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.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Media Company Tries to Muffle Free Speech, Goes After Public Citizen Attorney

Jan. 28, 2010

Boca Raton Media Company Tries to Muffle Free Speech, Goes After Public Citizen Attorney

Vision Media Attacks Online Message Board Provider, Then Its Lawyer

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A media company trying to stifle its online critics is now going one step further – it is trying to muzzle a Public Citizen attorney involved in the case.

Vision Media is a Boca Raton, Fla.,-based company that makes TV spots for nonprofit groups and gets new business by cold-calling prospective customers. Not only is it going after, an Internet message board that allows consumers to critique telemarketers, for allegedly defamatory comments posted about Vision Media, but it is now pursuing Public Citizen attorney Paul Alan Levy, one of the lawyers representing Web site operator Julia Forte. Local counsel Judith M. Mercier of Holland & Knight in Orlando is also representing

In its request for a gag order, filed this week in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Vision Media said that Levy “seeks to embarrass, defame and disparage the plaintiffs through trying their case through the Internet media outlet and without affording the plaintiffs with an opportunity to address substantive arguments.”

A gag order is impermissible prior restraint, Levy said. Plus, it flies in the face of basic First Amendment principles.

“Vision Media continues to ignore the principle of Internet free speech as it again tries to muzzle anyone who speaks out against the company,” Levy said. “If the plaintiffs learned their lesson, they could instead respond to the postings on the message boards and blogs, and voice their same First Amendment right, rather than trying to squelch that of others.”

To read more about this case, visit

To read Levy’s blog post that Vision Media objects to, visit

To read Public Citizen’s briefs, go to

Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit public interest organization based in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit


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