Corporate Media Largely White, Male

Media Matters has a study of 1700 guest appearances on cable news channels that shows that the people represented are largely white and male. Other Media matters studies showed the same on the Sunday news shows.
Media Matters – Cable Diversity:

Media Matters for America examined four programs on each of the three cable news networks during prime time, and recorded the gender and ethnicity of every guest who appeared during the month of May 2008 — nearly 1,700 guest appearances in all. The results demonstrate that, at least in prime time, whatever effort the networks have made to increase the diversity of their guests have borne little fruit. Although there may be more African-American political analysts appearing during the daytime hours (particularly on CNN and MSNBC) in prime time — when the audiences are largest — white men continue to dominate.

And let me point out thatyou will never, ever see someone explaining the benefits of joining a union on corporate media outlets.

Key findings include:
* In total, 67 percent of the guests on these cable programs were men, while 84 percent were white.
* MSNBC featured the greatest gender imbalance, with 70 percent of its guests being male. CNN and Fox News were not far behind; each of those networks featured 65 percent male guests.
* Fox News was the whitest network, with 88 percent white guests. CNN and MSNBC were close behind, with both featuring 83 percent white guests.
* Latinos were particularly underrepresented. Though they now comprise 15 percent of the U.S. population, they made up only 2.7 percent of the guests. The worst of the three networks on this score was MSNBC, which featured only 6 prime-time appearances by Latinos during the entire month (out of a total of 460 guest appearances).
* A number of ethnic groups were shut out entirely, or nearly so, on some networks. During this month, there was only one appearance by an Asian-American on MSNBC, and only one on Fox News. Across all three networks, there were only four appearances by someone of Middle Eastern descent.
* Though white men make up only 32 percent of the population, they made up 57 percent of the guests on prime-time cable during this period. The host of every single prime-time cable show is white, and all but two (Greta Van Susteren of Fox News and Campbell Brown of CNN) are men.

Your Credit Score

A thought: If you don’t borrow, you don’t care what your credit score is.
If you don’t borrow you don’t get in so much trouble if you lose your job or have a medical emergency…
If you don’t borrow you don’t have any payments. If you don’t have any payments you have so much more to live on and enjoy.

Getting It Wrong On Tomatoes

AP has a story today about the salmonella poisonings teaching the food industry a lesson. They just get it wrong. The story shows a fundamental lack of understanding about what is happening to us today. The story, The Associated Press: Food industry bitten by its lobbying success

One of the worst outbreaks of foodborne illness in the U.S. is teaching the food industry the truth of the adage, “Be careful what you wish for because you might get it.”
The industry pressured the Bush administration years ago to limit the paperwork companies would have to keep to help U.S. health investigators quickly trace produce that sickens consumers, according to interviews and government reports reviewed by The Associated Press.
The White House also killed a plan to require the industry to maintain electronic tracking records that could be reviewed easily during a crisis to search for an outbreak’s source. Companies complained the proposals were too burdensome and costly, and warned they could disrupt the availability of consumers’ favorite foods.
The apparent but unintended consequences of the lobbying success: a paper record-keeping system that has slowed investigators, with estimated business losses of $250 million. So far, nearly 1,300 people in 43 states, the District of Columbia and Canada have been sickened by salmonella since April.

This is a consequence of our habit of thinking of corporations and industries as some kind of sentient entities. They are not.
Let me tell you how this really works: The executives who killed regulation pocketed cash — when people later get sick insurance companies and shareholders are the ones who pay for it. There is no sentient being called “food industry” or “tomato company” at work here. There are a few executives who got rich, and everyone else pays for it.
As long as we use these mental frames of industries and companies as sentient entities we will make these mistakes. When we hear that a company has an opinion or an interest, we are not hearing from Bob in Sales or Alice in Accounts Receivable, they are told from the top. A company is only a piece of paper. The people in the companies are told what to do by a few people at the top. Those people act in their OWN interests, period. When we understand this we can start to write laws and regulations that deal with reality.
(Also diaried at La Vida Locavore — “the blog for anyone whose crazy life includes planting, growing, weeding, fertilizing, raising, picking, harvesting, processing, cooking, baking, making, serving, buying, selling, distributing, transporting, composting, organizing around, lobbying about, writing about, thinking about, talking about, playing with, and eating food!”)

Just One More Bad Act By Republicans

Just one more of so, so many…
U.S. Rushes to Change Workplace Toxin Rules,

Political appointees at the Department of Labor are moving with unusual speed to push through in the final months of the Bush administration a rule making it tougher to regulate workers’ on-the-job exposure to chemicals and toxins.
The agency did not disclose the proposal, as required, in public notices of regulatory plans that it filed in December and May.

Republicans making it harder for workers to protect themselves from exposure to toxins. They get paid a bundle of cash to help kill people. What a job. With the added bonus of doing it in ways that make it harder for legitimate government to fix it so people can again be protected.
And then, when they leave the government, they will be hired by the very companies that make a bundle from poisoning workers, and paid then for what they are doing now. A flat-out bribe that comes a year later.
You try to explain to people what is happening, and they think YOU are extreme. It does sound so extreme to say that people would do this. Yet there they are — doing it.

Max and the Marginalized

I’m becoming a bigger and bigger fan of Max and the Marginalized.

We are a political band in Los Angeles. We write and record a new song every week (as of this writing we’ve been doing this for 32 weeks straight), always about something that week which we find worthy of our protestations.

Go see some videos here.
My current favorite:


Netroots Nation Report

This post originally appeared at, Speak Out California.
I thought our readers might like to get an insight into how last week’s annual Netroots Nation convention went, and how it keeps the blogging world energized. Here is an inside look at the event. (‘Netroots’ stands for the online, networked, “bottom-up” grassroots of democracy.)
First of all, Austin is like a big, very very very very very very hot Santa Cruz. The daily high temperature was between 96 and 104 each day I was there. The convention facilities were great, and are located right downtown, surrounded by restaurants and the entertainment district. The hotel was next door to the convention center with several other hotels nearby. It’s also near Austin’s famous “bat bridge” from under which hundreds of thousands of bats emerge each day just after sunset.

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“Who Sent You?” — The Coming Attack on Obama

At least one major right-wing smear attack on Obama may be gearing up. I’ll call it the “Who Sent You” campaign. As weird as it sounds — and it is weird stuff — the gist of it is that Obama’s birth was part of a secret plan by communists, Jews and one-worlders to take over the world. As you read this it is going to sound so fanatically wingnut/John Birch Society/black helicopter/precious bodily fluids weird that you are likely to dismiss it as the rantings of crazy people. But I have learned over the years that this stuff resonates with a certain crowd, and they are remarkably effective at tapping the fears of Americans.
Keep in mind how weird and unbelievable the Swift Boat accusations seemed — and remember the powerful effect they had on the public and election results. In The Swiftboaters Are Back in the Water I wrote about the effectiveness of the dishonest accusations,

. . . [one] reason it works is because it is (excuse the pun) offensive. They say that the best defense is a good offense, and considering their candidates, the Republicans certainly needed a defense.
[. . .] So with swiftboating you spread a smear to raise questions with the public about the opponent’s patriotism or service. It doesn’t have to be true (how quaint) it just has to raise questions. This “neutralizes” the honorable record of or otherwise “discredits” the advantages that opponent has against a Republican with a poor (like George W. Bush’s) or no (like Saxby Chambliss or any number of other “chickenhawks”) record.

That post also cited the following description of the results of that smear:

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Question About War Crimes Trial

First Guantanamo war crimes trial under way | Reuters,

The first U.S. war crimes trial since World War Two began on Monday at the U.S. navy base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, nearly seven years after the September 11 attacks prompted President George W. Bush to declare war on terrorism.

I want to be sure I have this right. According to the Republicans the people at Guantanamo are not subject to the Geneva Conventions because they are “unlawful combatants” not engaged in “war” as defined by the conventions. But now they are being “tried” for “war crimes.”
Isn’t this having it both ways? Either they are or are not.