So You Wanna Be a War Journalist?

Here are a couple quick reasons why to consider thinking twice:

AP:

The U.S. military in Iraq has imprisoned an Associated Press photographer for five months, accusing him of being a security threat but never filing charges or permitting a public hearing…. One of Hussein’s photos was part of a package of 20 photographs that won a Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography last year. His contribution was an image of four insurgents in Fallujah firing a mortar and small arms during the U.S.-led offensive in the city in November 2004.

Reporters Without Borders:

106 journalists and media assistants killed since the start of fighting in Iraq in March 2003, two still missing.

The moral of the story — don’t count on anyone having your back — even if you win a Pulitzer! (there are, of course, some exceptions).

Universal Threatens to Sue YouTube, MySpace

No surprise here. As if NBC/Vivendi/Universal is not already getting enough free pub and promotion from the UGC-oriented social networking and video sharing Web sites alone, now they’re getting double the love after threatening to sue YouTube and MySpace over copyright violations.

Universal Media Group Exec Doug Morris: “We believe these new businesses are copyright infringers and owe us tens of millions of dollars.”

Making the issue sound even more ridiculous, Morris proceeds to say Universal is just adapting from experience, saying: MTV “built a multibillion-dollar company on our (music) … for virtually nothing. We learned a hard lesson.”

This is a blatant misunderstanding of the law, as the infringers would be arguably those who download the music/video, not the sites that unknowingly host it (and would be quick to remove it, at least in the case of YouTube, if an argument was filed).

Does Morris blame FM radio for coming along and broadcasting cuts from records other than or in addition to the singles he pays them to play? I do wonder.

LINK

Nancy Grace, ‘Where Were YOU?’

Last week, Nancy Grace apparently banged her fists on her desk and with a near-accusatorial tone demanded of 21-year-old Melinda Ducket, whose son went missing in late August: “Where were you? Why aren’t you telling us where you were that day?”

Hours before the pre-taped phone interview was set to air, on Sept. 8, Duckett killed herself.

Grace, known for her hyperdramatic guilt + ratings + missing blonde-haired, Caucasian female-trumps-all approach to telelitigation, practically cleared herself and her show of having any influence on Duckett’s suicide on her Monday night broadcast, and added: “Melinda committed suicide before that interview ever aired.”

The blogosphere is all over Grace for her apparent soulessness, hammering her for her guiltless “While Ms. Duckett’s death is an extremely sad development…” sidestep.

Scott Collins, L.A. Times media columnist went a step further on the Times’ Channel Islands TV Blog, where he slammed Time-Warner for giving her a soapbox:

trading every last remaining ounce of [CNN Headline News’] credibility so a former prosecutor can play judge and jury on TV — with potentially devastating results.

In my opinion, CNN Headline News lost whatever novelty it had (it still doesn’t hold a stick to any AM radio news round-up) when it’s 2 minutes of sports coverage became the megaphone for the unforgettably annoying Jerome Jurenovich But who am I to make such judgments…. I’ll leave the cross-testimonials to Nancy Grace(less).

Copyright Rules and the U.

Cory Doctorow, author/activist/Canadian extraordinaire (and a fellow this year at the Center on Public Diplomacy) dropped some fire in the pot here at USC with this editorial published in the school paper:

Universities – USC especially – are at a crossroads: Do they exist to promote scholarship, or do they exist to protect the business models of entertainment companies at any cost?

What kind of B.S. copyright hypersensitivity is caging and enraging students at other universities?

Bring Me the Head of…

Greg Palast, bestselling author and union/consumer rights advocate, is wanted by the Department of Homeland Security for exposing critical infrastructure in the filming of an unauthorized one-year-after-Katrina documentary.

The kicker is that — surprise, surprise:

the Bush Terror Terriers have kindly indicated on the Internet that this unprotected critical infrastructure can be targeted — I mean located — at 30 29? 11? N Latitude and 91 11? 39? W Longitude.

As if the president didn’t repeat himself enough last night, here’s one more reason why “The safety of America depends on the outcome of the battle in the streets of Baghdad New Orleans…”

Palast’s documentary itself apparently exposes that, while he may be a wanted man, tens of thousands are being held hostage “in this aluminum ghetto in the middle of nowhere….”

Palast is reknown not only for his excellent writing and activism, he has been in the Bush doghouse for quite a while. He previously exposed the Bush Administration for letting Exxon off easy by only charging for punitive damages as a result of the Valdez disaster. Before that, he “busted” ChoicePoint, the government’s chosen credit and ID-verification service, for voiding votes in the 2000 presidential election by falsifying criminal records of select Florida voters.