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Missouri: The Home State of Rush Limbaugh  8/20/2014 
Joe Conason: Article  Communities like Ferguson don't erupt over nothing. Systematic racism has been encouraged by a number of groups, including right wing talk show hosts.

People are Already Starting to Like Obamacare  11/11/2013 
Tara Culp-Ressler: Article  The mainstream media are obsessing on individual stories of problems, but Obamacare is going to help lots of real people and they are beginning to realize that.

Let's Hear Praise for IRS Workers  5/18/2013 
Ed Knudson: Article  The press can't help itself, it must report the most negative and hostile view of things, without basic logic, and Obama joins the chorus.

Washington Post Unfairly Characterizes President's Prayer Breakfast Speech  2/8/2012 
Ed Knudson: Article  Liberal journalists engage in a typical practice of excluding mainline Protestants in major articles on religion. They end up propagating only conservative views.

Understanding Glenn Beck and the End of His Fox News Program  4/6/2011 
Ed Knudson: Article  Fox News is closing Beck's program, the end of his attack against the first black president and his effort to influence what churches can teach, promoting an 'official' civil religion.

Bob Herbert: The United States Has Lost Its Way  3/26/2011 
Bob Herbert: Article  In his last column: There is money for war, but not for nation-building at home. Misguided economic policies, limitless greed, unrestrained corporate power, and oil addiction are leading to decline.

For God or for Fame? The Making of a Teenage Bomber  12/31/2010 
Kambiz GhaneaBassiri: Article  Portland, Oregon, resident Mohamed Mohamud had never been to Afghanistan or Pakistan, and he had never spent time with any real-life terrorists; his aspirations were shaped by TV and the internet.

Using Race to Smear Obama  7/23/2010 
Eugene Robinson: Article  Conservative media intentionally use race to stimulate fear and terror in white people of black people as the Shirley Sherrod episode demonstrates.

Conservative Historical Narrative Continues to Demonize the Sixties  3/25/2010 
Peter Dreier: Article  This article shows how conservative think tanks and organizations use the 1960s to construct their framework of political philosophy, used by Glenn Beck and others to attack ACORN and black justice.

Human Beings are Commodities in Current Celebrity Culture  1/25/2010 
Chris Hedges: Article  Pastors would do well to read this searing analysis of how the minds and hearts of Americans are manipulated by corporate media, including a critique of Obama as a 'brand'.

How Mormonism Built Glenn Beck  10/12/2009 
Joanna Brooks: Article  This article is about the religion informing the far right Fox News commentator who attacks social and economic justice organizations.

Media Treat Far-Right Views as Mainstream  6/5/2009 
E.J. Dionne Jr.: Article  The perception informing this article can help pastors properly interpret political consciousness in media today.

Money is the Real Motivation for Religious Right Groups  3/2/2005 
Article  Salem Communications Corporation buys Christianity.com adding web services to its over 1,900 affiliated radio stations providing "Christian content".

Religious Right Ignores the Gannon Affair  3/1/2005 
Article  Bill Berkowitz asks religious right groups why they are not outraged by Jeff Gannon in the White House.

Fake News Reporters in the White House  2/17/2005 
Article  Jeff Gannon, or James Guckert, is outed as a phony reporter, interupting Karl Rove's media manipulation.

Telling Truth about Violence and Responsibility  2/10/2005 
Article  Ward Churchill, an Indian activist and professor at University of Colorado, is being attacked by Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, supported by Kurt Nimmo and others.

Fired Reporters Challenge Fox TV License  1/26/2005 
Article  Steve Wilson and Jane Akre charge Fox with false and distorted news reports.

Corporate Media and the Political Use of Religion  1/24/2005 
Article  Mahmood Mambani looks at Fallujah, Vietnam, and how corporate media fail to provide the real facts to Americans.

How Copyright Could be Killing Culture  1/18/2005 
Reprint  The high cost of getting permission to use archival footage and photos threatens to put makers of documentaries out of business, by Guy Dixon.

The President as Draft Dodger  1/12/2005 
Article  George W. Bush was certainly a draft dodger but CBS thinks it is in trouble for saying so. Read what Greg Palast has to say.

Now It's Pure Propaganda  1/10/2005 
Article  The Armstrong Williams case reveals the Bush administration engages in propaganda bought and paid for.

Who Owns the Media?  12/23/2004 
Comment  The Freepress.net website has a handy reference to media ownership.

The Political Misuse of Christianity  12/23/2004 
Ed Knudson: Article  Fox News Commentator Bill O'Reilly claims Christian faith is under siege from the secular movement trying to keep Christ out of Christmas.

Imagination and Resiliency in a Time of Despair  12/20/2004 
Sam Smith: Article  Courageous journalist Sam Smith talks about what keeps him going when there are so many reasons for discouragement.

Christmas Peace and Conflict  12/17/2004 
Ed Knudson: Article  Media debate over Christmas symbols gives voice to the religious right but not mainline Christianity. But the state should not be propagating Christianity.

Incredible! CBS and NBC Refuse to Air Ad of the UCC  12/9/2004 
Article  The United Church of Christ (UCC) is protesting the refusal of CBS and NBC to air an ad featuring inclusion. Let CBS and NBC know your feelings about this today!

Republican Party Promotes Fundamentalist Religion   9/29/2004 
Article  Karl Rove wants to make sure conservative Christians vote. Now the GOP claims liberals want to ban the bible.

The Prosperity Gospel of Paul Crouch and TBN   9/19/2004 
Comment  Television preacher rejects allegations he engaged in a homosexual tryst.

How Liberal Reporters Promote Conservative Public Consciousness   9/16/2004 
Ed Knudson: Article  Media professionals want to be fair to conservatives. We are ending up with Pravda, the Russian paper in the Cold War, says Ernest Partridge.

Bush Meets with Religion Writers, Wants to Change the Culture   9/9/2004 
Article  Changing the culture and the faith-based initiative are topics covered by a select group of conservative religion media writers, including Richard John Neuhaus.

America's Progressive Majority   7/28/2004 
Article  Michael Moore talks about patriotism, media, George Bush and what John Kerry needs to do to get elected in November.

Stupid White Movie: What Michael Moore Misses About the Empire   7/6/2004 
Robert Jensen: Article  Journalism professor Robert Jensen discusses Fahrenheit 9/11.

A Bloodthirsty God in The Passion of The Christ   3/22/2004 
Article  Garry Wills writes of the Mel Gibson film and its promoters, including the Legion of Christ and pedophilia.

A Gospel of Love and Hope: How to Respond to Mel Gibson's "Passion"   2/19/2004 
Article  By Rabbi Michael Lerner, Editor, Tikkun Magazine

Act Now Against CBS Refusal to Air MoveOn Superbowl Ad   1/27/2004 
Article  How to express yourself about CBS censorship of MoveOn Ad

Media Issues in the 2004 Presidential Election Year   1/16/2004 
Article  Media Tank provides helpful background on media issues.

Clear Channel Gags an Antiwar Conservative   1/13/2004 
Comment  Talk radio host Charles Goyette tells about his conflict with radio company Clear Channel.

Multimillion Dollar TV Brand Targets Children Worldwide   1/9/2004 
Article  Fox Kids and Disney plan new venture called Jetix to capture the minds of children all over the world.

Fascism in the Savage Nation   12/21/2003 
Article  Talk show host Michael Savage preaches fascism to gain an audience and make his money. How much does he influence the political culture?

Sam Smith's Daily News Summary   11/19/2003 
Ed Knudson: Article  Since 1964, the most unofficial news source from Washington D.C. by Sam Smith.

Inside Fox News: Not so Fair and Balanced   10/31/2003 
Comment  A former Fox producer describes the ways -- both subtle and blunt -- that top executives impose a right-wing ideology on the newsroom.

Educational Resentment Linked to Popularity of Right Wing Talk Shows   6/10/2003 
Article  One possible reason so many listen to right wing talk shows may be resentment of high salaries earned by people with higher education.

NCC Commission Opposes Media Concentration   5/23/2003 
Article  The upcoming decision of the Federal Communications Commission relaxing rules on media ownership is opposed by the Communication Commission of the National Council of Churches

Move Over, Right Wing Radio - the Liberals Are Coming   5/20/2003 
Article  Thom Hartmann suggests changes are coming after the June 2 FCC decision on media consolidation.

Creative Writing in the Midst of War   4/2/2003 
Article  This outstanding article by David James Duncan tells the truth about the National Security Strategy and the Patriot Act as well as what's happening in Iraq.

Channels of Influence  3/26/2003 
Paul Krugman: Article  Radio giant Clear Channel promotes support war demonstrations and has Bush connections.

Cheerleaders for War   3/21/2003 
Article  Fox News has lost any claim for fair and balanced news; it is a cheerleader for war.

