Dumbing Down

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-01-2004
Dumbing Down
85
Tue, 06-08-2010 - 4:50pm

In a recent commencement address, Obama worried about too much information being available via the Internet.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 10-01-2004
In reply to: galanie
Wed, 06-16-2010 - 5:40am

Obama vs. press freedom

By Dick Morris - 06/15/10 05:22 PM ET



Jon Leibowitz, the chairman of Obama’s Federal Trade Commission, is at the epicenter of a quiet movement to subsidize news organizations, a first step toward government control of the media. In our book, 2010: Take Back America — A Battle Plan, we reported that he had commissioned a study to examine plans for a federal subsidy for news organizations. Among the measures under consideration are special tax treatment, exemption from antitrust laws and changes in copyright laws.


Now Leibowitz has begun to pounce. A May 24 working paper on “reinventing” the media proposes that the government impose fees on websites such as the Drudge Report that link to news websites or that it tax consumer electronics such as iPads, laptops and Kindles. Funds raised by these levies would be redistributed to traditional media outlets.


















While Leibowitz distanced himself from the proposals for the taxes, calling them “a terrible idea,” his comments appear to be related only to the levies proposed in the working paper. Nobody is commenting on the other part of his proposal — a subsidy for news organizations.


By now, the Obama MO should be clear to all. As he has done with the banks, AIG and the car companies, he extends his left hand offering subsidies and then proffers his right laden with regulations. Should the government follow through on Leibowitz’s ideas and enact special subsidies and tax breaks for news organizations, it will induce a degree of journalistic dependence on the whims of government not seen since the days when the early presidents bestowed government advertising on favored periodicals.


Is it too difficult to imagine that the Democrats might pass laws favoring news organizations, only to question — as former White House communications director Anita Dunn did — whether or not Fox News is a news organization or an “arm of the Republican Party”? We can see a future in which news media are reluctant to be too partisan or opinionated for fear that they would endanger their public subsidy.


Once such a subsidy is extended to news organizations, every company in the business must have it. Otherwise, the competitive advantage for the subsidized companies would prove too steep an obstacle to overcome.


In all the attention that has been given to the idea of an Internet tax on news aggregation sites and on tech equipment — trial balloons that would obviously be shot down — very little attention has been focused on the expenditure side of the proposal — the subsidy of news organizations.


But The Wall Street Journal reported six months ago that Leibowitz had commissioned a study to determine “whether the government should aid struggling news organizations which are suffering from a collapse in advertising revenues as the Internet upends their centuries-old business model.” Among the steps under consideration are changing “the way the industry is regulated, from making news-gathering companies exempt from antitrust laws to granting them special tax treatment to making changes to copyright laws.”






















These are exactly the kind of subsidies that could and would trigger government oversight and control.


Look at how radio stations squirm when their licenses are up for renewal before the FCC. We can imagine news organizations pulling their punches in order not to antagonize the hand that feeds them.


The Leibowitz study, and the subsidy proposals that are likely to emerge from it, represent a chilling threat to the First Amendment and to our civil liberties.

Morris, a former adviser to Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and President Bill Clinton, is the author of Outrage, Fleeced and Catastrophe. To get all of his and Eileen McGann’s columns for free by e-mail or to order a signed copy of their latest book, 2010: Take Back America — A Battle Plan, go to dickmorris.com. In August, Morris became a strategist for the League of American Voters, which is running ads opposing the president’s healthcare reforms.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-01-2004
In reply to: galanie
Tue, 06-15-2010 - 9:28am

Controlling the media. . .tool of despots:



By Esteban Israel


World


CARACAS (Reuters) - The fugitive boss of Venezuela's opposition Globovision television station accused socialist President Hugo Chavez on Monday of ordering his arrest to stifle his criticism of the government.


Authorities in the OPEC nation issued a warrant for Guillermo Zuloaga and raided his house on Friday, accusing him of illegally storing new vehicles last year for speculative purposes. He was not home at the time.


Zuloaga said in a telephone call to Globovision from an undisclosed location that the charges were politically motivated and he was the victim of a witch hunt.


"We have been viciously attacked again by the government for the sole purpose of trying to silence us," he said. "I have come to the conclusion that handing myself in would do no good for the country, for Globovision, or for my family."


Zuloaga was detained for a few hours in March after criticizing Chavez at a media conference in Aruba. The attorney general said then he was being investigated for possible crimes of giving false information and offending the president.


He faces between one and five years in prison if convicted of usury in the new case. That warrant is linked to a 2009 case in which Zuloaga was accused of illegally storing 24 new Toyota vehicles to manipulate prices.


Globovision is often described as operating like an opposition political party, offering outspoken criticism of Chavez as well as a venue for politicians to gain exposure.


The station is the last main Venezuelan channel to hold its editorial line. One station, RCTV, was taken off the air in 2007 when Chavez refused to renew its concession after it supported a short-lived coup against him in 2002. Other networks toned down their opposition after the coup to avoid reprisals.


The government has brought several legal cases against opposition politicians, prompting some to flee the country.


Venezuelan authorities also took over the mid-sized Banco Federal -- which has links to Globovision -- citing liquidity problems and risk of fraud.


(Writing by Daniel Wallis; editing by Chris Wilson)

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2010
In reply to: galanie
Tue, 06-15-2010 - 3:07am

Good stuff.


iVillage Member
Registered: 11-10-2006
In reply to: galanie
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 2:58pm

>>>Hey, Obama said he would close Gitmo in 1 year, I guess I can firmly dismiss everything else he says as a lie from then on. Thanks.


Excellent point!

 


 


 


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-04-2001
In reply to: galanie
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 2:01pm

Hearings tomorrow.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2010
In reply to: galanie
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 3:04am

Oh, here's another gem:


iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2010
In reply to: galanie
Mon, 06-14-2010 - 2:55am
Conservatives have been rightly worried that the Obama administration would target the 2nd Amendment and try to take away our gun rights."

The very first sentence isn't true. Why should I believe anything that comes after?



iVillage Member
Registered: 03-02-2009
In reply to: galanie
Sun, 06-13-2010 - 9:00pm

Do you disagree that both liberal and conservative media seek to distract?


That's an overly generalized question. Distract from what to what?


But I do think that it is a long standing strategy of many politicians to distract from their real intentions. Such as wanting tax increases to help the "little guy", when their real intention is to give themselves more power and control over people's lives, as well as securing votes.

"Resist, we much. We must, and we much. About that, be committed."

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-13-2009
In reply to: galanie
Sun, 06-13-2010 - 8:36pm

Nope, no censorship, but go back to the op. Obama's commencement speech was about being a good education being able to deduce information from noise.

Do you disagree that both liberal and conservative media seek to distract?

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-01-2004
In reply to: galanie
Sun, 06-13-2010 - 3:49pm
I think only "journalists/news casters" who feel a tingle run up and down their leg when they hear Obama speak can count on a subsidy!

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