Freak Show Friday at Clearly NM

Whew!  That’s all I can really say after watching the clip posted below.

Recently there have been a lot of stories about Fox News host Glenn Beck.  Not news they want to have out there – the stories about advertisers pulling their spots from Beck’s program in the wake of his calling President Obama a racist.

But Beck is ramping it up. On last night’s show he made an announcement that he’s tired of being a victim and the gloves are coming off!  He’s tired of being a sheep! From watching his show, I don’t know when the gloves were ever on, but tonight he promised proclaim his plan to show Americans exactly how to “take back their republic.”

Yet what might be even more interesting, or should I say entertaining, was the chart of words Beck pulled out last night on his blackboard on which he deciphered a conspiratorial code.

By assembling the first letters of words like Obama, revolutionaries, ACORN, hidden agenda, etc., Glenn produced the word OLIGARH, thus spelling out the secret plan that unites them all — the supposed Obama oligarchy to come.

That’s right oligarchy, not “oligarhy.” When Glenn asked the audience what letter was missing, I’m sure most said “C”. They must have been surprised when he said “Y” instead.  Obviously he was doing this to make a point of asking why, but in the end he raised even more questions about his rationale for what he says on his show.

Yet the Y that’s missing for me in this picture is “why” is Glenn Beck wasting so many people’s time by still being on TV?  Why are people still taking him seriously?

Advocates With a Pen

RFK_CesarThere’s been so much talk about the decline of the traditional media and concern about what kind of in-depth journalism might rise up to up to take its place.

But I’m more encouraged now about the future of journalism since I’ve seen the ambitious and righteous project called  “Divided Families,” a series of stories by journalism students at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

The series, a melange of photos and text which movingly examined the lives of  families divided by the U.S. – Mexico border, won the prestigious Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award in the college print journalism category. It traces the stories of families who are separated as a result of both legal and illegal immigration and explores the social consequences of public immigration policy.  (To view the full series, go to the above link and click on the PDF file on the right side of the page. )

The Divided Families project was the work of 17 students in the Cronkite School’s In-Depth Reporting class. Students took more than 30 trips to the border, deep into Mexico and to various parts of Arizona to report, record and photograph their stories.

You can read about the other winners, which included The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Charlotte Observer and National Public Radio, here.

The prizes will be awarded today in a ceremony at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

The RFK Journalism Awards program honors outstanding reporting on issues that reflect Robert F. Kennedy’s concerns, including human rights, social justice and the power of individual action in the United States and around the world. Winning pieces examine the causes, conditions and remedies of injustice and analyze relevant public policies and attitudes and private endeavors.

Crashing the Gates of the Mainstream Media

Check out this great read from PBS’s excellent Mediashift website about the crucial role the blogosphere plays in media criticism. My favorite line is about bloggers crashing the gates traditionally kept by the so-called “legacy” media:

Here comes the crowd, and in many instances, they’re not very happy and they have cheap global distribution for their thoughts. And you won’t like them when they’re angry.

Give it a read!

Ethics Reform for Dummies: The Journal doesn’t get it, but Sherry Robinson does

The legislative session passed the mid-point of the sixty-day session last week, and the major ethics reform bills are still in the Senate Rules Committee.

Bills still waiting for their day are ones to establish an independent ethics commission, Clean Elections public financing, and contributions limits (N.M. is one of only five states with no limits whatsoever).

Bear in mind that this is the calendar dictated by Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez. Every year, the major ethics reform bills always seem to get to the Senate floor just hours before the end of the session. And that’s where they die outright or get tagged with last minute amendments that send them back to the house as the clock runs out.

In 2007, it was Senator Sanchez who slipped through a bill (later vetoed by the Governor) that would have overturned the state disclosure law that requires candidates and officeholders to file reports electronically to the secretary of state’s website where they can be accessed by the public.

Sanchez offered this excuse to reporter Steve Terrell of the SF New Mexican: “This isn’t trying to hide campaign-finance reports. It’s for people like me who aren’t very good at computers or access to the Internet.” Sanchez also strongly opposes attempts to open legislative conference committees to the public.

But this year, with the public clamor for ethics reform growing and the new media subjecting his actions to greater scrutiny, Sanchez seems to have altered his obstructionist tactics. Continue reading

NM Independent makes its mark

New Mexico seemed particularly blessed last April when the non-profit Center for Independent Media founded the New Mexico Independent, a comprehensive online newspaper designed to cover local news exclusively.

The CIM had already established similar online papers in four states and Washington D.C as part of its New Journalist Pilot Program. The idea was to train a new corps of journalists and create independent media outlets by melding emerging blog technology with the standards of professional journalism.

The CIM experiment was a timely one, coming as the print newspaper business model was rapidly falling out of favor and online news consumption was rising.

The birth of the New Mexico Independent came just as the Albuquerque Tribune shut down, leaving the city with only one newspaper, one domineering news source and one editorial point of view. Continue reading

Contemplating Klan Radio

Right-wing talk radio’s hate spew has become an accepted part of the media landscape. In Albuquerque we have 770 KKOB-AM radio – home of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Michael Savage for seven hours every weekday.

Consider Michael Savage. We’re talking the purest, most unadulterated bigotry imaginable. Even Don Imus at his most vulgar never came anywhere close to the viciousness that is routinely broadcast on the so-called “Talk Monster” every night for two hours (7-9 pm) when KKOB becomes home to the Savage Nation.

Daily KOS had this post about a recent Savage outrage on his Jan. 29 show – Welcome to Klan Radio.

But that was nothing out of the ordinary. The media watchdog, MediaMatters.org, produced this transcript from Savage’s Jan. 31 broadcast:

“Look, Obama’s not getting the nomination. If he does, I wouldn’t — well, let me just stop right there. Think John F. Kennedy Jr. and the Hyannis — and the airplane. Think the Mena airport”.
Continue reading