Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

The Telecom Astroturf Lobby

Posted on: September 11th, 2013 by Eli Clifton 2 Comments
Verizon building

Verizon building (Flickr/gt8073a).

When the telecommunications industry sought federal rules that would allow it to charge customers more for high bandwidth products such as Hulu or Netflix than for other web services, there was no mystery in its motive: big money. Federal regulators stopped the move on grounds that it would hurt consumers and the industry lashed back with an expected army of lobbyists. It also quietly pursued another strategy that has not previously been reported: the creation of an elaborate illusion of grassroots support for protecting the telecommunications industry’s profits. (more…)

The (Alleged) Kleptocrat’s Webmaster

Posted on: October 16th, 2012 by Eli Clifton 2 Comments

Screen capture of the Qorvis-managed website of Equatorial Guinea's Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, featuring an image of Teodorin.

Washington-based Qorvis Communications has continued to work on behalf of the president of Equatorial Guinea’s family and has managed the website of a government ministry currently in the crosshairs of international corruption investigations. (more…)

The DC PR firm behind Fiji’s Twitter accounts

Posted on: September 12th, 2012 by Eli Clifton No Comments

Qorvis Communications – a Washington-based public relations and lobbying firm – is deeply involved in managing the online and social media activities of the military coup government of Fiji, the firm’s government filings reveal. (more…)

Big telecom pushes de-regulation bill in California

Posted on: September 10th, 2012 by Siddhartha Mahanta 1 Comment

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California could be the latest state to enact a law that dramatically curbs regulatory oversight of telecommunications services in the state, handing a significant victory to the industry players that have lobbied for the bill’s passage. (more…)

Former Colorado Independent intern found dead in Mexico

Posted on: July 3rd, 2012 by The American Independent 2 Comments

Armando Montaño, a former intern for the Colorado Independent, died this past weekend in Mexico City, where he was writing for the Associated Press. Mexican officials are investigating his death and, according to the AP, the U.S. embassy is monitoring that investigation.

Mando, as his friends called him, died in a building near his apartment in the city’s trendy Condessa neighborhood, his body reportedly found Saturday at the bottom of an elevator shaft.

Mando had been living in the Mexican capital for only roughly a month at the time of his death, but a story on an airport police shootout he posted a week ago touched on the widespread corruption of officials routinely tapped to help move the cash and merchandise of the drug trade. (more…)

GLAAD puts anti-LGBT ‘experts’ under spotlight

Posted on: March 15th, 2012 by The American Independent 5 Comments

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) on Wednesday announced the launch of its Commentator Accountability Project, a web-based resource for news outlets looking for analysts to speak on issues related to gay rights. According to GLAAD, the “experts” that media outlets regularly invite to comment on LGBT equality often come with impressive-sounding titles and deeply disturbing biases. (more…)

MSNBC rejects ad criticizing frequent guest Tony Perkins

Posted on: March 8th, 2012 by The American Independent 3 Comments

Family Research Council logo

MSNBC on Tuesday rejected an ad critical of Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council and a frequent guest on the network, according to the group that produced the ad. (more…)

Help the Texas Independent by donating on Support Your Media Day

Posted on: February 14th, 2012 by Mary Tuma 13 Comments

The American Independent News Network, the parent organization of The Texas Independent, will be participating in Support Your Media Day, a 24-hour online fundraising event that kicks off early tomorrow morning. The mission of the campaign is simple: “to support and strengthen independent media outlets.”

As part of The Media Consortium, AINN is very excited for its first event of this kind, details below:

Who: AINN, along with 31 other independent media outlets across the country.

What: Online fundraiser to increase support for AINN’s coverage of the ever-growing list of anti-choice legislation being introduced and the accompanying threats they present to all of our rights.

When: Starting at 2:00 a.m. CT on February 15 and running until 1:59 pm CT

Where: Online only at the AINN donation page.

Why?: Independent media is the media for the 99%, and this is our opportunity to shore up reporting and analysis that is especially critical during an election year. For every dollar up to $12,500, a foundation has pledged to donate $2 towards AINN’s coverage of choice-related issues, so you’re actually doubling your contribution.


