Posts Tagged ‘media’

Henry James Ferry – Grounded News – Occupy Wall Street vs. Tea Party

Sunday, October 9th, 2011

Henry James Ferry of Grounded News reports from Liberty Park in New York City, comparing the growing protest movement and accompanying police response to previous Tea Party events. Concise and to the point, Ferry debunks the corporate media bulshit and points out the obvious differences between the actions of the far right and the popular revolt which is spreading across America.

Well done.

I’ve nattered on in these pages before about how Net Neutrality equals Free Speech and needs to be vigorously protected by an engaged and active citizenry. Watching the major news outlets ignore and then distort the events unfolding in New York serves as a very strong example of precisely what I was taking about.

Can you imagine what would happen if the only access to news we had was through the papers, radio and television networks?

Back in the 1960′s and early ’70′s there was still a modicum of journalistic integrity which allowed news unfavourable to the corporate classes to be broadcast and discussed freely. Reports on riots in the streets, mass arrests and use of the National Guard on campuses – as well as front line footage which brought an un-embedded view of the Vietnam war into the living rooms of America, and the rest of the world – played a decisive role in slowing the corporate takeover of U.S. democracy and ending the profitable and tragic debacle in Vietnam.

The lessons from those days was obviously learned by authorities within the police and news industries – just as it was within the music and other entertainment industries (you won’t find any anti-war songs on the Top 10 these days) – and more pervasive and monolithic controls of these information sources has been corporatized to craft a simple, bland and diverting flow of stories that pass for news and culture.

The net eludes that control and will continue to do so as long as it remains free and out of the controlling hands of corporate power and corrupt governments. Otherwise we’ll just be listening to more Justin Beiber tunes sung in reality show competitions while the few who choose to stand up against corruption and theft get the snot smacked out of them by police thugs with no one paying attention – or being able to pay attention – or being allowed to pay attention.

So – pay attention.

Thankfully we are at a cusp where the ability to control the net has not been entrenched and cannot be enforced – yet – and the lies or non-news being spewed by old media is readily being shown to the world as the truckload of rancid horseshit it actually is.

I don’t care who’s side you’re on or what your personal political perspectives are. What I do care about is the ability of everyone to engage in free and open debate. That will not be possible without a neutral net.

Net Neutrality is Free Speech.


Meanwhile – Wall Street Protests Continue

Monday, September 26th, 2011

The mainstream media is not reporting a continuing protest on Wall Street, New York. The encamped protestors are growing in numbers as they continue their vigil to force a change in the political and economic war being waged within their country. Arrests have been made, people have been clubbed, gassed and harrassed – but the protest continues. It’s kinda like the G20 in Toronto – in slow motion.

It has been fascinating to watch unfold online – especially considering the dearth of coverage by major news outlets that habitually swarm over paltry Tea Party demonstrations and yet somehow find the spectacle of a few thousand people marching and camping out in the nation’s financial district despite being battered by an increasingly belligerent police force to be not worthy of a single mention. Shame on them.

Thank goodness for social media – the Twitter feed #ourwallstreet is a good source of news as are numerous independent video streams – thank goodness for Keith Olbermann (this from a few days ago):

- and a big thank you to Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! (you’ll want to watch this more up-to-date coverage):

I want to post more on this but I have pressing concerns here at home. When I can I’ll let out a bigger longer rant.

These protestors aren’t going anywhere soon but it would serve you well to delve deeper and find out more about what is happening in New York and, potentially, more cities as this protest continues to grow.


Marshall McLuhan – Happy 100th Birthday

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Today marks the 100th birthday of Marshall McLuhan and whilst the world goes to hell in a handbasket of unrelenting greed and destructive paranoid mania let us remember that this good fellow had the wisdom to stand up and say: “Here comes the shit storm, suckers. Good luck!”

Well – okay – he didn’t exactly use those words; but the words he did use continue to inform us of who we were, who we are and who we might be. If we’re also wise enough to use this knowledge.

Happy Birthday, Dr. McLuhan.

NOTE: If you’re having trouble hearing the sound – choose the 240p version from the video menubar. Why? I have no idea.


UPDATE: Actually,this video by Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is probably a better evocation of the current media seas within which we all swim. Gonna make this one my ringtone. Yeah.

eG8 Alt Press Conference

Monday, May 30th, 2011

A follow up to my previous post on the eG8 – here’s the impromptu press conference held by those attendees (Lawrence Lessig, Susan Crawford, Jeff Jarvis at al) putting their spin on the Sarkozy government/business G8 slant on their proposed ownership and control of the interwebs.

Short strokes: “Yo, Nikki – the net is infinitely more than just a handy platform from whence you greedy geezers can continue to shill your lies and sell your shit. So go fuck yourself.”

But I paraphrase – let the better minds speak:

[EN] La société civile s’en va t’en guerre à l’ e-G8 from OWNI on Vimeo.

Lessig is great – so’s Jarvis – but be sure to catch Jérémie Zimmermann around 18:15 where he really nails what is going on with all this eG8 bullshit.


P.S. Found this over at BoingBoing posted by Cory Doctorow. Thanks!

Marshall McLuhan – Apropos Of Last Night’s Debates

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

I found this clip over at – it’s from the pre-Reagan era when Jimmy Carter had just debated Gerald Ford in 1976.

McLuhan’s POV on all this is spot on and terribly apropos of our own debates held last night – but not entirely for the reasons spoken of by

After Jimmy Carter’s time in office it was Reagan who took the reins of power and, under the guidance of his media handlers, successfully distorted the role of the U.S. news media in their coverage of the White House using such tactics as: keeping the press distanced and granting access as a special favour; knowing the TV media needs pictures and knowing that’s all the pubic responds to; regardless of what bad news or scandals were being intoned by news anchors if it was only accompanied by staged, happy, smiley posed images of the jolly Reagan then the audience didn’t listen to the news – they responded to the pictures alone.

Harper has been doing this same tactic over the past year after he installed John Baird as his bulldog in Parliament – so there would be no images or sound bites of Harper having to respond to uncomfortable questions in front of the other elected representatives. This serves to convey an image of Harper as being presidential, too busy doing the business of state, and above the fray. Keep the image clean and happy. Strike the pose you want. Deny access except to convey the desired staged images.

Harper wasn’t even present in Parliament when the charges of contempt were brought down upon him and his party – an historical first for any parliamentary democracy. He didn’t want to be anywhere near it – so he could pretend it never happened and was of no consequence to him, the busy, industrious presidential leader of the Harper Goverment

This was ramped up further during these past weeks of electioneering: keeping the reporters at bay, roped off like kids on a school tour; being discouraged from covering any images of protest that conflicted with the desired happy smiling images chosen by the campaign; denying access by limiting questions to a mere 5 (one designated to a local reporter); deliberately not engaging or responding to issues or questions put forth by the press or the public. Just smile and wave, boys, just smile and wave.

And now – in the debate – Harper made a point of only responding with repetitive talking points, echoing the messages contained in their advertisements; ignored and refused to engage with the issues, the questions and even with the other party leaders.

They spoke to him – he spoke to the camera.

Stephen Harper seeks to remake Canada into a backward little-boy’s vision of America – with him as the President who gets to make policy and issues orders without the unnecessary bickering which is also sometimes regarded as debate, democracy and true parliamentary process.

Woe to Canada should this man ever be given even the slimmest of majorities.

During his time as a minority Prime Minister (albeit with the cowardly assistance of the opposition parties – too craven to fight too hard lest they lose the slightest grip on their own political standings) has consistently worked outside of Parliament – using deceit, delay and outright fucking lies to slowly, relentlessly, dismantle the operations and power of the very structure of our parliamentary democracy. Contempt indeed.

Given a majority he will set Canada upon a path where true civil discourse, true elected representation, and truth itself will be put in peril. He will, in short, craft his small-boy punitive and nasty-hearted dream of a mini-America. Our majority Mini-Me Prime Minister will become a President of a country that encourages and rewards those who seek to profit from the suffering of others – and punish and imprison all who disagree or dare defy his role as Daddy of all the people.

Stephen Harper has already proven himself to be a hypocrite and a liar who holds the very workings of our parliamentary democracy in contempt. Parliament represents the voice of the people – and he is contemptuous of that. I would say: “Shame on you, Stephen Harper.” – but I know he has no shame – just bald avaricious lust for power and the desire to punish those weaker than himself in order to satiate his perverse needs to feel strong.

Harper believes this country should be run like a business – indeed – he believes it should be run by business.

Stephen Harper is a fascist.

Please vote. Vote however you wish to – but vote. And please encourage young voters to turn out. Their voice must be heard. Last election there was a pitifully low turnout. If they can be convinced of the worthiness in exercising the right to vote – it can change this country, and consequently the world, for the better. They need to engage with our democracy to make it work. They need to add their voices to the voice of the people – before someone chooses to silence it.

Rick Mercer says it much better than me – pass it on:


P.S. Tom Brokaw sounds as if he’s struggling to remember the handful of catch phrases he remembers from those books of McLuhan’s he never got around to finishing and never really understood anyway.

This New Generation Will Fight Back

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

Fuck yeah.

I found this over at BoingBoing where Cory Doctorow said: “This young man is one of the best speakers I’ve heard, and I salute his passion and his integrity.”

I have my faith in humanity restored whenever I hear young men and women speak words like this:

They can’t stop us demonstrating, they can’t stop us fighting back, and how ever much they try to imprison us in the streets of London, those are our streets. We will always be there to demonstrate, we will always be there to fight… We are no longer that generation that doesn’t care, we are no longer that generation to sit back and take whatever they give us. We are now the generation at the heart of the fight back.

They deserve our praise and, more importantly, our support. There is a very big fight coming. Large storm clouds of unrest are looming on the horizon of our lives. The stakes are going to be very dear and the end result – as much as these things ever have any true end – is in no wait a certainty. The next decade is going to be hell. No doubt about it. The young men and women who think and act as this student does will bear the brunt of the fight. Old farts like me must be prepared to do more than write angry blog posts or rage on Twitter.

I have a lot more to say about the recent events around the world with respect to freedom of speech and the right to dissent. There is a post-production deadline I must endeavour to meet and that will keep me busy for the next few weeks. Come the new year there be other projects that will occupy my time. But I do have more to say and I will find the time and the various ways and means of doing so. In the meantime, don’t be cynical, don’t be depressed, and don’t be savagely angry. Just be determined to add your own voice, in whatever way, regardless of how trivial it may seem. We are Spartacus, we are Anonymous, we are Assange, we are the Who’s of Whoville – and we will be heard.

So there.

Canadian DMCA In 6 Weeks

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

The Harper government is, once again, marching in lock-step with the US media lobby and will attempt to pass a copyright reform bill that echoes the worst parts of the failed US DMCA.

They held a public copyright consultation that garnered a lot of attention and a lot of input – which they have promptly ignored.

The consultations were obviously nothing more than an attempt at pacifying an obviously outraged public who howled in reaction to Harper’s blatant kowtowing to US big media lobby lies and deceit.

Combined with the ongoing ACTA negotiations this bill will put Canada on a path of locked down information and corporate controls over your free speech rights. It’s a fucking drag to have to go through all this again but I hope the anger that will erupt from this becomes an election triggering issue that finally provides the shot in those tiny Harper nads that sends him squealing from any position of public influence.

From Michael Geist’s blog:

PMO Issues The Order: Canadian DMCA Within Six Weeks

Months of public debate over the future of Canadian copyright law were quietly decided earlier this week, when sources say the Prime Minister’s Office reached a verdict over the direction of the next copyright bill. The PMO was forced to make the call after Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore and Industry Minister Tony Clement were unable to reach consensus on the broad framework of a new bill. As I reported last week, Moore has argued for a virtual repeat of Bill C-61, with strong digital locks provisions similar to those found in the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act and a rejection of a flexible fair dealing approach. Consistent with earlier comments on the need for a forward-looking, flexible approach, Clement argued for changes from C-61.

With mounting pressure from the U.S. – there have repeated meetings with senior U.S. officials in recent weeks – the PMO sided squarely with Moore’s vision of a U.S.-style copyright law. The detailed provisions will be negotiated over the coming weeks by the respective departments, but they now have their marching orders of completing a bill that will satisfy the U.S. that comes complete with tough anti-circumvention rules and no flexible fair dealing provision.

The bill is not expected until June, but it will have dramatic repurcussions once introduced. First, the bill represents a stunning reversal from the government’s seeming shift away from C-61 and its commitment to a bill based on the national copyright consultation. Instead, the consultation appears to have been little more than theatre, with the PMO and Moore choosing to dismiss public opinion. Second, after adopting distinctly pro-consumer positions on other issues, Moore has abandoned that approach with support for what may become the most anti-consumer copyright bill in Canadian history. Third, the bill will immediately impact the Canadian position at the ACTA and CETA negotiations, where the bill’s provisions on anti-circumvention and ISP liability will effectively become the Canadian delegation position.

For those wondering what can be done, my only answer is to speak out now. Write a paper letter to your Member of Parliament and send copies to the Prime Minister, Moore, Clement and Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff. No stamp is required – be sure to include your home address and send it to the House of Commons, Ottawa, ON, K1A 0A6. Once that is done, join the Facebook group and the Facebook page and be sure to ask others do the same. You may spoken out before, but your voice is needed yet again.

Time to kick this arrogant dead-eyed fuck and his brown-lipstick cronies out of office.

Make a noise. Tell your friends. Shut them down.

I’d like to add the words of Cory Doctorow about this news from his BoingBoing post:

What a goddamned disaster. The Tories have shown — yet again — their utter contempt for public opinion and Canadian culture and small business when these present an inconvenience to more windfall profits for offshore entertainment giants.

Remember: thousands of us responded to the Tory inquiry on copyright law, and overwhelmingly, we said we did not want a US-style copyright disaster at home. Remember: hundreds of thousands of us wrote and called our MPs. Remember: Canadian artists’ coalitions fought against the imposition of a DMCA in Canada. Remember: America’s copyright war has been an absolute trainwreck, with tens of thousands facing lawsuits, competition and innovation eroded by DRM, free speech challenged by copyright takedowns, and no improvements for creators or creativity.

There’s only one thing stupider than being the first country to enact the DMCA, in spite of its obvious shortcomings: enacting the DMCA after the first country has spent a decade showing how rotten and backwards this approach to copyright is.

Amen to that.

Time to get loud and nasty, folks.


Copyright Consultation Numbers

Friday, April 9th, 2010

Michael Geist has posted the final tally of numbers based on the responses to the infamous Bill C-61, which was intended as copyright reform but which was so obviously an attempt to cram US-style DMCA laws on Canada.

The copyright consultation concluded last fall and it seems worth reminding Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore and Industry Minister Tony Clement what Canadians had to say when they asked for their opinion on copyright reform. It has taken some time to calculate the final numbers as the government conducted a review to ensure that all were properly posted. There were ultimately more than 8,300 submissions – more than any government consultation in recent memory – with the overwhelming majority rejecting Bill C-61 (6138 submissions against, 54 in support), while thousands called for flexible fair dealing and a link between copyright infringement and anti-circumvention rules.

Go read the full post to see how the numbers break down across the full range of concerns raised from the massive number of submissions.

As the UK goes full bat shit crazy with it’s incredibly undemocratic Digital Economy Bill it’s good to see we in Canada have at least a veneer of public input into a process that has been, and continues to be, corrupted by the media industries. As for anyone in the government paying attention to this input I don’t trust those fuckers to ever do the right thing and they should continue to be watched closely and lead by a firm grip on their nuts to ensure they do pay attention to what the citizens of Canada want in any copyright law.


WGC Spot On Broadcast vs. Cable

Saturday, November 14th, 2009

Found this over on Jill Golick’s Running With Eyes Closed site. It’s a great bullshit cleanser from the Writer’s Guild of Canada for the debate between the cable and broadcast companies in Canada who are arguing over who should pay for Canadians to receive local programming.

Yo – fuck heads – the airwaves are ours.

I’ve been watching the repeated showings of the self-serving ads the cable companies and the broadcasters have been running and every time they make me froth at the mouth with rage over their insolent arrogance. They need to have their heads knocked together. The CRTC needs to act on behalf of Canadian citizens and not their fat cat media cronies. Will that happen? Not likely. That’s why the CRTC should get fucked. Maybe if we all say that – really loudly – they’ll get the idea, get scared for their jobs and end up inadvertently doing the right thing.

Fuck ‘em.


Will Copyright Laws Stifle Creativity?

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

There’s been a lot of bullshit happening in Canada as the Harper government does its best to look pretty whilst wearing the brown lipstick of the U.S. media industry. You can find out more about the pitiful shenanigans of the music industry, blatantly stacking town hall meetings to discuss copyright reform, and the suppression of alternative voices at these so called “open and public discussions”, on other blogs like Michael Geist and Jill Golick or and BoingBoing. I’ve ranted and raved about it before – and doubtless will again – but right now it’s the weekend and I’m lazy and I’m gonna go lie down and read a cheap mystery novel.

In the meantime, here’s a short video of Prof. Lawrence Lessig giving a talk this past February at the New York Public Library (along with Steven Johnson and Shepard Fairey) addressing the very real concerns that our copyright laws are being hijacked by dying media industries to support a failed and archaic business model and in those efforts to stem the inevitable tide of technological and cultural progress they are stealing our voices, stealing our right to speak and hear about our world.

Will copyright laws stifle creativity? If the major media companies are allow to corrupt our elected officils and subvert our democratic processes to assert their right to define what culture is – as in: whatever they sell us and nothing else – then Yes the laws of copyright are a threat to creativity and freedom of speech as well as freedom of thought.

Make noise. Kick these fuckers in the nuts.


P. S. Actually the mystery novel is not cheap, it’s Dashiel Hammett’s classic “The Big Knockover” – in case you were wondering.