences according to your own sensibilities or profile in real time and in the real world.
As MIT’s Patti Maes noted, the device lets the user interact with information using hand gestures in the air, like Tom Cruise in Minority Report. Maes pioneered research into “software agents”, and she describes the approach of the Fluid Interfaces Group, which she founded and directs, saying, “We like to invent new disciplines or look at new problems, and invent bandwagons rather than jump on them.”
The reaction across the blogs to this TED talk has been mixed. While plenty of geeks out there are loving it, there’s also a type of geek who’s quicker to condemn than acclaim, criticising the clunkiness of the hardware. Against that, some more thoughtful commentators, such as Curious Raven point out that the easy availability of the hardware was a deliberate choice, to demonstrate that the amazing part — the software and the interface ideas — is well within reach.
That accessibility is also possibly why some people have a problem with it. As one commenter said, “I am deeply skeptical of machines like this because I think they make our impulse to be lazy easier to indulge.”
The talks aren’t all nearly as interesting as this one. Having gone on a bit of a TED binge and spent the last 36 hours watching TED talks, Blogwatch is unsure if many of these new ideas or wowsey-zowsey creations really are worth all the buzz. We don’t share Stefan Sagmeister’s conviction that design “can make you happy”, nor do we agree with Malcolm Gladwell that social observation “A” always explains social observation “B” in the way that Gladwell always insists it does, as he turns coincidences into circumstantial evidence and then into iron-clad conclusions.
Clearly the list of interesting people involved with TED, aka the TED Brain Trust don’t always get it right, and it’s plainly wrong to regard every one of these presentations as “jaw-dropping”. One problem could be the number of these things they put out. You can get an idea of just how many they’ve done using this handy spreadsheet. Still, many undoubtedly represent a useful addition to our general knowledge of the field under discussion.
If the SixthSense gizmo was the classic example of a pretty well-received TED talk, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s appearance at the forum in July 2009 was an equally conspicuous example of what happens when the TED hubris does no one any favours. Brown’s speech demonstrated how the biggest weakness of the TED output is its ability to showcase guff with no application or relationship to reality.
This speech, apparently given without autocue, was essentially death by a thousand motherhood statements. Brown took the opportunity to celebrate the world we live in, its “instantaneous communication”, “capacity to find common ground … deal with injustice … Now a truly global society”. The blogosphere couldn’t get enough of Brown saluting the world they live in. The speech was peppered with anecdotes from the dark days of history: Rwanda, Ethiopia, Sudan and the Vietnam War. But Brown called on whoever was listening to realise we now have the chance to …
“We have got to create in this world also institutions for peacekeeping and humanitarian aid, but also for reconstruction and security for some of the conflict-ridden states of the world… We have the means by which we could create a truly global society…to create global institutions for the environment, and for finance, and for security and for development, that make sense of our responsibility to other peoples, our desire to bind the world together, and our need to tackle problems that everyone knows exist.”
But even frequent TED viewers and the self-regarding blogosphere couldn’t entirely ignore the irony of Brown’s performance. This one, the top comment on the TED site at the time of writing is perhaps one of the best:
“How he can stand there and talk about the importance of international institutions, when he was a key consenting figure in a government which fundamentally undermined the UN, to go to war in Iraq, is beyond me.
“How he can use images and talk about the importance of protest, when his police force have brutally put down protests and even killed innocent civilians, is beyond me.
“How he can talk about the corruption of other nations, when the UK government is going through one of its most kleptocratic stages in recent history, is beyond me.
“How he can talk about narrowing the gap between the rich and the poor, when he has presided over an economic era which has seen the gap between the rich and the poor grow, is beyond me. How people can lap up his empty, ironic speeches set to such painfully staged deliveries (you guessed it) is beyond me.
I’ll give him one thing, he, or his writers, certainly know the target audience.” Adam Hurrell (+9) Aug 14 2009
Meanwhile plenty of others agreed at least with the sentiments Brown expressed, arguing that it was more important to show support for the points raised than argue over the sincerity of the person raising them. Which is all well and good, but it does raise the question of just how valuable a talk like this is when it’s presented by someone with little credibility on the issue they’re discussing.
Blogger Steve Fisher is critical of TED but still sees hope for this type of forum.
“This year’s Gnomedex in Seattle was the ninth in its history and my fourth. I am continually blown away by the people in the crowd and on stage who provide a TED-like experience for a fraction of the price and no pretension (no invite-only BS).”
And what exactly was so inspiring?
“The guy who drives the Mars Rover (how cool is that?) showed in his closing remarks an image of Earth which was the first picture taken of our little blue marble from another planet — awesome. It got a standing ovation and took the conference to a whole new level.”
Maybe TED is a forum like any other, and its stated mission is no guarantee that it won’t be captured by people with agendas exploiting its aura to send highly targeted messages to a particular niche audience.
Maybe? More like definitely. But that just means viewers will still have to think for themselves about whether the lecture’s amazing subject is being sincerely discussed, is properly understood by the speaker, is actually new, or is even relevant to reality in any way.
And it doesn’t mean you won’t see some riveting talks there. Check out the scary one about war robots and how dodgy the whole automated military sector is becoming.
It’s jaw-dropping.

