Sunday, January 28, 2007

NewsBusters busted for Complicity

Graphictruth Scoop - Apparently it takes a thief...
Spocko lost his hosting because of accusations of copyright violations. In the course of creating this post, I discovered that every image within the NewsBusters article that I checked was hotlinked, uncredited and that several are probable copyright violations without fair-use exception.

NewsBusters takes exception to the audioclip blogswarm, saying that various clips sent by Spocko to advertisers were "taken out of context."

NewsBusters does have a point. Context DOES affect meaning. But I and many others have wondered aloud what context would make the following excerpt acceptable.

"Now you start with the Sear's [sic] Diehard [sic] the battery cables connected to his testi*les and you entertain him with that for awhile [sic] and then you blow his bleeping head off. " [sic]
I thought I'd go to NewsBusters and see what they thought made it wrong for spocko to send that "out of context" clip of Lee Rodgers. NewsBusters provided the entire context of a clip/quote Spoko sent to an advertisor, exactly as you see below. And just for effect, they inserted some photos to help improve their reader's ability to put the whole thing into the appropriate context.

That’s Vulcan Illogical

Unfortunately, Spocko’s conspicuously brief transcript and audio link conveniently ignored and eluded the context of this discussion. Here is a more complete transcript of this segment:

Rodgers: You couldn’t make this up. This time he was breaking into cars. His name is Kevin Holder, he’s 41 years old. He’s been arrested 236 times. Lee Rodgers of KSFOHis crime history, his rap sheet is 43 pages long going back to 1980.

Now wouldn’t you think at some point, in what’s supposed to be common sense, middle-America, somebody would ask, “Why is this guy running around loose?” What kind of idiot judges have repeatedly set up situations where this guy could be back out on the street? Actually, in a common sense world every judge who has ever sentenced this guy to any kind of circumstance that would allow him to get out of jail, every one of those judges ought to be in prison for life.

Officer Vic: Sure, this is Montana.

Rodgers: This is what passes for law enforcement in the criminal justice system in the United States of America these days and it’s just, well it’s just disgusting.

Morgan: Clearly we need a three strikes law at a national level.

Rodgers: Yeah, some SOB like this, lock him up, throw away the key.

Morgan: Yeah.

Rodgers: Better yet, put a bullet between his eyes and get it over because he’s never going to be worth a damn, never going to be anything but a criminal anyway.

Morgan: Well, that’s a bit of a harsh judgment, Lee.

Rodgers: No it isn’t, no it isn’t. No, it’s only common sense. What does the guy do? He’s demonstrated two hundred some odd times where he’s been caught. This doesn’t even count all the times he’s gotten away with crimes. So what the hell is the point of letting some creep like this live? What is the point? Now you start with the Sears DieHard, the battery cables connected to his testicles, and you entertain him with that for a while, and then you blow his bleeping head off. Thank you very much.

Morgan: That’s what I like about you. You’re so temperate.

It’s a bit different when you find out that Rodgers and Morgan were discussing a felon that had been arrested 236 times, and were thereby using the Sears DieHard image to mock the justice and penal systems for his continued presence on the streets. Wouldn’t you agree?

Context is a wonderful thing, isn’t it?

Oh yeah. Since he's a criminal, it's apparently shameful and remarkable been tortured and then summarily executed = along with the judges who should have "Done Something." And just to make a vivid point of what our justice system should be doing to such persons, a photo of an Iraqi prisoner being "Stressed" at Abu Grab-ass is casually inserted.

This context doesn't help the case; Indeed, it makes it seem even more depraved.

NewsBusters is saying that it's perfectly OK to torture and abuse people, as long as they are BAD people. And how do we KNOW they are "bad people?" Because someone in a position of social authority - that is to say, someone like Lee Rodgers - says so.

Note that we have no idea what the arrests are for, but we know for sure that there's no more than two felonies. I'm not saying we are talking about a good citizen, and I'm not arguing that our system of justice comes up with outcomes that are just, fair or even reasonably predictable from ANY viewpoint of How Things Ought To Work.

But we have the rule of law and a system of justice in order to prevent vigilante action, because the people that tend to be vigilantes tend also to be racist xenophobes who hang strangers and give their buddies free passes for equally bad behavior. Kinda like NewsBusters.

With this one post, "NewsBusters" shows it's true colors as an apologist for the indefensible, rather than the media watchdog it claims to be.

That is a shame, by the way; Media Matters seems mainly to focus on the sins of the Right and there is definitely a need for a balancing viewpoint. But NewsBusters isn't fulfilling that need; it simply dismisses all critique of the Right as "Liberal Media Bias," no matter how accurate that criticism may be. That's not a service, it's an insult to our intelligence, not to mention the law.

Hate Has No Place on the Airwaves (Media Matters)


In preparing this post for publication, I found that NewsBusters was hotlinking images: the Iraqi torturee image is here
and the picture of Lee Rodgers, so stern and all authoritarian was discourtesy of the NYTimes.
On the rest of the page - cartoon of David Brock, stolen from
Air America logo:
Bart Simpson:

Somehow, I don't think hotlinking without attribution or permission to be a sterling example of journalistic integrity. Actually, it's both a potential copyright violation (though fair comment usages apply, of course) AND theft of bandwidth.

Ironic, considering how that "contextual correction" was to the effect that a pattern of criminality made it OK to hook someone's testicles up to a Sears Die-Hard and having a bit of fun before blowing their heads off.

I wonder aloud at this point if NewsBusters is compliant with the letter and spirit of a .org registrant. As they seem to maintain their own servers, direct complaints are likely to be futile, unless they come upon litigious letterheads, but servers have been blackholed for such things before. Bandwidth theft on such a blatantly large scale is an Internet Spanking Offense.

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