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The Top Censored Stories of 2012 PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - Media
Written by Project Censored   
Wednesday, 12 October 2011 05:40

Project Censored annually publishes its list of the year’s top “censored” stories. “We define modern censorship as the subtle yet constant and sophisticated manipulation of reality in our mass-media outlets,” its Web site states. “On a daily basis, censorship refers to the intentional non-inclusion of a news story – or piece of a news story – based on anything other than a desire to tell the truth. Such manipulation can take the form of political pressure (from government officials and powerful individuals), economic pressure (from advertisers and funders), and legal pressure (the threat of lawsuits from deep-pocket individuals, corporations, and institutions).”

Put differently, these 25 stories represent the most important news that Project Censored felt was under-reported over the past year.

Censored 2012: Sourcebook for the Media Revolution, by Mickey Huff and Project Censored with an introduction by Dr. Peter Phillips, is available (along with more detailed media analysis and sources for these summaries) at ProjectCensored.org. The book is published by Seven Stories Press.

(1) More U.S. Soldiers Committed Suicide Than Died in Combat

In 2010, for the second year in a row, more U.S. soldiers killed themselves (468) than died in combat (462). “If you ... know the one thing that causes people to commit suicide, please let us know,” General Peter Chiarelli told the Army Times, “because we don’t know.” Suicide is a tragic but predictable human reaction to being asked to kill – and watch your friends be killed.

 
Goin’ Fishin’: QC Audience Hooked on “The Jim Fisher Show” PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - Media
Written by Kathleen McCarthy   
Thursday, 12 May 2011 05:49

Talk radio is one of the few places in American broadcast media that give voice to “regular people.” But because local programs have largely been replaced by nationally syndicated hosts, the format rarely provides insights into the thoughts, concerns, and opinions of a local area.

Perhaps this is what makes Jim Fisher, talk-show host for WOC 1420AM for more than three decades, such a valued contributor to the genre. Whether you agree with him or not, he is one of us.

The Jim Fisher Show, heard Mondays through Fridays from 2 to 5:30 p.m., is a rarity. Not only has he maintained his program for 31 years and counting, but his show continues to be a commercial success. Clients get on waiting lists to be endorsed by Fisher, who has final say on which local advertisers he will pitch for. And his show consistently generates local advertising revenues that compete with nationally syndicated heavy-hitters such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, who also air on WOC.

In an interview with this Quad Cities icon, Jim was charmingly frank in his assessment of his own success: “I have been blessed or cursed with a certain voice. I have never applied for a job. The Armed Forces Radio & Television Service asked me to work a volunteer shift while I was enlisted in the military in Asia. I ended up taking the licensing test here in the U.S. in the 1960s for commercial broadcasting.”

 
Has WQAD’s Sweeps Ploy Made a Better Newscast? PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - Media
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Thursday, 17 February 2011 09:53

In October, I took a snapshot of local television news by watching and analyzing four nights of 10 p.m. newscasts by the four primary commercial Quad Cities stations. I was, admittedly, harsh on WQAD, saying that the ABC affiliate was “stunningly weak in local news.”

So when WQAD announced that in February, its Monday late-night newscasts would feature “35 minutes of news, weather, and local-sports content with no interruptions,” I was intrigued.

At the outset, it’s important to note that this is clearly a stunt for the February sweeps. If WQAD can attract more viewers – on Mondays specifically, but with the hope that they’ll stick around the other six days of the week – it can charge more for advertising, which over the long haul would more than make up for the lost revenue on four Mondays.

But as sweeps stunts go, this is a ballsy and encouraging gambit. Rather than sensational coverage or giveaways, WQAD seemed to be promising a better newscast.

 
The Best Local TV News: KWQC Is Still King, but Surprising WHBF Is an Underdog Worth Watching PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - Media
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Thursday, 28 October 2010 05:21

Most of us like to root for an underdog, so here’s a story that our local television news stations should eat up.

When the River Cities’ Reader analyzed Quad Cities newscasts for four days earlier this month, there was one major surprise: The fourth-place local station at 10 p.m. – CBS affiliate WHBF, whose newscast has gotten trounced in the ratings by a syndication sitcom on Fox 18 – might just have the best local television news in the Quad Cities.

In just about every objective and subjective measure, WHBF’s late-night newscast beats or presents a strong challenge to established power KWQC, the local NBC affiliate.

 
“American Pickers”: The Inside Story of the History Channel’s Surprise Hit PDF Print E-mail
News/Features - Media
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Wednesday, 17 March 2010 06:12

Mike Wolfe, Frank Fritz, and Danielle Colby-Cushman. Photo by Amy Richmond.

In the American Pickers episode "Back Breakers," Mike Wolfe is donning a bright-red T T Motor Home Club jacket with the name "Louise" embroidered on the front.

The jacket is an "ice-breaker," a term that Wolfe and picking partner Frank Fritz use to describe an item that they don't really want but buy anyway as a way to warm up a reticent person to the idea of selling their old stuff.

It's a charming bit in the History channel's first-season reality-series hit, because it shows that Wolfe and Fritz aren't afraid to look foolish or silly. And Wolfe seems to enjoy wearing that jacket.

But it also works because it teaches viewers about how picking works. We learn the nuances of scavenging, and how they get people to part with the objects they've collected over decades. "We're like psychologists for people and their stuff," Fritz said on the show.

 
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