Sunday, January 27, 2008

We need more like Edwards

John Edwards has called on constituents to support him in not granting big telecom immunity from FISA:

When it comes to protecting the rule of law, words are not enough. We need action.

It's wrong for your government to spy on you. That's why I'm asking you to join me today in calling on Senate Democrats to filibuster revisions to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that would give "retroactive immunity" to the giant telecom companies for their role in aiding George W. Bush's illegal eavesdropping on American citizens.

The Senate is debating this issue right now -- which is why we must act right now. You can find your Senators' phone numbers here or call the Senate Switchboard at 1-(202)-224-3121.

Granting retroactive immunity is wrong. It will let corporate law-breakers off the hook. It will hamstring efforts to learn the truth about Bush's illegal spying program. And it will flip on its head a core principle that has guided our nation since our founding: the belief that no one, no matter how well connected or what office they hold, is above the law.

But in Washington today, the telecom lobbyists have launched a full-court press for retroactive immunity. George Bush and Dick Cheney are doing everything in their power to ensure it passes. And too many Senate Democrats are ready to give the lobbyists and the Bush administration exactly what they want.

Please join me in calling on every Senate Democrat to do everything in their power -- including joining Senator Dodd's efforts to filibuster this legislation -- to stop retroactive immunity and stand up for the rule of law. The Constitution should not be for sale at any price.

Thank you for taking action.

John Edwards
January 24, 2008

This speaks to broader issues of privacy and autonomy from government in the constantly evolving age of digital media and communication technologies. Attention to this particular issue by government leaders like Edwards is crucial, and he is the first of the presidential candidates to do so. I think we need more attention to broader privacy rights in mainstream news outlets and more salience of these issues among the public.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Let's get started

What draws us to study media? As an undergrad, I was drawn to major in journalism because I saw it as a profession in which I could contribute to the exchange of information. I viewed it as an opportunity to make a difference in my community. And I would argue many journalists have a goal of providing as much objective information to their audiences as possible, but many times other outside factors—advertising, ownership, and even demands from an editor —affect the final product. Wanting to get beyond the surface of that issue is partly what drew me back to study mass comm. at the graduate level. I think we also have to recognize that these questions are only becoming more difficult as the lines between traditional forms of communication—newspapers, magazines, broadcast, etc—and nontraditional forms in this era of online journalism are blurred. What do we consider news? Does the classification of “news” even matter anymore? Regardless, how news has been classified over time is an important consideration. Its definition largely stems from the media and the norms surrounding each medium at a certain place in time. One of the articles (“The advent of media”) for this week does an excellent job summarizing media at different points in time and with emphasis on outside factors that influence how messages are disseminated. This will be an excellent piece to keep in mind as we move forward in looking more in-depth at these questions throughout the semester.

Welcome to the section blog. Think of this as a forum for any thoughts, ideas or questions you have on class material. It can be a supplement for our class discussions and a place to share related materials you find online. I think you will also find it a useful study tool for conversing with your classmates. See you in class!