The runoff election between San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown and Board of Supervisors President Tom Ammiano is a month away, but passions are already in overdrive. Having parachuted into the race as a write-in candidate just weeks before the November election, Ammiano, an unlikely political hero, stands poised to give the incumbent a run for his money. Many are hoping the openly gay standup comic will bring integrity and concern for the people back to City Hall.
Dan Perkins' provocative Tom Tomorrow/This Modern World strip has been dumped by U.S. News and World Report after less than six months. The Tom Tomorrow cartoon, arguably the most radical message consistently reaching large audiences in the U.S. -- it has recently run in the New York Times and in 100 alternative weeklies with circulation close to 5 million -- had provided the boring weekly with a little pizzazz.
One year after President Clinton declared the goal of finding an AIDS vaccine within a decade -- and that he was "prepared to do all [he could] to make it happen" -- the government's AIDS vaccine research program has continued at the same unhurried pace as before with only nominal achievements and developments, and corporate commitment is at an all-time low, according to "Nine Years and Counting," a new report by the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition.
After a six-month publishing hiatus and several years of rough times -- suffering from what one insider called Battered Women's Movement Syndrome -- Ms. Magazine is back on the newsstands with a new lease on life. The magazine now faces the challenge of finding a new generation of readers while also keeping their loyal subscribers, who remember the magazine as a defining voice for a generation of women.
No question facing the world today is more important than the decision as to which path should be taken to ensure both global economic stability and human rights. As the global economy takes shape, what are its values? Ultimately, what is the best way to foster human rights and democratization -- by linking them to economic concerns, or rigidly separating the two?
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Susan Faludi, internationally known for "Backlash," her bestseller about society's resistance to female gains, has returned to the public spotlight with "Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man." No stranger to controversy, Faludi has again raised eyebrows with this book. Discussing "Stiffed" in late September, just before embarking on her national tour, Faludi expressed the hope that if people take anything away from the book it's that they begin to realize that men and women are on the same side.
IAJ Executive Director and former Mother Jones Publisher Don Hazen takes an exclusive behind-the-scenes look into Greenpeace USA, the immensely popular and influential environmental organization that just announced plans to shut down its 10 regional offices across the country and slash its 400-person staff to a mere 65, a downsizing of unprecedented scope in the environmental movement.
After four years at the helm of Pacifica Radio -- which boasts 60 affiliates nationwide -- controversial Executive Director Pat Scott resigned on April 15. While many observers would agree that Scott fought the good fight, things at Pacifica are never simple, and it's unlikely that they are this round either.
Mark Hertsgaard, award-winning journalist and author, has stepped forward with a wake-up call for our environmental future. His newly released book, "Earth Odyssey," chronicles the six years he spent travelling around the world, surveying the damage humans are inflicting on our environment, and wondering whether humanity will survive its own short-sightedness. The news is not good -- but in Hertsgaard's words, "If things look too hopeless, and if that scares us off, then we are probably going to fail the evolutionary test." Hertsgaard speaks candidly about his experiences and impressions in this striking, provocative interview.
"The Hurricane," Hollywood's account of boxer Rubin Carter's wrongful conviction and death-row sentence, deals with issues of racism and institutional corruption in an often sanitized way, robbing the viewer of a more challenging cinematic experience. Although the film provides a fierce picture of Carter, it is far from accurate -- and could even be considered misleading.
The giant Oregon-based athletic wear and gear company Nike, one of the big growth, mega-corporations of the '90s many Americans have grown to hate, is encountering some hard times. From global job cuts and plummeting stock, combined with a growing avalanche of negative publicity provoked by the company's policies and practices, the retail empire is facing tough backlash.
The pundit class, especially the collection of 20 or 30 mouthpieces who dominate Sunday morning TV and cable shows, as well as the editorial pages of many newspapers, has evolved into a chattering class version of fundamentalist ministers -- the media Ayatollahs. It's but a tiny click on the metaphorical remote from Jerry Fallwell or Pat Robertson to the McLaughlin Report.
The September 22 announcement by Stern Publishing (publishers of (ital)The Village Voice(ital) and (ital)LA Weekly(ital)) that it is putting its stable of alternative papers on the block has sent shock waves through the alternative media industry. The pending sale raises serious questions about the survival of politically activist, advocacy journalism for wide audiences. Speculation has it that the most likely contenders to buy Stern aren't traditional media companies, but instead Internet companies such as AOL and Yahoo. Given Stern's likely high price, companies within the alternative publishing industry will probably not be able to compete.
