Is it NEWS or NEW$?By Iquo B. Essien, The AFRican Blogger

Is it NEWS or NEW$?
By Iquo B. Essien, The AFRican Blogger

Published on Fri, Jan 11 2008 by Iquo Essien


As soon as I posted my last blog, I read an oped in the Huffington Post urging us all to take it easy on electoral predictions.

"Yes, pundits have to pund. Columnists need to fill up columns. TV newsreaders need to seem prescient. But maybe we can't predict the changes that have surged in America as we watched rich, old, white men lie and cheat and steal elections, as we watched them enrich their cronies while impoverishing average Americans, as we saw their hunger for oil and their disdain for our lovely green planet, as we watched, horrified, as Mr. Kerry and Ms. Pelosi feared changing course more than they feared the Repugnicans.

So now we have to do the hardest thing of all: not rush to judgment, wait, cultivate watchfulness not opinion mongering. Can we do it?

Our democracy may depend on it."

Great minds think alike, eh? ;)

It really begs the question though, with so many people weighing in on the matter, how do we make up our minds? To me, it goes directly to how we get reputable news. The unspinned story. In this day and age, that's a tall order with ClearChannel owning virtually ALL news stations in the country, branching out to the world. Have you ever stopped to think about what that means?

USAToday reported that, early on in the 2004 Presidential race, CC execs gave $42,200 to Bush, vs. $1,750 to John Kerry. And the execs and CC's political action committee (yes, they have one) gave 77% of their $334,501 in federal contributions to Republicans. Not to hate, but come on. They have a crystal clear political agenda here. Do you have any idea what ClearChannel owns? Take a look.

-----------------------------------------

Clear Channel Communications
200 E. Basse
San Antonio, TX 78209
www.clearchannel.com

Holdings

Television

WXXA -TV FOX ALBANY , NY
KGET -TV NBC BAKERSFIELD , CA
KVOS -TV IND BELLINGHAM , WA
WIVT -TV ABC BINGHAMTON , NY
WKRC -TV CBS CINCINNATI , OH
WETM -TV NBC ELMIRA , NY
KMTR -TV NBC EUGENE , OR
KMTX -TV NBC EUGENE , OR
KMTZ -TV NBC EUGENE , OR
KVIQ -TV CBS EUREKA , CA
KTVF -TV NBC FAIRBANKS , AK
KGPE -TV CBS FRESNO , CA
WHP - TV CBS HARRISBURG , PA
WLYH -TV UPN HARRISBURG , PA
WJKT -TV UPN JACKSON , TN
WAWS -TV FOX JACKSONVILLE , FL
WTEV -TV CBS JACKSONVILLE , FL
KASN -TV UPN LITTLE ROCK , AR
KLRT -TV FOX LITTLE ROCK , AR
WLMT -TV UPN MEMPHIS , TN
WPTY -TV ABC MEMPHIS , TN
WJTC -TV UPN MOBILE , AL
WPMI -TV NBC MOBILE , AL
KCBA -TV FOX MONTEREY/SALINAS , CA
KION -TV CBS MONTEREY/SALINAS , CA
WOKR -TV ABC ROCHESTER , NY
KTVX -TV ABC SALT LAKE CITY , UT
WOAI -TV NBC SAN ANTONIO , TX
KPXL -TV PAX SAN ANTONIO , TX
KCOY -TV CBS SANTA MARIA , CA
KFTY -TV IND SANTA ROSA , CA
WIXT -TV ABC SYRACUSE , NY
KOKI -TV FOX TULSA , OK
KTFO -TV UPN TULSA , OK
WUTR -TV ABC UTICA , NY
WWTI -TV ABC WATERTOWN , NY
KAAS -TV FOX WICHITA , KS
KSAS -TV FOX WICHITA , KS
KSCC -TV UPN WICHITA , KS

Radio

ALABAMA
Birmingham
WENN-FM
WERC-AM
WMJJ-FM
WDXB-FM
WQEN-FM
Gadsden
WAAX-AM
WGMZ-FM
Huntsville
WBHP-AM
WDRM-FM
WHOS-AM
WTAK-FM
WWXQ-FM
WXQW-FM
Mobile
WDWG-FM
WKSJ-AM
WMXC-FM
WNTM-AM
WRKH-FM
Montgomery
WMCZ-FM
WQLD-FM
WZHT-FM
Tuscaloosa
WACT-AM
WRTR-FM
WTXT-FM
WZBQ-FM
ALASKA
Anchorage
KASH-FM
KBFX-FM
KENI-AM
KGOT-FM
KTZN-AM
KYMG-FM
Fairbanks
KAKQ-FM
KIAK-AM
KIAK-FM
KKED-FM
ARIZONA
Chinle
KFXR-FM
Phoenix
KESZ-FM
KMXP-FM
KNIX-FM
KZZP-FM
KFYI-AM
KGME-FM
KOY-AM
KYOT-FM
Tuba City
KAXB-FM
Tucson
KCEE-AM
KNST-AM
KRQQ-FM
KWFM-FM
Yuma
KBLU-AM
KTTI-FM
KYJT-FM

-----------------------------------------

And I haven't even gotten to Arkansas yet (going alphabetical by state)! I don't listen to the radio because of this exact problem: all the stations play the same songs and report the same stories. I rep iTunes radio/podcasts (check Casamena and Radio Abeokuta) because you get to choose what you listen to without the propaganda and crazy long ads.

But where do I get my news?

A friend of mine asked me that question the other day and I actually had to scratch my head. Being a busy writer/filmmaker means I don't get a lot of time to chill on the web or go channel surfing (of course, I don't have a TV now, so that would be really hard, although you can watch virtually ALL TV news on the web now). Well, ok, now that I've given a disclaimer, where do I get my news?

I actually watch The Daily Show online fairly regularly. It gets to the heart of the matter of American politricks and makes me laugh at the same time. But seriously, I realize that media consolidation means that news is as much a commodity as anything else. It gets bought and sold with certain stories get told while others get buried. And I really think the media conglomerates are to blame for why Americans know so little about the rest of the world. Maybe not the exclusive reason, but a major factor. So how do I cope?

Luckily, like iTunes, the proliferation of internet sources and new affordability of generating media means that there are hundreds of targeted news sites out there (like allAfrica.com or Nation TV on YouTube) that can be found with a simple search on the web. But its up to you to find them -- and that could seem like a lot of work for those of us used to living in cultures of immediacy.

Then there's always C-SPAN I will straight up watch Senate hearings and the like -- the 9-11 Commission was a fascinating study in a politician's ability to bullshit -- because at least then I get the news straight from the horse's mouth. CNN is a bunch of fluff (sexy reporters with sexed-up news stories), but their programs can be quite good. The BBC does a much better job reporting on the world, if you ask me.

The Charlie Rose Show is actually one of the best news hours in the nation. Honestly. If you're looking for TRUTH, watch it. I sometimes do searches on LexisNexis to see all the international coverage (a carryover from my global communications days). One thing I can tell you, the New York Times has the weakest, most middle of the line reporting of most, though many hold it up as the best newspaper in the world. True to form, I couldn't use any of their headlines for my last blog because they were too hedgy. Unwilling to call Obama the victor in Iowa because it would seem like too bold a statement. Even during the whole Don Imus debacle, racial epithets were watered down to "racially-charged language," as though a white man calling a bunch of black women "nappy-headed hoes" is anything but fighting words. But if you're looking for middle-of-the-road puff pieces, NYT actually does a good job of reporting on Africa. I find myself reading stories on petty traders in Benin just as often as those about bankers on Wall Street.

But I have an artsy side too and like reading Chimurenga and The AFRican, but of course I'm biased and think our magazine is the best. LOL. ;)

Peace,

The AFRican Blogger

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