Monday, April 11, 2005

Odds & ends: the media, torture jet, the Patriot Act

Liang e-mailed to note this from Danny Schechter's News Dissector:

Jeff Chester, executive director, Center for Digital Democracy reports "The ideologically driven majority on the board of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) now has the perfect apparatchik to run its zealous campaign to promote conservative/GOP-approved public broadcasting programming. Ken Ferree is now its "acting president." That spells trouble for those who care about the fate of PBS and NPR--with a capital F.
"Ferree was the key aide to FCC Chairman Michael Powell on media policy. As head of the FCC's Media Bureau until March of this year, Ferree delivered to Powell--as he will deliver to his new boss, CPB Chair Kenneth Tomlinson--whatever was required to advance ideological interests. Ferree helped engineer the Commission's 2003 rules on media ownership that swept away what little was left of restraints on the conglomerates. More importantly, he supported policies that undermined the rights of viewers and listeners--and citizens--to a media system that fosters discourse, creative expression and democracy. "

Eddie notes Katrina vanden Heuvel's Editor's Cut from Friday:

On Monday, Montana became the fifth state to officially condemn the USA Patriot Act. Joining Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, and Vermont--not to mention more than 375 local governments--Montana's state legislature passed the strongest statewide resolution against the Patriot Act yet, according to the ACLU. In an overwhelming bipartisan consensus, Montana's House of Delegates voted to approve Senate Joint Resolution 19--which discourages state law enforcement agencies from cooperating in investigations that violate Montanans' civil liberties--88 to 12. Earlier this year, the resolution passed in the state Senate 40 to 10.
"I've had more mail on this bill than on any other, and it's 100 percent positive," said House Member Brady Wiseman (D-Bozeman). Republican Rick Maedje (R-Fortine) said the resolution "protects our states' rights and is what true Republicans in every 'red state' should be doing."

If you haven't heard, the New York Times is shuffling the schedules for their op-ed columnists (which is why Maureen Dowd and Thomas Friedman weren't in yesterday's paper). Betty uses that as a jumping off point for the latest installment in her continuing parody Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man:

My husband Thomas Friedman says, "The world is going to hell in an Enstrom's gift basket!"He has been furuious all morning and yelling and screaming things like, "The New York Times is the Hillary Duff of the global village attempting to pass itself off as the Meryl Streep!" I have never seen Thomas Friedman so mad.

I'd also urge people to check out Jeffrey St. Clair's "Torture Air, Incorporated" from CounterPunch:

A sleek Gulfstream V jet with the tail number N379P has racked up more international miles than most passenger jets. Since October 2001, this plane has been spotted in some of the world's most exotic and forbidding airports: Tashkent, Uzbekistan; Karachi, Pakistan, Baku, Azerbaijan, Baghdad, Iraq, and Rabat, Morocco.
It has also frequently landed at Dulles International, outside Washington, DC and enjoys clearance to land at US military air bases in Scotland, Cyprus and Frankfurt, Germany. Observers around the world have noticed men in hoods and chains being taken on and off the jet.
The plane is owned by a company called Bayard Marketing, based in Portland, Oregon. According to FAA records, Bayard's lone corporate officer is a man called, Leonard T. Bayard. There is no contact information available for Bayard. Indeed, there's no public record of Bayard at all. No residential address. No telephone numbers. Nothing.
In fact, Bayard Marketing is a dummy corporation and Leonard Bayard is a false identity. They were both created by the CIA to conceal an operation launched after the attacks of September 11, 2001 to kidnap suspected terrorists and transport them to foreign governments where they could be interrogated using methods outlawed in the United States ­ that is, tortured and sometimes killed.

Lastly, we'll note this from Extra! (the magazine put out by FAIR), "Fear & Favor 2004 — FAIR's Fifth Annual Report: How power shapes the news" by Peter Hart and Julie Hollar.
It's informative and worth reading. Here's an overview paragraph from the article:

The Fear & Favor report is an attempt to illustrate this growing encroachment on journalism with real examples that have been made public--not an exhaustive list by any means, but a reminder that such pressures exist, and that reporters serve the best interests of citizens and the journalistic profession by coming forward with their own accounts.

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