Virginia Slims offered singer Leslie Nuchow exposure. But the price was too high for Nuchow's conscience. Now she is about to get more exposure than she ever expected as a result of taking a stand for what she believed in. Sometimes doing the right thing pays off.
It's too early into 1999 to have the first full-fledged journalist disaster story for the new year. But it shouldn't be long. Yet, we'll have to go a long way to top last year, when the practice of journalism became synonymous with the notorious. To test your media IQ, here is a matching test. Who were the most memorable fakes of 1998 ? What were the biggest media disasters? Try your hand and match the names in column A with the journalistic deed in column B.
The future of the Internet was radically redefined when AOL announced its impending purchase of Time-Warner for $184 billion last Monday. Whereas AOL was once the champion of the "open access" campaign (a movement trying to prevent cable operators like Time-Warner from controlling both the access to and the content of the Internet), they now have every incentive to fight open access. What are the other implication of this biggest media merger ever?
A new study by a University of Massachusetts research team reveals that the average American voter knows a lot when it comes to the latest scandals swirling around President Clinton, but next to nothing about his policies. And it seems -- surprise, surprise -- that the media system, in the way it frames issues, is responsible for this knowledge gap.
Al Gore may be in marijuana hot water. A new biography of Gore, which Newsweek magazine was going to excerpt in their January 18 issue, claims that Wooden Al smoked considerably more dope than he has publicly admitted. Lacking a sex scandal, this is the kind of scandal the media may sink its teeth into, like a stubborn bull dog. And unfortunately we'll all be the worse for it.
In this era of sex-crazed, gutter-mouthed celebrities and outrageous behavior at all levels of public and private life, it takes a lot to shock. But the shock meter was put to the ultimate test on the June 25 episode of the late-night talk show "Politically Incorrect." Former "Baywatch" babe and Playboy cover girl Donna D'Errico offered the following prescription for homeless people: "A lot of them don't want to work. They would prefer just to get handouts. And my take on that is, there's a dog pound and there should be a human pound.
Remember back 20 years or so when we saw films like "All the President's Men" and "Under Fire?" Then, journalists were heroes, and the media -- especially the Washington Post -- were bulwarks against the excesses of power. Not any more. The mirror that is Hollywood, reflecting back the image of our culture, has a new vision of the media and it isn't a pretty.
Experts say there are as many as 20 million men in the U.S. afflicted with ED -- Erectile Dysfunction -- as impotence is now officially called. Astonishingly, less than 10 percent of them ever seek help for this condition. For most, it is better to just not talk about it. But all this is lack of candor is about to change dramatically. ED is coming out of the closet with a flourish as a new array of drugs emerge designed to help men get their penises working, or working better as the case may be.
As the media world changes rapidly, especially on the Web, independent journalists need to think outside of the box. Case in point is Project Censored, which not only has a dubious selection process for its annual list of Censored stories, but also reinforces self-marginalizing, defeatist behavior. It's time to honor high-quality alternative journalism with a new award -- this time celebrating independent stories that break out into mainstream consciousness, rather than ones that wallow in obscurity.
America the Cruel has two relatively new female media stars. The two, Laura Schlessinger -- aka Dr. Laura -- and Judy Scheidlin -- aka Judge Judy -- have now uttered enough hateful inanities that popular uprisings against them are underway. These campaigns aim to put enough pressure on advertisers to dislodge the two women from their highly visible, very profitable and socially destructive media perches.
Did you know that sweatshops on American soil have been sewing uniforms for the U.S. military? Or that the same companies that deliver energy to your home may be supporting brutal dictators in Third World countries? Or that the Pentagon has plans to put weapons in outer space, directly violating international law? If you did, you were among the few, because these stories -- and seven others like them -- were just named the Top Ten Censored Stories of 1999.
It goes without saying that the commercial intrusion into public life has gone far beyond epidemic proportions. But to make sure you realize just how ridiculous it is, a creative team at New York University will soon be staging the 4th Annual Schmios Awards -- a mock award ceremony that pokes fun at the outrageous world of corporate advertising.