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Storm Response Prompts Re-Thinking of Broadcast Control

Corporate broadcasters seized control of public airwaves through the the Radio Act of 1927, the Communications Act of 1934, and the more recent sweeping deregulation of commercial broadcasting throughout the past decade. It's time to look back at the intent of the original legislation, and to re-examine the power we've given to a few corporations over this valuable resource.
When radio and television first began to emerge as cultural forces, many people realized the important role that these mediums could play in a future society. Education, the free exchange of information, the exchange of creative ideas could all be democratized through the powerful new forms of communication. A cultural dialogue flourishing amid the common airwaves would enrich and enliven the lives of those who embraced it. Labor groups, religious groups, educators and philosophers all looked to the promising new media to see what it might bring. Additionally, useful information could travel quickly in the event of national or local emergencies, so that people could learn what was happening and what they could do to protect themselves and help others.

At the same time, however, other people realized this could be a way to enrich not the culture, but themselves. The same wealthy elite who owned the newspapers of the day saw their grip on the American mind and pocketbook slipping unless they could wrangle tight control over what would be expressed in the new media and by whom. A struggle immediately ensued over control of the airwaves.

The Radio Act was enacted in 1927, largely due to pressure by the new broadcasting industry. This act gave away the public broadcast spectrum. A few years and a mighty struggle later, in 1934, the Communications Act was passed. According to this compromise, the spectrum is acknowledged as belonging to all of us. The broadcasters would simply be "public trustees" of our airwaves, and would be expected to use them for the good of all. Their mandate from the FCC and later from the Supreme Court was that they would have free use and control over the broadcast spectrum soley to manage it in the interest of the people. Broadcast licenses would not grant ownership, and could be revoked if broadcasters did not perform their duty of public service.

I believe the time has come to pursue that revocation and take back our own cultural voice. The storm that rages in our city as I write this inflames that belief. For three solid days, the corporate media has been "reporting" on the storm. They haven't stopped to even take a breath (except when advertisers need to sell us something). They've told us that it's cold outside. They've told us that the snow is falling. They've told us that planes are flying late, and that some woman is enjoying it all from her hot tub sipping champaign. And yet in all that reporting, nothing has been done to help the people who have been imperiled by this cold.

Several days ago, a KPTV reporter stumbled accidentally on a homeless man freezing in the cold and unable to get into a shelter. A real story had actually come up and bit her on the ass. And, as reported here on indymedia, she awkwardly ignored it. Yesterday a man froze to death under a bridge, and all KOIN could say about it was that "foul play wasn't involved." Other stations never said a word. Could it have been the same man? Who knows. How is it that people are dying in the streets outside and all our television stations are allowed to blithely ignore it? Where is their service to the public? Why are they being allowed to waste our valuable airwaves?

Yesterday, someone posted an article on indymedia asking what we could do to help people who don't have hot tubs to retreat to and who can't afford to care whether the planes are flying on time. Within hours, the community came together to open the doors at Back to Back cafe as a temporary port in the storm. People were out on the streets in the ice and snow looking for people who needed shelter. I'm told by those who participated that at least two lives were saved by this effort.

The beauty and simplicity of this solution cannot be overstated. Once informed about the problem, people could use the public forum here to organize, come together, and do something about it. THIS is what television should have been doing. But they were not. They ignored the problem, and when it demanded to be heard anyway, they turned their backs.

With all their resources, with faces firmly planted in the trough of free public air, the corporate broadcasters did less than nothing for the people of this city. They turned the storm into an entertainment piece. They ignored the important story of people literally freezing to death in the streets, even when that story walked right up to their cameras. In short, they failed to perform the public service they are required to perform in exchange for their use of our, yes OUR airwaves. Isn't it about time we took those airwaves back?

