Thursday, November 30, 2006

Participant Editorials

Who would have thought that a 50 plus year old African-American man would assassinate George W. Bush? I found this out in a small movie theatre on Ponce de Leon, the only one in Georgia that featured this documentary on the big screen, or any screen for that matter. Death of a President, co-written and directed by Britain Gabriel Range, premiered on Oct. 27 and was presented as a documentary of the events that lead up to and occurred after the assassination of the United State's 43rd president. It was to no surprise, because this is the state that our nation is in, that after the president took his last breath the government immediately began looking at the Muslim community to find the killer. The movie-mentary began as President Bush prepared to make a speech in Chicago about the economy. As the motorcade tried to reach its destination, thousands of livid activists protesting against the war in Iraq forced the parade of limos to take an alternate route. Can we see this happening in any given area in the United States? With out a doubt. At times I had to remind myself that this was just a movie. The realism that unfolded after the assassination as far as who was detained for questioning, countries that the government immediately swore off and the person who got convicted and sentenced for the crime, was a true testament of the fear this government has us living in. The movie also demonstrated, among other things, the possibility of our civil liberties diminishing even more than they have over the last five years. As a result of this assassination, the Patriot Act, which was created after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, was given more power. What more could they ad to the racial profiling, wire taping with minimal judicial approval and monitoring and interception of email that this act allows? Who knows, but I'm sure what ever the imagination can think of would be a likely candidate. Even with the Patriot Act in effect, in the movie the killer still slipped under the FBI's radar and committed this heinous act. With many Republicans currently trying to distance themselves from the heat flaring around the war in Iraq, it was also no surprise that the information that enabled the assassin to successfully carry out his mission came from with in the White House. Another pertinent issue this film raised is media ownership. As I said earlier, there was only one theater in Georgia that showed this movie. Moreover, only 34 states in the country allowed moviegoers to view the Toronto Film Festival winner, and showings averaged three theaters per state. Was the advertising campaign that ineffective? No, it did not receive much publicity. Could it be the movie was just that horrible that theaters owners thought they would lose money? No, it is because there are five major companies that control an extremely large percent of what we hear and see in the media. These companies are Viacom, Disney, Time Warner, News Corp and NBC/GE. How likely is it that they would promote a movie showing the assassination of an existing president and bring to light negative concepts and issues about the government that Americans already foster? Well, according to the numbers it's not happening. This speaks to another state that the country is in. Right now the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is in the process of trying to allow these and possibly other such conglomerates, to indulge in newspaper-broadcast -cross-ownership . This would add newspapers ownership along with cable stations, radio stations, holdings in major movie studios etc., in the same geographical area. Though the average eye that is not looking for change may not easily notice this, it would have a significant impact on an already tight grip situation. Therefore, let us be mindful of the issues that affect our day-to-day life and always remain in search of ways to broaden our horizons through all things we see, hear and read each day.

- Sharon Ochoa


Media and A Murder Situation
By. L.R.
In recent days, two major issues in the news have Americans caught up in the whirlwind of controversy. Michael Richards, who also played Kramer from Seinfield, turned up the heat when he uttered several racial slurs, including “n*****” onstage at the Laugh Factory this past weekend. Some of the people in attendance stormed out of the building calling what the comedian did as uncalled for. Richards later appeared on Letterman’s late night show and issued an apology to the black and Mexican community, in which the seriousness of the apology may leave a few eyebrows up in the air. Richards claims he isn’t a racist but why reinforce the attitude of a racist individual through making comments that would offend your audience?
When Richards appeared on the Letterman show, it seemed as if some audience members were okay with his apology as a few chuckles could be heard in his interview. The Black community probably wouldn’t take his apologies that seriously especially because of his nonchalant demeanor throughout the segment of the show. Some may even take his very appearance on the show as offensive in order to redeem himself from the justified outrage of his actions. However, Richards appearance on the Letterman show probably isn’t as more difficult to accept as the response that OJ Simpson received for his new book and scheduled interview by the Fox network which was canceled due to the public’s outrage.
Many Americans came against O.J.’s book “If I Did It” probably because many think that he was responsible for his wife’s death. I must admit, the title of the book is questionable and raises even my eyebrow but still his situation is sketchy as to the murder. No one, not even the media, is giving O.J. liberty to come forward and say what he has to say. But why is it that Richards can get on national T.V. after he did what he did?
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you two cases of murder: one in which we know who committed murder (Richards) and the other who we question about a murder (Simpson). Now which guy is worse? In case you were wondering, you can kill with your words. What he did at the comedy club was commit murder all over again against a whole nation of people in which his forefathers attacked, hanged, and enslaved those who were stamped with the word “nigger”. Many may try to reason that nigger really means a lazy or idle person, but its historical background allows us to know that it was a word that subjugated slaves to brutality. When he repeatedly used this racial slur at the Laugh Factory, even when people left in response, he was reinforcing murder. But yet the media allows him to get on television and issue an “apology” that will never erase the murder that all off America actually witnessed. But with Simpson, the media won’t even give the man a chance to voice his thoughts.
Whether Simpson killed his wife or not, I really don’t know. But both men are really in the same predicament, centering around murder. If Fox won’t give Simpson room to even have an interview or promote his book, then some network should. The media must be fair (a truth that really don’t exist). Whether Simpson is promoting a book for attention or not, still give him his right to free speech. America should allow the media to give O.J. a shot at making an a** of himself just as Richards did. They’re both in a situation involving murder.


"Look it’s a N*****!"
Elaina Johnson
"If this was 50 years ago you would be hanging upside down with a fork in your ass," Micheal Richards said. Best known as "Kramer" from the popular show Seinfeld, Richards last Friday went on a racial tirade at the famous Los Angeles comedy club, the Laugh Factory. Richards apparently became enraged after several club goers were allegedly taunting him during his stand-up routine. The club goers happened to be African American and evidently the target for Richards racial slurs. Richards repeatedly yelled and screamed of the controversial and highly offensive "N" word to the African American hecklers.

On Monday night Richards appeared on the David Lettermen Show and issued a six minute apology while audience members laughed. Richards former co-star Seinfeld was also on the show for an interview and told the audience "Hey stop laughing its not funny."

Though some may view or even accept Mr. Richards apology as a sincere apology I strongly do not believe that it was sincere or even heartfelt for that matter. "I apologize to the Afro-Americans, the Mexicans and Jews...", however his racist remarks were solely directed towards the African American race plain and simple. His apology seemed nonchalant in tone and his apology appeared to be more of a rambling off at the mouth than anything.

In the midst of this controversial storm O.J Simpson, former pro-football player and alleged 1995 murderer of his wife, Nicole Brown-Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman was set to release a book called "If I Did It"--in which he fictionalizes himself as the one who committed these murders. As soon as O.J. Simpson book and television special was to be published and aired it was abruptly pulled and canceled due to public outrage. "I and senior management agree with the American public," Rupert Murdoch, News Corp. chairman said. However, I take issue with the fact that Mr. Richards can appear on David Lettermen and explain his actions and reasons for doing what he did, but O.J. Simpson is completely put on mute to the public.

It seems as though Caucasian males and females can do and say whatever it is that they want and not be punished and or treated with leniency in the public. However, as soon as an African American woman or man does or say something that the "white" public does not agree with it they are immediately censored or shut out from media networks to tell their side.

Mr. Richards has since been banned permanently from the prestigous comedy club and has been denounced publicly by other popular comedians. However, being banned from the club is hardly the solution to such offensive actions. Mr. Richards needs to seek help for as he claimed "unknown place of hositiliy" and needs to say "sorry" for his racist remarks to African Americans. I believe that the only way he could help the black community feel that he is indeed sorry for his actions by going to black media outlets such as BET, Black Entertainment or the NAACP. I guess that will only be a "dream", but it would definitely be a step.


