Tag Archives: New York Times

The Digital Divide

television-with-antenna

 

With the looming Feb. 17 analog-to-digital conversion deadline for television sets just a month away, an estimated 19 million Americans are still going it old school, according to former Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairmen William Kennard and Michael Powell. In a New York Times op-ed published over the weekend, they argued that the bulk of those who have yet to convert their sets are minority, low-income or elderly people and the Federal government’s $1.3 billion plan to aid Americans in the upgrading process is poised for failure. An insufficient amount of funds were allocated for the $40 federal stipends designed to assist low-income consumers with the conversion, and a convoluted application process means none of those remaining 19 million will qualify for the coupon before the deadline. In addition, it’s suggested that manufacturers of the digital conversion boxes produced anywhere between 4 to 31 million to few. President Obama has called upon Congress to delay the conversion and the networks seem receptive to a delay. The only major anti-delay advocate appears to be current FCC chairman (and Bush appointee) Kevin Martin but MediaMyopic wouldn’t exactly call the pro-consolidation Republican a voice of moral reason. C’mon Congress, seems like a no-brainer to us.

Sweet Caroline the Leftist Palin?

Caroline Kennedy’s announcement of her interest in filling the New York Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton has opened up a Pandora’s Box of political scrutiny with her biggest criticisms strikingly similar to what the public heard about Sarah Palin, after McCain named the unknown gun-toting mom his vice presidential nominee. According to the critics, Kennedy is a princess who has never worked a 9-to-5 job. Despite hailing from the country’s most prominent political family, the pundits say she lacks experience and has peculiarly avoided the media during Governor David Paterson’s appointment process. Hmmmm, an inexperienced female political office seeker hidden from view? This does sound familiar.  After finally agreeing to talk shop with The New York Times, the paper deemed her vague and elusive. What’s more, she admitted that she seldom votes. While she stopped short of saying she doesn’t know what a senator does — perhaps learning that from the folksy Wasilla gal (wink, wink) — it was far from the entrance to the political stage that her supporters had hoped for. Unfair as it is, women are held to an even greater degree of vetting before taking political office (though, you’d never learn that from McCain); clearly defined goals, visions and voting records must be identified prior to pitching your case. We’d never put you on the same page as Palin but you have not learned from her mistakes either.

Another Bush Slap in the Face of Science

Pygmy rabbit and one of 15 known policy victims.

Above: Pygmy rabbit and one of 15 known policy victims.

With the Bush Administration’s abysmal efforts on global warming and climate change (i.e. politics trumping science) it should come as little surprise to learn that the Interior Department has discovered that measures were taken by agency authorities to stymie the process of naming wildlife to the the endangered species list, with The New York Times citing former deputy assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks Julie Macdonald as the most egregious offender. Macdonald has since resigned but is accused of deleting e-mails from lobbyists and ignoring scientific information that could have placed some 15 species, including the pygmy rabbit, on the endangered list. And director of the scientific integrity program at the Union of Concerned Scientists Francesca Grifo told the Times that this behavior is merely characteristic of the Bush Administration: “Over and over again, in agency after agency, we’ve seen where special interests bump up against scientific determinations, the science is set aside.” With the public growing desensitized to the Bush Administration’s mounting number of misdeeds, let’s not allow the media to “set aside” this story, too.

The Death Of The Fourth Estate

For those of you, like myself, who have been skeptical of the soft Iraq war coverage of the last few years have had their worst fears confirmed. This week The New York Times revealed an extensive covert plot from the Pentagon that involved deploying close to 100 pseudo political ‘pundits’ with scripted pro-war propaganda aimed at controlling public opinion. And we’re not just talking about Fox News. The Times reports that these ‘pundits,’ or as the White House calls them, “message force multipliers,” infiltrated Fox, CBS, NBC, CNN, ABC and MSNBC news programs. These pundits were recruited by the Bush Administration to disseminate misleading war information and false praises of the U.S. war effort. The result is Bush’s most duplicitous breach of public trust since taking office. Gone is the watchdog role of the media, the Fourth Estate designed to safeguard our democratic virtues and keep public officials honest. If this violation of federal law, which prohibits government sanctioned covert propaganda, doesn’t warrant impeachment, then clearly the system is broken. If you care about safeguarding the integrity of information flow, act now and tell Congress that this is unacceptable.

Corruption Bully a Softy for ‘Cheap’ Sex

The anti-corruption bully of New York has proven, once again, that Democrats prefer sex scandals over fiscal scandals. Speaking at a press conference earlier today, Governor Eliot Spitzer admitted his involvement in an extensive prostitution ring. According to the New York Times, court documents name Spitzer in the Emperors Club VIP ring — a club that charges up to $5,500 an hour for its whores. The extent of his involvement, at this point, remains unclear. What politicians do in their private lives doesn’t concern me — and shouldn’t concern you — but this behavior is problematic, particularly in a presidential election year, because the right-wing spin doctors are standing by with their appeals of moral majority and family ‘values.’ Thankfully, Spitzer  isn’t running a presidential campaign but incidents like these only fuel the fire of the right.

Monopoly Under FCC’s Tree

No, we’re not talking about the board game from Hasbro. This is real life and it’s real serious. Just before the holiday, the FCC voted 3-2 (with Republicans obviously in favor) to lift a 30-year old ban on federal law that prevented conglomerates from owning both print media and radio/television networks within the same zip code; meanwhile dismissing testimony from packed public hearings nationwide. In fact, Kevin Martin suggested it was never up for debate when he submitted an op-ed to the New York Times prior to some hearing dates. A Times editorial touches upon the detrimental FCC decision and Martin’s unilateral approach to the vote. Moral of the story: Bush crony #5734 paid off by big business to serve the interest of big business.