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Indymedia, why did you compost my article??????

What did I do wrong that made you throw this article away?
"ALF Suspected In String Of McDonalds Vandalism Cases"

I would like to know so I don't keep doing it and have the article be taken away each time. I thought this was an article everyone should read about!

corporate media 29.Nov.2004 00:17

indy volunteer

Corporate media stories are being composted at the discretion of volunteers. There was a consensus to remove most if not all corporate media articles for a variety reasons. There will be a statement about this sometime soon. If you feel a story is important consider doing your own writeup, or at least a summary explaining why you think particular article is worth reading.

hmmmm........ 29.Nov.2004 00:47

Mrs. Robinson

If I summarize the story or explain why I think this article is worth reading, can I include the corporate media's version or website?

reply to mrs. robinson 29.Nov.2004 01:00

indy volunteer 69

mrs. robinson,

the answer to your question above is "yes". if you summarize a corporate media article and add some commentary of your own, then it is no problem to provide a link to the source article that you are writing about. we are looking into ways to lower the amount of corporate media reposts on portland indymedia, so we are trying an experiment to encourage posters to provide more original writing and commentary. unfortunately for our readers, the decisions were made and actions to compost articles began, but the time was not taken to put up an explanation to the readers, and this has caused much confusion all around. my apologies. please bear with us as we work things out, and a note to readers about this new corporate media repost policy should be posted soon.
pardon the mess, wading thru shit...
pardon the mess, wading thru shit...

sure 29.Nov.2004 01:17

indy volunteer

To be in compliance with fair use you should make sure to provide a citation. Personally I would prefer to hear your take on the story and then a link that I could peruse if it piqued my interest. I know that's asking for more work than a straight copy and paste but I feel we must all continue to put effort into building alternatives to the systems of corporate dominance which saturate the media in this country and globally. Relying on the corporate media to tell the stories that people wish to share is counter-productive to the goal of promoting the passionate telling of truth.

Mrs. Robinson 29.Nov.2004 02:18

indy geek

Thanks for inquiring.

Your own words will certainly be fresher and more invigorating than the corporate media article is. Corporate media is designed to lull you into being a passive consumer of their product, not an empassioned citizen seeking justice. This characteristic imbues all their content.

The amount of corporate reposts has necessitated action. It is not good to let their propaganda be so easily spread everywhere. Au Contraire, it is your writing and the writing of all the other people who care about a sane and better world that should spread everywhere.

almost , but that only count in horse shoes 29.Nov.2004 02:31

Earl H

I like the Aurthors analisise of a topic, then a link. althou if you are in favor of not allowing true critisim about your own piont of veiw i guess thats well enought explained, I think people are a little nieve about there thoughts, and that is not a bad thing, But as we all Have seen and experienced here , Corperations have no thought they have agenda,s ands if the Mass midia could tell you this (WOW). wouldnt people wake. so don't expect this place to fill obligated to commite suicide for news we all know is going to be attact by the deffending corperate monkey men of the Neo cons. its best to stay away from counter storys you dont write and show people were to find the Facts by dirrecting them from hear...

What About WSWS 29.Nov.2004 07:25

Paul Choker

What about features from the World Socialist Web Site? Are they permitted, I only ask because they are Copyrighted by the WSWS which is a Corp.? Or will this be handled by the individual volunteer on duty, so to speak?

... 29.Nov.2004 12:32

indy droid

WSWS is cool...

obviously there is going to be grey area and this is an experiment is progress

WSWS has its own analysis - it is not part of the mostly monolithic corporate machine. Discussion is ongoing on just this suject, and your thoughts and suggestions are welcome.

Why not both ways? 29.Nov.2004 13:00

Mother (who is somewhere on the queer rainbow)

I completely agree with a goal of original research and reporting. This needs to happen to push IM to the next level of quality.

I also highly value the reposts. The reposts generally screen for good stories of interest to IM readers and save me a lot of time.

Why can't we have both? How about separate columns for reposts and original posts?

In both cases would there be some editorial standards? I would not mind some of the __clearly__ paranoid nut case and trolling items expelled. But I guess you may already be doing that.

