Dec
01
2011

Media Justice and the 99 Percent Movement

How net neutrality helped Occupy Wall Street

It all started with one message posted on a blog on July 13, 2011. The magazine Adbusters, a not-for-profit, reader-supported, 120,000-circulation magazine that combats corporate consumerism, issued a call: “On September 17, we want to see 20,000 people flood into lower Manhattan, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street for a few months. Once there, we shall incessantly repeat one simple demand in a plurality of voices.” On September 17, a thousand people marched to Wall Street, and then hundreds stayed to occupy Liberty Plaza in New York’s Financial District. Even after a solid two weeks of […]

Oct
01
2011

Media Monopoly Revisited

The 20 corporations that dominate our information and ideas

The introduction of the original 1983 edition of The Media Monopoly, Ben Bagdikian’s classic investigation of media consolidation, concluded: “When 50 men and women, chiefs of their corporations, control more than half the information and ideas that reach 220 million Americans, it is time for Americans to examine the institutions from which they receive their daily picture of the world.” When the second edition was released in 1987, the number of people controlling half the media was down to 26. By 1993, as the last edition went to print, the number had fallen to 20. To arrive at these alarming […]

Feb
18
2011

David Swanson on military budget, Aram Roston on Bloomberg

By

Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The federal budget is big news this week, but while your hearing all the calls for cuts, cuts and more cuts, ask yourself, what isn’t considered an acceptable target for substantive reductions? Here’s a hint: it accounts for more than half of the country’s public spending. We’ll talk about the budget with activist and author David Swanson. Also on CounterSpin today, public interest groups and media activists of all stripes lined up to oppose the Comcast-NBC merger. And among the coalition of anti-merger activists was... Bloomberg, the media company owned by New York City […]

Feb
01
2011

Tangling the Net

Leading papers muddle ‘net neutrality’ debate

FCC logo

At a time dominated by headlines about the economy and ultra-partisan politics, a critical debate has been kept out of the spotlight—though its consequences could alter American social, political, economic and cultural life for decades. On December 21, the Federal Communications Commission voted to enact controversial “net neutrality” rules establishing new federal oversight of Internet service providers (ISPs). Net neutrality, the founding anti-discrimination principle of the Internet, asserts all online information should be treated equally by ISPs. As with most telecommunication policy debates, the one surrounding this vote is complicated, with many activists skeptical of the new regulations’ ability to […]

Dec
01
2010

Suing Your Readers for Spite and Profit

Copyright suits final hope or last gasp of print media?

Righthaven LLC has emerged from the ongoing meltdown of the newspaper industry with a new business model: sue the hell out of every person who reprints, in part or in full, any article without the express consent of the article’s copyright owner. From March through November 2010, Righthaven has filed over 160 suits against individual bloggers, Web domain registrants and non-profits such as Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and the Second Amendment Foundation, as well as political organizations and candidates. Suits brought by Righthaven have three key […]

Mar
19
2010

Jemima Pierre on Haiti, Megan Tady on TV Wars

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The network camera crews have mostly packed up and gone home, but the political fights over reconstruction and rebuilding in Haiti are only just getting started. University of Texas professor Jemima Pierre was part of a delegation that recently visited Haiti, and she wrote about what she saw for The Nation. She'll join us to talk about what she found, and where the Haiti story is headed next. Also on the show: Media technology can put more control in consumers' hands over the gathering and sharing of information and entertainment. But some folks would […]

Mar
01
2010

Inside the TV Wars

The battles to watch over what you can watch

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/bennthewolfe

The real fight to watch isn’t on television—Conan vs. Leno, Olbermann vs. O’Reilly. Rather, it’s about television, and the future of online video—a fight that pits cable and content companies against consumers. Instead of being glued to our favorite shows, we’d be wise to pay attention to the various battles, mergers and backroom deals happening between big media corporations who are trying desperately to cling to a sinking broadcast media model—and pull the public down with them. Cable and broadcast companies see the writing on the wall, and it no longer spells “media empire.” Although a majority of Americans are […]

Dec
01
2009

The Wright Stuff

Robert Wright--Photo Credit: CNN/Steve Pyke

Robert Wright, the CEO of NBC, spoke at the National Press Club on January 24, providing a revealing glimpse into the thinking of one of the people at the top of the TV industry. One surprise was that for someone in such a powerful position, he sure does feel sorry for himself. Here’s a sample: In recent years, our competitors in cable, radio and just this past December the satellite industry have been deregulated. But the rules governing the broadcast industry have barely changed in 50 years.... The result is that today broadcasters find themselves in the 21st Century Web-based […]