Look what this community was able to do when they had access to real democratized media. When they could tell their own stories and not rely on fluffy commentary about icicles hanging from birdhouses and cozy hottubs. Imagine what we could have done if we had control over the television stations as well. Let's take that control. It's our right.
local t.v. news... 07.Jan.2004 11:20

this thing here

what you're describing here, in particular, sounds like the scourge of local network news. local network t.v. news is some worst, most useless media product broadcast everyday, in my opinion even worse than the national network news.

the airwaves do belong to the citizen. but as part of allowing media corporations access to them, the media corporations are required to offer some kind of public service. for a local t.v. market, this "public service" is, unfortunately, the local t.v. news.

part of why local t.v. news is, in many but not all cases, so awful (especially the fox owned stations) is because the corporations don't give a shit. for them, local news is a matter of going through the motions. they do it, barely hiding their reluctance, so they can pump the other 22 hours of airtime full of commercials and entertainment.

another reason is that i doubt almost any of the faces you see on the t.v. doing all the hyping and "reporting" even have a degree in journalism. it has been said elsewhere that many of these people have, if anything, a degree in "communication", and are simply hired for their looks and vocal qualities. fuckin clowns...

the end result is total shit. hyping worthless stories that have jack shit to do with anything. spending 10 minutes testing the latest soaps or vacuum cleaners. and, especially on the fox owned stations, doing these farcical, breathless "scare" stories about murders and accidents and the like. it's a fucking joke. it's a joke because they don't care. and they don't care because they don't have to care. they're just going through the motions to look like they meet a mandate...

"pirate" tv stations? 07.Jan.2004 12:27

interested

Anyone know it would be possible to set up a TV broadcast? I imagine it would be expensive, but has any other community been able to do it in the past? I wonder if KBOO has considered doing somthing like this.

No Degree Required 07.Jan.2004 12:32

to this thing here

Yeh, the corporate media sux. But I think you're missing the point here. They don't suck because people don't have the right degrees, they suck because they are what they are. Not everyone who posts to indymedia has a degree either, but they care about the community and they care about what they write. We don't need degrees, we need integrity.

It wasn't that they didn't care that caused the corporate media to ignore this story even when they had nothing else to say after days on end of saying there's a storm there's a storm there's a storm. It was that, in fact, they DO care. They care about keeping us complacent and quiet, even when our society is so fucked up that people are freezing to death in the streets. The PBA and other corporate interests (aided every step of the way by Officer Meirs/Meyers/Meiers/who cares how he spells it) have been waging an all-out war against the homeless all year in this town. You think they want the public sympathizing with them, realizing they're real human beings? Not a chance. Hide them away, steal any resources that would have gone to them, railroad them out of downtown. But don't let the people recognize their humanity. It's taken YEARS to gentrify Old Town out from under the poor in this town. Years to sweep them out of doorways and into gutters. No way they wanna turn back now.

You're too kind to the corporate media if you believe they're merely uneducated and not actually sinister.

Needed 07.Jan.2004 13:39

Dave editor@portlandpolice.net

Actually, most normal people are glad to see the extended news coverage when a severe storm like this hits. Information is needed about traffic, closures, trouble areas, electric power failures, what the next level, if any, of the storm is coming and when.

local new's...such as it is...is new's for 5-year olds in my opinion 07.Jan.2004 14:19

Merlin

local new's--such as it is--is, in my humble opinion, new's for 5-year olds. seems they talk down to that level of
mentality, giving only short sound-bites, swooshing sounds, fast flipping with their multi-media wizardery...as it
similar to creative means often needed in trying to retain the "attention span" of a 5-year old for prolonged time
for very important reason(s)...all, it seems, delivered in such a manner as to keep you UNINFORMED of what
really is going on in your little world.

to further enhance the razzle-dazzle, they shift back 'n' forth between "actors" (NOT news presentor's, as say, the
BBC used to deliver the news)...displaying their clothing finery, fine hairdoo's, and not to be forgotten>>bubbling
personalities with smacked-on smiles....ALL meant to induce the consumer crowd to think of these people's as
"models" for consumerism...as if, say "...dear viewer's, if you spend more of your $ on hairdoos, fine clothing, and
the like, then you too can be such forever smiling bubbling personalities..." It's "consumer indoctrination", and not
REAL news presenting.

Don't forget, there is usually a "twinkle star" of either sex, paired with opposite sex, with jumps back 'n' forth to either a "serious sort" or a "clownish sort". it's all inclusive, as if to say, "...yes! under McKorpAmerika's Corporate-Capital-
ism, there is plenty of room for EVERYONE..." ("...to spend their money!...", which is, of course, left unsaid!)