Agree with mother 29.Nov.2004 13:31


I get all my info via portland indymedia, having given up tv, radio, and boregonian. The reposts are usually of interest to me, and the comments are often inspired. Ignoring all corporate media sources feels like throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater to me. Perhaps a separate column for reposts, as mother suggested?

turning the paradigm downside-up 29.Nov.2004 13:56

indy volunteer

Yes, many people value reposts. Despite that there are literally dozens, if not hundreds of other sites to go to which collect corporate media stories many indymedia sites offer something unique: the ability for readers to contribute and provide commentary. That is most sites do have a way for readers to suggest stories to be highlighted but none have a direct way to do so. However, what we need is to shift the paradigm. What often happens now is someone will copy and paste an article from a corporate source and then post a comment to it. I want to see people be empowered to provide their commentary first. It's their commentary that is important, not the repost, as people already know. Yes, this is asking readers and contributors to step up a bit and do some more work. Yes, I am aware that people, myself included, do not have a lot of time or energy. But the paradigm as it functions now is too often reinforcing the legitimacy and authority of corporate interests and, therefore, counter-productive to the change that I, and others, wish to see.

The calls (and there have been many recently) for a judicious use of reposting corporate media is sensible but ultimately people disagree on what is important and what is not. So now people are being encouraged to share their thoughts about why something is important: what they were surprised to read, what they were not surprised to find missing, how a story connects to other events, other articles, or larger patterns.

As for separation of reposts from non-reposts, that is coming but it is a different issue than the issue of whether corporate media articles are going to be composted.

corporatemedia reposts 29.Nov.2004 15:09

indy geek

well said - just another encouragement for posters to write something

if a person writes a good commentary on a corporate media article, that is media criticism and not only will it not be composted, but it can possibly be featured!!

would be great to see more solid media criticism.

in the long run, it is not enough just to encourage people to read, but to begin to take action to change the dangerous course our society is on

keep the comments coming! indymedia is an ongoing experiment......

Throwing out the baby and the bath water 29.Nov.2004 15:46

Maybe the editors could let us decide.

Let's see if I have this correct: Brent Herbert or any other wack job can post innumerable and lengthy pieces of psychobabble, psychotic babble or the latest update on chemtrails ("They're everywhere!"), but if I repost a fairly intelligent piece of mainstream news about say, the CIA's funding of new computer programs to eavesdrop on chat rooms, it will get composted.

Do you have a program to do the composting?

Will it compost articles from Clamor? The Nation? Scientific American? The Union of Concerned Scientists? Harpers?

If I write 'commentary' or 'media criticism' before the link or article, such as "This is interesting" or "This seems to be a reliable piece of reporting, but it's from Harpers, so don't really believe it", does that count?

Aren't you getting a little silly here?

tired of tired cliches 29.Nov.2004 16:01

indy reader

No one is stopping you from deciding to read corporate media, but why does it have to be posted here, on this specific site? I don't want to read it, and if I did I could find it. I'd go to cursor personally which has much better layout for such things. Since you have the option of going elsewhere to read corporate media and I do not have the option of going somewhere where there is no corporate media isn't this the best solution to give us our options?

If a story about CIA funding is important to you why not write it up? I'd rather read your thoughts than those of someone who is working for a corporation which produces news for profit.

As for the tired cliche, there is no baby, only bathwater and it's long past time to throw it out.

Wait a minute 29.Nov.2004 16:55

Circle A ranch

What is wrong with "maybe the editors can let us decide?" Why do we need lesders on what we can say and post here?

There's a tactic used to kill this sites funtionality. 29.Nov.2004 17:40


There's a tactic used to kill this sites funtionality. I'd call it a crap flood.
I read indy because it's full of independant analasis of todays events, and free of corperate crap. For the most part reposts that are seemingly "leftist" but really indicitive of the kinder, gentler, endorsements of facism you'd expect from National Public Radio, or OPB, are trashed from this site. I've seen what looked like genuine attempts to disrupt the funtionality of this site. I've seen the site trashed with partisian bullshit to the exclusion of all else. I call this crap flooding, it's a hell of a way to kill a forum. I'm glad Indy stands up to such troll'ery. I'm glad portland indy keeps itself independant.

Mad love,
Michael b.

