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The Media

Lauren Weinstein: If MTV Calls, Hang Up 761

Lauren Weinstein writes "Usually when one gets a call to participate in a news-oriented television program, subterfuge isn't a worry. But in the brave new world of 'newsertainment' -- a blurring of news and entertainment -- you really need to watch your back. Herein is the sordid tale (posted last night to Dave Farber's "IP" list) of what recently happened to me -- and my narrow escape -- when Viacom/MTV Networks came calling, asking for my help to educate the world's youth about important topics (in this case, the scourge of spam). Be warned. It could happen to you!"
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Lauren Weinstein: If MTV Calls, Hang Up

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  • how silly. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 20, 2004 @04:47PM (#9479185)

    from the if-only-it-had-been-live-instead dept.

    No shit, that would've been fun. She (I assume it's a she) could've gotten on there and gone on and on about how the "penis enlargement pills" she bought "worked great for her" and how she "wishes she had a boyfriend so she could let him try them too". He heh heh. But then one day "it fell off" and so now she's turned to the side of the spam-fighters. And she has it in a box offstage, should she go get it?

    Seriously, I consider *MSNBC* to be "newsertainment", so you can imagine my opinion of Mtv talk shows. *shiver*. I gave up on Mtv sometime in high school, a long time ago, once they stopped showing actual music.

    Mtv is like a giant parabolic reflector, collecting idiocy from far and wide and focusing it into a small rectangular screen. (Yeah I know, RTFA, it was actually Comedy Central but it's all a big heaping serving from the same vegetard stew).

  • How did he know? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by chrispyman ( 710460 ) on Sunday June 20, 2004 @04:49PM (#9479196)
    It's interesting that this one person was able to figure out that the debate was just a reality show. Honestly I could see how many people could fall for a seemingly legitimate request.
  • by Izago909 ( 637084 ) <> on Sunday June 20, 2004 @05:04PM (#9479283)
    Didn't the Daily Show win a major news or reporting award for their coverage of the last presidental election?
  • by scupper ( 687418 ) * on Sunday June 20, 2004 @05:04PM (#9479286) Homepage
    This seem like the Jerky Boys entertainment model gone amok. Recently here in Sacramento, CA, our County's Registrar of Voters officer Jill LaVine [], got targeted by the same tactics used by Jon Stewart's Daily Show "Mock the Vote []". She fell for it, and our local paper did a story on it [].
    What's disturbing is that, in the story, a Pew survey was cited stating that []:
    21 percent of adults ages 18 to 29 said they regularly turn to "The Daily Show" and "Saturday Night Live" for presidential campaign news.
    Even worse, they asked a local sociology professor from UC Davis about the trend, and she said:
    "They feel like it doesn't speak to their desires or interests, and part of that is just being young, but part of it is feeling like, 'What's the point of being informed because you can't change anything anyway,"
  • Re:coward (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 20, 2004 @05:17PM (#9479362)
    You better be real careful how you do this. Once they get footage from you, and you make them angry, they can screw you up in a hundred different ways and they will. If you're an established celebrity, their efforts may not have any effect, but if you're not well-known they will do everything to ruin you, if for no reason other than to warn others to not mess with them.

    Personally, I'd go one step further than the headline and say "if any news/entertainment media calls, hang up!" These days, they're just too profit-centric to be trusted.

  • by major.morgan ( 696734 ) on Sunday June 20, 2004 @05:17PM (#9479364) Homepage
    It's not just these "reality" or "newtainment" shows. I have had unfortunate experiences twice with local newsmedia stations. The most egregious was on a weekly topical debate program that took an issue and supposedly explored all sides. I even watched this show semi-regularly. I was asked on the show and had several "producers" talk about how they appreciated me being there to help people understand.

    I was waiting in a room off-stage for my appearance a little bit into the show, when the host instructed the staff to cut the feed to the room as the show started (Should've realized then). When it came time for me to come on, the host had prepped the scene for me to be immediately attacked by all involved. He supervised this extremely well, making sure to interrupt me, discount me or flat-out cut me off whenever I had a reasonable and logical statement or tried to defend myself (since his show was about expousing his view and not exploring anything). Watching the show at home later I see that he set this up from the beginning (when my view was cut).

    After seeing the tactics first hand, I could see how this show was a sham all along. Every episode had the same strategy, that now was transparent to me.

    Be very suspicious of the media when they come looking for you, they quite simply will lie to get what they want out of you - and make no mistake they will set you up, sell you out or edit the whole thing into something unrecognizable without any qualms or remorse.

    BTW- It was "Town Meeting" on KOMO4, Seattle, WA
  • by Crashmarik ( 635988 ) on Sunday June 20, 2004 @05:25PM (#9479393)
    I can speak for all the Daytime talk/interview shows but I know of at least 3 local/ny/nj market shows and one national (intials JJ) which were recruiting guests who implicitly knew what they were expected to deliver and had it made perfectly clear that reality didn't matter.

    On a deeper level these shows are much like kingsnakes, in that they seek people that are looking for attention/notoriety/selfpromotion and they give it to them in spades. This one is however is apparently going over the line by a wide margin. Aside from the damage that could be done to the guests careers, divorces and murders have occured due to the ill considered actions of these shows (Jenny Jones outing a Homosexual unrequited love by example).

    If there is any part of our society that needs to have its feat held to the fire its the news media. Wheather it be the financial press that serves as a megaphone for pump and dumpers (Forbes the capitolists tool) the political newsmedia ( you pick) or any other form of "reporting". Lack of malice isn't enough there has to be due dilligence when the results can and do prove devastating.
  • by major.morgan ( 696734 ) on Sunday June 20, 2004 @05:32PM (#9479425) Homepage
    Absolutely should've, just wasn't quick enough to realize at the time.

    Definately won't happen again.
  • Re:Geez, lighten up (Score:2, Interesting)

    by generic-man ( 33649 ) on Sunday June 20, 2004 @05:41PM (#9479461) Homepage Journal
    Buzz Aldrin should have spotted that something was up when he asked him about the conspiricy theorys of the moon being fake.

    Ali G was lucky. Buzz was accosted in 2002 by a man who had done documentaries about the moon landing being fake. Angry about all the on-camera antics, Buzz punched the man in the face []. No charges were filed.
  • by cluge ( 114877 ) on Sunday June 20, 2004 @05:43PM (#9479469) Homepage
    But they have done and continue to do good journalism alongside their puff pieces

    Baloney - ask Audi how good their "journalism" is. Do some research. CBS/60 minutes never even apologized for their fraud.

    If that show had aired in Germany, you could have sued CBS for presenting obviously fradualent and misleading evidence. The first amendament doesn't say you have to speak the truth. 60 minutes has been taking advantage of that fact for 20 plus years.

    For every 1 "good" piece, I woudl see 2 heavily slanted and obvioulsy biased pieces of bovine feces. Those odds lead me to give up paying attention to the miserable excuse for "hard journalism" a long time ago. In college I used to do research before almost every 60 minutes episode for a class in world history. We would get a small description of the segments before they aired.

    After that semester I never watched the program again. I was that dissapointed in them. Previously I had thought that such hard biases and bad reporting were aberations. After watching for a full semster and doing my own research - I came to the conclusion that it was the rule.

    AngryPeopleRule []
  • Re:coward (Score:3, Interesting)

    by iCat ( 690740 ) on Sunday June 20, 2004 @05:44PM (#9479472)
    Ali G did a similar show in the UK - I think it was broadcast on HBO. Who knows, maybe this is where MTV stole the idea. The Ali G shows were also taped and edited to show the 'guest' in the worst possible light. However, Ali G's interview with Tony Benn, the elder left-wing statesman of British politics, back fired. Benn threw everything back at Ali G with humourous contempt - and I think it was only at the very end of the segment that Benn (possibly) realised it was a set up.

    Other interviewsee of note: CIA director Woolsey, a bigotted Orangeman and Naomi Wolf who didn't come out so well. Booyakasha!
  • by vena ( 318873 ) on Sunday June 20, 2004 @05:45PM (#9479480)
    I went to a Daily Show taping recently, and before the show, John likes to have a little Q&A with the audience and lighten things up. one audience member asked him how he feels about this trend, and his reply was along the lines of "don't buy the hype." his view is that while people are making a conscious choice to view the Daily Show and enjoy the information presented (and its format), the assumption that this is the old place they're getting their news is profoundly naive. basically, that you can't escape the news. online, on television, talking to your friends, news--local, national, global, what-have-you, is an integral part of our society and claiming that people obtain their knowledge of world events from a single source is ignorant.

    i feel that i agree with his assessment.
  • Sauce for the goose (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AnotherBlackHat ( 265897 ) on Sunday June 20, 2004 @05:45PM (#9479481) Homepage
    I've often wondered how they would react if you asked for the same rights that they ask of you -
    to tape, edit, and broadcast the performance.

    -- not a .sig
  • by mrbuttboy ( 460308 ) on Sunday June 20, 2004 @05:58PM (#9479562)
    Your post reminded me of a segment I heard with a writer from The Onion. He said that every week that get email with the following basic setup:

    "I read The Onion every week and I love it! However this week you joked about (BLANK). (BLANK) is just not funny. (BLANK) is a very serious matter and not something to joke about. So please in the future don't joke about it. Thank you."

    Of coarse BLANK was different every week and about every topic The Onion would make fun of. Sigh.
  • by bruns ( 75399 ) <bruns&2mbit,com> on Sunday June 20, 2004 @06:06PM (#9479616) Homepage
    Ahh, I knew this type of stuff sounded very familiar.

    I was going to be doing something on the Daily Show apparently being pitted against the one and only Snotty Scotty Richter, the spammer now being hunted by the NY AG's office.

    Within 6 hours of saying yes, I'd go on the show that monday, I spoke with my other admins and several of my advisors who warned me against it, and promptly e-mailed the producer back and said I'm sorry, but something has come up.

    I avoided a rather bad sitation, from what I can see. Needless to say, I've been very careful since then on who I allow to interview me for spam fighting stuff and similar.
  • Re:coward (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 20, 2004 @06:14PM (#9479640)
    If you refused to speak, what's the worse they could do?

    you could move around making the camera people go nuts trying to keep you in frame.

    host: Please welcome an expert in ruining joke TV shows, mabu!

    [applause, shot of mabu's face sitting there saying nothing.]

    host: mabu, it's been said you like to ruin TV shows because you regularly wetted your bed until you were 18. Do you have anything to say against this accusation?

    [shot of mabu's face sitting there saying nothing. Laughter]

    host: mabu, I understand that you're well on your way to become a psychotic sociopath who can't stand still for more than a second at time. Are you doing anything to fix this problem?

    [shot of mabu's face moving in and out of the camera and saying nothing. Laughter]


  • by 0123456 ( 636235 ) on Sunday June 20, 2004 @06:28PM (#9479699)
    "I'd never be in someone elses video actually, and I understand why moore wouldn't be in the "anti moore" documentary."

    Yet if some 'evil corporate CEO' was to refuse to be in a Moore documentary, that would be proof that they are evil, right?

    I've been on TV a few times, but I've made sure to only be on when they want to twist the story the same way I want to twist it... otherwise they're only going to make you look bad whatever you do.

    Of course there are other tactics that work: I've heard that when Tony Benn (a British lefty politician) is asked for a TV soundbite-type interview he gives them one quote of precisely the length they want so they can't cut anything out or use it out of context :).

    In general, though, anyone who believes that the average TV 'news' and 'documentary' show bears any resemblance to the truth is naive, to say the least. Every single case where I've seen a news report about something where I know the truth about what went on, it's been twisted to produce a good story rather than to report that truth.
  • by realdddave ( 733684 ) on Sunday June 20, 2004 @06:42PM (#9479754)
    Is this nearly what Michael Jackson did a while back in a major televised interview? The original interview was aired, and later that week FOX (...) aired footage from his own cameraman, who he insisted upon having present. Not having seen much of the interview tapes, my recollection from the commercials is that MJ believed the first-aired special was edited to make him look bad, and that the FOX follow-up showed his more complete responses to questions.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 20, 2004 @06:52PM (#9479808)
    I think most people, including experts, need to stop taking themselves so damn seriously and learn to laugh at themsevles. We are all the butt of a joke from time to time. Rather than get all pissey about it, laugh. It's not just other people and viewpoints that are funny you and yours are as well.

    Being the butt of a joke, especially an extended one like this (long enough to film a half-hour TV show), feels like being attacked. I for one would fight pretty hard to avoid feeling that way, thank you. Not to mention the whole "being lied to repeatedly" thing. This isn't respectful but silly questioning like what McCain got -- this is an extended public humiliation we're talking about. I'm more than happy to laugh at the occasional joke at my expense, but I'd be throwing punches by the end of this thing.
  • by scupper ( 687418 ) * on Sunday June 20, 2004 @06:52PM (#9479810) Homepage
    The attitude that some how society is failing to engage young adults to get involved because the media is biased or incompetent doesn't excuse the fact that these folks are uninformed and bored by discussions and participation in public policy.

    It smacked me in the face years ago while taking a Micro Economics GE class at a Junior College. A then recommended (now manditory) prerequisite for the class was "Intermediate Algebra". Because so many students, many soccer moms actually, had failied to observe this prereq, once in the class, they floundered and demanded that the professor explain the frequent use of equations to express economic theories discussed during lecturers.

    It got so bad that the women began to make outbursts during lecturers and even went to the Dean to demand the course be audited by another Economics professor.

    Once, I remember two of these women arguing about the revelevence of Economics to daily life and understanding of current events with the professor. They cited they'd never heard these theories discussed in economic new broadcasts, nor had they heard of them discussed by the government. Once women went as far as to suggest that Economics should not be taught as a GE requirement, and that she saw "Limted Uses" for all this "Fancy Math and Computation about Widgets".

    After 2 weeks of being audited, the professor was vindicated, and the students who complained were offered the opportunity to drop the course, without a "withdrawl" denoted in their transcript. All those who complained accepted the opportunity to drop without a notation in their record.

  • Re:how silly. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 20, 2004 @06:56PM (#9479828)
    Lauren is a male name in Denmark

    Ehm, no: Approved names of boys in Denmark []. There are currently fewer than 3 men in denmark called "Lauren", but 9 called "Laurens" [] (of a population of approx. 5 million).
  • by machineghost ( 622031 ) on Sunday June 20, 2004 @07:01PM (#9479862)
    I strongly disagree with that statement. I'm a recent college graduate from the University of California at Santa Cruz. Its no UC Berkeley or LA, but it is an excellent college. I had, I think (it's been awhile), a 2.8 GPA and a 1440 SAT in high school. So I don't exactly consider myself a moron.

    I majored in Modern Literature, which at UCSC includes several classes on Postcolonialism, and how history has shaped the creative space. We learned a lot about how reality has influenced the perception of reality, and vice versa. In other words, one thing we learned was how governments serve their own interests, and systems perpetuate themselves, through the spread of false information.

    You need only read The Republican Noise Machine, where a former right wing journalist explains how extremist right-wing strategists have deliberately set out to subvert journalistic integrity and present false information as truth, all while crying out "Liberal Media" as a diversionary tactic, to see modern evidence of this phenomena. Or just watch some speeches by Bush or his cabinet prior to the Iraq war, where they claimed with almost absolute certainty that Saddam possesed weapons of mass destruction. Some of them even continue to maintain this today, despite the lack of any evidence whatsoever.

    In this kind of environment, it needs to be understood that what is reported on the network news, or in your local newspaper, must be questioned and challenged almost as thoroughly as information you hear on the street. For numerous reasons, these institutions are constricted, and failing to recognize that can mean the difference between recognizing fact and faction.

    Both the Daily Show and SNL need to be questioned as well. But it should also be recognized that because of their status as "comedy", they are able to present information and views which cannot otherwise be presented in our society. While this doesn't excuse the Daily Show's actions (if you believe they require excuse), to deny that they have significant journalistic value due to their location outside the mainstream is to miss out on a critical opportunity to come closer to understanding objective truth.

    Picking one source of information and always believing it will inevitably lead to believing in a lie. The only way to ever truly determine whether an idea is true or false is to consider as many arguments for or against it as objectively and open-mindedly as possible. The only solution to bad information is more information.

    Considering alternative sources of information such as newscomedies allows you a greater chance of seperating fact from fiction. When you do that, you can see the falseness in the idea that one person "can't change anything anyway."

  • by evilned ( 146392 ) on Sunday June 20, 2004 @08:51PM (#9480360) Homepage
    The US needs a news channel funded directly by subscribers, not through advertising. Watching coverage of perscription drug coverage laws, followed by the latest ad for Lipitor, or watching people debate military spending followed by an ad for GE should be a giant wakeup call to people that they are being lied to. I can't stand any of the US's cable news stations, makes me glad I at least can get BBC News on the web.
  • Laughing At Yourself (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Rob_Warwick ( 789939 ) <warwick.applefritter@com> on Sunday June 20, 2004 @08:51PM (#9480362) Homepage Journal
    Up here in Canada, we have a show called This Hour Has 22 Minutes [].

    This is a saterical news show. And every politician who shows up on it knows it. I'm a big fan of satire myself, and if you ask me, this is the way to do it. If you're willing to make fun of yourself, all the better. If not, I won't miss you.

    Personally, I don't know how you can take someone seriously if they can't make fun of themselves. But I also think that they should be given the opportunity to poke fun at themselves, not be humiliated without notice, like this guy was.
  • Dodging the issue (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sbszine ( 633428 ) on Sunday June 20, 2004 @09:00PM (#9480425) Homepage Journal
    While we are allowed to talk about such things (and indeed are doing so now), I do think the OP has a point. 'Support our troops' is a non sequitir in a debate about whether we should be at war at all. Of course everyone wishes to support the troops who are risking their lives. The question is whether our leaders are justified those lives at risk.

    Below is an example of the 'suppor our troops' meme as propaganda, from the Nuremburg trials. Apologies for the slight bending of Godwin's law.

    "Naturally the common people don't want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country." -- Hermann Goering
  • by rynthetyn ( 618982 ) on Sunday June 20, 2004 @09:13PM (#9480492) Journal
    My only experiences with reporters have been with them trying to put words into my mouth.

    Back in the early '90s, I was involved in the pro-life movement (don't want to get into a debate about that now, what matters is the way reporters handled the story), and one of the things I did, being a good First Amendment type, was to test an injunction that said that certain name people or organizations, or anyone acting in concert with those individuals or groups, could not come within 30 feet of a particular abortion clinic. Anyway, I wasn't named on the injunction, so some other teenagers and I, none of whom were named, decided to test the injunction, and since it happened to be a very hot day (it being Florida and all), it became apparent that the media wanted to paint the story as "bad parents forcing their children to protest." I had a reporter interview me and try every which way to say how hot it was and how hot I was and to try to get me to say that it was my parents' idea that I be there, because that was the story they wanted to tell.

    In another story of reporters trying to get the quote they wanted, a few weeks ago I went up to Tampa for the Stanley Cup Finals, and was sitting outside the building looking bored because I had gone up early to get standing room tickets and there was nothing to do, when a reporter came along and wanted to interview me for the human interest fan story. It was pretty obvious that the quote he wanted was that the reason I spent $200 a pop on tickets to game 1 was because it was a "once in a lifetime experience." I didn't want to say it was a once in a lifetime thing because I certainly hope the Lightning will be back to the finals before I die, and since I didn't say what he wanted, I didn't get quoted but he found someone else to say it was a once-in-a-lifetime thing.

    So yeah, I don't trust reporters, because whether it was a serious issue or not, they've tried to put words in my mouth.
  • The Daily Show has been really funny and never tries to play itself off as serious. John Edwards even announced his run for President there and Stewart had to remind him about the seriousness of the show:

    So what if John Edwards announced his presidential candidacy on the show? "No one took it seriously," says Stewart. "After he said, 'I'm announcing that I'm running for president,' I said, 'I have to warn you we are a fake show, so you might have to do this again somewhere'." []
  • by mpmansell ( 118934 ) on Sunday June 20, 2004 @09:46PM (#9480662)
    That is fair enough, to a very small and limited point.

    Would the TV company be willing to write off all the investment in that filming should the victim object? To destroy all footage? Somehow I don't think so, but that is one thing they should be prepared to so should the victim demand it. If they take a flyer which is so likely to humiliate or annoy someone then that persons already neglected feelings should be observed.

    Even so, consider the case of a person whose time is limited but is willing to provide time for a subject they believe in. That this time is effectively stolen from them under false pretenses should also be something that the program makers should be willing to take responsibility for.

    Playing a joke on a friend or other loved one is one thing. Usually you know the limits that person will go to while still finding fun themselves in the joke. The broadcast media doesn't know these limits and time and time again have proven themselves to not be concerned with such things so long as they make money. You value a relationship with a friend and will not go so far as to risk that; there is no such safeguard with these vultures.

    Practical jokes are an old broadcast format. That doesn't mean they are right. I cannot imagine there is anyone, including the supporters of this format, who do not have some aspect of their lives that could be used to cause hilarity for others while unforgivably humiliating them. Maybe people should stop and think on that before supporting the making of money at other people's expense and accusing those who object of being whiners.
  • by FrenchyinCT ( 733872 ) on Sunday June 20, 2004 @10:37PM (#9480969)
    A few years ago, a friend and I put up a website for childfree people - with moderate views, trying to turn attention away from the more extremist sites and groups for the childless-by-choice out there. About two years ago we got contacted by some cable TV show out in Los Angeles who wanted us to appear on an interview program, and they were looking for people with our kind of views. I forwarded the email to my friend and asked her what she thought. In the meantime, I did some Googling and was able to determine early on that it was not some nice little Phil Donahue-style show, but the sort of "ambush TV" where nice people are essentially attacked by others for whatever views they hold. They offered to fly us out to L.A. for the taping, take care of a lot of our expenses, put us up in a motel, etc. I don't know *what* they were planning for my friend and I, but I suspect it probably involved putting us up against embittered, angry, infertile women or perhaps the sort of idiot fundamentalist breeders who think a woman's only purpose in life is to make babies. Given how moderate our views were, I very much doubt they wanted to use us as the "evil child-haters" - they could have found *much* worthier candidates than us if that was the case.

    So yes, you DO have to be careful about these things, and always make sure you know what you're getting into!

  • Entrapment as Comedy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by keefey ( 571438 ) on Sunday June 20, 2004 @10:41PM (#9480988)
    After a brief look at the Crossballs website, it sounds very much like it's a version of the UK's The Day Today (Chris Morris), and Brass Eye (again Chris Morris). These programmes take the concept of "current affairs", and then parody this.

    The difference, however, (as far as I can see) is that Brass Eye etc tend to have a good stance as their founding, i.e. to target the media's mass-hysteria around particular subjects (especially drug use, paedophiles etc), and mock not only their shock-tactic approach to manipulating the public, but also mock the approach that "celebrity" take when trying to advocate their own standpoints (to the point where they'll make any given "scientific" statement to make them out to be a positive public influence on the matter).

    This show, however, seems to make its comedy focus as simply a vehicle for the public humiliation of known experts in a given field. How they do this, I don't know (having never seen the show), so I cannot comment on its extremity, but it does seem somewhat cruel without a differing message to counteract it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 20, 2004 @10:58PM (#9481098)

    "The same news program that lines up it's guests to co-incide with their book releases?"

    Of course, that's not just 60 Minutes, that's standard procedure everywhere. I mean, look at this [] for example.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 20, 2004 @11:36PM (#9481318)
    Dilbert? You can not be serious?

    Scott Adams takes suggestions from people. I would be willing to bet cold hard cash he has not had to come up with an original joke in years.

    I have even gotten a couple of my 'suggestions' into the strip.

    He is more of a reflection of the real corruption, missmanagment, and apathy in the corporate world.

    Also if Dilberts company was to 'liquidate' the cast of characters he wouldnt have a strip anymore would he? That is about the only subject he hasn't really lampooned.

    Also my theory is *MOST* of these 'news' orginizations do not do any real work. They get their 'news' from AP or Reuters. I noticed it one day driving across the country. All the stories were exactly the same word for word. Yet they were all presented as if from the local reporter. Maybe sometimes the local org would change it a little. But very rarely. Don't belive me? Tape the news at morning news and the evening news and the late night news from abc/cbs/nbc/fox/cnn/msnbc/pbs/npr. You will find the SAME bit of news parroted word for word. Its clear to me that the fix is in with news. Its bought by bulk I think.

    So I started doing some research into the original articals themselves. They are usually bad news. Full of usless facts and worthless to get anything from. Usually about 80% of the artical is real news. The rest is trying to manipulate you somehow either by an outright lie, or an omision of some truth. You can usually use them to see 'something happened'. But as to why something happens give them a skip.
  • by Beryllium Sphere(tm) ( 193358 ) on Sunday June 20, 2004 @11:57PM (#9481415) Homepage Journal
    Whenever you hear someone spout off about how freedom of speech is being suppressed, or how it's a fascist state, or how Bush = Hitler, ask yourself why that person isn't rotting behind bars
    Are you saying this because you haven't heard of Brett Bursey [], who was arrested and faced with a six-month sentence for holding a "No War for Oil" sign?

  • by mandalayx ( 674042 ) * on Monday June 21, 2004 @03:31AM (#9482284) Journal
    RTFA (from the Economist)

    Indeed, it is extremely hard to see why Mr Thurmond has picked on Mr Bursey out of all the people in the Secret Service zone. None of the other protesters with him was arrested. Neither were any of the several hundred supporters of the president who were holding equally dangerous (but pro-Bush) signs as they stood near the hangar where the president was to speak.

    The prosecutors say that Mr Bursey was not in a special "free-speech zone" that was set up for protesters half a mile from the hangar. The pro-Bush people did not need to be there because they were not protesting. Mr Bursey told the cops, defiantly, that he was under the impression that the whole of America was a free-speech zone.

    Is the Economist article biased? Yes. Is there still valuable truth there? Yes. Is there truth behind your arguments? Yes. But I see a lot of rhetoric and misdirection in what you say.
  • by Xoid629 ( 598744 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @04:29AM (#9482440)
    Yes, but that isn't really the issue. The problem was that he was deliberately misled about the purpose of the show and would not have been.(according to the other stories linked to here) given a fair chance to defend his point of view. If someone's beliefs actually deserve being ridiculed on TV, then it should be quite possible to make them look like a fool by fair debate, without resorting to jokes about penis enlargement pills []. As it is, their personality -- especially ability to work out what is going on and to keep their head -- might be tested, but their actual views hardly matter. A comedy show can make a point by demonstrating what is funny about a particular point of view, but from the sounds of it this one tries to produce humor by completely avoiding the topic -- which might not be such a problem if it didn't involve misleading guests and possibly damaging their reputations.
  • by spike1 ( 675478 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @06:46AM (#9482743)
    The better example of this kind of thing has to be the genius that is "Brass Eye".

    None of this confrontational crap in the mould of Jerry Springer or Oprah (well, OK... Just one, involving a bloke with "Bad AIDS" because he caught it having unprotected gay sex, rather than "Good AIDS" (which would've been caught innocently in a blood transfusion).
    Just duping celebrities into speaking for fake causes like GAFAFWISP, an organisation setup to warn people about heavy electricity, or Cake, a new drug from eastern europe... Bernard Manning saying with all sincerity "Remember kids, cake is a made up drug, but it's not made of plants, it's made of chemicals, by sick bastards"

    Another one was "cannibliss". A fake japanese advert shown to celebrities asking for their comments. (Canibliss was a filtration system, dog smokes spliff, blood cycled through filter to a human sitting next to him)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 25, 2004 @07:04PM (#9533305)
    If a Special Forces platoon marched into a terrorist training camp in Whatthefuckistan and took a hundred prisoners, then turned those prisoners over to civilian law enforcement

    Isn't this just what we did with Noriega?

"Well, it don't make the sun shine, but at least it don't deepen the shit." -- Straiter Empy, in _Riddley_Walker_ by Russell Hoban