William F. Jasper
The creaking, decrepit mastodons of the Big Media are soliciting our sympathy — and our money. We must save them, they say, from extinction. For our own good, of course.
The Aspen Institute hosted its annual Forum On Communications And Society (FOCAS) August 15–18 in Aspen, Colorado, exploring the theme of "News Cities: The Next Generation of Healthy Informed Communities." Sponsored by the Aspen Institute and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the FOCAS gathering is the latest in a series of conferences and publishing events aimed at boosting the idea that the federal government should pump tens of billions of tax dollars into America's newspapers, broadcast news, and activist "citizen media."
Andrey Ternovskiy, one of Russia's wunderkind Internet entrepreneurs, is being courted by venture capitalists the world over. To get access to cash he needn't leave Moscow, but he doesn't want to do business with the billionaire oligarchs tied to the Russian Mafia and Putin's KGB-FSB machine in the Kremlin.
"Maybe I'm breathing the same pixie dust, but there's real momentum for this," says Esther Dyson, in a June 25 online article for Foreign Policy magazine reporting on Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's visit to California's Silicon Valley. Dyson, a globally celebrated technology guru, is a major promoter of Skolkovo, the ambitious project near Moscow that Kremlin leaders intend to make into a high-tech research and production center. (See Obama's Russia Adviser Michael McFaul and the Russian Spies.)
On July 8, Vicky Pelaez disembarked from a charter jet flight in Vienna, Austria — accompanied by U.S. Marshals. Pelaez was the only non-Russian among the ten spies deported from the United States in a spy swap with Russia. A Peruvian journalist, Pelaez has been married to confessed Russian agent Mikhail Vasenkov for some thirty year.
The mainstream media have been quick to write off the recent Russian spy scandal as an inconsequential matter, a case of the gang that couldn't shoot straight. These were bumbling wannabe spies who didn't obtain anything of value, goes the standard narrative. (See, for instance, here, here, here, and here.) Reporters and commentators seem to see nothing amiss in the snap decision by the Obama administration to send the ring of deep-cover moles back to Russia only 11 days after their arrests, despite the fact that the FBI had sunk thousands of man-hours and millions of dollars into the investigation over the course of a decade.
Why did the United States government spend years — and, undoubtedly millions of dollars — tracking and monitoring a network of Russian deep cover sleeper agents and then release them after only 11 days in custody?
Barack and Dmitry. The photo-op lunch couldn't have been chummier: The U.S. and Russian presidents enjoying cheeseburgers and fries together at Ray's Hell Burger, a local burger joint in Arlington, Virginia. That was June 24, just before Obama and Medvedev headed for the big G8/G20 summits in Canada. Prior to that Medvedev was the toast of the town in Silicon Valley, part of his U.S. tour to bring American capital and technology to Russia.
Federal Judge Martin Feldman issued an injunction on June 22 ordering Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and the Obama administration not to enforce a federal moratorium on all drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf in water at depths greater than 500 feet.
For weeks MSNBC's Chris Matthews had been hyping and hawking his new soon-to-be-unveiled "documentary" on the Tea Party movement and the "New Right": On his own MSNBC nightly program, Hardball with Chris Matthews; on his NBC weekend program, The Chris Matthews Show; on the MSNBC Hardblogger post; on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show; as well as on left-wing blogs and websites — The Daily Beast, The Daily Kos, The Huffington Post, etc.