Thursday, September 16, 2010

Fantasyland Media:

Each week, we cover the stories that are just left out of the US propaganda machine. News that the people in charge, the corporations and your government want keep from the public eye.


Common Dreams:
"Washington, D.C., is leading the transformation of urban public education across the country—at least according to Time magazine, which featured D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee on its cover, wearing black and holding a broom. Or perhaps you read it in Newsweek or heard it from Oprah, who named Rhee to her 'power list' of 'remarkable visionaries.'

But there’s nothing remarkably visionary going on in Washington. The model of school reform that’s being implemented here is popping up around the country, heavily promoted by the same network of conservative think tanks and philanthropists like Bill Gates, Eli Broad, and the Walton Family Foundation that has been driving the school reform debate for the past decade. It is reform based on the corporate practices of Wall Street, not on education research or theory. Indications so far are that, on top of the upheaval and distress Rhee leaves in her wake, the persistent racial gaps that plague D.C. student outcomes are only increasing...

Rhee continues to target career teachers, in action and words. In the spring and summer of 2009 the district hired more than 900 new teachers—three times the usual number of summer hires. Then, in October, Rhee announced that a newly discovered budget shortfall required that 266 teachers be laid off. Because the layoffs were budget related, principals were free to ignore the 'last hired-first fired' rules in the union contract. According to the union, a substantial number of the laid-off teachers were older, more senior teachers, rather than those who had been hired the previous spring and summer. Students and parents protested as beloved teachers and counselors were yanked out of buildings."

-->Very little in the US media questions "education reform" as presented by Bush and now Obama. But it involves the corporatization of public schools, and even to the firing of older, higher paid professionals. All the abuses of corporate America brought into the classroom.


"The bulk of the media often gets pulled along for the ride when the United States government has a serious political and public relations campaign around foreign policy. But almost nowhere is it so monolithic as with Venezuela. Even in the run-up to the Iraq war, there were a significant number of reporters and editorial writers who didn't buy the official story. But on Venezuela, the media is more like a jury that has 12 people but only one brain...

The 'all bad news, all the time' theme was overwhelmingly dominant even during Venezuela's record economic expansion, from 2003 to 2008. The economy grew as never before, poverty was cut by more than half, and there were large gains in employment. Real social spending per person more than tripled, and free healthcare was expanded to millions of people. You will have to search very hard to find these basic facts presented in a mainstream media article, although the numbers are hardly in dispute among economists in international organisations that deal with statistics...

Whatever happens, we can expect complete coverage of one side of the story from the media. So keep it in mind: even when you are reading the New York Times or listening to NPR on Venezuela, you are getting Fox News. If you want something more balanced, you will have to look for it on the web."

-->How is it that a free society does not have a free press? Why does The NY Times continue to slander countries according to the Pentagon's enemies list? Like reporting on Nicaragua in the 1980's, there is no difference between what The NY Times reports and what the government wants you to read.


"Israel has snubbed five senior European foreign ministers, including the British foreign secretary, William Hague, by refusing to receive them for a planned visit to Jerusalem, according to reports in the Israeli press.

The respected Haaretz newspaper reported today that the visit, planned for Thursday, was officially rejected by the Israeli foreign ministry because of the date's proximity to the Jewish religious holiday, Yom Kippur, which begins on Friday evening. However, a senior Israeli official told Haaretz that the real reason was concern that EU ministers wanted to pressure Israel to extend its settlement construction freeze. The 10-month partial freeze is due to expire in two weeks.

The EU meeting is reported to have been initiated by the French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner and his Spanish counterpart, Miguel Moratinos, after discussions between them over the EU's efforts to promote the Middle East peace process. Hague would have been a member of the delegation."

-->Of course, The NY Times would not cover that highlighted the illegal settlements or made Israel look bad. Here there is very little difference between what The NY Times reports and what the Israeli government wants you to read.

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