Archive for March, 2012

Ryan White And Hs Brilliant Use of the Media

All of us who professionally use the mass media are the shapers of society. We can vulgarize that society. We can brutalize it. Or we can help lift it onto a higher level. – William Bernbach

 

These words  resonate with me today when I think of the case of Ryan White. The responsible media coverage exposed during the horrible plight of this young man exposed the discrimination experienced by people living with HIV and AIDS.

Ryan on one of two covers of "People" Magazine

Ryan White would have been 43 this year. But he died at age 18, after a too-short and difficult life in which he battled HIV and the prejudice that surrounded it – as well as the somewhat unwelcome place in the spotlight his condition thrust upon him.  He was infected with HIV from a contaminated blood treatment in 1984, AIDS was still a new disease at that time, not fully understood and carried great stigma. He found himself shunned by classmates and their parents – when he was finally allowed to return to school, that is. After a prolonged absence due to his illness, White was denied re-admission to school, forcing his family into a months-long legal battle with the school board. He began to discuss his story with interviewers and local coverage yielded to national attention, White became a poster boy for AIDS awareness. He effectively used the media to aid his goal.  To get back to into school!  Celebrities rallied to his cause and he became friends with luminaries from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Michael Jackson to Elton John.

Although he eventually won a court battle to return to his school, the family experienced ongoing intimidation and harassment. This included bricks being thrown through his windows, graffiti on the walls of his home and  being made to use plastic utensils in the cafeteria when in school so not to infect the other students.  Ryan and his family eventually moved from Howard County to Cicero, Indiana in 1987, due to the harassment where Ryan became an honor roll student.  He became the most unlikely advocate of this horrible disease and was interviewed on many television programs including the Phil Donahue Show and it was Mr. Donahue, who became an advocate for Ryan as did Elton John and Michael Jackson, who assisted Ryan during his life with his medical expenses and his move to Cicero due to harassment. Michael delivered to Ryan a beautiful red mustang and their friendship lasted a lifetime.  Others generously gave of their time and support. He appeared on the cover of People magazine twice before his death and his story helped change the attitudes of many who had previously been unsympathetic to people living with the disease.

On March 3, 1988, Ryan spoke  eloquently before the National Commission on AIDS. He spoke about his illness, the discrimination and urged the need for education and compassion to all who were living with HIV/AIDS. Ryan had contracted his disease through blood products, however, he never tried to separate himself from others who had contracted the disease via sexual contact, or intravenous drug use. He stressed that AIDS was not a gay disease but a human disease and one that must be fought together.  Please read Ryan White’s Testimony below a true champion for the cause at the tender age of 16.

Ryan_White\’s_Testimony_before_the_President\’s_Commission_on_AIDS

Ryan White died in 1990 and friends and celebrities continued to support his family, turning out for the funeral – Michael Jackson who was sat next to Ryan’s mother, Phil Donahue, Barbara Bush and 1500 others. Elton John performed a special tribute to the boy who touched his heart.  Elton specifically commented on the 20th anniversary of Ryan’s death as “Ryan saving his life”.  He has been sober for 22 years because of the attitude and strength of Ryan’s fight and started the Elton John Aids Foundation.  He was with Mrs. White when Ryan passed.  Michael Jackson wrote a beautiful song for Ryan called “Gone too Soon” and it has become an anthem for people who have passed too young including Princess Diana and Michael himself.

Elton John Performs at Ryan White’s Funeral

In this case the media in its entirety both broadcasters and journalists felt that this young man was being targeted by a biased community and  unfair school system.  Ryan decided to step up to the plate and use these people to his advantage to educate millions of people about the facts of the disease and its transmission, and spoke out for the rights of people living with AIDS.  A brilliant and honest move!

Perhaps the media should look back at this story and see what they are broadcasting 20 years on.  One can only hope the tides will turn and the airwaves will return to help people like Ryan White and begin to support the innocents and the less fortunate and remember “there are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.”  Buddha

Michael Jackson Life – Clinton Presidential Inauguration Gala 1993 – GONE TO SOON

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Slander In the Silent Era – Yellow Journalism Begins.

