Intent to Intimidate – Why the World is Watching

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By writing this blog, I could be self-attaching a target on my back. Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press are under siege in America. Make no mistake. It is “fake news” if you believe otherwise. Paranoia, or déjà vu? Felt it during the Nixon regime. War of words with the press. And how much of a leap would Nixon’s old school “Enemies List” be from the Department of Homeland Security high-tech bid for a “Media Monitoring Services” to compile a database of hundreds of thousands of journalists, bloggers and “media influencers” for the federal government?

According to an article in Bloomberg Law, DHS is “seeking a contractor that can help it monitor traditional news sources as well as social media and identify ‘any and all’ coverage related to the agency or a particular event…” Very open-ended “or a particular event,” wouldn’t you say?

Yes. A Department of Homeland Security spokesman has since commented “this is nothing more than the standard practice of monitoring current events in the media” — but for what purpose?

If it is just a listing, what is the significance of requiring “contact details and any other information that could be relevant, including publications this influencer writes for, and an overview of the previous coverage published by the media influencer.” There it is again, “overview of the previous coverage,” another open-ended category.

And chillingly, there is no restriction that the database of hundreds of thousands of journalists, bloggers and “media influencers” must be Americans only.

Watchdog organization Freedom House said in its Press Freedom Report – 2017 that global media freedom had dropped to its lowest level in 13 years.

Every day, journalists face serious consequences including physical violence, imprisonment and death. A few days ago, the Committee to Protect Journalists launched its annual Free The Press campaign to raise awareness about imprisoned journalists throughout the world. On May 3, UNESCO will once again mark World Press Freedom Day “to inform citizens of violations of press freedom — a reminder that in dozens of countries around the world, publications are censored, fined, suspended and closed down, while journalists, editors and publishers are harassed, attacked, detained and even murdered.”  —Forbes.com

Intent to intimidate.

One more consideration, if Facebook, with its well-paid top tech geniuses, could not protect all the data they collected on users, how can we be confident that this mass database of info being authorized by the government to the lowest bidder, would be any more secure?

Let’s say this low bid “Media Monitoring Services,” agency exists. And for sake of argument, we call it, oh say… Big Brother. And, it scoops up this blog. And, you consider a response to my comments.

You could write in your blog or FB post or tweet, “Anthony, you are one strap short on a straitjacket.” Or you could write, “Anthony, there is merit in your postulation.” Either way, Big Brother would note not only that you commented, but also the intention of your comment.

What if you say nothing, because it is safer?

Intention to Intimidate.

You just gave up your Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press rights because you were afraid to express yourself as an American. Some might hear echoes of Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia. They laughed as well. Until it was too late.

{Call to Action: Contact your elected representatives in the House & Senate. Tell them you find this DHS action anti-American. Or, tell them you see nothing wrong. What??? That is how Freedom of Speech works. Everybody gets a say.}

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Reporter’s Notebook: Media Message Misrepresents Women

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How Far We Haven’t Come: All of the Terrible Ways the Media Treated Women in 2013 in One Video is a headline from Time magazine that describes failure. Embarrassing failure displayed by or on the media. There are positive items on this video, but they are far outweighed by the negative.

No doubt you can guess some of the items featured in this compilation video from the Representation Project. While a few may be debatable depending on your attitude, others are just downright unbelievable. See for yourself.

I’m not saying she deserved to be raped, but…” There is no “but” there is no rationalization for that statement. Who is this guy? Is this really the aftermath of all the things we marched and protested about on college campuses in the 60s?

And speaking of higher education (oh oh, here it comes…) what are they teaching in some schools of journalism & advertising that anyone involved on the JWT India team gave a green light for abuse-laden mockups— and then promote— that Ford auto ad as to how edgy and “with it” the agency was. Don’t recall the ad? This is what one website, RYOT News said:

In what might be the biggest WTF moment of 2013, a creative team working with Ford India leaked ads depicting women bound and gagged in the trunk of the automaker’s Figo model.”

It is not just media, mind you, that needs to be addressed, society in general has misconceptions.

That’s where The Representation Project comes in. It is a movement that uses film and media content to expose injustices created by gender stereotypes and to shift people’s consciousness towards change.

The Project wishes to challenge the negative and accentuate the positive. As writers we should strive to do the same. Check it out

Reporter’s Notebook: Evolving State of Journalism

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Repeatedly I’ve put forth that the “traditional media” is on its last legs— and that you boys/girls and men/women represent the future of journalism.

Old News - canon rebel t2i

Old News – canon rebel t2i (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

And just what does that future hold if you want to actually earn a living as a writer? The diminishing opportunities for newspaper reporters have been much in the news.

Content curation looks to be one solid way to go. That is according to an item in the Content Curation Community Newsletter which in turn focuses on an intriguing and informative article observation:

“…marketing departments are starting to function more like newsrooms that produce unique content about their brand and report on industry topics and trends. And journalists are being recruited to oversee the content part of content marketing.”

You should read this  guest post by Holly Regan that ran recently on the Thought Leadership website.