Portland indymedia unique 29.Nov.2004 17:48


The combination of commentary, reposted articles, announcements is unique to portland indymedia, and that's what makes it interesting. Most of the reposted articles are not available on Cursor or Common Dreams or antiwar.com, and of course the comments aren't there either. By discontinuing reposts and announcements, the editors reduce the readership of portland indymedia, and therefore potentially its diversity of readership.

The absolute dismissal of anyone who even considers working for the "corporate media" is as totalitarian as any other fundamentalist idea, and I haven't spent a penny at Costco, Penney's, Safeway, Fred Meyer, or any other big box or non-independently owned business in at least 5 years. Bill Moyers often speaks truth to power, even though he's been working for the man for a whole lot of years. Now he'll no longer have a voice on the tv. It doesn't directly affect me, since I don't watch television and I'm over fifty. But it's another sign of the degrading and ratcheting down of our "choices" as we engage in the new world order. Hopefully, indymedia sources can fill in the gaps, but it's going to be tough, because most people don't have a clue about indymedia, but could be influenced by Moyer's skill as a journalist.

And the story about Carol Gilbert and Martha Stewart meeting in Alderson prison is really well written, even though a Rocky Mountain News reporter wrote it. The url is :  http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/local/article/0,1299,DRMN_15_3357992,00.html, if anyone is interested.

Unfortunately, for me, an oldster who has limited computer skills, the killing of reposts will reduce my visits to portland indymedia. It's been fun!

PDX Indy 29.Nov.2004 18:11

Tell us now

Please tell us now how elitist you want to be, so more of us can stop reading. That way you will have a perfect site for a samll circle f friends.

A kinder, gentler drowning of the baby in the bathwater 29.Nov.2004 18:26

Maybe the editors could let us decide

Hope the title is not a cliche.

Okay, perhaps someone can explain to the collective/editors of this site that some of us who have stooped to writing for 'corporate media' at times do so because we either 1)value the superior fact-checking resources; 2)need the money; 3)want the wider circulation or 4)actually believe in peer-review for some articles. Peers are those who have done similar work in specialized areas, for those of you who don't follow scientific or technical journals.

There are probably other reasons for publishing in corporate media, but those came to mind immediately.

Now, writing or working in corporate media does not automatically take away one's ability to act in radical or revolutionary ways, any more than working for Fred Meyer or Safeway does.

If I were to write an article about political torture and how U.S. doctors have assisted in such torture in Iraq. Suppose I were to publish it in a leading medical journal in the U.S. You're telling me that this should not be re-posted on Portland Indymedia because you have to save room for psychotic rants about metal buildings and suicide in Seattle (see today's newswire for that one).

Of course, the article about torture was published. I didn't write it. However,if it is going to be banned from this newswire because it appeared in JAMA or the NEJM (that's the Journal of the American Medical Association and the New England Journal of Medicine), let me know. There was no way in hell that anyone in Portland or anyone without a goodly amount of resources could have dug up those facts and put them before the world. Do you think Seymour Hersh, bless his Pulitzer-prize chasing heart, could do his reporting without financial support?

I am not saying that independent journalism, such as is exemplified by the report on the action at the Parry Center or Sami's reporting from Palestine, should not be featured. It should. But this outright stupidity about removing re-posts is just that. Outright stupidity.

And yeah, that is partisan commentary.

Article was in Lancet 29.Nov.2004 18:50

good read

NEJM and JAMA would never touch a piece about civilian casualties in Iraq--neither journal ever deals with any issue which might be construed as "political", and having to do with the US government, unless of course the concern is how much money doctors are being denied; then the rats come out of the walls! Lancet is London-based, has been around for 150 years, is the most important medical journal in the world, and has recently been sold to Elsevier, a transnational medical publications corporation. We'll see how long they can maintain their editorial integrity, but this week looks promising: the editorial is titled, "US health care: a state lottery?".

Progressive,activist physician, Marcia Angell, was the editor of NEJM for several years, but she got booted out by the pirates who control medicine, and NEJM's been useless ever since. JAMA has always been the mouthpiece of the rulers. For an interesting read, check out Marcia Angell's new book, "What you need to know about Big Pharma", or something like that--looks as though it's being privished by the publisher. It was excerpted in the New York Review of Books, and it's very powerful.

i think people are taking this the wrong way 29.Nov.2004 19:07

longtime indy reader/reporter/and sometime volunteer

I think this is a good decision. Many people pose the question to imcistas "OF what are you independant?" and a genrealy response would be hierarchy, corporate media, etc etc.