After culling through my research as it pertains to airwave abuse for both radio and television I came upon a story that goes back to the silent era.  You will see how “Yellow Journalism” was in it’s hey day even at this time in history.  A sad statement of the world we live in.

It is the case of the “genius of silent cinema” Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, who travelled the vaudeville circuit at a very young age.  He was said to be a born comedian and at 26, in 1913 he hit it big when he signed with the infamous Mack Sennett’s Keystone Film Comany and became one of the Keystone Kops. 1

Arbuckle was a heavy man, 250 – 300 pounds and that was part of his comedy.  He moved gracefully, threw pies and humorously tumbled around. In 1921 Arbuckle signed a three-year contract with Paramount for a whopping $1 million dollars, an unheard amount in Hollywood at the time and to celebrate just having completed three pictures and his new contract with Paramount, Arbuckle and a couple of friends drove up from Los Angeles to San Francisco on Saturday, September 3, 1921 for a Labour Day weekend party.

The Party

Arbuckle and his buddies checked into the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco. They were on the twelfth floor in a suite that contained rooms 1219, 1220, and 1221 (room 1220 was the sitting room). On Monday, September 5, the party started early. Arbuckle greeted visitors in his pajamas and though this was during Prohibition, the liquor was flowing.  One of the guests at the party was an actress named Virginia Rappé (RAP-PAY), a 28-year old clothing designer and model, who had a minor acting career in films.At  3 pm, Arbuckle decided to leave the party to get dressed to go sight-seeing with a friend. He went into his bedroom (1219). What happened in the following ten minutes is disputed.

Delmont’s version

Bambina” Maude Delmont, a woman whom California police had filed at least 50 counts of extortion, bigamy, fraud and racketeering she was known as a ‘professional co-respondent,’ for blackmailers and frequently set-up famous people in order to blackmail them, claimed that Arbuckle pushed 26 year-old Virginia Rappe into his bedroom and said, “I’ve waited for this a long time.” Delmont said that a few moments later party-goers could hear screams from Rappe coming from the bedroom. Delmont claimed she tried to open the door, even kick it in, but couldn’t get it open. When Arbuckle opened the door, supposedly Rappe was found naked and bleeding behind him.  She “remembered this event perfectly” after downing 12 shots of hard liquor at the party!

Maude “Bambina” Delmont

Arbuckle’s version:

Arbuckle says that when he left his room to change clothes, he went into his adjoining bathroom and found Rappe on the floor covered in vomit. He picked her up and put her on the bed to rest and got her a glass of water which he said she asked for. Thinking she was just overly intoxicated, he left her get dressed and at 3:10 pm. in his tuxedo found Rappe had fallen off the bed. After putting her back into the bed he went into Room 1220 to get help. When others then entered the room, they found Rappe tearing at her clothes (something that has been claimed she did often when she was drunk). Party guests tried a number of strange treatments, including covering Rappe with ice, but she still wasn’t getting any better. The hotel staff were contacted and Rappe was taken to another room to rest. A doctor was called and with others looking after Rappe, Arbuckle left for the sight-seeing tour and then drove back to Los Angeles.

Rappe Dies

Rappe was not taken to the hospital on that day. And though she didn’t improve, she wasn’t taken to the hospital for three days because most people who visited her considered her condition to be caused by liquor. After four days and a lengthy delay by her friend Delmont, Rappe was taken to the Wakefield Sanitorium on Thursday, a maternity hospital known for giving abortions. Virginia Rappe died the following day from peritonitis, an inflammation (irritation) of the peritoneum, the thin tissue that lines the inner wall of the abdomen and covers most of the abdominal organs by a ruptured bladder.  There are two forms of peritonitis primary and secondary. Primary peritonitis is usually caused by liver disease. Fluid builds up in the abdomen, creating an environment for bacteria to grow. Secondary peritonitis is caused by other conditions that allow bacteria, enzymes, or bile into the peritoneum from a hole or tear in the gastrointestinal or biliary tracts. Such tears can be caused by pancreatitis, a ruptured appendix, stomach ulcer, Crohn’s disease, or diverticulitis. Peritoneal dialysis, which uses the blood vessels in the abdomen to filter waste from your blood when your kidneys can’ t .2  

On September 11, Arbuckle was arrested and charged with the murder of Virginia Rappe after Delmont went to the San Francisco Police, and filed charges that Roscoe Arbuckle had raped and caused the death of Rappé.  He was held on flimsy evidence

Virginia Rappe

Yellow Journalism

The papers went wild with this story. Some articles had Arbuckle crushing her with his weight and others had him raping her with a foreign object (the papers went into graphic details). In the newspapers, Arbuckle was assumed guilty and Virginia Rappe was an innocent girl. The papers excluded reporting that Rappe had a history of numerous abortions, with some evidence stating she might have had another a short time before the party. William Randolph Hearst, the symbol of yellow journalism, had his San Francisco Examiner cover the story. According to Buster Keaton, Hearst boasted that Arbuckle’s story sold more papers than the sinking of the Lusitania one of the largest stories of the time.

The public reaction to Arbuckle was fierce. Perhaps even more than the specific charges of rape and murder, Arbuckle became a symbol of Hollywood’s immorality. Movie houses across the country almost immediately stopped showing Arbuckle’s movies. The public was angry and they were using Arbuckle as a target.

The Trials

With the scandal as front page news on almost every newspaper, it was difficult to get an unbiased jury. The first Arbuckle trial began in November 1921 and charged Arbuckle with manslaughter. The trial was thorough and Arbuckle took the stand to share his side of the story. The jury was hung with a 10 to 2 vote for acquittal. One juror, a Mrs. Helen Hubbard, was one of the hold-outs. Hubbard — who held fingers in her ears during defense testimony — bragged that no one could change her mind, and that she intended to vote for conviction from the moment she’d heard Roscoe had been arrested. Because the first trial ended with a hung jury, Arbuckle had to be tried again. In the second trial, the defense did not present a very thorough case and Arbuckle did not take the stand. The jury saw this as an admission of guilt and deadlocked in a 10 to 2 vote for conviction. In the third trial, which began in March 1922, the defense again became pro-active. Arbuckle testified, repeating his side of the story. The main prosecution witness, Zey Prevon, had escaped house arrest and left the country. For this trial, the jury deliberated for only a couple of minutes (just enough time to write the statement below out in the hallway) and came back with a verdict of not guilty.

Acquittal is not enough for Roscoe Arbuckle. We feel that a great injustice has been done him. We feel also that it was our only plain duty to give him this exoneration. There was not the slightest proof adduced to connect him in any way with the commission of a crime. He was manly throughout the case and told a straightforward story on the witness stand, which we all believed. The happening at the hotel was an unfortunate affair for which Arbuckle, so the evidence shows, was in no way responsible.

We wish him success and hope that the American people will take the judgment of fourteen men and women who have sat listening for thirty-one days to the evidence that Roscoe Arbuckle is entirely innocent and free from all blame.

Arbuckle Blacklisted

Being acquitted was not the end to Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle’s problems. In response to the Arbuckle scandal, Hollywood established a self-policing organization that was to be known as the “Hays Office.”

On April 18, 1922, Will Hays, the president of this new organization, banned Arbuckle from film making. Though Hays lifted the ban in December of the same year, Arbuckle’s career had been destroyed.

A Short Come-Back

For years, Arbuckle had trouble finding work. He eventually began directing under the name William B. Goodrich (similar to the name his friend Buster Keaton suggested – Will B. Good). Though Arbuckle had begun a come-back and had signed with Warner Brothers in 1933 to act in some comedy shorts, he was never to see his popularity regained. After a small one-year anniversary party with his new wife on June 29, 1933, Arbuckle went to bed and suffered a fatal heart attack in his sleep. He was 46.

As you can see, these type of cases have been a part of history for a long time and the similarities between so many cases that we have seen over the past 20 years are all the same.  The slander and defamation of radio and newspaper continues and the result is the “victim” always suffering even after innocence has been proven.

“A man is nothing without his good name.”
— Roscoe Conkling Arbuckle 


  1. http://silent-movies.com/Arbucklemania/home.html
  2. http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/peritonitis-000127.htm#ixzz1qGG77Mlx

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A Light at the End of the Tunnel? – LA Council Member Jan Perry Introduces Legislation to stop “Broadcasters” promoting slander

Kudos to Los Angeles Councilwoman Jan Perry who recently introduced legislation that calls upon media companies to ensure “on air hosts do not use and promote racist and sexist slurs” while broadcasting for a wonderful start to ebbing the constant airwave slander and abuse that goes on not only in the United States but globally every day.

Please read the article from the Huffington Post from March 21st below where  just three days after singer Whitney Houston passed away, KFI AM hosts John and Ken dismissed her as nothing more than a “crack ho.” Nearly one month later, the LA city council began to consider  whether to take an official stance against the slurs uttered that day

john-ken-city-council-_n_1370552.html

On March 23 the legislation was passed and it certainly seems that there is a “light at the end of the tunnel” and a beginning for these “shock Jocks” to think  before they speak about the deceased, the innocents and anyone else that cannot speak for themselves.

la-council-mulls-condemning-on-air-slurs

There have been many of these “broadcasters” all over the world who have taken aim at not only Whitney Houston, but also Michael Jackson.  One example is “The Dean Blundell Show” based in Canada who taken aim at the late Mr. Jackson, his children and his family.  Recently Kurt Loder of MTV News said that Mr. Jackson was a child molester.  Loder made the controversial statement on the “Jeff and Jeremy in the Morning” radio show on Tuesday, November 8, 2011.

“Stop Global Airwave Abuse” works with “Cadeflaw” a group that is attempting to pass a law that will stop the defamation of the deceased in the state of California.  Together we work in attempting to bring these people to the forefront and make a change on public airwaves.

“There’s nothing that can’t be done if we raise our voice as one” Michael Jackson

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Michael Jackson Portrait Tribute Online Magazine – Stop Global Airwave Abuse

Please read my article in the Michael Jackson Tribute Online Magazine… together we can made that change and stop the abuse on the airwaves.

 

stop-global-airwave-abuse

 

 

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Professor Tom Green: A Cut Above the Cyber bullying!

About a month ago I posted a story where Tom Green, Comedian took it upon himself to    let listeners and hosts “Opie & Anthony” that he wanted to have the twitter handle of an individual who had the same name, a Canadian Media Professor named “Tom Green” at a College in Toronto, Ontario.  During his interview he let Opie & Anthony know that he had attempted to get this twitter handle from the Professor but Professor Green spoke to him and declined for his own reasons.   What resulted was a rampage of tweeting and  cyber bullying.

Original story here a-series-of-unfortunate-slanderous-events

I followed up with another post on the same story after the hosts and the listeners continued to cyber bully Professor Green tom-green-twitter-controversy-radio-hosts-continue-to-cyberbully

Opie & Anthony have never apologized or stated that they did anything wrong.  This is a sad state of affairs for the airwaves.  These hosts have no filter, boundaries or guidelines that they adhere to and  can say anything they wish.

When this incident took place Professor Green opened up his twitter account and it “blew up” in front of him with thousands of tweets from the Opie & Anthony listeners with the most hateful and derogatory remarks imaginable.  Below is a story that CityTV reported in Toronto where the Professor lives.  You can see that the police officer when shown the tweets found them to be beyond cyber bullying and to the point of “criminal”.

186209#.TzR8yovY5Jk.twitter

Professor Green as you can see is a professional and I would say, quite forgiving man and he proved that once again by allowing me to ask him a few questions about how he felt with respect to the incident that “infiltrated” his life and twitter account for a few weeks.

 Q & A WITH PROFESSOR TOM GREEN

Q  After watching the CityTV News report the police officer mentioned he felt it went “beyond bullying into criminality”.  Have considered taking this incident and reporting these tweets to the police?

A  Taking over 3,000 individual responses to law enforcement is not a good strategy. Had I suspected the threats were credible or felt there was a risk to my personal safety— of course . A few hundred were sent directly to Twitter and these people usually had their accounts suspended.

Q   Tom Green did write an open letter to you. Did you feel that letter was a  heartfelt answer/apology to what happened on the Opie & Anthony Show?

A  I think you have to look at that letter “in context”. Context of what? His career. He, too, was getting slammed and realized this could affect him if he didn’t get in front of it. I perceived it as being more damage control than apology. If you listen to the YouTube broadcast he had ample opportunity right at the start to shut it down but didn’t.

Q   Tom Green also offered to meet with you and “bury the hatchet” so to speak, would you consider this?

A   I understand we are going out for dinner next time he is in town and I have accepted as long we use plastic cutlery.

Q   How has this affected you, your family and your career?

Not in the least other than giving me a prime opportunity to give my students a really up close and personal look at how cyber -bullying starts.

Q   How, while this event was occurring has this affected you emotionally?

A   It really didn’t bother me all that much. I live an online existence, so to speak, and in my circles I am regarded as a public figure which means my work is constantly open to public scrutiny and comment. Having gone through the review process for my books and comments attached to my tutorials I have learned people are entitled to their opinion and to leave it at that. I couldn’t ignore this one because, being a professor in a publically-funded higher education institution, accusations of pedophilia and sexual misconduct can have profound, professional, personal and legal implications if they “stick”. That sort of thing needs to be dealt with swiftly and forcefully.

Q   How do you feel about your privacy now and have you ever been concerned that you may be harmed in any way?

A   No. In this situation you have to “consider the source”. Opie and Anthony’s followers are not exactly Nobel laureates. What irritates me is they unleashed their followers on a private citizen. That, to me, is an abuse of their public persona and celebrity. It is great for their ratings and not so great for their victim. What I don’t think they expected was for me to react as forcefully and publically as I did. By making the incident a “poster Boy” for cyberbullying I put them into an awkward position where they had to state why they didn’t regard this as cyberbullying.They still haven’t responded and don’t expect them to. 

Q   Did you ever think, that as a non-celebrity you would be subjected to this type of attack  and controversy?

A   No. This incident clearly shows that people who have “celebrity status” need to be very careful of what they say or do to motivate their fans.

Q   Have you spoken to the “Shock Jocks” that created this fiasco?  I understand they feel they have done nothing wrong, but as we know this is all for viewership and ratings so why would they say anything else, however if you have spoken to them what did you say and what was their response?

No. Their only response was the tweet in response to the cNet article.

Q   Tom Green has suggested that this was “not his fault” but I have followed this closely and heard the entire show.  I believe he did “egg these people on” by mentioning you giving him his twitter name in the first place, have you spoken to Tom Green directly and do you agree with my hypothesis?

A    We have and I hope you understand that I regard that conversation as confidential.

Q   I understand that you have no intention of giving up your handle and I commend you for this.  I can see that you will not be bullied! You have been slandered and disrespected in ways I could never imagine.  After you commented on my article on my site Stop Global Airwave Abuse there was a disrespectful reply.  Are these tweeters ebbing or are they still coming out of the woodwork?

The string ran out a couple of weeks ago as the O&A followers saw a shiny thing and flocked to look at it. Short attention spans?

Q   I  have done some research on the Opie & Anthony show and found that their demographics are between the ages of 18 and 40 and mostly men.  Are you surprised, even though we do not know this as a fact,  that most of this cyber bullying is done by men and within this age group?

A    I can’t comment one way or the other around that generalization. Having said that , I concluded the bulk of the offensive tweet came from people in that cohort. I did learn something very important, though. What a lot of people miss around cyberbulling is that cyberbullying is a single message. I could sit at home and send you something offensive using the anonymity of the internet and think,”Got you”. Now multiply that one response by a factor of 100 or even 1,000. It is the cumulative effect of the messages that does the damage. I pointed this out in my classes by highlighting, uncensored, one rather vile tweet and pointing out that person must have felt pretty cool. Then I revealed a few  and made the point: It isn’t one. It is many feeling exactly the same way as the one. What they don’t consider is their action is multiplied  and how would they feel if the tables were turned on them and they were the recipient?

Q   How have your students reacted to this disrespect shown or have you even spoken to them about it?  Have you incorporated it into your media classes and if you have in what way?

A  The day it started I walked into my class that afternoon, flipped on my twitter feed and said, Let’s talk about cyberbullying because it is happening right here in front of your eyes and it is happening to me.” It was an interesting class to say the least.

Oh to be a fly on the wall at that class.  I am an alumnus of Professor Green’s college and would love to have had him as a Professor.  As you can see he has a wonderful sense of humour and has remarkable resilience.  I admire him very much.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank Professor Green for taking the time to speak with me.  I hope that this will make people aware of how quickly the social media can change the life of one person in a matter of seconds.  It can be used for positive and negative, unfortunately so many times it is the latter.

“Never take a person’s dignity: It is worth everything to them, and nothing to you.” –  Frank Barron

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To All the Lost Children – Stop Joseph Kony

This is “The Monster we seek”  Joseph Kony

This is "the monster we seek" Joseph Kony

Michael Jackson believed his role in life was to “love and help all children” it was in every fibre of his being, it was in every song he wrote, the lyrics he sang..  Now it is time for us to take the lead.  Please take the time to watch the following video.  IT IS IMPORTANT TO MICHAEL, HUMANKIND AND OUR CHILDREN

WATCH AND SHARE

IF THE WORLD KNOWS WHO JOSEPH KONY IS, IT WILL UNITE TO STOP HIM.

Kony’s LRA has kidnapped an estimated 20,000 children for use as fighters or sex slaves. As part of their initiation, these children are often required to kill their own parents, so they’ll have no homes to return to.  Once kidnapped, children are used as pack mules, carrying LRA supplies until they are too weak to walk, at which time they are killed or simply left to die.  Kidnapped boys also serve as targets and decoys, sent to the front lines — unarmed– whenever the Ugandan Army engages the LRA.  Kidnapped girls that Kony or his senior commanders find attractive become their “wives” (Kony is reported to have 60).   Let’s Make JOSEPH KONY a household name and stop this.

Sign the Pledge: kony-4.html

Follow them on twitter @stopkony

Heed Michael’s words:

UPDATE: Media is reporting on some of  the controversy of Invisible Children.. Be sure to read these links: Read Pro and Con articles, then YOU DECIDE

http://www.eonline.com/news/kony_2012_george_clooney_angelina_jolie/299424http://foreignpolicyblogs.com/

http://articles.cnn.com/2012-03-10/opinion/opinion_kony-2012-video_1_peace-talks-joseph-kony-lord-s-resistance-army?_s=PM:OPINIONhttp://www.cbsnews.com/8301-501465_162-57393346-501465/invisible-childrens-kony-2012-viral-video-stirs-emotion-and-controversy/

Also please look at the Financial Report of Invisible Children before you make up your mind to donate.  You can also spread the information and bring awareness regarding Joseph Kony without donating a dime. Follow your heart.

Other sources:

http://kabiza.com/Where-are-LRA-Children.htm

(Thanks to MJJJusticeProject for the Sources above)

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