Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Is TMZ the Future of Local News?

On Tuesday, I took part in an on-air discussion at NJ News Commons about the future of local news in New Jersey and beyond.

Exhibit A was Fox Broadcasting Company’s decision to replace WWOR’s evening newscast with Chasing New Jersey, a TV newsmagazine modeled after the celebrity gossip show TMZ.

Chasing New Jersey is Fox’s attempt to reinvent local news. Its format — young reporters “chasing” events around the state and reporting them back in conversations with colleagues — is a departure from the standard news fare featuring co-anchors seated before a teleprompter.

The switch is Fox’s attempt to appeal to a younger demographic, especially those 18-to-34-year-olds that advertisers pay top dollar to reach.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Speech Notes from Today's Restore the Fourth Rally

Photograph by Peter Micek
Follows are my speech notes from today's "Restore the Fourth" protest in Manhattan.

As we didn't have a PA system these were delivered using the call and response of the "mic check," popularized  by the Occupy Wall Street movement, where the speaker speaks briefly and the crowd repeats his or her words en masse.

We had a good turnout today with 1,000 people braving heat and holiday crowds to march from Union Square to Federal Hall where we read the Fourth Amendment in the shade of the statue of George Washington:

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Obama. Like Nixon, but Worse

Is Barack Obama like Richard Nixon?

Until recently that pairing seemed odd. Obama and Nixon are leaders from different generations, leading different parties with distinctly different styles.

Yet both used excessive force to crack down on whistleblowers and journalists. And while their tactics have differed, the goal was the same: to silence and criminalize those who expose government wrongdoing.

Obama, however, may have learned from his predecessor's mistakes. While Nixon broke the law to attack dissenting voices, Obama has distorted it to the same effect.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Jimmy Carter vs. 'Jimmy Carter'

Carter Christening 'Carter' in 2004
Late last week. Former President Jimmy Carter chimed in on the NSA surveillance scandal and the plight of whistle blower Edward Snowden.

"I think the invasion of human rights and American privacy has gone too far," President Carter told CNN's Suzanne Malveaux. "And I think that the secrecy that has been surrounding this invasion of privacy has been excessive... Bringing it to the public notice has probably been, in the long term, beneficial." (Video at 2:15)

Last year, Carter railed against the U.S. government for losing moral ground on a series of human rights issues. "Recent laws have canceled the restraints in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to allow unprecedented violations of our rights to privacy through warrantless wiretapping and government mining of our electronic communications," he wrote in a New York Times Op-Ed.

Meanwhile, the latest NSA disclosure revealed just how deep the U.S. government's was willing to go to listen in on communications both at home and abroad -- eavesdropping that involves Carter more in name than in spirit.