Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Citizens United v. FEC: point and counterpoint

Although neither video meets the focus of this blog as "emerging multimedia" given their distribution last year, Annie Leonard's critique of the Supreme Court case that radically altered the financing of political campaigns, and perhaps the very nature of democracy, continues to resonate in this election year (top video). To provide a semblance of balance, her video is followed by a critique of the critique which supports the court decision. You be the judge: determine which argument, if either, makes the most sense.

(possible) future of social activism

According to Visual News, a recent survey conducted by TBWA/Worldwide found that most American young adults (20-28 yrs old) define themselves as "social activists." Specifically, the study found that: 
7 in 10 American young adults are social activists.
1 in 2 donate time to support the causes he or she cares about.
1 in 3 boycotts or supports a business based on the causes he or she cares about.
1 in 5 participates in a rally or meeting, or contacts their local representative.
3 in 5 are female, and 3 of 5 of all activists are educated and working.
Unfortunately, the TBWA/Worldwide provided no details about the survey in terms of such basic facts as who was surveyed, how the sample was selected, nor size of sample. 
To launch the full infographic shown above, click here.

TBWA/Worldwide is a major advertising firm presumably dedicated to activism that has created numerous ad campaigns. One of their most popular ads had various celebrities, including Kim Kardashian, Justin Timberlake, and Usher, declaring themselves dead (at least in a digital sense, and at that, temporarily). 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Mike Daisey's Foxconn story retracted

The popular NPR series, This American Life, has retracted the Mike Daisey episode aired in early January. The March 16, 2012 episode of TAL was devoted to examining the misinformation and inaccuracies reported by Daisey about Apple's major fabricator, Foxconn. Daisey's major defense for wrongdoing is that he is a showman, rather than a journalist. (Needless to say, all stories posted on this blog about Daisey's work should likewise be reassessed.)

For reportage on what went on in terms of TAL's retraction, see the bottom segment of CNN's Reliable Sources in which commentators take to task the uncritical ease by which many members of big media, including CNN itself, accepted Daisey's stories at face value without fact-checking efforts.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

affluence trumps academic ability in completing college

Elise Gould in a recent Working Economics piece dismantles Charles Murray's assertion that college facilitation programs, such as that afforded by "socioeconomic affirmative action," should not be instituted since the most capable of  poor and working-class youths are already getting into and doing well at top universities under current policies. Her argument, based on a secondary analysis of data from a study conducted by Fox, Connolly, and Snyder (2005), indicates that this is not the case as the proportion of low-income children with the greatest academic potential (as measured by 8th grade test scores) were only about as likely to graduate from college as students from affluent families with low academic potential.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

doc seeks to change attitudes about rape

Palestinian Abeer Hadad made her first film with the intent to change attitudes about sexual assault. Hadad seeks to remove the stigma from being raped, as women and girls who are raped are too often further victimized by family and society. Dum'a was recently screened in Qalanswa, a Palestinian city near Tel Aviv, and this Real News report interviews Hadad and the girls who watched it.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

why take government largesse? because I can!

Question: What do Amanda Clayton, a Michigan lottery winner, and Texas Governor Rick Perry have in common? Answer: They both receive financial support from the state, although they would not seem to be eligible for it. Michigan law does not stop Amanda from receiving foods stamps, just as Texas law does not prevent the governor from receiving state pension checks in the amount of $90,000 per year as he continues to draw his governor's salary of $150,000, plus assorted taxpayer-provided perqs. One might dismiss Amanda as just another welfare cheat, while some might argue Perry's windfall is justified on the basis of previous service. However, what is clear is that neither Clayton nor Perry admit to anything problematical about their behavior. Indeed, as Perry was recently quoted, "I would suggest to you that it's rather inappropriate if you've earned something if you don't take it and take care of your family." Recall also that before public disclosure about his double-dipping, Perry had been campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination as one who would set back the retirement age for Social Security.         

Monday, March 5, 2012

who runs the world? / who really runs the world?

This interactive graphic developed by David McCandless suggests alternative answers to the question of who or what is in charge of major world-influencing decisions. While McCandless gives his take on the hierarchy of actor-power on the world stage, his graphic will no doubt provoke discussion--conspiratorial explanations and otherwise.

Friday, March 2, 2012

activists in support of The Help

Despite widespread criticisms among progressives about The Help, Ilyse House reports in a recent article in The Nation that the Oscar-nominated film has served as a positive force for domestic workers by bringing their plight to national attention. According to labor activists, the movie has served to give their cause a significant voice, as well as a yardstick by which to educate the public that conditions among those in this occupation have not appreciably improved since the Civil Rights era a half-century ago.