aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Last Friday Max Blumenthal took a good hard look at Fred Mann, the “conservative activist with no credentials as an expert on journalism, broadcasting or media issues, who was obscure even within right-wing circles” and who Kenneth Tomlinson, the chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, hired to secretly monitor four public broadcasting programs in search of liberal bias.
I went back for a second look in light of Tomlinson’s appearance before the Senate appropriations subcommittee yesterday:
“I have brought the issue of political balance - common-sense political balance - to the debate,” said Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, the corporation’s chairman, in his first appearance before Congress since recent disclosures that he was under investigation by the corporation’s inspector general for a series of decisions and payments to consultants that he has said were necessary to ensure balance in programming.
The decisions under review include the hiring of a former official of a conservative journalism training organization to monitor several programs, notably “Now” with Bill Moyers; payments of $15,000 to two Republican lobbyists last year to help defeat a proposal to have more broadcasters on the corporation’s board; and the use of a White House official to help create a new office of ombudsman at the corporation to monitor balance in programs.
Tomlinson’s ombudsmen, Ken Bode and William Schulz, reviewed and critiqued NPR and PBS news segments. The Washington Post reports they found no bias:
Instead, Bode and Schulz have been positively glowing in their assessments of the journalism heard on NPR and seen on news shows distributed by PBS. So glowing, in fact, that Schulz and Bode’s reports, which are posted on CPB’s Web site could easily be excerpted in the shorthand style of a movie ad quoting favorable reviews.
Overall, I’m still not optimistic. In the end we have a 30 minute Now without Bill Moyers and “balanced” by a 60 minute Wall Street Journal Editorial Report AND Tucker Carlson. So it’s not surprising to hear:
Both Tomlinson and the CPB’s new president, former Republican National Committee co-chairwoman Patricia Harrison, advocated that the Senate restore funding cuts made by the House in its budget bill. They got a vote of support from Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), who said at the hearing that he would work for full funding.
It looks to me like we’ve lost the battle and lost the war.
Public Domain as “unfair competition”
The BBC is being attacked by UK record companies for giving away public domain recordings of Beethoven. According to the record companies, such offers are “unfair competition.”
Ludicrous Permission Culture
We’ve been talking here for some time about using your fair-use rights so that you don’t lose them (Fair Use It or Lose It). But what happens if you do what the copyright maximalists appear to encourage and ask permission for every use of copyrighted material—even the most defensible private home use?
She points to JD Lasica’s experiences asking movie studios for permission to include small clips of movies in a home video he’s making with his 5-year-old:
As I wrote in Darknet, four of the studios refused outright, two refused to respond, and the seventh wobbled (see below).
This is the quandary millions of us face today: The Hollywood studios demand that we ask for permission to borrow from their works - and then they deny our requests as a matter of course.
He details his experiences: Universal, “$900 for each 15 seconds.” Warner Bros., “does not wish to license film clips.” 20th Century Fox, “does not approve the use of any.” Columbia TriStar, “We do have a problem with that.” MGM & Paramount both declined to answer.
Then there’s Disney:
Due to the growing number of requests that we are receiving from individuals, school groups, churches, corporations and other organizations that wish to use clips from our productions as part of their video projects and other similar uses, we have had to establish a general policy of non-cooperation with requests of this nature. Unfortunately, we simply do not have the staff necessary to oversee and review all of the details of each specific request that we receive in order to determine whether the request uses fall within acceptable guidelines or whether talent, music or film clip re-use payments to those featured in the footage and other legal clearances would be necessary to obtain before permission for requests of this nature can be granted.
There should be no permission necessary for the creation of works in which there is no public distribution. Life would be much simpler and just.
The power of one teen’s blog
From Terrance Heath’s opinion column in Bay Windows on the impact of Zach’s blog:
That’s the real story here: how one teenager, and lots of bloggers, used the Internet to shine a light into a dark corner that most people had never looked into before. Not long ago, it would have been a non-story. A teenager without a blog would have been packed off to [Love In Action/Refuge] LIA/R, having probably told only a few friends, and the story wouldn’t have spread much further than that. But this teenager lives in an age where setting up a blog is so easy that it can be done in a few minutes, and it’s free. He used it to amplify his voice. It was heard and echoed by thousands of others, until someone somewhere had to do something.
Ultimately, the story of one scared, lonely teenager touched people and moved them to make a difference. But Zach’s story isn’t over yet. We can only wait and see if we’ll hear from him after he emerges from the Refuge program, and if he’ll emerge with his will and his sense of self - both very evident on his blog - as intact as they were before. It’s possible that he won’t be the same as before, and never will be, but because he spoke out things will never be the same for programs like LIA/R, and that means a bit more hope for the next gay teen who finds himself or herself in the same position as Zach.
Doug says, “More and more Virginia is looking extremely uninviting:”
MIDDLEBROOK, Va. - A small fire and anti-gay graffiti were found Saturday at a church belonging to the United Church of Christ, a denomination that endorsed same-sex marriage last week.
The exterior of St. John’s Reformed United Church of Christ also included a message that United Church of Christ members were sinners.