Media & Communications
If Re-Elected, Obama Should End FCC Threat To Restrict TV News, Press PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Media & Communications
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Friday, 28 September 2012 15:23
By: Corydon B. Dunham

Corydon Dunham is a former TV network executive and general counsel, and author of , “Government Control of News.”

On Tuesday, President Obama spent much of his address to the United Nations General Assembly discussing free speech in an era of global instant communication.

“I know that not all countries in this body share this particular understanding of the protection of free speech,” he said.

Meanwhile, under his administration the FCC is holding a plan for a new balance, diversity and localism rule that would enable the U.S. government to suppress television news and restrict speech.

The new rule is similar to the old Fairness Doctrine, which the FCC and courts revoked in 1987 when they found it was against the public interest. FCC investigations had deterred and suppressed television news, restricted speech, and prevented criticism of incumbent administrations.

As my book reveals, the new localism rule would have similar results or worse. One new member of the FCC staff who helped draft the localism rule has written that freedom of speech and press is not his “objective,” and that free speech “is warped to protect global corporations and block rules that would promote democratic governance.” He also concludes the new localism rule could be used to take away licenses in place of the “misnamed Fairness Doctrine.”

Another wrote that television is a “powerful source of homogenization and pabulum,” and recommended using burdensome FCC regulations to “hasten the demise of broadcasting” (later reworded.) That writer applauded a rule which would make broadcasting local events more difficult so “local viewers are less likely to watch the local broadcasters.”

A special report recommended in June 2011 that the localism proceeding be ended because of its destructive burdens. Over opposition from other commissioners, the FCC chairman appointed by President Obama continued it and, after the November election, the FCC could move to adopt it.

The Chief of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, a fellow law professor of President Obama, has long urged that the government should take control of news to achieve its political and social purposes. Another former law professor, since appointed by President Obama to the Supreme Court, wrote an article also urging the government to manage news, saying this would be constitutional if news coverage were not “ideal” at a particular time, and government was changing news to that end.

The great historian Gordon S. Wood writes, “Remember that the United States has always been to ourselves and to the world primarily an idea.” Ending this country’s free press and free speech traditions would certainly destroy that idea.

About Corydon B. Dunham

Corydon B. Dunham is a Harvard Law School graduate. His Government Control of News study was initiated at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Smithsonian Institute, and expanded and developed for the Corydon B. Dunham Fellowship for the First Amendment at Harvard Law School and the Dunham Open Forum for First Amendment Values at Bowdoin College. Dunham was an executive at NBC from 1965 to 1990. He oversaw legal and government matters and broadcast standards. He was on the board of directors of the National Television Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Corporate Counsel Association, and American Arbitration Association among other posts.

“Sun Come Up” screening set in Clinton PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Media & Communications
Written by Sallyann McCarthy, for Sisters of St. Francis   
Wednesday, 26 September 2012 13:34
“Sun Come Up,” the Academy Award-nominated documentary depicting some of the world’s first “forced climate migrants” will be shown, free of charge, at The Canticle, home of the Sisters of St. Francis, 841-13th Ave. No., Clinton, on Sunday, Sept. 30, at 2 p.m.

“Sun Come Up” depicts some of the world’s first “climate refugees,” inhabitants of the Carteret Islands just north of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea.  These peace-loving people are being forced to find a new homeland.  The film examines how and if they will be welcomed by mainland dwellers who live in a more violent society.


Sustainable Clinton, a project of the Clinton Franciscan Center for Active Nonviolence and Peacemaking (CANV),  will host the presentation, one of several hundred screenings to be viewed by thousands of people in church halls, school auditoriums and college campuses nationwide this fall..  The screening will be followed by a discussion about the film and viewers will explore ways to respond to the reality of climate change and its effect on the environment.

" ‘Can we remain indifferent to the problems associated with climate change?’ is the question facing the world today,” said Laura Anderson, coordinator of the CANV.  “We cannot ignore the growing phenomenon of ‘environmental refugees,’ people who are forced by the degradation of their natural habitat to forsake it – and often their possessions as well – in order to face the dangers and uncertainties of forced displacement.  The situation is equivalent to the crisis faced by persons displaced by war."

More and more environmental refugees are resulting from the warming planet and increased drought, wildfire, flooding, food and water stresses, disease and population displacement.  It has been shown that the poor and vulnerable are disproportionately harmed by environmental degradation and climate change.

For more information call Sisters of St. Francis, 563-242-7611, or visit



An Inside Account of ACORN's Controversial 2008 Voter Drive PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Media & Communications
Written by Jamie-Lyn Markos   
Tuesday, 25 September 2012 07:54
Go behind the scenes of ACORN's controversial voter registration drive, which did almost as much to hurt as it did to help Barack Obama win the 2008 presidential election, in the new memoir Ring of Fire 2008: My Wild Ride to the Bleeding Heart of ACORN's Last, Greatest, Voter Registration Drive by Miguel Esteban.

Way back in Election '08—which, like every presidential election, was the most important ever—the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now collected over 1.3 million voter registrations and joined forces with a broad coalition to spread the good news of "quality, affordable healthcare for all Americans" to nearly fifty million potential voters deemed least likely to cast a ballot because they were poor, minorities, or the youth.

Miguel Esteban was one of them. A young, Puerto Rican-American, starving artist who walked in the door of Orlando ACORN looking for a part-time job, he went from zero to hero after blowing the whistle on a conspiracy to commit voter registration fraud in early 2008. Because of his efforts, news of eleven Miami ACORN workers forging voter registrations did not make headlines until after Election Day, and Esteban went on to become an unlikely political operative upon his promotion to the national ranks of ACORN's “PolOps” division—Project Vote—where his official job title was, no joke, Quality Control Czar #2.

What really happened during ACORN's infamous 2008 campaign? How widespread were the electoral shenanigans that prompted the FBI to investigate ACORN in numerous swing states? In this era of SuperPACs, secret money and Web 2.0 "voter targeting" technology, how nonpartisan are the nonpartisan campaigns unleashed by groups such as ACORN each election cycle? Can the now defunct ACORN family of organizations best be described as AntiPoverty, Inc.? Is it true that ACORN not only perpetrated widespread voter registration fraud, but also helped cause the housing meltdown that precipitated the Great Recession, and if so, why wasn’t the organization bailed out by Uncle Sam? Were ACORN's "redshirts" communists? Un-American? Neo-progressives struggling to save America from itself?

Explore the answers to such questions and more in Ring of Fire 2008: My Wild Ride to the Bleeding Heart of ACORN’s Last, Greatest, Voter Registration Drive; which is scheduled for a three-part release: Part 1, which is 80,000 words in length, is available now; Part 2 is scheduled for release in early October; Part 3 is scheduled for release in late October. The full version, including hardcover, is scheduled for release during the holiday season.

eBook formats (with photographs) only $3.33:



EPUB (compatible with most eReaders) & PDF:

Apple iStore, Google Play, Sony, Kobo & more: COMING SOON


Paperback (170 pages w/out photos) only $7.99:

#       #       #

Silver Oaks Communications Goes All Digital Cinema PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Media & Communications
Written by Julie Myers   
Monday, 24 September 2012 14:23
Now shooting exclusively with digital cinema cameras

Moline, Illinois – 24 September 2012

First in the Quad Cities to acquire this cutting-edge technology, Silver Oaks has just added two SONY 4K cameras to its RED digital cinema cameras. These are the same cameras used to shoot critically-acclaimed television series and big-budget Hollywood films such as The Dark Knight Rises and The Amazing Spider-Man. “This technology has been enthusiastically embraced by major directors because it offers the best qualities of 35-millimeter motion picture film in a digital HD format. Digital cinema cameras have the resolution, color fidelity and focus control of 35-millimeter film,” said Greg Scott, president of Silver Oaks.

RED cameras started the revolution in the motion picture industry when they were introduced in 2007. RED’s creator, Jim Jannard, founded and ran Oakley before following his passion to invent the innovative digital cinema camera. The cameras give film and video producers a total digital HD format that rivals 35mm cinematography.

With a staggering 4,096 lines of horizontal resolution – or 4K – this technology offers unprecedented resolution quality, depth of detail and color saturation. In comparison, HDTVs and even digital IMAX movies are at about 1.2K. Silver Oaks’ digital cinema cameras have four times the number of pixels as a high-end HD video camera, with data capture rates up to 300mb per second. “Images pop off the screen with stunning clarity,” said Silver Oaks video director, Greg Marten. “And by recording in the REDCODE RAW data format, there’s also greater flexibility in post-production to manipulate and enhance images, offering additional creative opportunities to our clients.” “With our 4K digital cinema cameras, we can capture a truly dynamic video image equivalent to a theatrical 35mm film – a distinctive capability that no one else in this market can offer, and which is paramount to our national clients,” said Scott.

Silver Oaks is a full-service media communications company providing single-source creative and production services. Expertise includes concept and development, production, writing and animation for print, broadcast and all eMedia. For over 29 years, Silver Oaks’ talented designers, writers, web and interactive developers, video and audio producers, animators and support staff have been developing media solutions for the corporate, educational and retail industries.

DoJ Fails to Answer Grassley Questions about Alleged Threats to News Reporter PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Media & Communications
Written by Grassley Press   
Friday, 21 September 2012 14:47

Friday, September 21, 2012


Grassley: Justice Department Fails to Answer Questions about Alleged Threats to News Reporter


WASHINGTON -- Senator Chuck Grassley continues to press Attorney General Eric Holder for a complete accounting of a June incident in Louisiana where a senior civil rights lawyer for the department reportedly threatened a journalist.  Grassley initially asked the Attorney General about the incident in July.


Grassley said he was disappointed in the response from the department which failed to answer the vast majority of his questions and to produce the documents requested.  The alleged incident occurred at a meeting advertised as a public event to address the employment practices of a local fire department.


“I’m very concerned about what allegedly occurred in New Iberia.  If the news reports are accurate, the conduct by the Justice Department would strike at the very heart of a free press.  The department’s failure to answer questions and to produce relevant documents is unacceptable on a subject so fundamental to this country’s founding,” Grassley said


Grassley said he expected complete answers to his letter by September 28.


Here’s a copy of the text of the letter.  A signed copy can be found here.  Grassley’s July 17 letter can be found here and the department’s response can be found here.


September 20, 2012


Via Electronic Transmission

The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr.                           

Attorney General                       

U.S. Department of Justice                       

950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.                          

Washington, DC 20530                         


Dear Attorney General Holder:


I write regarding the Department of Justice’s letter dated September 4, 2012 from Acting Assistant Attorney General Judith Appelbaum.  Ms. Appelbaum was responding to my July 17, 2012 letter to you.


In my letter, I expressed my concern about reports of an incident at a public meeting in New Iberia, Louisiana involving a Senior Trial Attorney in the Civil Rights Division.[1] A letter from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press summarized the reports on the incident as follows:


It is our understanding that on [June 12, 2012], Ms. [Rachel] Hranitzky arrived at the meeting and immediately asked if any journalists were present. When a Daily Iberian reporter attending the meeting responded in the affirmative, she informed him that he could neither record the meeting nor quote her statements. According to other attendees, the meeting had been advertised as a public meeting intended to address concerns with the city fire department’s hiring and promotion process.  However, citing ‘special rules’ of the Department of Justice for agency attorneys, Ms. Hranitzky instructed that her statements be neither recorded nor quoted. When the reporter questioned this instruction on the basis that Ms. Hranitzky was speaking at a public meeting, she apparently threatened him with the possibility that the DOJ could call his editors and publisher, and warned that he would not ‘want to get on the Department of Justice’s bad side.’ Furthermore, it is our understanding that Ms. Hranitzky demanded the reporter leave the meeting, although—after making his objection known but agreeing not to quote her—he was ultimately allowed to remain.


The reports about the incident in New Iberia and the existence of a DOJ policy or “special rules” which were the cause of the incident are troubling.  Consequently, I wrote you and asked several direct questions and made requests for documents.


The September 4 response letter ignores the vast majority of my questions and does not provide all of the documents I requested.  Accordingly, I am attaching a copy my July 17 letter and ask that you directly answer all of my questions and produce all of the documents that I requested.

Also, the September 4 response letter raises a new question.  The letter states that “the [Civil Rights] Division has taken steps to ensure that its employees are fully aware of the Department’s consistent policy that public meetings are open to the public, including the press.”  Describe in detail each of the “steps” taken.


I ask that you provide written answers and documents by September 28, 2012.





Charles E. Grassley

Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee


Cc: Hon. Patrick J. Leahy, Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee


[1]  Matthew Beaton, “`DOJ practice’ slammed by politicos, group,” The Daily Iberian  (July 8, 2012) (available at

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