WEll, I am glad that pdx indy is moving toward actually being independant. To those that feel the reposts are great, I would encourage you to start a thread on this imc site, asking for people interested in creating a community forum locally based where readers could publish corporate articles and then discourse on them at will. IT isnt that hard to do, it can be done with free blog sites like xanga or livejournal...have at it.

That is a different kind of thing, something that is basing itself on the corporate media. Go do that. PLease. I would bet that if someone started that it would get a link from portland imc, especially if it is a local resource that is offering something. PLease, dont whine, activate.

As far as exactly what posts will be removed, there are all kinds of grey areas, try things out and see what happens, or ask direct questions via the contact information provided on this site.

I think ultimately, the more involved volunteers decided (and it isnt easy to do this) that pdx indy cannot be everything to everybody. So now pdx indy has to be something and a course was chosen. If this will reduce your visits to the site. Well that sucks, but bye. Have fun somewhere else in internet world, or maybe go do something more active than reading corporate media and rsponding with some witty jab that you had been brewing all day long.

I am glad that some people feel portland imc is a great place and they are genuinely sad about this change. Things will get better, that is a promise. During transitions things are tough and we all have to deal with that, as a community. I think that the changes being made to the site are well deserved. ANd I send a big bravo to those more involved than me for coming to these decisions.

I think it is great to live up to the name onf portland independant media center. And I hope some of the naysayers stick around long enough to see it.

by all means: compost the corporate disinfo 29.Nov.2004 19:35


It makes good sense to limit the corporate re-posts on im. When "news" is sponsored, it seems to lose its integrity.

Remember, "NPR was made possible by a grant from (fill in your favorite corporate "citizen" here)"

Hopefully the dust will settle after this policy sticks and pdximc will work out the bugs to cut the profit propaganda while still keeping the newswire open as possible. A disclaimer in the publishing section might help.

All in all, a welcomed "experiment." The corporate "news" has become way too screwy lately...

this is not an attack on those who work or write for corporate media outlets 29.Nov.2004 20:35

indy volunteer

There's no need for hyperbole about fundamentalism and totalitarianism and elitism. This is not about corporate media, or is authors, being morally wrong or bad. This is about the goal of empowering people to write their own news. That is what this site is for. I guarantee that your local library does not stock every book in existence; does this make the books they choose not to shelve or store wrong or bad or evil? Of course not, they have a goal of providing the resources they think are appropriate to their patrons and do their best to serve that goal.

"By discontinuing reposts and announcements"

No one has said anything about announcements, and to be clear, this is not about all reposts just reposts from corporate media sources. And what constitutes "corporate media" is nebulous and contains areas of gray (or perhaps red, to move our thinking beyond a one dimensional scale).

Also, I'm not sure where the idea came in that this is an attack on those who choose to work or write for corporate media. No one has said any such thing. People need to work and often times people work in jobs that do not produce positive changes. People do the best they can to do good in the midst of their circumstances and in no way am I insinuating that people who work or write for corporate media are bad people.

As for the charge of "elitism" as is so often the case in our culture these days people see the opposite of what is there. Removing corporate media reposts is not elitism, it's reducing the elitism that has become so prevalent. Corporate media is elitist, by nature. Not anyone can write a story for it and it is run to profit those at the very top, often referred to as "the elite". My vision and goal is to empower people to create their own news and to realize that they don't need someone else telling their story. The prevalence of corporate media not only does not work toward this goal but actively hinders it. Why would someone feel empowered to tell their story in the midst of a bunch of "professional" articles?

"If I were to write an article about political torture and how U.S. doctors have assisted in such torture in Iraq. Suppose I were to publish it in a leading medical journal in the U.S. You're telling me that this should not be re-posted on Portland Indymedia"

If you wrote the story with the intent of publishing it here than it is not a repost. You authored it, you are telling your story, and such things are exactly what we are seeking. As for medical journals, again this is blue area stuff. We may not have all the answers to which journals are solidly in the control of corporate interests and which are not. This is also something readers can help with. Generally I would choose to err on the side of not composting something unless it was from a corporation I was familiar with.

If it is someone else's work that you think is really important because of the research or access involved that is all the more reason to write up what is important. Simply cutting and pasting an article does nothing to convey why the person posting thinks it is important, newsworthy, etc. And you can easily do it in the same time it takes to write a longish comments like the ones here.

I also want to second the suggestion to start another site if that's what people want. I think that a site that allows full text reposts of corporate media with the ability to comment would appeal to some people. And so those people who are interested should make that happen. I have no interest in working on that because I want to empower people to tell their own news, not just comment on other people's news.

"Unfortunately, for me, an oldster who has limited computer skills, the killing of reposts will reduce my visits to portland indymedia"

You could visit less and hopefully you'll find those visits more rewarding. Or, you could use that time and contribute. As I said, it doesn't take any longer than it takes to write a comment to write an original news piece even if it's commentary on why a particular corporate news article is good, or terrible. But ultimately for those who are seeking something different I wish you the best of luck in finding what you're looking for.

what about this one? 29.Nov.2004 22:10


I've been reposting stuff by Dahr Jamail who's an independent (non-inbedded) American reporter of Iraqi descent-he's getting the goods the corpys aren't because he's actually talking with Iraqis without translators. He's not writing for a corporation and doesn't mind reposts as long as he's credited with the story-I hope that sort of thing will be OK. If not I may have to start yet another blog.

reposts from non-corporate sites are fine 29.Nov.2004 22:55

indy volunteer

Reposting from blogs, forums, email, and other alternative news sites will continue to be fine, and even encouraged if it empowers people to do some reporting themselves. I'm not interested in stopping reposts altogether and that is not what has been consensed. It is only corporate media reposts which have been too prevalent on this site lately which will be composted. A good rule of thumb is that anyone not affiliated with a corporation is not corporate media.

How about Robert Fisk and other independent journalists ? 29.Nov.2004 23:35


who sell their stories to corporate media, but are not owned by them?

2 cents... 30.Nov.2004 00:28

Tony Blair's dog

I have always felt that the greatness of imc(and particularly pdximc)
is that it is a format that is outstanding in how quickly you can
expose fraud and criminal activity perpetrated by the corporate states
and their henchmen.

This format has made pdximc into a wonderful furious meltingpot
of information posted and reposted by people who care and want
to share the information they have found. Be it written by people
who have the talent and time to put their discoveries into written
form through their own words, or people(like myself) who don't have
the time or talent to write own articles about the information that
is believed to benefit other peoples' knowlege and/or help
investigations into dubious "official" claims.

I totally agree that people should be encouraged to be more active
in their creative writing, but at the same time you can't suddenly
force people to do something that they do not necessarily feel
comfortable doing.

The way of reposting stories from the big medias that have been felt
important enough to share with other people has not made pdximc into
a bad place which some people seem to make it appear, on the contrary.
It is *because* of this fusing of small gold nuggets of truth from
the big medias tempered with the brains of the readers here that
pdximc has grown into the amazing bringer of light that it currently is.

Added to this all the stories written by all the creative readers/writers
who have the time and talent to make original first posts and you see why
pdximc has been getting more and more followers just *because* the way it
has been working. People are tired of the way the big medias are only
a "one way channel". This is why pdximc is so loved and needed in
these dangerous times.

If some people are starting to compost postings because of their
personal preferences of what they want pdximc to "be" without
reflecting on why a certain "big media" post was posted, the magic
will be gone.

The site may become and look like some people want it to be and
look like, but the power it has now will be ruined in the process.

So, please, don't destroy the amazingly good thing that pdximc has matured into.

'corporate' vs. 'non-corporate' 30.Nov.2004 00:39


I re-post this comment - from the 2 + 2 = Five  http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/11/304698.shtml story thread - that I had made,

in response to an Indy Volunteer's comments (mainly relating to leftist-oriented 'bulletin board' sites such as AlterNet, CommonDreams and others which do carry wire service news sources) on the actual 'definition' (if it's possible to have an absolute one) of 'corporate' and 'non-corporate' news, and editorial decisions taken therein:


"The thing about some of those sites" 29.Nov.2004 23:12

I am fully aware that web sites such as AlterNet, CommonDreams, truthout.org, whatreallyhappened.com, informationclearinghouse.com, and several others serve as "supermarkets": bulletin-boards of reposted corporate-wire-service news stories - in addition to their role as original news and investigative reporters.

