• Big Bird Tweets and Roars

    October 8, 2012
    How do you spell “meme”? In the five days since the Denver presidential debate, Big Bird has stormed social media as people everywhere have gone online to defend public broadcasting against defunding threats.
  • Political Hush Money

    October 8, 2012
    The Miami Herald's Edward Wasserman cites two Free Press reports on political ad spending in a cutting commentary on the state of local television news. “The funders of political advertising appear to have purchased not just airtime, but immunity from media scrutiny,” writes Wasserman.
  • One Minute of News vs. 162 Minutes of Ads

    October 2, 2012

    Denver is playing host to the first presidential debate of 2012, but for TV viewers in the Rocky Mountain State, the political mudslinging has been going on for months, thanks in large part to the deluge of political ads from Super PACs and other third-party groups.

  • TV Stations Accept Political Ad Cash -- and Leave Viewers in the Dark

    September 24, 2012
    The political ad invasion is upon us. Media analysts project that campaigns, Super PACs and “social welfare” groups will spend a record-breaking $3.3 billion on political ads by Election Day. For the local stations that air these ads, it’s a political goldmine. But what’s a cash windfall for stations is a nuisance for tens of millions of viewers.
  • When Will U.S. Politicians Stand Up to Rupert Murdoch?

    July 25, 2012

    This week’s Murdoch news raises as many questions as it answers, as the phone-hacking scandal enters its second year dominating front-page headlines worldwide.

    But the controversy that has rocked Murdoch’s British empire has caused little more than a ripple among America’s political leadership.

  • Censorship = Freedom?

    July 16, 2012

    Think you have the right to speak freely via cellphones, websites and social media? Well, the companies that provide you with access to the Internet don’t.

    The framers drafted the First Amendment as a check on government authority — not corporate power. But whether we’re texting friends, sharing photos on Facebook, or posting updates on Twitter, we’re connecting with each other and the Internet via privately controlled networks.

  • An Old Plan for New Media

    June 27, 2012

    Welcome to the Comcast Age.

    No, that's not a new corporate slogan, but the future facing Internet users everywhere.

    Cable giants like Comcast and Time Warner have come to dominate information access in the United States. And they're using this new power to squeeze out competitors and remake new media in their old image.

    For anyone online that means a future of fewer choices among broadband providers and less control over the digital diet that's fed across their networks.

  • Reform in the Age of Corporate Lawyers

    June 5, 2012

    In the post-Citizens United era, wealthy corporations and individuals think democracy is a trophy they can buy, stuff and mount on their parlor walls.

  • The First Amendment and the Smartphone Journalist

    May 18, 2012

    World Press Freedom Day came and went earlier this month. While it’s important to take a day to recognize our right to speak and share information, threats to our First Amendment freedoms happen all the time, everywhere.

    It's a threat that will become very real on the streets of Chicago this weekend as a new breed of journalists and onlookers attempt to cover the protests surrounding the NATO summit.

  • Super PACs Tell Lies, but the Media Spread Them

    May 17, 2012

    If you think presidential politics have gotten ugly, just wait.

    With wealthy corporations and individuals spending billions of dollars to influence your vote, the real dirt is about to hit your TV screen like mud on a linen bed sheet.

    According to the New York Times, which got its hands on a conservative proposal from a shadowy Super PAC, wealthy Republican strategists are working overtime on a billionaire-fueled campaign to flood the airwaves with race-laced attacks against President Obama: