People Get Ready

[ make levees, not war ]

Media democracy now (again)!

Posted by schroeder915 on October 13, 2006

Since I have little fear they’ll ever read this, I’d like to take a moment to rail against WWL again. Yesterday, Spud McConnell, talked about the Louisiana Board of Ethics’ agenda item to consider whether political speech on Weblogs should be regulated.

McConnell suggested that if you’re an anonymous blogger, you ought to “act like a man” and say who you are. He failed to mention, of course, that nobody is asked to provide their real identity when they call in to his radio show. He never considered the fact that some anonymous bloggers might have something to say of value to the community, but can’t say it without feeling threatened in their jobs. He never thought about the fact that a person’s name, per se, doesn’t make what that person says trustworthy — experience does. It goes without saying that he never suggested that his listeners should fact-check everything that comes out of his own ignorant piehole.

McConnell, or callers, referred to The Dead Pelican, The Drudge Report, and Wikipedia (which aren’t blogs), never mentioning a single local blog. From the likes of the sites he mentioned, I’d guess he couldn’t define what a local blog is if he wanted to. If McConnell had done just a little research, or asked someone else to prep him for the hour, he might have come across the astute analysis on the blog ethics debate by Shreveport Between the Lines blogger, Jeffrey Sadow, or The Katrinacrat arguing for the need to criticize the mainstream media which laid out a red carpet for George Bush to get American soldiers killed in Iraq, and which generally is pro-administration, or Emily Metzgar’s argument that “the public might be better informed as a result of alternative media sources.”

It certainly doesn’t help that this major local talk show host not only didn’t know anything about local blogs, but — as McConnell himself admitted — he only reads newspaper headlines.

How can he intelligently engage newsmakers, and educate his listeners, if he himself doesn’t have a mastery of the issues of the day. The answer, of course, is that he doesn’t.

What’s even more astounding to me is not that Spud McConnell, or Bob Delgiorno, or the irregular Garland Robinette, have such a weak grasp on the essential issues of the day in post-Katrina New Orleans, but that they have such prime spots in WWL’s schedule.

Then there’s the lineup of regular guests they invite on air, like Walter Leger, to say how the distribution of Road Home money is getting better every day. How about asking anyone who’s been waiting over a year to get back into their own homes how the program is serving them?

Or the endless Saints worshipping and their pointing to garbage being cleaned up in their drives from Metairie or the North Shore, bypassing flooded neighborhoods, as signs that the recovery is well on its way.

Since I’ve become fed up with WWL for not posting all of its programs online where people who can’t tune in during the day can listen at their convenience to get information — at least the side that WWL presents — I’ll go ahead and post the program which I recorded for those who feel like torturing themselves (mp3, ~ 3.7 mb, ~ 31 minutes … after all the ads and other junk were taken out). Refresh the page if you don’t get prompted to play or save the file the first time. (Removed, 10/15/06. Ask if you’d like it.)

I imagine I’ll have to take the link down eventually, so get it while you can.

The Dead Pelican
reported that it was Bogalusa City Councilman Thomas Kates who asked the Louisiana Board of Ethics to consider the blog matter.

Other than the investigative research coming out of The Times-Picayune, there are NO OTHER MEDIA ORGANIZATIONS in New Orleans which report news in a comprehensive manner. It wasn’t always this way, but the current trend should be considered a dangerous foundation upon which to sustain a democracy, let alone rebuild the most devastated city in American history.

Related:

Media democracy now!

Demand more from WWL

The revolution will not be televised

Library Chronicles — Alert the authorities

10/13/06 update:

On Saturday, I’ll be sitting on a MEISA panel discussion on media in New Orleans alongside a WWOZ representative, and a Clear Channel representative. Loyola University Music/Communications Complex, 1-2 p.m.

Tags: | | | | | | | Katrina Dissidents | Failure Is Not An Option | Ray Nagin | Recall Ray Nagin | Hurricane Katrina One Year Anniversary | media | Media Democracy | WWL

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