Then, the REAL PURPOSE of these so-called "local news" telecast's are had by the teasing done as they lead out
to a "commercial" as they don't won't you to push your remote and channel-surf to another channel...they want you
to stay hocked to watch the commercial, which is where their revenue comes from. This why the viewer-ratings is
so important...the Neilson or other groups that do consumer/TV-watching surveys are trying to determine who is
the one's most successful at the craft: advertising/marketing, and of course, their pricing for advertising time is set
according to the ratings! This why the dictate..."...if it bleeds, it leads..." decides the lead-story, and the ranking of
any other's after that to be aired, and if possible, there will always be a story about "sex" or better yet "sex perversion"
told just before commercial break...with a "...we'll be back in a moment with more on that story...">>>it's a hook to
tintilate and arouse your curiosity, so as to hang in there and watch some silly advertising till they come back to the
"new's" to fill in the rest of the story! They could care less about the story, the sex, the perversion, or how you really
react, as what they're most concerned about is that you stay viewing their programming to watch the commercial!

Have you noticed that, if you had stop-watch in hand and measured time allocations, that they used to devote right
at 9 minutes of every 30 minutes to commercials. then they changed that to make it 11 minutes out of every 30,
and part of Powell, Jr's attempts at FCC roll-back of regulations was to give "more discretion" to the broadcaster
to take that "advertising allocation" even further...to whatever the viewing audience allowed before bolting by grab-
bing their remotes and channel-surfing elsewhere. It was an "advertiser's dream come true" if they'd won....

Now...given all this, it does make some sense of the madness, as they say, for a very pretty woman to spend hours
interviewing a mass-murderer (accused of such, at least) who most of us wouldn't care to listen to him in our right
minds no matter what (those that really want to, are free to go to his jail and arrange a faced-to-face chit-chat if they
that interested), then producer's cut it down, edit it for the "just right"- teaser... and make sure a lot of outlandish be-
havior is shown (we tend to be fascinated by abrerrant behavior in "others" don't we?) with more "potential secrets"
revealed next installment...then stretch this madness out over 3 or 4 evenings>>>it's all about getting you to come
back...same time/same station...so they can bombard your brain once again with "consumer messages"...it's NOT
about journalism at all, and no, these people aren't "journalists"....they are "actors" who've usually majored in such
things as "communications", "marketing", or :"public relations" and having pretty faces, pleasing personalities, and
the like...are your local "TV stars"! Journalist are suppose to seek after truth and reality, whereas actors are seeking
to "entertain" and the other craft's: advertising/marketing are meant to arouse your "consumer impulse" and those
with "public relations" work at making it seem "wonderful" and gloss-over the other realities in background, should
they be apparent, and the techno-staff go to work using all the tools at their hand to make it all keep your brain in a
state of daze, enchantment, bedazzled befuddlement, and near zoned-out in a trance so this "process" will do it's
MAGIC...get you to be a GOOD CONSUMER in an increasingly more sophisticated McKorpAmerika Corporate-Cap-
italistic World...otherwise known, as POST-MODERNISM, amongst other's (how about?..New World Order, or is that
New World Odor?)

If you're really interested in learning more...the in's 'n' out's of it all, there was a fellow, just passed away a few months
ago that wrote some fantastic books about the trends in media-newscasting, amongst other criticisms, and his books
were best-sellers usually. Check for any book by Dr. NEIL POSTMAN and especially "Amusing Ourselves to Death"
as I recall was his most famous! So, that's the scoop on the "local new's" scene....it ain't really NEW's folk's...it's BU...
....(you fill in the blank to suit yourselves on this one!)! Cheero!

The Power of Indymedia! 07.Jan.2004 14:31

Corp Watch

I would never have believed this if I didn't just see it for myself. For three solid days, the corporate media has been droning on about the weather, without a single nod to the homeless of this city. Then, this morning, an article goes up on indymedia calling for a revocation of their broadcast licenses for failure to provide the public service they're charged with providing, and within the hour, not less than three corporate stations (KPTV, KOIN and KGW) all suddenly discover the homeless. KOIN begins broadcasting a short piece on how you can help, with Julie Emory fussing about how "great it feels to be able to do something to help people." KGW interviews some of the homeless kids at Outside In, reminding people that yes, Virginia, there are homeless people out there. And KPTV interviews someone from Loaves and Fishes over the phone.

It may be way too little, way too late, but it's something. No one will ever convinve me they didn't do this as a direct result of pressure put on them from the people of this site. Thanks everyone! We know the cops and the corporate media both read this site all the time. We know it because they react to it, and they post to it. Now, we know we can use this for good. Maybe they didn't realize we would ever figure out that we could legally revoke their broadcast licenses! I know that's news to me, but now that I know it, I plan to keep an eye on them.

Don't stop with TV go radio! 07.Jan.2004 14:35

Migratory Bird

Pirate radio is an effective means of using our voices to inspire action. If more people chose to get involved in indymedia we can build a great prirate station which can be shared all over the internet effectively closing out corpoaret inspired drivel and eventually shutting down the airwaves. The prirate radio movement is growing phenomenally. The FCC's jurisdiction is minimal and while intimidating tehy often have very little control. Most pirate stations are simply shut down and while losing teh equipment can be a phenomenal loss the valuable work done of teh years is incredible. Most communities band around their pirate radio stations.

www.freakradio.org

This site is a valuable place for the santa cruz indymedia folks. It is also a great community forum having interviewed numerous city council members, governors etc. They became the media and many people often listen to it and have completely gotten rid of tehir TV's in Santa Cruz.

We can do this in Portland. We can take our airwaves back! We have to take our property back as tehy sell it, enslave it, and hurt us with our federal resources.

Check out today's The Daily Poetry Movement for more info.

Re: Needed 07.Jan.2004 14:38

White Lilac

How about all the normal people who don't care about traffic because they don't have a car, don't care about closures and trouble areas because they have no where to get to, don't care about power failures because they don't have electricity, and in fact aren't watching extended news coverage because they don't have a TV?

When you think about it, no TV station will produce any information of interest to these normal people, because they don't have incomes that allow them to be the types of consumers that pay for the advertising that makes the whole dog and pony show possible to begin with. These normal people are nowhere to be found on the 'target demographic' radar, and so they are simply ignored.

Birds in flight 07.Jan.2004 15:22

jlii

Migratory Bird is so right

News plus a Guerra TV would be great of course, Channel One, why not. So to stay around for any length of time it would have to be mobile let's make a list.
1. big truck
2. Can it bypass satellite encoding? If not, it will be local OK. It could move from city to city. I've seen remote units from PBS stations
3. Need a n antennae they sorta' stick out a little
4. Add in a Engine-Generator set
5. Tech's
6. In a spin off of 'shoot and scoot' it will need the ability to Rock and Roll stay in one place you will be gone soon.

But what do you gain, pictures yes? The same effort in radio would be more diversified more stations. And a Guerra radio will fit into a SUV ok a Van. The most important thing is to design this in a small cell. No open talk in anything other than general issues. I believe that it will be necessary to communicate if fellow citizen's to overcome the lies Corp. media are telling America. This is a way of saving paper and reaching people in their homes where they can listen without being watched. In this area talent is not an issue, not me I don't speak any better than I spell. In the end it really does piss them off to have actual free speech, something they can not control reaching a lot of people. Bypassing their networks what a day.

Where's the Solution, Jeff? 07.Jan.2004 18:32

to meyers

In following the link to "Other stories by CatWoman," I came across an article about how Officer Meyers tore down the children's garden on 13th and Alder in order to displace homeless people. At the time, CatWoman asked him where the people were supposed to go now, since there was "no room at the inn." Officer Meyers responded that he was personally going to develop some kind of program to address the needs of homeless people here in Portland. The article made light of this pronouncement, as it should have, since better people than Meyers have tried to fix this problem. It's doubtful that someone with as little incentive as this guy would bother to try.

It's interesting, though, to read back to this article. After all, if Jeff was so quick to rip out the garden and declare "No Tresspassing" in this public space, if he did so with the promise, however laughable, that he would personally solve the homeless crisis so people wouldn't need to sleep in public, then...where is he now? People are freezing to death in the streets, Mr. Meyers. You were going to do something about this only last summer, weren't you? What have you done???

Right. Nothing. Nothing but tear out a garden and call it good. Well done. Bet they're thanking you at Dignity Village.

Corporate news is about selling products 07.Jan.2004 18:59

reader

Watch for all the times that they promote local businesses and products. It's pretty sickening once you realize how they are actually just a conduit for selling local business. Down here in SF one newsanchor actually owned shares in a local political candidate's restaurant chain - naturally, he had more coverage on that station than any other. It was sickening.

Omissions 07.Jan.2004 19:04

North Portlander

I was also surprised at the lack of diversity in the storm programming. I've seen the ODOT highway images hundreds of times, tons of shots of the truckers stuck at the two truck stops on 1-84, lots of bragging about what great shots they got from their Helicopters, and a few short segments of people who spun out and got stuck on the sides of roads. Glad to hear about the attention finally given to getting help for the homeless, but you're right . . . why wasn't this sooner? And why didn't we hear about any other community efforts (other than Meals on Wheels during the first storm). The Interstate Fred Meyer just closed for remodeling and I thought the timing could not have been worse. A lot of elderly people shop there and it's the only large grocery store within walking distance of their homes (I think you have to go to MLK or almost all the way into St. Johns to find another). What did these people do about food and necessities during the bad weather? Another surprise . . . I don't remember seeing any segment on how to prevent freezing pipes . . . or the importance (consideration and avoiding suits from injured neighbors) of clearing your sidewalks. Just lots of shots of bursting pipes at River Place. A surprising number of people don't know about leaving water running or wrapping pipes in insulation to prevent this problem and bursting pipes at sub-zero temps cause a lot of heartache and expense every year. This sort of information should have been repeated every day. It's at least as important as putting petroleum jelly on the feet of your dog when you take him out for a walk (offered as a tip on Channel 8).

It's All Commercial 07.Jan.2004 19:40

Embedded Promotion

I noticed that there was a rather large segment today about downtown stores that weren't selling anything because of the weather. In each case, the business was clearly identified and what they sold, described. Interesting.

as to ? as to where is Jeff Meyers in all this...could be 07.Jan.2004 22:42

his "solution" works and he is home enjoying the heat?

I don't know...but when I read all that stuff month's ago about this character and his seemingly nasty
methods, I said to myself..."...this guy is pushing an agenda, and it's NOT nice one either...". See, I
feel that Kroeker was brought here specifically to bring on board "certain" types of people...whether
or not he stayed was unimportant...to carry forward an agenda that has been much vailed to us out
here, known only in it's fullest measure to those so-called power "elite's" that deem themselves so
worthy to rule us, and partially to those duped into to being their "willing executioner's" when time is
reached to set into rapid motion their nefarious agenda. Doubt me? Will don't forget this>>>is it a
duck?...if it walks like one, squaks like one, shits like one, eats like one, looks like one, gets in the
way like one, is obnoxious as one can sometimes be, and fly's like one...then it's a duck, no matter
WHAT is said by it or by others! this a free maxum from: simple life solutions for simple people!

The Tables Are Turning 07.Jan.2004 22:51

Sybil

This is the second time in just a few weeks the corporate media has "discovered" a story due to Indymedia coverage. There was the kid who's marijuana article was censored in the school newspaper (ironic, the corporate media attempting to cover censorship). And now this one. It was also interesting that the resources they mentioned, Loaves and Fishes and Outside In, were both discussed in comments on the "Freezing People" article posted yesterday. I'm glad to see that the corporate media is finally being held accountable for not covering what we all know is news, while being called on their junk reporting. I know they must hate having to crawl to the enemy for their news. Of course, the more they overlook the people's stories, the more Indymedia grows as the real source of legitimate news in this town! So, watch out corporate media! The rules are changing!

Community Television Indymedia Program 07.Jan.2004 23:06

anonymous portland

If you are serious about a 'pirate' (cross & bones anarchism anyhow) television, what about using our community television stations to air a regular Portland Indymedia news broadcast? You know, take the best news of the week and put it out there.

tv newswoman two: the final snowjob 08.Jan.2004 01:40

poet34

tv newswoman two: the final snowjob

the news is a cruel cockteaser
she promised me snow for christ-last
and all i got was more rain
and her blowing mad cows up my sphincter
expands to accept this infected
meat
it's what's for spinner
i dutifully go to my fridge
and throw all my meat away
today
she said satan
i mean santa
was being tracked by norad
over canada

but no news i can use
like when am i ever gonna have
a job again
and when can i
expect to see
satan stuffing my ass
with his infected meat
cast off the shelves at safe
way the right way to shop
and given to the poor
going to the church door
to pick up their food boxes
for christ-mess

the news told me that the recession
was over
and unemployment
seasonally adjusted
and seasoned with the right amount
of bullshit fed to mad cows
is down
but the government
is acting fast to fix
the fed and adjust the stock
market skyward
so a couple people in santa suits
can make a killing for
christ-ass
and eat the poor
for desert

and i believed her because
she had blonde hair
and pointy boobs
like torpedoes shot into my eyes
are hungry for what's below
the desk and i think i should
go down there and see
for myself
ask her
where's my snowjob
you cockteasing media whore
just because you got an implant
in your mad cow brain
and i didn't
get to go shopping on christ-mess
eve of destruction
that's what you are
with your shiny red apple lips
and tits like
missiles
aimed at the infidels

slobbering down to
the poor-me square
to pick up some free food
and haul
this news home
in my hip pocket
mad cow beavers beating back
late shoppers
and saddam is insane
so now that all evil in the world
has been captured
and formatted to fit
your tv
it's safe to shit on your
neighbor and everyone else
again i say

this is the way the news ends
not with whimper
but the sound of her bouncy blonde
bangs


poet34 12/25/03

thanks poet34 08.Jan.2004 08:59

poem lover

great job there Poet34...bet you were a "poet that didn't know it" heretoforth...but now your handiwork is
posted here for all of us out here to enjoy it. it's good, thanks! be sure to give us more at anytime you
like on other topics of mutual interests, for your flare with the written word is far superior to the media's
All-Star's spinmeistered bullshit that's remixed daily to re-serve as our dish of Pablum to abate our
hungry pangs for TRUTH.

so, next time my tummy is growling, I coming here...www.portland.indymedia.org...to get a different
brand of "truth"...the real deal! Do favor us again...it'll be very much appreciated, rest well assured!

Useless News Brief 08.Jan.2004 13:16

North Portlander

Finally saw a short segment on burst pipes and it was USELESS. Local news went to the home of a couple who woke to find a pipe in the ceiling spraying water all over their stuff. They called the FIRE DEPARTMENT (???) who came out and managed to turn the water off at the street. Not a word about WHY this happened, HOW to prepare so that it doesn't happen to you, or WHO to contact if you weren't prepared and had a pipe explode. Why did they bother?

local news 08.Jan.2004 13:56

anonymous portlander

what's missing in the local news is the sense of obligation to the community in regards to the accuracy, usefulness, and completeness of the news. I agree with the poster who commented on the way the news broadcasts are really about selling commercial time. There is so much constant self-promotion, 'always watch this channel for the best news' -- if they would spend half the time and energy they devote to competition to journalism the quality would improve considerably.

Also, mainstream news is now pretty much just tabloid copy. Sensationalism is all the rage. Meanwhile, the media is very cozy with many of the institutions that they need to be giving an honest view of to the public: the government, the police, schools, etc.

at least we have npr and kboo, but neither of these are perfect and we don't have a regular, non-commercial local television news broadcast (to my knowledge).

One more thing, so many important news stories are not covered in the local broadcasts. Very important national and global news is rarely addressed, while 'kitten stuck in a tree' stories eat up dozens of minutes. And I've almost never seen a local news story that was controversial wrt 'authorities' such as the ppb on a television broadcast. And fair and balanced means apparently means giving 10,000 protesters and 10 anti-protesters equal talk time. The local news stations aren't doing their job well!

Another Deadly-Serious Angle They "Forgot" To Mention 08.Jan.2004 15:41

Sybil

For the past several years we have become almost accustomed to extremely odd weather patterns bringing snowstorms where there aren't supposed to be any, summer days in the middle of winter, century-long record breaking cold/heat/rain/drought patterns, and the worst floods, hurricanes, mudslides, and other natural disasters in decades, at an ever increasing rate. And yet, for all the hyped up technology and "expert metiorologists" these news networks claim they have, doesn't it seem funny that not a one has ever mentioned the possibility that something's not quite right?

