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Another Black Face on MSNBC: Good News For Joy Ann Reid, Not So Much For The Rest of Us

A Black Agenda Radio Commentary by BAR Managing Editor Bruce A. Dixon

If Fox News is the Republican ministry of TV propaganda, MSNBC is the mouthpiece of the White House and corporate Democrats. The last real journalist in an MSNBC host spot was Phil Donahue, fired for letting antiwar lefties on the air once in a while. MSNBC must have a lot of confidence that their new host Joy Ann Reid will carry their water, and leverage her black face to carry their message to us, instead of the other way around.

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Freedom Rider: Journalists in Bed with the President

 

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

A good time was had by all at the White House correspondents’ dinner. And why not? The corporate media and the White House both serve the same masters: corporate power and U.S. empire. “Is it any wonder that the New York Times, Washington Post and all the networks ignore torture, drone strikes, mass incarceration terror, continued bankster bailouts, high unemployment and endless war?”

Freedom Rider: Justice, Not Drama, for Trayvon Martin

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

The global spotlight is shining on Sanford, Florida, where a white vigilante ended the life of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. But publicity also draws its own kind of flies. Obama apologist Al Sharpton will appear at a rally for justice for Trayvon, as will the radio huckster Michael Baisden. “Baisden must be ignored and Sharpton must be watched.”

Are Democracy Now!'s Libyan Correspondents Feeding Us the State Department and Pentagon Line on Libya?

By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Is the independent media movement's flagship radio-TV show Democracy Now! pushing the State Department and Pentagon line on Libya instead of “going where the silence is” and telling the truth without fear or favor? Are its Libyan correspondents embedded with the US-backed Libyan rebels to such an extent that they have minimized and failed to follow up persistent reports of ethnic cleansing in Libya or investigate whether alleged “mercenaries” ever existed or Khadaffi's “massacres” ever took place?

Freedom Rider: Foreclosure Fraud

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

It is senseless to expect Democrats to save the people from the worsening housing crisis, since Democrats are as culpable for the disaster as the Republicans. It was Democrats in the House and Senate that passed a bill to allow banks to bypass state law to repossess homes. President Obama only exercised a quiet “pocket veto” when it became clear that failure would spell disaster with elections only weeks away. “If predicted losses in congressional races become a reality, the Democrats bear as much blame as the Republicans.

 

The Tea Party Does Not Exist

by Anthony Dimaggio and Paul Street

The white nationalist Boogie Man that has the NAACP and the Democrats on the run isn’t a bonafide social movement, at all, but a top-down creation of media and millionaires. The Tea Party is generally drawing much smaller crowds than the leftish U.S. Social Forum, but garners far more coverage from a corporate media that portrays the phenomenon as “rising up from the grassroots against establishment politics.” All indications are that the Tea Party is poorly organized and funded at the local level.

 

Natasha Pettigrew and the Recipe for Omission

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Jared A. Ball

She was young, Black, female, a dynamic political activist and Green Party candidate for the U.S. Senate from Maryland. Yet the corporate media and even many of those Blacks that gathered to mark Natasha Pettigrew's death in a bicycle-car collision were oblivious to her political passions and commitments - a life arbitrarily edited by post-mortem omission.

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Shirley Sherrod “Sacrificed”; NAACP “Snookered”; Peace Activists Gather; Rep. Rangel Besieged – Black Agenda Radio on PRN, the Progressive Radio Network.

prn montage Aug 4, 2010

Shirley Sherrod Fallout

The Obama administration and the NAACP wound up shooting themselves in the feet when they falsely accused longtime Black rural activist and Agriculture Department official Shirley Sherrod of anti-white racism. NAACP President Ben Jealous claims he was “snookered” by the Right. But BAR's Dr. Jared Ball says the incident reveals the fundamental weaknesses of "liberalism."

Anti-War Movement Rising

In Albany, New York, 700 participants in the National Peace Conference, demanded an end to all U.S. military, economic and diplomatic aid to Israel ... The immigrant rights movement is “one of the most dynamic movements in this country, today,” said Teresa Gutierrez, of the International Action Center. Attacks emanating from the White House to Wall Street “amount to a war against immigrant workers.”

BAR’s Glen Ford, speaking as part of the Black is Back Coalition, told the conference that “breaking the Obama spell is the must-do task” for the Black Left. “President Obama’s very presence in the White House is a narcotic, a hallucinogen, that causes the traditional base of the Democratic Party to lose contact with reality.”

