Starsuckers is a feature documentary about the celebrity obsessed media, that uncovers the real reasons behind our addiction to fame and blows the lid on the corporations and individuals who profit from it. Made completely independently over 2 years in secret, the film journeys through the dark underbelly of the modern media. Using a combination of never before seen footage, undercover reporting, stunts and animation, the film reveals the toxic effect the media is having on us all and especially our children. Chris Atkins presents Starsuckers as a series of five lessons on fame in the modern world: how children are persuaded that fame is something they want, how television and the media reinforces the importance of celebrity and the efforts to attain it, how the mind and body reinforces our need to follow the activities of well-known people and strive to join their number, how the press became addicted to celebrity coverage, and how the art of promoting fame has led to celebrities and their handlers controlling the press instead of the press having say. Along the way, Atkins demonstrates how celebrity news with no basis in fact gets into print, why newspapers will run press releases almost verbatim, how parents will eagerly sign away the image rights to their kids, how certain mass scale charity events end up helping the performers far more than the causes they designed to support, and how publicists keep accurate but unflattering stories out of the news.

Monday, April 20, 2009

DC Reporting : Myths, Fabrications & Whitewash

DC Reporting : Myths, Fabrications & Whitewash
When creating D.C. myths, Washington reporters aren't interested in actual

I was reading _this_
( [link fixed], the zillionth "analysis" of political populism from a
Washington, D.C.-based reporter, when I came upon this pretty perfect example
of how Beltway journalists just make shit up:

The country today is different. America has an enormous middle class that
is heavily invested in the financial system and is hardly about to organize
for its overthrow...
People who have lost half the value of their 401(k) plans, in other words,
want to regain it by having the economy rebound, not by seizing the assets
of ExxonMobil Corp.

If this reporter was even the slightest bit interested in whether this
banalia was true, he would have spent all of 5 seconds on the Google and found
that actually, empirical public opinion data shows that Americans are quite
supportive of "seizing the assets" of oil companies like ExxonMobil.

As _USA Today_
( reported a few months ago, a windfall profits tax -
ie. a tax to seize oil company assets - is wildly popular, according to
its surveys. This was the_same finding as ABC News' earlier poll
( . Indeed, even the conservative-leaning

found that just 47 percent of
Americans oppose complete and total nationalization of the entire oil industry.
But, you see, when creating D.C. myths - in this case, the myth that
Americans celebrate being ruled by corporate special interests, want no change,
are completely happy with the status quo, and love oil companies -
Washington reporters aren't interested in actual data. They live in a world of
six-figures and lobbyists and cocktail parties - a cloistered gated community
whose residents are nauseated by the idea of "seizing assets" of the
wealthiest corporations in the world. And so these reporters assume the consensus
of that gated community is the consensus of the majority of Americans who
live outside that gated community - even when the hard data says exactly the

I wonder if instead of working in the factual world, I should just start
making shit up. It would save me so much time in my work to not have to, ya
know, verify anything. I could write entire columns just saying the first
piece of conventional wisdom that came into my mind, without even bothering
to see if it was true. Wow...what an easy life that would be.

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