SOLOMON: And Now... Another Episode of "Media Jeopardy!"
This year has already given us plenty of material for "Media Jeopardy!"You probably remember the rules: First, listen carefully to the answer. Then, try to come up with the correct question.The first category is "Spinning the Foreign News."* American media outlets often point out that the Iraqi government has a history of torturing and massacring them. But we rarely get information about the fact that they're still being tortured and massacred by the U.S.-backed Turkish government.Who are Kurds?* These international lending institutions demand austerity measures that mean higher food prices for the hungry. News reports provide images of wise economists seeking reform, but "global loan sharks" would be a more apt description.What are the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund?Now, a question about "Spinning the Domestic News."* In contrast to the upbeat reporting when stock prices go through the roof, many journalists fret about "inflationary" pressures when this happens.What are wage increases?Our next category is "Hot Airwaves."* A current full-page ad for this network TV newscast proclaims: "It's all you need to know."What is the "NBC Nightly News" with Tom Brokaw?* In a report issued a few weeks ago, the Federal Communications Commission said that advertisers are discriminating against these stations.What are radio stations that are minority-owned or mostly heard by African Americans and Latinos?* The news department of this network now airs an hourly "Business Update." But despite the fact that it claims to be engaged in "public broadcasting," the network has no intention of airing a "Labor Update."What is National Public Radio?Moving on to Double Jeopardy, our next category is "New Frontiers of the Internet."* USA Networks Inc. recently merged with Lycos (one of the biggest conglomerates of Web sites) to form a $20 billion TV-Internet firm called USA Lycos. Out of the 15 sites with the widest reach on the World Wide Web, this is the number of Web sites now remaining independent of large corporate ownership.What is one?And now, we're ready for Final Jeopardy.* Less than a dozen companies now control most of the news and information flow in the United States. A single corporation's empire includes key book publishers, home video firms, cable TV franchises, CNN and other major cable channels, magazines such as Time, Life, Fortune, People, Sports Illustrated, Money, Entertainment Weekly and In Style, and Warner Brothers television, music and movies.What is Time Warner?But let's conclude on a more upbeat note. Here's a bonus category: "Unconstrained Media."* One calls itself "the Consortium for independent journalism," the other is a global information source that emphasizes social justice, and both are free on the Web.What are www.consortiumnews.com and www.oneworld.org?* A lot of people complain about advertising, but few do much about it. This exceptional Web site, known as "culture jammers headquarters," is part of the effort by the Adbusters Media Foundation to "galvanize resistance against those who would destroy the environment, pollute our minds and diminish our lives." It includes ad spoofs and "uncommercials" along with detailed analysis of commercialism run amuck.What is www.adbusters.org?* It's the kind of question that many advertisers and news programmers try to answer, but we can only resolve for ourselves.What really matters?Norman Solomon's new book "The Habits of Highly Deceptive Media" will be published in early spring.