Rangel Twisting in Ethical Wind

Rep. Charles Rangel’s problems with the House Ethics Committee “frankly don’t mean much to this district,” says BAR columnist Margaret Kimberley, one of Rangel’s Harlem constituents. Rangel’s 40 years of seniority have not translated to “jobs for people or places for people to live,” and it is “sad for him to be going out this way.”

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Network Neutrality Should Be The Beginning, We Need Community Control Over Public Media

Cheap, fast and universally available broadband access will be as vital to community economic development in the 21st century as paved roads.  But neither universal access nor a just media propagated over those broadband channels will happen without a sharp struggle for community control over a vastly expanded and democratized public media system.  Network neutrality should be the beginning, not the end of the demands of the media justice movement.

Roland Martin, Rick Sanchez and CNN Blow Off The Real Story. Again.

by BAR managing editor Bruce Dixon

Having black reporters in the newsroom ought to make a difference in how stories are covered. But often it doesn't. The August 26 arrest of a black Brunswick GA preacher allegedly counter-protesting at a right wing demonstration against universal health care briefly made national news, mostly because there was a few seconds video of the arrest. The lesson, CNN's Roland Martin sternly warned us, was to obey the cops. You wouldn't know it from CNN or Fox, but the arrested preacher was a man with a forty year record of fruitful advocacy, and not a “counter-protestor” at all. But news and journalism nowadays are two very different things.

 

No News Is Bad News: The Death Dance of Journalism and the Twilight of Democracy

by Robert McChesney

In this 90 minute address, Dr. Robert McChesney argues that the disappearance of journalism from newspapers and broadcast media marks the twilight of democracy.  Back in the days when Frederick Douglass and other abolitionists started their newspapers, the US Postal Service was mailing them for free.  At the time, newspapers were 90% of post office volume, and accounted for 2% of its income, a massive government subsidy.  Only a massive subsidy --- a stimulus program for journalism, and stripping corporate owners of dozens and hundreds of stations that some of them own, can begin to make real democracy possible.

Tom Joyner, Steve Harvey, Tavis Smiley, and the Impoverishment of Black Media

joyner, havey, smileyby BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

When the Tom Joyner Morning Show was pulled first from Chicago, and then from other markets early this month, Joyner counseled listeners that "...black radio will never be what it once was, and there is absolutely nothing we can do about it."  This message of powerlessness and permanent defeat, of resignation to someone else owning and controlling the black conversation may be all we can expect from Joyner and the rest of the black elite.  But is it the real answer? Does it even address the crucial question of how we might have and own our own black civic conversation?

 

The Hidden History of US Broadcasting

by BAR managing editor Bruce Dixonmontage090

The US broadcast media regime, in which greedy, amoral corporations enjoy completely free monopoly licenses to run their highly profitable businesses upon the scarce public property that is the broadcast spectrum is usually presented to us as the only “natural” and sensible media order. It is, we've all been told, the benign and logical outcome of democratic give and take and rigorous competition in a free marketplace. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

The Black Stake, and All Our Stakes, in the Media Justice Movement, Part 1 of 2

by BAR Managing Editor Bruce Dixon

Mass media determine public consciousness. But in the US, where mass media are owned and operated almost entirely by and in the interest of a greedy and irresponsible corporate elite, who keep the issues of control and governance of the internet, cable, broadcast and other media off the table. Potential growth of the media justice movement into an arm of a broad and popular social movement is a clear and imminent threat to the nation's bipartisan elite. And it's the only hope for many millions of Americans currently unable to speak with or hear their own voices, or to realize their own power.

Corporate Reporters Tell Lies for a Living

 

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

The 41 signers of an open letter denouncing ABC's farcical conduct during the most recent presidential debate may have thought they were doing the right thing - but they managed to send the wrong message. Although there is no doubt that George Stephanopoulos and Charles Gibson made fools of themselves and their corporate employers in the "worst" debate of the season, the signers failed to place last week's televised travesty in the context of the rapid extinction of any semblance of professional journalism among corporate media. In expressing hope that corporate media will "return to serious journalism" during the general election debates, the letter gives the impression that last week's debacle was an aberration - when, in fact, nonsense and lies posing as "news" has become the norm.

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