1) Share this event on Facebook and Twitter (Links to our Facebook page here and Twitter here) and help build the buzz. You can tweet about this day using #supportyrmedia.

2)  Spread the word!  Forward this link to your family and friends along with a personal note as to why you continue to read our work, and why they too should support AINN tomorrow.

We can’t wait to celebrate the difference your generosity will make on Support Your Media Day!

Click here for information on the event, and be sure to return tomorrow to donate.

Here’s background on why you should support the network:

Throughout its nearly six-year history, the American Independent News Network has set itself apart from other news outlets with its commitment to having an impact on the public debate and influencing positive change.

The public’s understanding of reproductive choice is severely diminished by anti-choice advocates demagoguery and use of abortion as a cultural “wedge issue” to divide Americans. That’s why AINN has made exposing their misinformation in exchange for facts a core part of its mission. Here are just two examples of how AINN continues to achieve success in doing this:

1. Citing reporting by AINN’s Texas bureau, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas released a report on Texas’ Alternatives to Abortions program, which funds crisis pregnancy centers across the state and continues to grow, despite missing its benchmarks set by the Legislature, paying CPC counselors more than trained nurses. As reporter Mary Tuma detailed, CPCs in the Austin area are fighting back in court against an ordinance requiring them to disclose the fact they don’t offer birth control or abortion referrals — a commonly misunderstood point.

2. In a letter to Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration, Planned Parenthood Vice President Judith Selzer warned about a provision in the state’s recent Medicaid overhaul that allows Medicaid providers to opt out of providing family planning services for “moral or religious reasons,” a measure first reported on by AINN’s Ashley Lopez in April 2011. Selzer directly cited Lopez’s reporting in praising the state agency for telling AINN that Medicaid recipients should still have access to family planning through “fee-for-service” providers, but pointed out that such rules are not included in the Medicaid legislation, adding that the agency’s plan “should be clearly spelled out.” She also warned that the “fee-for-service” solution may not in fact make up for the family planning opt-out, arguing that if family planning providers cannot afford to participate in Medicaid because of low reimbursement rates, women in the state could be left stranded, an idea Lopez first explored in June 2011.

This is the defining value of investigative journalism in the 21st century: the recognition that outcomes matter. Simply producing great journalism is no longer enough. After the story is reported, outreach and communications efforts need to ensure that advocacy groups, community leaders, public officials, and others take appropriate action correcting the wrongs our coverage has exposed.

One of the most eggregious attacks currently being waged is on the right to choose. Determined to eliminate this right, not a single election season or legislative session goes by without literally dozens of bills and referendums on this issue being submitted at both the state and federal level. The sheer variety of the attacks on reproductive choice is astonishing: personhood amendments; waiting periods; mandatory sonogram requirements; so-called “heartbeat” laws; attempts to defund Planned Parenthood and other groups, now being falsely accused of the most heinous actions; notification laws.

The reason we are seeing this rash of anti-abortion rights initiatives in the states right now is because those in power who oppose the right to choose know that it takes at least two to three years for those cases to reach the Supreme Court, where their goal is to overturn Roe v. Wade and consign American women forever to the back alley. That Court is one single vote away from doing so, with the two members most likely to retire in the next few years being on the pro-choice side.

That makes the 2012 election a crucial crossroads, as it will determine the president who will almost certainly nominate the next justice for the Court and the makeup of the Senate that will confirm or reject that nomination. It is essential that every single one of these attempts to deny equal rights to women is identified, that the extreme views of those who support them are documented, and that the funding networks that benefit them are revealed to the world.

With 26 states having enacted 69 laws that in some way restricted access to abortions or reduced funding for anti-choice in 2011, we almost broke a record — the record for highest number of anti-choice related legislation passed in a single year (the highest number is 70, and happened in 1999, according to NARAL President Nancy Keenan).

It is clear that the opportunity is greater than ever for AINN to reveal new information through investigative reporting that will impact public debate and create a more just home for all citizens.