While many bloggers seem to regard the ongoing series of TED presentations by leaders in various fields as nuggets of divine wisdom, Blogwatch is not so sure …

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The Graphic Cost of Gagging Dissent

OEN 7-08 thru 7-09

By Rady Ananda

On May 24, 2009, the literary bloodbath at OpEdNews.com began. Over 30 popular writers and commenters, including this Senior Editor, were banned en masse over the next month. Anyone who identified as or agreed with COTO* suffered. Trusted author status was removed, articles were pulled off the front page, comments deleted, links jinxed.

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The Poisoned Well

poison well cropdBy Sibel Edmonds

To Drink or Not to Drink

Once upon a time an evil warlock visits a kingdom and poisons the central well with a potion that drives people mad. The next morning all who drink from that well go crazy. The queen, however, knew about this in advance, and didn’t drink from the communal well. The next day, those who drank the poisoned water came to the queen and accused her of being the crazy one. The queen, aware of what had transpired, was faced with a dilemma: drink from the well and lose her sanity like the rest of her subjects, but remain queen; or don’t drink, remain sane, but be swept from power by those who would view her very sanity as madness.

Today in our nation those who refrain from drinking from the well poisoned by the establishment witch are categorized, marginalized, and labeled mad, crazy, extremist, conspiracy theorists, and other adjectives along the same line:   Continue reading

Philippines Special Report: Under Oath, Under Threat

Witness Bob Flores says he has sacrificed nearly everything to testify against the defendants in the Dennis Cuesta murder. (CPJ/Shawn W. Crispin)

Witness Bob Flores says he has sacrificed nearly everything to testify against the defendants in the Dennis Cuesta murder. (CPJ/Shawn W. Crispin)

By Shawn W. Crispin
Audio Report: Shawn Crispin

In the Philippines, witnesses to journalist murders face extreme pressures and grave risk. The government’s protection program, while valuable, falls short of ensuring justice. 

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Fort Detrick, Quantico, DHS and Halliburton –What do they all have in common?

bigbrother cropd fixd (246 x 267)By Lori Price

They’re all monitoring the CLG.  I took a walk through the CLG visitor logs over the past thirty hours and saw numerous .gov, .mil and state visitors in the logs. I compiled some of them. Note: This is only a snapshot! *Many* were missed as I could not possibly take the time to check all them.

Well, I sure hope they enjoyed our Flu ‘Oddities’ page!

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Media Totalitarianism: Weapon of Mass Destruction

By Cathy Ceibe

An interview with Roberto Hernandez Montoya, president of the Romulo Gallegos Foundation Center for Latin American Studies (CELARG) in Venezuela.

“Media totalitarianism produces capitalist ideology, but also dangerous, even criminal, phenomena. The United States lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Media totalitarianism took up those lies to justify the invasion of the country, becoming in its turn a weapon of mass destruction. That invasion cost over a million Iraqis their lives.”

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EGYPT: Bloggers fly into security trap



By Cam McGrath

CAIRO, Jul 28 (IPS) – Cairo’s airport has been unusually busy the past month as Egypt’s security apparatus steps up its campaign against online political activists.

Several prominent Egyptian bloggers have “disappeared” from the airport’s arrivals hall, while others report suspiciously long delays that they claim were cover for state security officers to search their laptops and luggage.

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Venezuela to Transfer Private Media Concessions to Community Media



By Kiraz Janicke, Venezuela Analysis

Caracas– The head of Venezuela’s telecommunications agency (CONATEL), and minister of housing and infrastructure, Diosdado Cabello, announced on Saturday the immediate closure of 32 privately owned radio stations and 2 regional television stations, as their broadcast licenses had expired or they had violated regulations. Cabello said the recuperated licenses would be handed over to community media.

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Community Media: The Thriving Voice of the Venezuelan People

ontheairBy Liz Migliorelli and Caitlin McNulty

In Venezuela today a grass-roots movement of community and alternative media is challenging the domination of private commercial media. Community oriented, non profit, non commercial, citizen and volunteer run media outlets are a crucial part of the democratic transformation of society that is occurring throughout Venezuela. Part of this transformation is the understanding of freedom of speech as a positive and basic right. This right includes universal access to a meaningful space for communication in addition to freedom from censorship. Freedom of expression as a positive right provides universal access to the means of communication. Political Analyst Diana Raby reiterates; “the technology of modern communications has to be made accessible to all, not merely as consumers but as participants and creators.”[1] Community media is beginning to fill this role in Venezuela.

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Walter Cronkite 1916-2009

“It is increasingly clear to this reporter that the only rational way out then will be to negotiate – not as victors – but as an honorable people who lived up to their pledge to defend democracy and did the best that they could. This is Walter Cronkite, good night.”

Walter Cronkite, February 27, 1968


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