By Makala Lee

Cosmo Kramer appears to be a Cosmo racist.
His behavior at the Laugh Factory in L.A. was disappointing, ridiculous and reiterates the fact that slavery, racism and discrimination previously existed and is still alive in America.
Michael Richards, the man who played Cosmo Kramer on “Seinfeld,” hurled racial slurs at a black man for heckling him during one of his shows. He said, “50 years ago, you would have been hung upside down with a fork up your ass.” When the man replied that his comment was uncalled for, he told him that is what happens when you interrupt a white man.
This incident makes me very upset, as a young black student we are led to believe that racism is dead, that we are all on a level playing field and that we should learn to unite with white people to promote a better society.
Yet, at the very moment a white person, the former oppressor of my ancestors, gets upset he wants to remind us of our devastating past. He wants to remind us that we need to stay in our place because if it were indeed 50 years ago, we would have been dead.
In addition, he called the man a “n*****” numerous times and had the nerve to be sarcastic and call him “nigga,” in an attempt to be trendy and hip. The very word that white oppressors created to degrade slaves, the same word the Ku Klux Klan yelled out as they were burning down the homes of black leaders.
It is appalling to realize that there are still people who would result to racial slurs to get a point across, or to express their displeasure with a person of another race. As an adult, he should have learned to control his anger. As a comedian, he should have learned how to deal with a heckler in a crowd. As a man, a white man, he should have learned that the exploitation and abuse of black people was wrong and that they are not better then us for that, in fact, they are worse.
“I said some nasty things to Afro-Americans.” Richards’s apology was half-hearted and insensitive to black people; he stated that, “The blacks must feel bad,” and that his comments just “fired away.”
This behavior is not accepted from a black person and it should not be accepted from a white person either. It is understandable that race is not an unusual topic for a comedy show. However, this was not apart of his routine and regardless of if he was intoxicated or not, he should be held responsible for his actions. His actions lead me to believe he is a racist. Besides, a drunken tongue speaks a sober mind.
The media is quick to make a mockery of people such as O.J. Simpson whenever he makes a mistake or Kanye West when he said that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.” Whenever a black man makes a poor decision or acts unruly, he is immediately reprimanded and taunted by the media.
Now is the time for the media, as well as the members of the black community, to make it known that this behavior will not be tolerated, excused, or accepted.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

WORKSHOP 3 - Thursday, Nov. 16

Media Matters


Protect Free Media

Summary of media issues harming journalism,
citizen health, culture and political power.
Threats to public & non-commercial media

In Hands-On workshop, participants will learn to create effective written, audio and video advocacy responses from American Forum.

Date: Thur. Nov 16, 2006
Time: 6:00 - 8:30 pm
Place: Clark Atlanta University
Carl and Mary Ware Hall, Room 103

Directions :FROM I-75/85 NORTH OR SOUTH:
Take I-20 West. Exit at Joseph Lowery Bvd. Turn right (North) Continue to the 3rd light past Morehouse Football stadium to top of Hill, Fair Street. Turn right .Drive approx 3 blocks to James P. Brawley Drive. At the corner of Fair and Brawley you will see a gate with a security guard house.This is the entrance to Clark Atlanta University's campus broad walk where Carl and Mary Ware Hall is located.

To park: continue down Fair 1 block to Mildred.Turn left into the parking deck. Walk back to the University Gate. Turn Left. Walk to the 4th Building on your left, C & M Ware Hall.

JAN 11-14

Every Journalist, political scientist and anyone who cares
about protecting citizen power should attend.




Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Net Neutrality

Here are some video files from that discuss Net Neutrality. Check 'em out and comment on what you think about it. There are all sorts of videos about Media Ownership and Internet Neutrality on the Internet. These are just a few.
YouTube: Net Neutrality Video
YouTube: PBS NOW on Net Neutrality; Part 1
YouTube: PBS NOW on Net Neutrality; Part 2
YouTube: Ted Kennedy Video