jump to navigation

Literature Review September 21, 2007



How does the current media affect and sway public perception of news, local and world issues?

Major media conglomerates use their power and media outlets to portray an often hidden political or social agenda. To do so they spin and manipulate truths, molding information to suit their cause. Authenticity of information is lost owing to this trend, and it has become increasingly difficult for the public to separate fact from fabricated fiction and false, misleading information.

The media has a role to portray true and relevant information and so serve public interest. This notion is seemingly lost on many media giants who are more focused on profit and swaying opinion than delivering a realistic and reasonable account of current affairs and issues. This goes against the journalistic promise to honour societies right to true and honest information. If the media pushes a certain stance or viewpoint upon its audience, public opinion is effected as people receive a biased point of view.

In the 1999 Michael Moore television series ‘The Awful Truth’, Moore raises the point that in this day and age media and corporations have more power over the world than politicians and their governments. This is a serious concern as it causes consumerism to rise, and a certain ‘brainwashing’ of public opinion to occur.

During 2006 documentary ‘America, Living in Spin’ actor Aaron Eckhart says, “You never know what to believe anymore because it’s all spin really. Everything these days is damage control”. The director, David Kofchner states, “We live in a world filled with political correctness, because there is no more honesty, and so spin has taken over”. Media moguls such as Rupert Murdoch employ ‘spin doctors’ disguised as editors and journalists to manipulate stories. In the 2006 movie ‘Thank You For Smoking’ (carrying the tag line ‘Don’t hide the truth, just filer it’), Nick Naylor, a tobacco activist states, “I’m a lobbyist, it requires a moral flexibility that goes beyond most people”. This effectively sums up the role many journalists are now forced to play. ‘OutFoxed’ a documentary focusing on ‘Rupert Murdoch’s war on journalism’ features several ex-Fox News Channel reporters who tell of the lengths this mogul will go to in order to push his right wing, Republican political agenda. The Adbusters Media Foundation, in their article ‘The Resistible Rise of Rupert Murdoch’, confirms this troubling trend. The author Granville Williams writes, “Murdoch continues to exploit his power to exert political influence… [he] is known as an extremely hands-on proprietor, choosing editors who follow his orders and political dictates”. With media tycoons such as Murdoch controlling up to 40 percent of the national press in the UK, US and Australia, how are the public to receive information untainted by personal and corporate agendas?

Media consolidation is a growing concern in countries such as Canada and here in Australia. Quoting Adbusters, “Australia has one of the highest concentrations of media ownership in the western world with two families, the Murdochs and Packers, controlling the country’s newspaper and television markets”. It is little wonder that our citizens are subject to biased and narrow-minded views. This problem was further enhanced “when Australia’s conservative government passed a series of media reform laws last year that removed some of the final barriers to complete media convergence. [When this happened] the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) was nowhere to be seen”. Currently “Australia’s already heavily consolidated media has a strong bias toward John Howard’s conservative government at the expense of any opposition”. It is unfair to not only Australia’s citizens, but also its opposition parties that the media uses its control to promote certain Liberal ideologies over any alternative points of view.

Marshal McLuhan once stated, “The coverage is the War. If there were no coverage… there would be no war”. In other words, without media and journalists to report facts, wars and other such human generated outbreaks would go unnoticed. It is therefore imperative that media outlets inform their audiences of any arising conflicts in order for citizens to form their own opinions and standpoints. In their book ‘Propaganda and Persuasion’ Garth Jowett and Victoria O’Donell claim “War propaganda is that branch of public relations devoted to manipulating people’s attitude toward a war, rather than engaging in open dialogue. It includes both pro-war propaganda by governments and anti-war propaganda by pacifists. What makes it propaganda is not the sincerity or insincerity of its originators but its methods of media manipulation, going beyond lies to misdirection, loaded vocabulary, and staged events”. The Adbusters Media Foundation supports this view, “The Iraq and Afghanistan wars have shown that media conglomerates limit the diversity of views, subvert democracy and stymie journalistic integrity”. The media employ many propaganda techniques to do so.

Censorship is a common technique the media uses to control and manipulate the truth. A recent example of a broadcaster censoring an opinion that conflicted with their own views was seen during the broadcast of the 2007 Emmy Awards. During her acceptance speech, actress Sally Field stated, “If mothers ruled the world, there wouldn’t be any god-damned wars in the first place”. This statement was ‘bleeped out’ by broadcaster Fox in the US. This just goes to show that the media can, and do, put a very tight hold on individual opinions and that even entertainment programs cannot escape political censorship. It should be noted that Australia’s channel Ten did air the comment, proving that Australians are slightly more likely to receive alternative opinions. However, the way the current media landscape is heading, Australia may become an ‘unofficial 51st state of America’ if the public does not take back control.

A recent outbreak of documentaries such as Al Gore’s ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, Michael Moore’s ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’, Morgan Spurlock’s ‘Supersize Me’ and Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abbott and Joel Bakan’s ‘The Corporation’ marks a positive step in the right direction. Each of these films aims to expose truths that corporations and the media have been concealing for decades. Self professed ‘The ex-next President of the United States’ Al Gore, speaks of scientists being forced to conceal the truth about global warming, “Scientists have an obligation to present the truth as they currently see it… [but they are] being forced to write false testimonies, prosecuted, ridiculed, deprived of jobs and income, being silenced, simply because the facts that they have discovered led them to an inconvenient truth that they are insistent upon telling.” Michael Moore, world famous author and director, uses his 2004 documentary ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ to expose the Bush administrations corruption and hidden links to Al-Qaeda and the Bin Laden family. In his documentary ‘Supersize Me’ Morgan Spurlock puts himself through a thirty day McDonalds diet to prove the harmful effects that the companies food has on ones body. If more activists, creatives and independent media outlets begin using their skills to continue on the path set by Gore, Moore and Spurlock, the public will have access to a greater diversity of views and will be greatly benefited.

In conclusion, it is well known that consumers determine how successful a product will be in the marketplace. In much the same way, the public is able to determine how successful media outlets are in getting their messages across. By equipping the public with knowledge as to the ways and means the media use to influence their opinions, and arm citizens with information about the truth manipulation and agendas of their news sources, we can give the power back to the people. Once people are aware of hidden messages, they will have the option to form their own opinions about issues, rather than taking the political or social standpoint that the media wishes to instill upon its audience.

The article ‘Taming the Watchdogs of Media Concentration’ by Sean Condon shares our goals. “With Major issues like the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and climate change still on the horizon, the public today, more than ever, needs a diverse media that can allow them to make informed decisions. But if a handful of corporations control the flow of information, they control the debate: blinded by short-term profits and bound by powerful lobbyists, they are content to leave the majority of people in the dark. A diverse media is crucial to a healthy and just society… It is time for people to speak out against consolidation and demand their media watchdogs be strengthened”.

In closing we refer to Keri Smith, an American artist who writes the following in the introduction to her ‘Guerilla Art Kit’, “The recent political climate has left many individuals feeling like they have no say, powerless to a system that seems to be dominated by corruption and money. Growing mistrust in corporate media has created a need for alternatives. Consequently, independent media such as weblogs, indie news, public art and street art have become a rapidly growing trend, a way for people to take power back”. This very much aligns with our aim to equip the public with necessary means in order to defend themselves against truth manipulation in the current media landscape. As Benjamin Franklin once said “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me”. We wish to encourage people to, in the words of Mahatma Gandhi “Be the change you want to see in the world” and start creating a fair, unbiased and democratic media for all.


Fahrenheit 9/11- Michael Moore September 18, 2007

add a comment

Fahrenheit 9/11
Michael Moore

Fahrenheit 9/11 is a controversial, documentary film by American filmmaker Michael Moore which presents a critical look at the presidency of George W. Bush, the War on Terrorism, and its coverage in the American news media.
In the film, Moore contends that American corporate media were “cheerleaders” for the 2003 invasion of Iraq and did not provide an accurate and objective analysis of the rationale for the war or the resulting casualties there. The film’s harsh attack on the Bush Administration generated much controversy around the time of its release, including disputes over its accuracy.

Bush administration’s financial ties to Saudi Arabia and the bin Laden family in FAHRENHEIT 9/11, a well researched, fast-paced, highly controversial, and important documentary portrayed many faucets of the truth. Using actual footage and declassified documents, Moore takes a detailed look into political events both before and after the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, beginning with the Supreme Court decision that ultimately gave the state of Florida and the 2000 election to George W. Bush. Moore reveals how the U.S. government helped the bin Laden family return to Saudi Arabia immediately after September 11, when all other flights were still grounded; and examines military recruiting techniques in such poor areas as his own hometown of Flint, Michigan. He even attempts to get congressmen to enlist their own sons and daughters into the military. The writer-director also visits with the troops, including at a VA hospital where soldiers are having second thoughts about America’s involvement in Iraq, and spends time with a family whose eldest son is fighting in Iraq.


Michael Moore: [Calling out] Governer Bush, it’s Michael Moore.
George W. Bush: Behave yourself, will ya? Go find real work.

George W. Bush: There’s an old saying in Tennessee. I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee, that says: “Fool me once…”

Michael Moore: As the attack took place, Mr. Bush was on his way to an elementary school in Florida. When informed of the first plane hitting the world trade center, where terrorists had struck just eight years prior, Mr. Bush decided to go ahead with his photo opportunity.
[Bush enters the classroom]
Michael Moore: When the second plane hit the tower, his chief of staff entered the classroom and told Mr. Bush the nation is under attack.
[Bush picks up a children’s book]
Michael Moore: Not knowing what to do, with no one telling him what to do, and with no secret service rushing in to take him to safety, Mr. Bush just sat there, and continued to read “My Pet Goat” with the children.
[the time is measured on a clock in the corner of the screen]
Michael Moore: Nearly seven minutes passed with nobody doing anything.

Youssef Sheimi: Once that oil starts flowing, it’s gonna be lots of money. Whatever it costs, the government will pay you.

George W. Bush: I’m a war President!

Narrator: Not a single member of Congress wanted to sacrifice their child for the war in Iraq. And who could blame them? Who would want to give up their child? Would you?

Narrator: Would he? I’ve always been amazed that the very people forced to live in the worst parts of town, go to the worst schools, and who have it the hardest are always the first to step up, to defend us. They serve so that we don’t have to. They offer to give up their lives so that we can be free. It is remarkably their gift to us. And all they ask for in return is that we never send them into harm’s way unless it is absolutely necessary. Will they ever trust us again?

The mass media and terrorism September 18, 2007


The mass media and terrorism
David L. Altheide
Disclorse and Communication 2007

The mass media promotes terrorism by stressing fear and an uncertain future. Major changes in US foreign and domestic policy essentially went unreported and unchallenged by the dominant news organisations. Not with standing the long relationship in the United States between fear and crime, the role of the mass media in promoting fear has become more pronounced since the United States ‘discovered’ international terrorism on11 September 2001. Extensive qualitative media analysis shows that political decision-makers quickly adjusted propaganda passages, prepared as part of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), to emphasize domestic support for the new US role in leading the world. These messages were folded into the previous crime-related discourse of fear, which may be defined as the pervasive communication, symbolic awareness, and expectation that danger and risk are a central feature of everyday life. Politicians marshaled critical symbols and icons joining terrorism with Iraq, the Muslim faith, and a vast number of non-western nations to strategically promote fear and use of audience beliefs and assumptions about danger, risk and fear in order to achieve certain goals, including expanding domestic social control.


– Mass media information provides a context of meanings and images that prepare audiences for political decisions about specific actions, including war. Citizens are, after all, audience members of various mass media, which, in the case
of most media in the United States, are entertainment oriented in order
to maximize profits.
– Many journalists accepted military spokespersons’ definitions of Iraqi fighters
as ‘criminals’ and ‘thugs’ in the early part of the war by those who were promoting propaganda.
– Controlling information about death in war is a basic propaganda task.
– The US media quickly began to refer to dead soldiers as ‘heroes’ and ‘fallen soldiers,’ a lessthan- dead phrase that was quickly also applied to police officers, fire department personnel, and other uniformed workers. Such discourse joins a plethora of uniformed people with soldiers; all are ‘fighting/serving’ on our behalf. Another way to restrict information, quite simply, is to make it ‘off limits.’ Thus, news media were forbidden from photographing the fallen when they arrived in flag-draped caskets at Dover Air Force base, in order to ‘respect the family privacy.
– In many ways this is somewhat easier since citizens of ‘one side’ typically do not care a lot about the fate of those on the ‘other side.’ Still, authorities seek to minimize journalistic access to civilian killings. A more common approach to limiting news reports about civilian deaths is to shape how reports are framed. Discursive framing can be illustrated with terms used to describe how brutal soldiers are portrayed.
– A key factor in propaganda is geared to not hearing the ‘other’s’ voice, but rather, using language and discourse to negate the legitimacy – if not the relevance – of the other. This is easier to accomplish if the other is feared.
– The mass media promoted the war on terrorism – especially after the 9/11 attacks by stressing fear and an uncertain future, although there was a several decade context of anti-Arab propaganda (Adams, 1981). One impact of this media barrage was to promote stereotypes and extreme ethnocentrism that is very close to the images that many westerners had of Vietnamese adversaries in an earlier war – ‘Asians’ who ‘did not value life.’
– The role of the mass media in promoting fear has become more pronounced since the United States ‘discovered’ international terrorism on 11 September 2001. This discourse was grounded in several decades of the ‘fear of crime,’ but it was also promoted by political action that sought a reorientation and redefinition of the role of the United States in world affairs.
– The Iraq War narrative was framed by these efforts and the resulting propaganda campaign to convince the American people that attacking Iraq was tantamount to attacking ‘terrorists’ and others who threatened the United States.
– The emphasis of the coverage of 9/11 was on the commonality of the victims rather than the cause or the rationale for the attacks. The popular refrain was that all Americans were victimized by the attacks, and like the ‘potential victims’ of crime featured in a decade of news reports about the crime problem, all citizens should support efforts to attack the source of fear.


The plan is for the United States to rule the world. The overt theme is unliateralism, but it is ultimately a story of domination. It calls for the United States to maintain its overwhelming military superiority and prevent new rivals from rising up to challenge it on the world stage. It calls for dominion over friends and enemies alike. It says not that the United States must be more powerful, or most powerful, but that it must be absolutely powerful. (Armstrong, 2002: 76)

Propaganda And Persuasion September 18, 2007

add a comment

Propaganda And Persuasion
Garth S. Jowett and Victoria O’Donnell,

War propaganda is that branch of public relations devoted to manipulating people’s attitude toward a war or war in general, rather than engaging in open dialogue. It includes both pro-war propaganda, by governments and war industrialists, and anti-war propaganda by pacifists or enemy sympathizers. What makes it propaganda isn’t the sincerity or insincerity of its originators but its methods of media manipulation, going beyond lies to misdirection, loaded vocabulary, staged events, and fallacious demagoguery, all of which can be justified/rationalised by a ‘good’ cause, whether patriotic or idealistic.
War propaganda is used to confuse and demoralise enemies and also to influence public opinions in friendly countries. Often, a nation at war uses propaganda to influence its own citizens. According to British scholar F.M. Cornford, “Propaganda is that branch of the art of lying which consists in very nearly deceiving your friends without quite deceiving your enemies.”
Propaganda versus democracy is frequently debated in political science – there is a natural tension between government, which must keep secrets sometimes, and the right of the governed to know what is going on and consent.

Terrorism as propaganda
From SourceWatch

Terrorism and propaganda have each taken many forms throughout history, but terrorism as propaganda may have become one of the most destabilizing and dangerous phenomena afflicting 21st century society.
Military campaigns have often sought to inspire fear in enemy soldiers as part of the battle for “hearts and minds.” Most military campaigns, however, use fear as a secondary tactic within a war whose ultimate objective is seizing or destroying the enemy’s territory, weapons, material resources and physical ability to wage war. Terrorism, by contrast, is a tactic often employed by political actors that have no hope of physically vanquishing their enemy. Instead, its goal is to defeat the enemy psychologically through the systematic, calculated use of violence and threats of violence.
Terrorism originally refered to actions taken by governments, not sub-national actors. It refered to a government policy designed to instill massive fear in the populace through mass killings in order to maintain state power. The “reign of terror” launched by the Jacobin government during the French Revolution is the classic example of terrorism in it’s original sense. As the term has evolved terrorism has come to be applied more to sub-national actors instead of states, an inversion of what it originally meant.
During the twentieth century, terrorism gradually evolved, becoming more deadly and indiscriminate as its adherents sought to maximize the psychological impact of their actions. According to Jerrold Post, director of the Political Psychology Program at George Washington University, sophisticated terrorist groups actually have a vice president of media relations and give out handbooks dealing with how to attract maximum media attention. Speaking at the U.S. National Press Club on February 12, 2003, Post detailed a study showing that terrorist activities in Northern Ireland attacks tended to occur on Thursday afternoons between 5:00 and 6:00. “Post said the reason is the deadline for Friday papers, that traditionally carry supermarket coupons and sales ads, is 6:00 p.m.,” explained O’Dwyer’s PR Daily. “Any terrorist act committed before 5:00 p.m. would give journalists time to analyze the act and report it in context. After 5:00 p.m. all there’s time to do is rip the current headline and put in the terrifying headline that the terrorists want to be seen, said Post.”

taken from the website September 16, 2007

Posted by Disti in LITERATURE REVIEW.
add a comment

right. previous posting not so thorough. this might clear it up a bit.
point PERCEPTION MANAGEMENT covers somewhat the direction we’re heading?


In the mid-1800s the corporation emerged as a legal “person.” Imbued with a “personality” of pure self-interest, the next 100 years saw the corporation’s rise to dominance. The corporation created unprecedented wealth but at what cost? The remorseless rationale of “externalities” (as Milton Friedman explains, the unintended consequences of a transaction between two parties on a third) is responsible for countless cases of illness, death, poverty, pollution, exploitation and lies.


To assess the “personality” of the corporate “person,” a checklist is employed, using diagnostic criteria of the World Health Organization and the standard diagnostic tool of psychiatrists and psychologists. The operational principles of the corporation give it a highly anti-social “personality”: it is self-interested, inherently amoral, callous and deceitful; it breaches social and legal standards to get its way; it does not suffer from guilt, yet it can mimic the human qualities of empathy, caring and altruism. Four case studies, drawn from a universe of corporate activity, clearly demonstrate harm to workers, human health, animals and the biosphere. Concluding this point-by-point analysis, a disturbing diagnosis is delivered: the institutional embodiment of laissez-faire capitalism fully meets the diagnostic criteria of a “psychopath.”


But what is the ethical mindset of corporate players? Should the institution or the individuals within it be held responsible? The people who work for corporations may be good people, upstanding citizens in their communities, but none of that matters when they enter the corporation’s world. As Sam Gibara, Former CEO and Chairman of Goodyear Tire, explains, “If you really had a free hand, if you really did what you wanted to do that suited your personal thoughts and your personal priorities, you’d act differently.”

Ray Anderson, CEO of Interface, the world’s largest commercial carpet manufacturer, had an environmental epiphany and re-organized his $1.4 billion company on sustainable principles. His company may be a beacon of corporate hope, but is it an exception to the rule?


A case in point: Sir Mark Moody-Stuart recounts an exchange between himself (at the time Chairman of Royal Dutch Shell), his wife, and a motley crew of Earth First activists who arrived on the doorstep of their country home. The protesters chanted and stretched a banner over their roof that read, “MURDERERS.” The response of the surprised couple was not to call the police, but to engage their uninvited guests in a civil dialogue, share concerns about human rights and the environment and eventually serve them tea on their front lawn. Yet, as the Moody-Stuarts apologize for not being able to provide soy milk for their vegan critics’ tea, Shell Nigeria is flaring unrivaled amounts of gas, making it one of the world’s single worst sources of pollution. And all the professed concerns about the environment do not spare Ken Saro Wiwa and eight other activists from being hanged for opposing Shell’s environmental practices in the Niger Delta.

The Corporation exists to create wealth, and even world disasters can be profit centers. Carlton Brown, a commodities trader, recounts with unabashed honesty the mindset of gold traders while the twin towers crushed their occupants. The first thing that came to their minds, he tells us, was: “How much is gold up?”


You’d think that things like disasters, or the purity of childhood, or even milk, let alone water or air, would be sacred. But no. Corporations have no built-in limits on what, who, or how much they can exploit for profit. In the fifteenth century, the enclosure movement began to put fences around public grazing lands so that they might be privately owned and exploited. Today, every molecule on the planet is up for grabs. In a bid to own it all, corporations are patenting animals, plants, even your DNA.

Around things too precious, vulnerable, sacred or important to the public interest, governments have, in the past, drawn protective boundaries against corporate exploitation. Today, governments are inviting corporations into domains from which they were previously barred.


The Initiative Corporation spends $22 billion worldwide placing its clients’ advertising in every imaginable – and some unimaginable – media. One new medium: very young children. Their “Nag Factor” study dropped jaws in the world of child psychiatry. It was designed not to help parents cope with their children’s nagging, but to help corporations formulate their ads and promotions so that children would nag for their products more effectively. Initiative Vice President Lucy Hughes elaborates: “You can manipulate consumers into wanting, and therefore buying your products. It’s a game.”

Today people can become brands (Martha Stewart). And brands can build cities (Celebration, Florida). And university students can pay for their educations by shilling on national television for a credit card company (Chris and Luke). And a corporation even owns the rights to the popular song “Happy Birthday” (a division of AOL-Time-Warner). Do you ever get the feeling it’s all a bit much?

Corporations have invested billions to shape public and political opinion. When they own everything, who will stand for the public good?


It turns out that standing for the public good is an expensive proposition. Ask Jane Akre and Steve Wilson, two investigative reporters fired by Fox News after they refused to water down a story on rBGH, a controversial synthetic hormone widely used in the United States (but banned in Europe and Canada) to rev up cows’ metabolism and boost their milk production. Because of the increased production, the cows suffer from mastitis, a painful infection of the udders. Antibiotics must then be injected, which find their way into the milk, and ultimately reduce people’s resistance to disease.

Fox demanded that they rewrite the story, and ultimately fired Akre and Wilson. Akre and Wilson subsequently sued Fox under Florida’s whistle-blower statute. They proved to a jury that the version of the story Fox would have had them put on the air was false, distorted or slanted. Akre was awarded $425,000. Then Fox appealed, the verdict was overturned on a technicality, and Akre lost her award. [For an update on the case see Disc 2 where we learn that at one point, Jane and Steve became liable for Fox’s $1.8 million court costs, later to be reduced to $200,000.]


Democracy is a value that the corporation just doesn’t understand. In fact, corporations have often tried to undo democracy if it is an obstacle to their single-minded drive for profit. From a 1934 business-backed plot to install a military dictator in the White House (undone by the integrity of one U.S. Marine Corps General, Smedley Darlington Butler) to present-day law-drafting, corporations have bought military might, political muscle and public opinion.

And corporations do not hesitate to take advantage of democracy’s absence either. One of the most shocking stories of the twentieth century is Edwin Black’s recounting IBM’s strategic alliance with Nazi Germany-one that began in 1933 in the first weeks that Hitler came to power and continued well into World War II.


The corporation may be trying to render governments impotent, but since the landmark WTO protest in Seattle, a rising wave of networked individuals and groups have decided to make their voices heard. Movements to challenge the very foundations of the corporation are afoot: The corporate charter revocation movement tried to bring down oil giant Unocal; a groundbreaking ballot initiative in Arcata, California, put the corporate agenda in the public spotlight in a series of town hall meetings; in Bolivia, the population fought and won a battle against a huge transnational corporation brought in by their government to privatize the water system; in India nearly 99% of the basmati patent of RiceTek was overturned; and W. R. Grace and the U.S. government’s patent on Neem was revoked.

As global individuals take back local power, a growing re-invigoration of the concept of citizenship is taking root. It has the power to not only strip the corporation of its seeming omnipotence, but to create a feeling and an ideology of democracy that is much more than its mere institutional version.

the corporation September 16, 2007

Posted by Disti in LITERATURE REVIEW.
add a comment

Just a few pointers from the doco.
Not all. just very few.

“The eagle, soaring, clear-eyed, competitive, prepared to strike, but not a vulture. Noble, visionary, majestic, that people can believe in and be inspired by, that creates such a lift that it soars. I can see that being a good logo for the principled company. Okay, guys, enough bullshit.” Ira Jackson, Director, Center for Business & Government, Kennedy School at Harvard

“The word corporate gets attached in almost, you know, in a pejorative sense to and gets married with the word “a-gen-da.” And one hears a lot about the corporate a-gen-da as though it is evil, as though it is an agenda, which is trying to take over the world. Personally, I don’t use the word “corporation.” I use the word “business.” I will use the word… use the word “company.” I will use the words “business community” because I think that is a much fairer representation than zeroing in on just this word “corporation.” Robert Keyes

“I’ve got to be honest with you. When the September 11th situation happened, and I must say, and I wanna say this because I don’t want to take it lightly. It’s not a light situation. It was a devastating act. It was really a bad thing. It was one of the worst things I’ve seen in my lifetime, you know. But, I will tell you and every trade will tell you, who was not in that building and who was buying gold and who owned gold and silver, that when it happened, the first thing you thought about was, “well, how much is gold up?” The first thing that came to mind was, “my God, gold must be exploding”. Fortunately, for us, all our clients were in gold. So when it went up they all doubled their money. Everybody doubled their money. It was a blessing in disguise. Devastating, crushing, heart shattering, but on the financial sense, for my clients that were in the market, they all made money. Now, I wasn’t looking for this type of help, but it happened. When the USA bombed Iraq back in 1991 the price of oil went from $13 to £40 a barrel, for cying out loud! Now, we couldn’t wait for the bombs to start raining down on Saddam Hussein. We were all excited. We wanted Saddam to really create problems. “Do whatever you have to do, set fire to some more oil wells, because the price is going to go higher.” Every broker was chanting that. There was not a broker that I know of that wasn’t excited about that. This was a disaster. This was something that was, you know, catastrophe happening. Bombing. Wars. In devastation there is opportunity. ” Carlton Brown

In a world economy where information is filtered by global media corporations keenly attuned to their powerful advertisers, who will defend the public’s right to know? And what price must be paid to preserve our ability to make informed choices?

case study> The Investigators (Fox Television). The reporters were told do “just do any story you want. ask tough questions and get answers.”
First story investigated was about the revelation that most of the milk in the state of Florida and throughout most of the country was adulterated with the effects of bovine growth hormone, a product called Prosilac produced by Monsanto. There has been extensive media coverage to announce this to the public. approved by the FDA. research in an independent search committee in Canada found that it did not comply with safety requirements for consumption. The hormones could still be absorbed by the body and therefore can still have implications on human health, other studies linking it to cancer. This result was witheld from the official FDA report. THe story was ready to air with ads already bought. A week before it aired, the studio got faxed by a lawyer representing Monsanto to pull the story off the air. Fox didnt air the show, afraid of getting sued and losing advertising dollars. All of the stations are owned by Rupert Murdoch, owner of 22 television stations in the US.

Control September 13, 2007

add a comment

It’s all about control. The justice goes to the highest bidder. The credibility of the information that’s generated in the conventional media has indeed been tarnished. This is why mediums such as YouTube and Blogs can been seen as relatively ‘trustworthy’ in comparison.

So if it is the case, no wonder that there’s a decrease in the virtue of pursuing the truth. Our generation and the generations that’re yet to come does not deserve to be corrupted by the product of the previous generations’ action. We owe ourselves and our children the right knowledge to prepare them for decision making that may alter the course of history. Indeed, for their own survivalbility. For not doing so, we greatly undermined our own intelligence and potentials. We would be no more than just a cowed and imbecile race.

So maybe the question now would be, how do we counter attack the manipulation? Or how do we armed/defend ourselves? Because these informations forms the basis of our society, they alter perceptions, form minds and determine course of action. So if information can do the bad, it is also able to the good. Like a double edged sword.

But how do we make the good infomation relevant? How can we make it stand out from the crowd? As probe result conclude: today’s young generation is very savvy in terms of utilizing communcation mediums and more importantly, they are more selective in receiving information. Once the news/issue placed an importance in their lives, they are not afraid to pursue it. So maybe this question could be the key of our outcome. We must defined what is ‘good information’, maybe it is just simply as revealing the truth, maybe it is information that is beneficial to defend or even to counter attack the false. And then we must find a way to make it revelant as far as generating action from the audience. Then if the underlaying issue is about control. We just simply sell the promise to give back the control to them?

Bad time, bad news September 13, 2007

Posted by natasha in LITERATURE REVIEW.
add a comment

Another snipet from The Jakarta Post editorial:

“…The Supreme Court, which has been beset with allegations of corruption, has again shot itself in the foot. The three justices on the panel hearing the Time case overturned earlier rulings by district and high courts, both of which dismissed the lawsuit filed by Soeharto.

This inconsistency between the lower courts and the highest court of the land defies logic. It fuels speculation that justice goes to the highest bidder, or in this particular case, to the more politically connected.

The Supreme Court is doing itself a great disservice. This was the same court that last year acquitted Tempo editors on criminal defamation charges, insisting that anyone with a complaint against the media must refer to the 1999 Press Law. That law accommodates the right of reply for those who feel defamed.

This is a legal course that Soeharto (or his lawyers) never pursued with Time. The celebrated 2006 ruling for Tempo should have been considered by the justices who heard Soeharto vs. Time case.

The latest Supreme Court ruling will have a chilling effect on the media and the journalism profession. No media outlet has the kind of money that the court ordered Time to pay, and most would fold under such a ruling. Many newsrooms will now shy away from reporting controversial stories or conducting their own investigations into corruption scandals and other forms of abuse. Public interest, the people’s right to know, has been severely damaged.

The Indonesian media, freed from the censorship and harassment that Soeharto inflicted during his 30-year reign, has played a role in unveiling and reporting power abuse scandals since the end of the corrupt New Order regime in 1998.

Tempo magazine, one of the few local publications with a strong investigative reporting tradition, has uncovered many cases of abuses of power before the authorities stepped in. Consider it one of the public duties of the media in a democracy.

Time‘s 1999 articles headlined “Soeharto Inc.” should be seen as part of the drive to make the former president and his children accountable for their actions. The article sought to answer the question that was in the minds of many people, then and today: how much money is the Cendana family worth, and how much of that wealth is legitimate?

More than nine years after he stepped down, Soeharto remains a free man, as do his children who continue to control the business empires they built during the reign of their father largely through family connections.

Once again, the Indonesian people are the losers. Soeharto and his children may soon be laughing all the way to the bank to cash in the Time check. Even though he is no longer president, Soeharto has outwitted us once again, with the help of friends still in powerful places.”

Soeharto vs TIME magazine September 13, 2007

Posted by natasha in LITERATURE REVIEW.
add a comment

Interesting coverage that happened just recently this week:


 a little spill:

Press freedom is threatened in the outcome of the Soeharto vs. Time libel case.

Case & Verdict

A three-judge panel of the Supreme Court, led by Army Major General German Hoediarto, along with M. Taufik and Bahauddin Qoudry, found on 31st August Time Asia Inc. guilty of tarnishing the good name of former president Suharto over a report in its May 1999 issue, and fined the magazine proprietors 1 trillion rupiah, or $106 million.

Major General German Hoediarto
Major General German Hoediarto, who is the head of the Supreme Court’s military justice department.

In the offending Time report of 1999, titled “Soeharto Inc. How Indonesia’s Longtime Boss Built a Family Fortune”, it was argued that the Suharto family had over 30 odd years amassed a fortune of about $70 billion, which it stashed in various places and investments around the world. Time alleged that Soeharto and his children then, shortly before the leader’s fall from power in 1998, transferred what was left of their fortune after the 1997-98 Asian economic crisis, about $15 billion, from Switzerland to Austria.

Suharto Inc
Suharto Inc.

In previous hearings of the libel/defamation case both the Central District Jakarta Court and later the Jakarta High Court, had each ruled in Time’s favour, however the recent Supreme Court ruling, only announced on September 10th, overturns the verdicts of the earlier trials. [1]


Oh come on man! everyone knows that it is true. But I’m not surprised, although that he’s no longer ‘legally’ in power, Soeharto and his family still holds the country, esp. its government in their tight grip, with fear, corruption and truth manipulation. Some comments about the article:

Achmad Sudarsono Says:  Add karma Subtract karma  +0
September 13th, 2007 at 12:25 pm
This is a tough one.

On one hand, there’s little doubt that Soeharto and his kids weren’t shy about “dipping their hands in the till,” or plundering state finances. And the timing of this verdict – just when Soeharto is facing a revival of charges against him – is very suspicious. Let’s face it, Soeharto Inc. probably bribed the Supreme Court.

On the other hand, Time magazine just didn’t have its facts down. The original article – if anyone read it reads like a shopping list of baubles and trinkets, this house here, this painting there. Many of the valuations were very suspicious, and none of the four journalists who wrote the thing were accountants. According to Asia Sentinel, one of the lead writers, spent months afterwards substantiating the article to support their court case. You have to wonder why they didn’t do such research before publishing.

So yes, Soeharto was probably corrupt. But what obligation does a “credible” media outlet have to get its facts right. I’d say to a very high degree, make it clear what they have – or don’t have – and shut up. Of course, you might not then make the same splash.

shell’s lit review subjects update September 12, 2007

Posted by shell in LITERATURE REVIEW.
add a comment

Hi all, I decided to do some more hunting in the doco section at my video store and found these two doco’s that i will watch / review for our lit review.

More info to follow once i have watched them both.

OUTFOXED is about Rupert Murdochs hold on the media…


THE AWFUL TRUTH is a Michael Moore series of half hour doco’s


So, so far I have watched ‘Thank you for smoking’, ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ and ‘An Inconvenient Truth’. Once I watch these two tat will be five in the bag!!

Have also read two issues of ‘Adbusters’… soooo informative, heaps of relevant info for our proposal and lit review.

Thats’ it from me, more posts to follow, Cheers, Shell.