Democracy Now! May 21, 2003

Program Title:
Democracy Now! May 21, 2003
Series Title:
PRA Archive #: 

Hour 1: Rupert Murdoch's Digital Death Star : As FCC prepares to unleash the largest wave of media consolidation in U.S. history, Rupert Murdoch s News Corp is already moving in on DirecTV; Is the Jayson Blair Affair the Low Point in New York Times 150-Year History?; Cuba: The Next Regime Change? Florida Governor Jeb Bush Denies Allegations That He is Urging His Brother to Invade Cuba Hour 2: St. Louis Police Stage a Pre-emptive Strike and Arrest 27 Activists Prior to Demonstration; New York Times reporter, Chris Hedges was booed off the stage and had his mic cut twice as he delivered a graduation speech on war and empire at Rockford College in Illinois

8:00-8:01 Billboard 8:01-8:06 Headlines 8:06-8:07 One Minute Music Break 8:07-8:20: Today is the final public hearing with FCC commissioners on the proposed rule changes governing media consolidation. The FCC is expected to approve the measures on June 2nd. Analysts and activists say that adoption of the new rules will unleash the largest round of media consolidation and mergers in U.S. history. FCC chairman Michael Powell, son of Secretary of State General Powell, is a driving force behind the rule changes. He has the support of the two other republicans on the Commission, and is opposed by the two Democrats. Several months ago, Democratic Commissioner Michael Copps called on the FCC to conduct public hearings on the changes. Powell refused. Copps said he would hold hearings of his own. So in January, a coalition of trade unions and media activist groups working in collaboration with Copps held the first public hearing on the issue. As public pressure mounted on Powell, he reversed course and decided to attend at the last minute. Another hearing at the University of Southern California was held in April which Powell did not attend. The FCC convened a little publicized, official hearing in Richmond, Virginia in February. The final hearing is today in Atlanta. Democratic Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein will speak, and Democracy Now! will be there. Meanwhile, media mogul Rupert Murdoch squares off tomorrow against consumer advocate Gene Kimmelman, before the Senate Commerce Committee. At issue is whether the FCC and the Justice Department should allow Rupert Murdoch to buy DirecTV, the satellite TV service that has 11 million subscribers. Rupert Murdoch s News Corp already owns 35 broadcast TV stations and major cable channels like Fox News, Fox Sports and National Geographic TV. * Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy and author of the new article "Rupert Murdoch's Digital Death Star" which appears on 8:20-8:21 One Minute Music Break 8:21-8:40: Now the Times is nursing its bruises from the Jayson Blair affair. There are so many smellier corpses in the New York Times s mausoleum, not to mention that larger graveyard of truth known as the American Fourth Estate, that it s hard to get upset at what Blair did To be sure, Blair made up a bunch of not very stuff, and he s embarrassed the hell out of his former colleagues and his publisher. The New York tabs have been having a field day. But from all this editorial hand wringing you d think he s undermined the very foundation of the Republic. These are the words of Alexander Cockburn in his article, The Jayson Blair Affair, where he discusses other far more serious errors in reporting in New York Times history which escaped criticism. * Alexander Cockburn, editor of the journal Counterpunch and website * Danny Schechter, television producer and independent filmmaker who also writes and speaks about media issues. He is the author of Media Wars: News at a Time of Terror, Falun Gong's Challenge to China, The More You Watch, The Less You Know and News Dissector: Passions, Pieces and Polemics. He is the executive editor of the, the world's largest online media issues network. Links: 8:40-8:41 One Minute Music Break 8:41-8:58: Yesterday was Cuban Independence Day, the day Cubans celebrate their independence from Spain. President Bush marked the occasion by meeting with a group of relatives of newly imprisoned Cuban dissidents and former political prisoners. He gave this Independence Day message in Spanish, which was beamed into Cuba on the U.S. propaganda radio channel, Radio Marti. * President Bush gives his Cuban Independence Day message, May 20, 2003 Link: But this was not enough for Cuban Americans in Congress and right wing activists in Florida. They say Bush has failed to act on promises he made to crack down on Cuba during Independence Day speeches last year. Bush relentlessly attacked Clinton as soft on Cuba. But Rep. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) said Bush has done no better. Menendez said in a statement: "Shame on you for not living up to your promises; shame on you for your deceptions; and shame on you for playing on the emotions of the Cuban American community." Meanwhile, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Monday denied allegations by a leading Cuban politician that he is urging his brother to invade the nation. Leader of the Cuban National Assembly Ricardo Alarcon appeared on an ABC News program Sunday and said that Jeb Bush and others are calling for a regime change in Cuba. Jeb Bush said: "He's wrong. What I do favor, which 90 percent, 95 percent, 100 percent of people -- not just Cubans but people who live in our community and this country -- should aspire to is democracy and freedom for Cuba. Cuba. Cuba. He said: "U.S. policy should be that we should transition away from one of the last ugly dictatorships in the world to democracy and freedom. He said, "That implies that it can't be done while Castro is there, but it does not imply an invasion." Two nights ago, Cuba expert John Gerassi addressed just this question in a talk he gave at the NYU Law School. He called is talk Cuba: The Next Regime Change. * John Gerassi, Professor of Political Science at Queens College, City University of New York, speaking at NYU Law School, May 19, 2003. He is the author of several books, including Ven Ceremos: the Speeches, and Writings of Che Guevara, the Great Fear in Latin America and Fidel Castro, a Biography 8:58-8:59 Outro and Credits 9:00-9:01 Billboard: 9:01-9:06: The activist community in St. Louis is still reeling from a string of arrests and building raids that were carried out on Friday, prior to the opening of the Biodevastation7 conference and the World Agricultural Forum. All told 27 people were arrested including a group of bikers who were arrested for riding without a bike license. Two buildings closely linked to the activist community were also raided. Police claimed they had reports that weapons were inside though no weapons charges have been filed. Police did confiscate items ranging from CD-Rom drives to building supplies to diaries to puppets. At one of the buildings, named Bolozone 15 people were arrested for allegedly occupying a condemned building. The residents of the house said the building, which the city sold to the occupants last year, was only condemned on the morning of the raids. Matt LeMieux, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri, said the St Louis police used housing inspections as a trick to get in without a warrant. The ACLU also accused the police of pre-emptively arresting activists prior to the protest. * Molly Bupre, member of the St. Louis Community Arts and Media Project. One of 27 activists arrested last week prior to the World Agricultural Forum in St. Louis. 9:06-9:07 One Minute Music Break 9:07-9:20: Speaker disrupts RC graduation this is the headline in the Rockford Register Star in Illinois. The article describes how a commencement speaker was booed of the stage for making an antiwar speech at the Rockford College graduation on Saturday. The paper reports that two days later, graduates and family members are still reeling. They had envisioned a go out and make your mark send-off. The speaker wasn t an antiwar student. It wasn t an antiwar faculty member. It was New York Times reporter and veteran war correspondent Chris Hedges. Hedges reported from war-torn countries for fifteen years. Hedges spent the last year covering Al Qaida cells in Europe and North Africa. He was a member of The New York Times team that won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for the paper s coverage of global terrorism. In his new book War is a Force that Gives us Meaning, Hedges writes: War and conflict have marked most of my adult life. I began covering insurgencies in El Salvador, where I spent five years, then went on to Guatemala and Nicaragua and Colombia, through the first intifada in the West Bank and Gaza, the civil war in the Sudan and Yemen, the uprisings in Algeria and the Punjab, the fall of the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, the Gulf War, the Kurdish rebellion in southeast Turkey and northern Iraq, the war in Bosnia, and finally to Kosovo. I have been in ambushes on desolate stretches of road in Central America, shot at in the marshes of southern Iraq, imprisoned in the Sudan, beaten by Saudi military police, deported from Libya and Iran, captured and held for a week by Iraqi Republican Guard, strafed by Russian Migs-2IS in Bosnia, fired upon by Serb snipers, and shelled for days in Sarajevo. But this didn t stop Rockford College officials from pulling the plug on his microphone three minutes after he began to speak. The college president told Hedges to wrap it up. He resumed his speech as to the sound of boos and foghorns. Some graduates and audience members turned their backs to Hedges. Others rushed up the aisle to protest the remarks; one student tossed his cap and gown to the stage before leaving. Rockford College s most prominent alum is Jane Addams, a pacifist who was booed off the Carnegie Hall stage for opposing US intervention in World War I. Addams was the founder of Hull House, a non-profit social service agency, the first president the Women s International League for Peace and Freedom and a Nobel Peace Prize Winner. * Chris Hedges, reporter with The New York Times and author of War is a Force that Gives us Meaning. * Chris Hedges, presenting graduation speech at Rockford College in Illinois. 9:20-9:21 One Minute Music Break 9:21-9:40 Chris Hedges' Speech at Rockford College * Tape 9:40-9:41 One Minute Music Break 9:41-9:58 Chris Hedges CONT D 9:58-9:59 Outro and Credits Democracy Now! is produced by Kris Abrams, Mike Burke, Angie Karran, Ana Nogueira and Elizabeth Press. Mike Di Filippo is our music maestro and engineer.

Date Recorded on: 
May 21, 2003
Date Broadcast on: 
May 21, 2003
Item duration: 
118 min.
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WBAI; Amy Goodman, host., May 21, 2003
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