I'm sure that for the metiorologists who actually studied these things and aren't just stand-in pretty faces, they're aware that the polar ice caps are melting, that the ocean-temperature and salinization disruptions this is causing messes up the oceanic conveyor belts, and those conveyor belts are resposible for regulating the planet's weather and climate. At this point, aside from a handful of highly-paid spin-scientists hired by the Bush administration and industry, there are few scientists who would still claim that the earth's weather patterns aren't changing. When this translates into extreme weather and natural disasters causing thousands of deaths worldwide, you'd think that might be news worth reporting, news that the public would want to know about, and that would serve the public interest.

Although anyone with half a brain that isn't in denial about global warming may already know that something's wrong when we get snowstorms in Portland, there are less obvious implications that, of course, are being kept from the public. For instance, pathogens thrive and develop best in unstable environments. The conditions that plants and animals face due to climactic stressors, natural disasters, forced migrations, and so-forth caused by global warming create conditions in which plagues emerge and thrive. The Black Plague that killed a good chunk of Europe's population, for instance, first appeared during a period of relatively rapid natural global warming. The increase in temperature during that century, however, is just a fraction of the temperature increases we've seen in the past few decades. Many experts believe that AIDS, Ebola, West Nile, and SARS, are just the first wave of epidemics and pandemics we should expect to see as the earth continues to warm. On top of this, tropical "third world" diseases such as Malaria, Yellow Fever, Hantavirus, etc. are already begining to spread north and into the U.S. But, pharmaceutical companies have never bothered developing treatments for these diseases (which kill far more people than AIDS but get no media) because they have until now only plagued people in poor countries who can't afford to buy top dollar drugs. Of course, all this isn't even getting into the threat global warming poses to endangered species, our natural habitats, our food supply, our health, and our ability to continue inhabiting the planet.

You'd think that with days of endless coverage of icy roads, cancellations, and snowmen they might just have room to make a brief mention of why this is happening and what it means to the public. Of course, that would be making the assumption that the public interest doesn't mean keeping Americans fat, happy, dumb, couchridden, uninvolved, and ignorant of our comming demise, lest an advertiser lose a buck in the scramble to save our planet.

Extreme Weather Prompts Unprecedented Global Warming Alert:  http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2003/07/267537.shtml

The Four Degrees: Europe's Hottest Summer 2003 is Evidence of Global Warming:
 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2003/12/276109.shtml

One More 08.Jan.2004 16:19

Sybil

Global Warming Threatens Mass Extinctions:
 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/01/277926.shtml

Not sensationalism so much as control 08.Jan.2004 18:55

to anonymous portlander

The corporate media has definitely sold out to commercial interests. Long ago. But, believe it or not, "Sensationalism" is actually NOT all the rage after all. A careful study of the corporate media reveals something far more frightening. Recently, people have begun watching them closely, and comparing what they say to what's really happening out there. And you know what? They often DON'T use the most sensational shots, angles, or stories, even when they constitute the real news. Why? Because those things don't fit their scary corporate/police-state agenda.

The homeless man freezing in the storm is a good example. That could have been pretty sensational if they had spun it. ("Local authorities Put Portlanders at Risk; Allow Man to Freeze in the Storm!") But they didn't. Instead, they ignored it and made silly small talk about snow balls for three days in a row.

Some better examples can be seen in the excellent work of the Portland Indy Video Collective. A22, for example, shows what really happened during the Bush visit on August 22nd, 2002. The images of independent videographers shot from the streets in the middle of the most sensational police riot ever seen in this town were juxtaposed against a tapestry of corporate media coverage of this same event. It was unbelievable how far the two perspectives diverged. The corporate media downplayed the horrific carniage wrought by the PPB, and instead focused on various aspects of what was portrayed as "a small crowd, loitering in the street" on one station and "a huge crowd, holding the street hostage" on another station. A station bent only on sensationalist ratings would have wallowed in the headline-grabbing story of corrupt and violent police authorities gone mad in the streets, beating down unarmed citizens in a crazed assault on the US Constitution. And this would actually have been legitimate news! Instead, they ignored this story of the year, and attempted to portray the whole thing as a few malcontents disrupting Portland traffic.