but in actual fact, many of those corporate news stories - of the kind re-published and networked via the above-mentioned sites, from original sources such as IPS, Agence France-Presse, BBC, Reuters, The Guardian, Independent, Asia Times, and others - can be VERY ENLIGHTENING and valuable on breaking news and certain issues,

especially when the US Corporate Media main/primary sources - e.g. CNN, ABC, CBS, NYT, AP etc. - have clamped-down or utterly refused to report on or carry a story, or reporting on that particular event, in any form at all.

in fact, many of these stories that US Corporate Media clamps down on are DOMESTIC U.S. events (not Iraq/Afghanistan news) such as vote fraud/voting machines news, which no one even hears about on the internet until they go to one of the b specific home page web sites as listed above - either "supermarket" AlterNet/CommonDreams, or original 'corporate' source IPS/Guardian/Asia Times etc. -

or, here on Indymedia, as a further re-post.

THAT is why - at times, and in selected cases - a 'corporate' news source story re-posted, even via the above "supermarket" sources to Indymedia - can be valuable.

an effective U.S. Mainstream Media Blackout on an issue or event can be partially subverted, through Euro/Asian 'corporate' wire source redistribution, via Indymedia. Getting the information OUT THERE should be the main priority in such cases.

Sometimes the information NEEDS to be more widely distributed, via Indymedia. and sometimes the source of that information - valuable, relevant, and timely to the activist community - emanates from a 'corporate' vendor.

just Black/White Blanket Labeling of all news as "Corporate" or "Non-Corporate" is too rigid and inflexible an editorial decision.

Shades of gray exist, and must be acknowledged and made amends, in order for true freedom of information to exist via Indymedia.

especially in these times of ever-increasing U.S. Mainstream Media corporate consolidation.


number of corporations controlling US mass media, 1983-2004
number of corporations controlling US mass media, 1983-2004

"Simply cutting and pasting an article does nothing to convey" 30.Nov.2004 00:58

"why the person posting thinks it is important"

on the contrary,

IF - and ONLY IF - the re-posted article has been CHOSEN WITH EXTREME CARE for topic, content, and writing skill/style by the re-poster themselves,

i.e. they chose the article for its potential or peripheral relevance to Indymedia's generally stated mission, and the re-poster's (hopefully) good knowledge of what readers of this particular IMC like to see covered and written about,

(. . . and the re-poster is not just spamming another article onto here by their favorite author or from their favorite site . . .)

then the cutting and pasting of another's article - PROPERLY ATTRIBUTED with original author's name and URL web site link - becomes a statement in itself.

it is then up to the Readers and Users of Indymedia to use the COMMENT Function of this site, to "debate" or "point up" the relevance, usefulness, timeliness, or relatedness of said re-posted article to Indymedia and its general purpose/goals.

even the act of Re-Posting an article to Indymedia - to be done properly and with impact and relevance - requires extensive Self-Editing and checking on the part of the Re-Poster.

choose your re-posts carefully and wisely.

thanks, birddog and me 30.Nov.2004 00:58


your points were the very ones i wanted to express, but couldn't because I don't quite have the writing skills. Yes, there's a good deal of gray out there, and a lot of fog as well. That's why we need portland indymedia to help lead us through. The writers and story tellers need imc as well. We can all work together, correct?

Wow, I didn't know my question would cause such a stir :-) 30.Nov.2004 02:17

Mrs. Robinson

Indymedia, I think it would have been better in my opinion to have featured the change you all are making before you start composting articles. Maybe in a week or a certain date, people will not be able to post corporate media articles instead of composting them without anyone knowing why. Don't you think it would make more sense to LET PEOPLE KNOW before you start composting the articles they put up? Don't get me wrong! I don't think corporate media belongs on this site either unless there was a certain section just for corporate news. But not letting people know before you make a change is quite confusing! If I had not posted this question, I would have been very discouraged from putting anything up on this site, cause I really did not know what I did wrong. I still see there is nothing up about this change, so maybe someone should put something up or you will have more people like me posting up corpo articles and having them composted and not knowing why. Thank You For The Responses......

There is a site where you can post anything 30.Nov.2004 14:09



You post by emailing to the address shown on the page.

No composting.