More Media Concentration Proposed   2/9/2003 
Article  Molly Ivins explains new rules before the FCC

About Molly Ivins   11/14/2002 
Reprint  A liberal columnist who has worked in Minnesota, New York, and Texas.

Apocalypse Now: Tim LaHaye Captures the Press Again   7/5/2002 
Article  Time Magazine accents the religious right in a cover story.

The Mode of Information: Poststructuralism and Social Context   6/7/2002 
Review  Book by Mark Poster. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1990.

Creating the Public Context for Preaching   6/4/2002 
Comment  Media institutions create the mental framework confronting the preacher.

The Failure of Presidential Politics   10/14/2001 
Ed Knudson: Article  The Need to Reconsider Media Structures

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Media Section

In this section we focus on the media and how pastors and congregations can become more effective in functioning in relation to the "public consciousness" created by the media. We also want to be of help to media professionals who are wondering about how best to cover issues having to do with faith and religion.

When people walk into church to hear a sermon their minds are already significantly influenced by what they have been seeing on television or listening to on the radio or reading in newspapers and magazines. How words are used in the public media determines how they will be heard by listeners to a sermon. So it is best to be very lucid about how words are being used in public discourse. But reading, or tracking, the actual meanings through the media is not always so easy. We will be trying to do so in various ways here.

The domination of the media over public space and consciousness is demonstrated in the image at the top right. It is a view from above Shinjuku storefronts and traffic at dusk in Tokyo. (The image is available at FotoSearch.)

The role of the media in society has become more and more important in the modern world. The Enlightenment belief in and constitutional implementation of freedom of the press has now generated a massive institutional framework of media corporations in which media professionals work. Never before in history have so few had so much power over the minds of so many.

The idea of "freedom of the press" has now become a means more to justify this great power of media institutions more than belief in an independent role for writers. The press has been so captured by economic motives that it is difficult to find real, authentic "independent" media resources.

Within this context, it has become especially important for the people of faith to intentionally think about the media and how it influences the public context in which we live and work. The media powerfully influence the internal public consciousness of individual persons, the subjectivity of the self, the very persons to whom pastors must try to preach the gospel each Sunday. It is vitally important to discern the spirits which enter the minds and hearts of people in congregations through the media.

This is especially true in the case of the various right wing radio and television commentators. Listen carefully to these commentators; you will hear them attack the weakest members of society as the source of the problems in the country. You will hear them glorify strength and military might. You will hear them justify the power of the wealthy over democratic processes. You will even hear many of them claim that they are god-fearing Christians who are promoting what God wants for the United States. It is important for religious leaders to explicitly encourage their people not to listen to such commentators or take them seriously. They are primarily entertainers trying to gain an audience by making outrageous statements.

Web Resources
  • The Media Matters website is a great place to discover for yourself the misinformation of the right wing media. The site is run by David Brock who was himself once a writer for the American Spectator, a conservative magazine funded by billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife. Media Matters monitors the content of the right wing media, including Fox News. It has found, for example, that Bill O'Reilly of Fox News Channel has one of the hightest rates of false statements of all those they monitor.

  • Fair. This national media watch group has been offering well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship since 1986. We work to invigorate the First Amendment by advocating for greater diversity in the press and by scrutinizing media practices that marginalize public interest, minority and dissenting viewpoints. As an anti-censorship organization, we expose neglected news stories and defend working journalists when they are muzzled. As a progressive group, FAIR believes that structural reform is ultimately needed to break up the dominant media conglomerates, establish independent public broadcasting and promote strong non-profit sources of information.

  • Other helpful resources to understand contemporary media issues include Media Tank, the Independent Media Center and Media Transparency which provides detailed information on the money behind the media.

  • Democracy Now. A national, daily, independent, award-winning news program airing on over 225 stations in North America.Pioneering the largest public media collaboration in the U.S., Democracy Now! is broadcast on Pacifica, community, and National Public Radio stations, public access cable television stations, satellite television (on Free Speech TV, channel 9415 of the DISH Network), shortwave radio and the internet.

  • Disinfopedia is a collaborative project to produce a directory of public relations firms, think tanks, industry-funded organizations and industry-friendly experts that work to influence public opinion and public policy on behalf of corporations, governments and special interests. Sponsored by the Center for Media and Democracy, the Disinfopedia was started in February 2003.

  • The Dissenting Internet is one of the best annotated lists of progressive websites, along with Link Crusader.




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