Media: January 2008 Archives

This was originally posted on my MTV Think profile for the Street Team.

All bloggers have their issues.  Each and every one of us has a special something that we add to the digital universe.  It results in a diversity that is beautiful at the same time that it is ugly and contentious.  Even with all of our differing views there is one thing all bloggers can unite against: traditional media attacks on our new mediums of communication. 

As someone who was interviewed for, and saw first-hand how Jenn Abelson of the Boston Globe went about writing her piece "MTV wants digital army to bring back the buzz", I can say that Abelson not only wrote an unfair new media attack piece, but she also went about gathering her information with what seemed to be the explicit purpose of undercutting the legitimacy of new media.  You only have to read the first two sentences of Abelson's piece to understand where I'm coming from:

Big Things in the Works

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I keep saying that I have a lot of big things going on, most of which I will only be able to reveal when the time is right.  Fortunately, this time around there are a few things that I can report on.  I just got back from training for the MTV Choose or Lose Street Team '08, and some of my photos were recently published in a local magazine, Dollars & Sense.

(Picture from Street Team '08 Platform) 

I'm still trying to iron out some of the details for how what I do with Street Team '08 is going to be incorporated into this blog, but you'll be able to observe my weekly reports and everything I do through my think.mtv.com profile.  In case you haven't seen it yet, the Boston Herald recently reported on what I'll be doing for MTV.

I'm a little bit ashamed of one of the quotes.  I said, "I'm going to be a one-man media outlet for Massachusetts youth".  I was trying to talk about how I'll be producing audio, visual, and written media for MTV, which is what is so cool about new media, but it just ended up coming off as arrogant, and complete against what new media is about, which is multiple voices and collective strength. 

That's it for now, but I'm probably going to compile all of the media reports about me at some point, and there will be a few more articles in future so stay on the look out.

American Harvest film screening

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You may recall one of my earlier posts about American Harvest, a documentary about migrant farmworkers.  The movie will be featured at the Farm Film Fest in Chatham, New York on Sunday, January 13, with a chance to toss back a few with the filmmaker afterwards.  Sounds like a nice way to spend a Sunday.  Come, and bring your friends.

If you can't make it to Chatham, listen to American Harvest Director Angelo Mancuso on the Dennis Miller Radio Show live on Jan. 10, or stream the show from the DMRS website.    
News came a few days ago that Eliot Spitzer has failed in his effort to allow long-incarcerated felons some measure of freedom, freedom denied them so far by the Parole Board's categorical refusal to grant parole to inmates convicted of certain crimes.  Reading this story got me thinking.  Spitzer started his term popular and ambitious but then something happened.  That something is known collectively in some circles as the flying monkeys of immigration restrictionism. 

Here is the key passage in Sam Roberts' NY Times article for my purposes today:

With Mr. Spitzer's political capital depleted and the governor hardly eager to embark on another unpopular crusade

By "unpopular crusade," I'm speculating that Roberts primarily means Spitzer's attempt to fulfill a campaign promise to reinstate New York's previous policy of permitting undocumented immigrants to obtain driver's licenses. 

Hillary Clinton's recent dip in the polls ahead of the primaries has also been attributed by many to her "gaffe" on the same subject in a debate a couple months ago.

Political capital is ineffable and notoriously volatile.  Much of a politician's room to maneuver depends on which narrative our media gatekeepers decide is suitable for consumption by the masses.  Those gatekeepers are often easily misled as to the prevailing temper of the public--witness the "Village's" continuing support for the War in Iraq when all available evidence indicates a large majority of Americans oppose the war. 

This ongoing disjunction between reality and media narrative has not arisen organically--it has several causes, among them: fear of being labeled soft on national security, fear of being caught by surprise again after 9/11, ignorance of the substantive details of the issues at hand, weariness of being tagged with the now-pejorative "liberal" label, coziness with power brokers in government and business who profit from the machinery of war, and simple groupthink. 

I propose that savvy conservative activists have perpetuated a similar con on the gatekeepers: the Great Immigration Swindle.  Through a decades-long coordinated effort,  groups calling for more restrictive immigration policies, or "restrictionists" for short, have positioned a media narrative once considered racist and extreme as fully mainstream.

Here are the component parts of the Swindle: