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white noise

by Jordan Green

Media News & Reports

Going to the Dark Side before his days as a controversial talking head on Fox News, bill o’reilly wrote for several alternative weeklies in the boston area. o’reilly attended boston university in the 1970s and to gain experience and guarantee himself good grades in his classes, he wrote for the Boston Phoenix and the Real Paper alongside his work at Free Press, the university’s student paper. “i recycled the articles into class assignments. somehow, this worked out great. How could i get a bad grade if somebody had paid me for a piece and it ran on page two?” o’reilly said in his latest book A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity. — LC

A public radio hearing

Despite millions of newsprint inches and volumes of partisan outrage in congressional hearings that have been expended on the collapse of the american economy, no one has really explained to us why it happened — and how we might prevent it from recurring at the end of the next cycle — including President obama. So hats off to chicago Public radio’s “This american life,” which broadcasted an hourlong segment on June 6 about the abysmal failure of regulators to prevent insurance agencies, banks and financial brokerages from trading in loans that turned out to be virtually worthless, requiring a massive infusion of taxpayer money to keep them solvent. “until our government’s hearings get going — if they ever get going — we today would like to make our own modest contribution, our own mini hearing because we do not want to wait,” host ira Glass says. “our hearing will not last 17 months. We don’t have subpoena power to force the most powerful people on Wall street to come before us and testify, but we do have a question… where were the watchmen?” audacious? Yes. but we’ve got to start somewhere. With most members of congress dependent on the very business institutions and their lobbyists who got us into this mess, and most of the business press beholden to an audience comprised of people who ran the economy — who else is up to the task. Glass and company come up with some disturbing answers, like that financial companies choose their own regulators, that the finance sector pays the regulators’ salaries instead of the investors who are supposed to be protected, and bond ratings are essentially meaningless because if a finance company doesn’t like its rating it can shop around for another rating agency that is willing to cook the books. Do yourself a favor, and participate in this national teaching moment by visiting www.thisamericanlife.org/radio_episode.aspx?episode=382 — JG

Scene stopper a cleveland reporter is suing his former publisher, Times-shamrock communications, for wrongful termination. James renner, a former reporter for Cleveland Scene, was fired after writing an article alleging kevin coughlin, a republican candidate for governor of ohio, had been involved in an affair with a former campaign aide. coughlin threatened to sue Times-shamrock if the company ran the article. The paper did not run the story and renner sent an e-mail to the publishers accusing it of holding the story only due to the threatened lawsuit. renner says that his editor and publisher told him that the story was spiked and the paper could not afford another lawsuit. Times-shamrock claims renner’s story was killed because it did not meet journalistic standards for Cleveland Scene. after a letter was sent from the coughlin’s lawyers threatening legal action, renner was fired. He is now fighting his release in court. renner is demanding reinstatement, declaration that the story he wrote was not defamatory. renner also accuses Times-shamrock of defamation of character and seeks monetary compensation of over $25,000. — LC

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