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Dissecting the News Dissector: "Blogothon: Reflections and Revelations from the News Dissector "

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"Here we are in the middle of a deep recession that's getting deeper by the day, with austerity the unofficial slogan du jour, while Republicans scheme up new ways to trim, cut, and decimate government spending. . . . [A]s both parties slash spending that benefits people, they are in a manic overdrive effort to raise more for themselves and their campaigns. The pols don't talk much about their own spending, do they?

"In 2008, Barack Obama raised some $778 million for his presidential bid. The total cost of the national election, including Presidential and Congressional, was about $5.3 billion. Since then, court decisions like Citizens United have made spending by outside groups easier. . . .

"Campaigns are windfalls for broadcasters. The networks that oppose stimulus programs for workers with so many snarky stories don't oppose this stimulus for themselves. . . .

"Promoting elections has become an industry of its own and TV networks are at the center of it. They are not devoting much time to promoting voter registration or voter education. They don't provided many free ads and in fact often refuse to run issue-oriented ads bought by activists. . . .

"This agenda is wrapped up in the mantra of enabling democracy, but it is of course much more than that. Most of the coverage is about the horse race, not the issues. It focuses on personalities more than political organizing. There seems to be little concern with new measures like voter ID cards designed to suppress the vote or electoral fraud designed to steal it. . . .

"The Providence Phoenix reports, 'Political coverage on television is diminishing, and revenue from political advertising is soaring. Critics say free air time for candidates could help solve the problem.'"


And so we have an intense, progressive-oriented, picaresque history of 2010 and 2011, which embraces, as noted above, its past and future. And so much more. The organization of the blogs is effective and compelling, moving through all five dimensions, from this country to the world and back again, from history to mystery, from Schechter's life to ours and then humanity at large, from the individual to the masses--the years 2010-2011 become a microcosm for myriad issues, some of which we thought about, others we've encountered and, most compelling of all, those that are new not only to us but all readers, from working-class living rooms and what remains of Occupy encampments to the mansions of the Koch brothers and Warren Buffet's modest equivalent.

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And now for the promised finale: in terms of his mentor Murrow's accomplishments, how does our News Dissector measure up?

1)  Too early to judge: as a recent film of his admits, he is still A Work in Progress;

2)  His scope is far wider, encompassing books, blogs, film (production, direction, screenplay), tv series, tv productions, and radio;

3) Murrow would be damn proud of him.

[1] Reference to a poem I wrote years ago about Nureyev's frustration at leaping toward, but never achieving the ultimate goal, the Platonic form that we earthlings can only reach toward.

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A jack of some trades, writing and editing among them, Marta Steele, an admitted and proud holdover from the late sixties, returned to activism ten years ago after first establishing her skills as a college [mostly adjunct] professor in three (more...)

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