Tag Archives: Obama

MediaMyopic Collaborates With CTT

Since the start of the semester typically signals a less prolific blog here at MediaMyopic, I want to alert you to a new collaboration with Georgetown University’s gnovis Journal. The peer-reviewed blog through the University’s Communication, Culture & Technology program will feature bi-weekly posts from MediaMyopic. The site is a commendable platform and offers a solid mix of diverse, academic viewpoints concerning today’s culture and media environment. While MediaMyopic will continue to serve its mission, I encourage everyone to support the gnovis blog and tune in to its salient discussions. Below is an exceprt from my first post:

Remember the days when we elected politicians who didn’t know how to e-mail? While some candidates think they can still get by with rhetoric from the Stone Age (McCain, anyone?), those days of the not-so-technologically-savvy president are gone, thanks to Barack Obama’s administration. The Blackberry-toting Obama marks the country’s first president to adopt e-mail, despite the technology going mainstream some two decades ago. As a result of Obama’s Web 2.0 White House, we have a president eager to communicate through mediums neglected by past presidents and — for the first time in my generation — Americans have lent their ears to our new leader..Read On

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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.

With a Plunger and a Pen

Armed with a plunger and pen, Joe the Plumber is now an official ‘journalist,’ according to today’s definition, which includes anybody and everybody. Samuel Wurzelbacher, a conservative, uninformed American turned pop culture icon during the charades of the ’08 election, will now be penning articles covering conflict on the Gaza Strip, as an Israel-based war ‘correspondent’ for right-leaning website PajamasTV — a news outlet spouting the tired argument of liberal media bias. A propaganda pawn for McCain, Joe was not in fact a plumber but a tax-owning business owner. Now he’s asking the public to take him seriously as a professional journalist. Here’s the shorthand: ignorant everyman who publically suggests Obama is anti-Israel socialist tries to command the attention of the masses through his ‘reporting’ of one of the most complex current events, an event that even the most seasoned and ethical correspondents have failed to convey with complete accuracy. Joe, can I call ya’ Joe? We’re sorry to hear you’re unwilling to relinquish your 15 minutes of fame but go back to pitching your book deals and spare yourself from the embarassment. And spare the integrity of journalism from going down the drain.

Gupta’s Influence Trumps Inexperience

Dr. Sanjay Gupta

Dr. Sanjay Gupta

Few would dispute that the Obama campaign represented the ultimate confluence of media and politics. The announcement that CNN chief health correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is the leading contender to be the next Surgeon General has furthered Obama’s mastery of media in promoting his message. Many of my colleagues in the medical field have derided this choice, pointing to the fact that Gupta’s training as a neurosurgeon, coupled with his relative youth, makes him unqualified to be the leading spokesperson on public health issues like diabetes, obesity, and coronary artery disease. However, I believe that Gupta’s potential appointment actually has the potential to be a brilliant choice. Gupta’s background makes him uniquely suited to the position of Surgeon General. Over the last few decades, the Surgeon General’s role has morphed into the chief communicator of public health matters. Other than the tenure of C. Everett Koop, the surgeon general, in recent times, has become a largely invisible position. Koop stood out because he had the charisma to attract an audience, and the ability to explain complex issues to Americans in terms they could understand. In short, he was a transformative figure who millions of Americans could identify by sight alone. I suspect most Americans would be hard-pressed to identify the current Surgeon General. In contrast, millions of Americans invite Gupta into their home on a nightly basis; he has proven he can communicate in laymen’s terms. And while most public health issues wouldn’t ordinarily be handled by a neurosurgeon, Gupta would serve as a spokesperson for these matters, not the clinician – a key difference. The choice clearly demonstrates Obama’s continued mastery of not just the roles media and communication currently play, but their potential in shaping our lives. – Matt Buchalter

The Wal-Mart Way

Blatant misuse of the color blue!

Blatant misuse of the color blue!

The automatic blanket raises (for simply having a pulse), obscenely generous benefits packages and overzealous lobbying is nothing short of disgusting: clearly the American concept of employers’ unions have run amuck. While unions, much like communism, are positive in theory, the negotiating tactics, pie-in-the-sky demands and overall political correctness that comes with such representation is rather sickening. But if anyone deserves a union, it’s the retail employees of Wal-Mart. Allegations of hiring special needs workers below minimum wage, poor working conditions (sometimes without breaks) and unrealistic costs of basic health coverage have dogged the reputation of the nation’s largest retailer, which has made an anti-union platform a top priority. Now the chain has mounted a campaign to rally its employees to vote Republican in the upcoming presidential election, since Obama supports the Employee Free Choice Act, legislation friendly to unionizing. Employees recently told The Wall Street Journal that store executives threatened that a vote for Obama could equate to massive store layoffs and costly union dues. Perhaps next time shoppers are at the check-out line, they’ll start requiring cashiers to ask them for $1 donations to McCain’s campaign, rather than the March of Dimes. Let’s be honest Wal-Mart. It’s high time you change the color of your vests from blue to red. Clearly, that’s where your politics lie.

Campaign Finance 101

With the general election heating up, now is as good a time as any to engage in a bit of campaign finance voyeurism. If you’ve ever wanted to know the politics of your boss, your dentist, your little league coach, or even your third grade grammar teacher, no need to look further than a single Web site: FundRace.org. What is more, the site exposes the hidden biases (or in the case of Fox News, not-so-hidden biases) of our leading media moguls. Take Rupert Murdoch for example. He contributed $25,000 to the Republicans during the 2004 presidential election (though I suppose $25K is couch change to one the nation’s wealthiest men). And to be fair – and balanced (pun intended), Ted Turner did donate $1,000 to Joe Biden in 2006. I guess that makes me feel a little less guilty about my measly $50 donation to Obama. Now off you go to see if your peers are putting their money where their mouth is. But be forewarned: you may not like what you see. Unearthing the fact that my youth soccer coach is a Bush supporter felt a lot like the day I learned Santa Claus was make believe.

Clinton Crawls Back to SNL

What used to be a Saturday Night Live airtime formula of 60 minutes for advertisements, 20 minutes for painfully awkward Amy Poehler skits and 10 minutes for everybody else has shifted slightly over recent weeks. Since reemerging from the writers’ strike, SNL has devoted many of its minutes to igniting the Hillary Clinton campaign. Two weeks ago, Tina Fey returned to Weekend Update to lead a diatribe on Clinton critics. Last Saturday, viewers saw the ‘real’ Hillary – if there is such a thing – earn plenty of face time, while Fred Armisen unfairly portrayed a slow-witted, naive Obama. SNL has done little to mask its political agenda, as of late. Ironically, when Hillary was on top of the polls last fall, she snubbed SNL’s invite to host the fading show. Now that momentum is lost, she is bringing her desperate pitch of ‘change’ to late night television, while the show kowtows to her fizzling campaign. But there’s good news for Obama supporters: SNL stopped churning the laughs years ago.