Another example from the same band of videographers is "Li2U News," where images of police brutality against portlanders a few days after the war started were placed side by side on the screen with the same footage as shown by KATU. (KATU, by the way, is the very worst offender. They've sold out the people of this town one too many times. I say, when we start looking into revoking broadcasting licenses, we start with them.) The NLG held a press conference regarding the brutality, where they distributed uncut footage from a videographer who caught several very disturbing incidents on film. In one incident, police attacked a woman without cause on a Portland sidewalk. (Officers Kruger and Hanousek. Watch these two dumbasses, they're dangerous as they come. Especially Hanousek who is short a few cogs.)

After blinding the woman with pepper spray, they taunted her as she was trapped between a sign post and a newspaper box. In what can only be described as torture, Officer Hanousek taunted her as she screamed, plowed her in the face with his elbow, and doused her several times with pepper spray before she could get away. The entire time, she was blinded by the first deployment of chemical weapons. What's more, he laughed through the entire incident.

In the second incident, a young man walked along the sidewalk holding a sign as police charged up in full riot gear on the big penis truck. Throughout the video, we can see that the man is clearly on the sidewalk -- not in the streets as officers later claimed. We see him accosted by a police officer who demands his name, even though the man has done nothing to warrant the attention of the power-mad officer. In a brutal assault, the several officers haul the man off the sidewalk, whirl him into the street, shove him face down in the concrete, ram their knees into his head, handcuff him, and haul him away. Throughout the entire ordeal, the man neither resists nor behaves in any way that could possibly justify this behavior. Surely a news station interested in either journalism OR sensationalism would have shown this video footage. But, incredibly, KATU edits the footage down to two very small segments. They cut out ALL (!) of the pepper spraying and the elbow jabbing of the first victim and only show her clinging to the post in front of her. In the second case, they cut out the beginning of the encounter where we can see that the victim is clearly on the sidewalk when the police approach, and they cut out the brutal assault at the end. There is no other explanation for this than that they were protecting the police state, manufacturing consent for the brutalization of the people of Portland. It's time to pull the plug on the corporate media, once and for all.

pirate TV 10.Jan.2004 02:37

I'm not a lawyer but ... this is totally illegal

Every VCR has a VHF modulator built into it, and a switch on the back that lets you select Channel 3 or Channel 4. I've been told you can connect a VCR's coaxial output cable to a radio-frequency power amplifier instead of to a television set, and can then connect the output from the power amp to an antenna. Ta-da, your own television station. If I watched TV, I'd know whether Channel 3 or Channel 4 is available in this town ...

Revocation 10.Jan.2004 18:40

disgruntled viewer

Let's DO take back that control. The public airwaves belong to us. There's no reason to let a few greedy corporations mediate what we know about the world. How do we do this? Any lawyers about? I agree that pirate radio/tv/indymedia are excellent things to pursue. But I'm also interested in the possibility of actually shutting down the corporate media, one ineffectual station at a time. It's true: They DO have a responsibility to serve the community. KATU in particular has repeatedly forgotten that mandate. That awful, smarmy "steve" guy can't hide his contempt for the people of this city.They lie and distort the truth at every opportunity. They put the people of this community at rist on an almost daily basis by ramming their biased support for the insane policies of the rogue administration down our throats. I will support any effort to challenge the right of KATU to hold a broadcast license. Anyone else?

to dave the cop 15.Jan.2004 11:11

lucky weda

sure it's helpful to driver's of suvs and whatnot to know about road conditons, but it's more helpful if someone (a reporter who is obligated to serve the community, EVERY part of the community) calls attention to a lacking; a lacking of shelter and care. anyway wh didn't they inform the people who don't drive (for economical/environmental/safety conditons) that a lotta snow from all those gorgeous roads (that taxpayers spend so much on), was simply piled onto the side walks? The corporate media is obligated to tell the public this and MORE. By 'more', I mean 'more important stuff.'

Li2U News Video 25.Feb.2004 23:03

vftr

This video is now available online: