A few days ago, in so-called Romneyville, where anti-RNC protesters are squatting, I watched a television cameraman genuflect before a protester.  The gesture wasn’t technically religious: it is a strategy used to create the impression of a large crowd out of the presence of a handful of people.  Zoom in on a close shot of one or two people; aim the camera close to the ground to capture walking feet: these are shopworn media strategies for inflating protest numbers.

It’s bad enough when “private” media invents story lines this way.  They’re selling the drama of big crowds.  But when we’re the ones paying for the reporting, bias is much more troubling.  And when you mix in the radical reporters blending protesting directly with “reporting,” it’s a toxic soup.

The Tampa media market has what seems to me to be an unusually high number of publicly-funded PBS television and radio stations.  There are four WUSF television channels and four WEDU channels, including its flagship channel, the one that runs the deeply leftist programming interspersed with social engineering cartoons for children.  This week, WEDU is re-running Better This World, a documentary celebrating the violent protesters at the 2008 Republican Convention.  What a nice touch: welcome to Tampa, five anarchists!  Here’s how to make pipe bombs to throw at policemen!

WEDU is broadcasting Democracy Now! for the duration of the RNC.  I find this amazing.  I find it amazing that even the tiniest sliver of our tax dollars are going to subsidize this sort of deceptive, hate-filled, Soros-funded socialist garbage.

How much does Amy Goodman make off the public trough per year?  How about per lie?

Amy Goodman.  Un-ironic Puppet Version.

WEDU’s Vice President for Content, Jack Conely, told me in a phone conversation today that he unilaterally made the decision to air Democracy Now! as a special service to viewers during the RNC.  He said he considers doing this a “nice courtesy” because of the local angle of their reporting this week.  He added that WEDU “give[s] a platform to all sorts of different political programming.”

How much did WEDU spend to give Amy Goodman a taxpayer-funded platform?  “You don’t spend anything extra for Democracy Now!” Conely said, missing the point.  “They didn’t come to me, I made the decision,” he told me when I asked how the “free content” deal was initiated.  This story is developing.

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But PBS isn’t the only taxpayer-funded reporting going on at the Convention.  There’s Voice of America, the “official external broadcast institution of the United States federal government.”  That excellently concise description is from Wikipedia.  VOA is broadcast overseas, and though I generally agree with their claim that they try to be unbiased in their reporting, I was disappointed to see their silly coverage of the protesters.  They uncritically reprinted claims by discredited local “homeless activist” Bruce Wright about protesters “helping” poor people while in Tampa.  They are doing no such thing, and lending credibility to such a false narrative is troubling:

Camp residents have tried to help suffering locals like Thomas Diehl and his companion, Michelle Kelly.  “Right now they are trying to help us get food stamps, medical help for me and her, stuff like that,” Diehl said.

Bunk.  “Romneyville” is a squat for professional activists who are willing to exploit mentally ill homeless people in order to gain attention from the media.  No matter what the New York Times/CNN/Guardian/ABC/CBS/NBC says.  Social services for the homeless are actually provided by real social service agencies located a few blocks away.  Wright is a highly controversial professional activist who has gotten in trouble in the past for his handling of resources for the homeless.  None of this is difficult to figure out, if you bother to actually research a story.

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