Ebola And Media Hysteria

About once every year or two, somebody on Faux News says something intelligent. Shep Smith seems to be one of the more frequent commentators over there who actually speaks to reality, instead of fear mongering to the right. The most accurate, intelligent thing said on Faux News about the Ebola scare so far…

You Can See Me Now – In The Movies

Back before digital photography, the Film used in professional level cameras had distinct qualities in terms of color rendition. Certain types of Kodak tended towards blue, others were “warm” – enriching the reds and yellows. This meant if you were shooting anything with blue, the sky for instance – the rendition was spectacular. Browns and greens tended to be “muddy” and tonal quality – the differentiation between something with multiple greens for instance – tended to wash out into a “middling” color instead of the full spectrum. Fuji Film tended towards yellow, and produced really vibrant greens and, to a lesser extent browns…

Ergo – getting film to “see” black folks, or even render the plethora of skin tones was difficult, if not impossible. Getting fine detail was virtually impossible for darker skin tones.

Since similar film formulations were used to make movies – black folks just all came out as the same color – if you could see an detail at all.

‘12 Years a Slave,’ ‘Mother of George,’ and the aesthetic politics of filming black skin

In one of the first scenes of early Oscar favorite “12 Years a Slave,” the film’s protagonist, Solomon Northup, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor , is seen at night, sleeping alongside a fellow enslaved servant. Their faces are barely illuminated against the velvety black background, but the subtle differences in their complexions — his a burnished mahogany, hers bearing a lighter, more yellow cast — are clearly defined.

Mother of George,” which like “12 Years a Slave” opens on Friday, takes place in modern-day Brooklyn, not the candlelit world of 19th-century Louisiana. But, like “12 Years a Slave,” its black stars and supporting players are exquisitely lit, their blue-black skin tones sharply contrasting with the African textiles they wear to create a vibrant tableau of textures and hues.

“Mother of George” and “12 Years a Slave” are just the most recent in a remarkable run of films this year by and about African Americans, films that range in genre from the urban realism of “Fruitvale Station” and light romantic comedy of “Baggage Claim” to the high-gloss historic drama of “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” and the evocatively gritty pot comedy “Newlyweeds.” The diversity of these films isn’t reflected just in their stories and characters, but in the wide range of skin tones they represent, from the deepest ebonies to the creamiest caramels.

The fact that audiences are seeing such a varied, nuanced spectrum of black faces isn’t just a matter of poetics, but politics — and the advent of digital filmmaking. For the first hundred years of cinema, when images were captured on celluloid and processed photochemically, disregard for black skin and its subtle shadings was inscribed in the technology itself, from how film-stock emulsions and light meters were calibrated, to the models used as standards for adjusting color and tone.

That embedded racism extended into the aesthetics of the medium itself, which from its very beginnings was predicated on the denigration and erasure of the black body. As far back as “The Birth of a Nation” — in which white actors wearing blackface depicted Reconstruction-era blacks as wild-eyed rapists and corrupt politicians — the technology and grammar of cinema and photography have been centered on the unspoken assumption that their rightful subjects would be white.

The result was that, if black people were visible at all, their images would often be painfully caricatured (see Hattie McDaniel in “Gone With the Wind”) or otherwise distorted, either ashy and washed-out or featureless points of contrast within the frame. As “12 Years a Slave” director Steve McQueen said in Toronto after the film’s premiere there, “I remember growing up and seeing Sidney Poitier sweating next to Rod Steiger in ‘In the Heat of the Night,’ and obviously [that was because] it’s very hot in the South. But also he was sweating because he had tons of light thrown on him, because the film stock wasn’t sensitive enough for black skin.”

Montré Aza Missouri, an assistant professor in film at Howard University, recalls being told by one of her instructors in London that “if you found yourself in the ‘unfortunate situation’ of shooting on the ‘Dark Continent,’ and if you’re shooting dark-skinned people, then you should rub Vaseline on their skin in order to reflect light. It was never an issue of questioning the technology.” In her classes at Howard, Missouri says, “I talk to my students about the idea that the tools used to make film, the science of it, are not racially neutral.”

Missouri reminds her students that the sensors used in light meters have been calibrated for white skin; rather than resorting to the offensive Vaseline solution, they need to manage the built-in bias of their instruments, in this case opening their cameras’ apertures one or two stops to allow more light through the lens. Filmmakers working with celluloid also need to take into account that most American film stocks weren’t manufactured with a sensitive enough dynamic range to capture a variety of dark skin tones. Even the female models whose images are used as reference points for color balance and tonal density during film processing — commonly called “China Girls” — were, until the mid-1990s, historically white.

In the face of such technological chauvinism, filmmakers have been forced to come up with workarounds, including those lights thrown on Poitier and a variety of gels, scrims and filters. But today, such workarounds have been rendered virtually obsolete by the advent of digital cinematography, which allows filmmakers much more flexibility both in capturing images and manipulating them during post-production.

Cinematographer Anastas Michos recalls filming “Freedomland” with Julianne Moore and Samuel L. Jackson, whose dramatically different complexions presented a challenge when they were in the same shot. “You had Julianne Moore, who has minus pigment in her skin, and Sam, who’s a dark-skinned guy. It was a photographic challenge to bring out the undertones in both of them.”

Michos solved the problem during a phase of post-production called the digital intermediate, during which the film print is digitized, then manipulated and fine-tuned. “You’re now able to isolate specific skin tones in terms of both brightness and color,” says Michos, who also shot “Baggage Claim,” “Jumping the Broom” and “Black Nativity,” due out later this year. “It gives you a little bit more flexibility in terms of how you paint the frame.”

Daniel Patterson, who shot “Newlyweeds” on a digital Red One camera, agrees, noting that on a recent shoot for Spike Lee’s “Da Blood of Jesus,” he was able to photograph black actors of dramatically different skin tones in a nighttime interior scene using just everyday house lamps, thanks to a sophisticated digital camera. “I just changed the wattage of the bulb, used a dimmer, and I didn’t have to use any film lights. That kind of blew me away,” Patterson says. “The camera was able to hold both of them during the scene without any issues.”

The multicultural realities films increasingly reflect go hand in hand with the advent of technology that’s finally able to capture them with accuracy and sensitivity. And on the forefront of this new vanguard is cinematographer and Howard University graduate Bradford Young , the latest in a long line of Howard alums — including Ernest Dickerson, Arthur Jafa and Malik Sayeed — who throughout the 1990s deployed the means of production to bring new forms of lyricism, stylization and depth to filmed images of African Americans….

MSM Coverage of Obama Biased Negatively

News coverage of President Obama is biased towards the negative, explaining why he is having such a difficult time getting his message across, or getting credit for the accomplishments of his Administration. This isn’t the first time this has happened. If you will remember back to the 2000 Presidential Election cycle, the MSM all but crowned Bush President 11 months BEFORE the actual election. The MSM spent a lot of time tossing Bush softball questions and giving him the benefit of the doubt.

They are doing it again, this time in support of a stable of Republican mental midgets and moral degenerates who, under no circumstance could be considered “Presidential material”. It is time to fight back, at least for fair media coverage.

 

Study finds harsh media coverage for Obama

President Obama “has suffered the most unrelentingly negative treatment” of all presidential candidates over the past five months, according to a study released Monday from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.

Pew found that Mr. Obama was the subject of negative assessments nearly four times as often as he was the subject of positive assessments. It found he received “positive” coverage nine percent of the time, “neutral” coverage 57 percent of the time and “negative” coverage 34 percent of the time.

The study, which was conducted using a combination of “traditional media research methods [and] computer algorithms to track the level and tone of coverage,” cuts against the widespread conservative claim that the “liberal media” aides Mr. Obama and other Democrats while attacking Republicans.

Pew says it looked at coverage from more than 11,500 news outlets, including local and national broadcasts, news websites and blogs.

Mr. Obama’s negative coverage could be explained in part by the fact that he is “covered largely as president rather than a candidate,” Pew said – and coverage of him is linked to the struggling economy.

Among the Republican presidential candidates, Pew found that Rick Perry has received the most positive coverage of all the candidates, with 32 percent positive coverage. He was followed by Sarah Palin (31 percent), Michele Bachmann (31 percent), Herman Cain (28 percent) and Mitt Romney (26 percent.) Palin, a vocal critic of the media, ultimately decided not to seek the GOP nomination.

Perry had the best ratio of any candidate, with 32 percent positive coverage to 20 percent negative coverage, a 12 percent net positive ratings in terms of coverage. He was followed by Palin (with 9 percent net positive coverage), Bachmann (8 percent net positive), Cain (5 percent net positive), Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman (both with 4 percent net positive coverage.) Pew found that Cain surged in positive coverage starting in late August – even before he did so in the polls.

The only candidate who received more negative coverage than Mr. Obama was Newt Gingrich, whom Pew found was the subject of negative coverage 35 percent of the time. That can be attrubited in part to his early stumbles, including his criticism of the House GOP Medicare plan and the decision by top staffers to abandom Gingrich’s campaign. While Pew found that Mr. Obama received just nine percent positive coverage, however, Gingrich received 15 percent positive coverage.

The candidates with the worst coverage ratio were Mr. Obama (25 percent net negative coverage), Gingrich (20 percent net negative), Rick Santorum (3 percent net negative) and Mitt Romney (1 percent net negative.)

As Politico’s Keach Hagey notes, Pew found that Mr. Obama had widely positive media coverage during his first 100 days in office, with 42 percent positive coverage and 20 percent negative coverage.

The Not so Sting – At NPR

I watched this video, which is currently making the right wing outrage circuit – and I find it hard to be upset at the NPR executives.

They are telling the truth. The Tea Party is racist. The best thing that could happen is for NPR to be able to get off of the small subsidy provided by the Government. And quite frankly, I see no difference between the Republican Party today, and what the Republicans accuse the Muslim Brotherhood of.  Simply domestic terrorism versus the threat of foreign terrorism.

Indeed,  being a businessman who doesn’t like my time being wasted – I feel that NPR should sue Mr O’Keefe and Veritas for wasting their executives time. NPR is probably too chickenshit to do it – which is the problem in this country. The forces of fairness, progressivism, and any sort of intellectual honesty in this country aren’t smacking these right wing scumbags in the teeth with a 2 x 4 …

Yet. Although Wisconsin is becoming a shining beacon of hope.

Insofar as the Jewish owned or influenced media in this country, that is true. It isn’t an evil thing, or a bad thing – it is a minority which has been very successful at advancing their issues and supporting their ideas relative to Israel. You want to change that view to more pro-Islamic, or pro China, or pro anything – then you have to invest in American Media – whether through training and developing higher caliber news people and reporters, or by buying networks like Faux to propagandize whatever you want to sell as Murdoch did.

It’s one of the reasons Russia TV and Al Jazeera are now more trusted names worldwide than any of the American News media. Our Media is for sale to the highest bidder, often to say whatever they are paid to say, courtesy of Faux.

I think the folks quitting their jobs at NPR is utterly bullshit – and wish they would stand up to this type of sleazy blackmail.

The Sno’ Ho’ Goes Through Withdrawal…

Funny!

On the Right Wing’s Latest Defense of Assasination

I don’t see Obama supporters coming to political meetings “strapped“.

I don’t see Liberals going to a Presidential Town Hall carrying guns.

Nor do I see ANY Democrat politician talking about “Second Amendment Remedies” in the event of losing an election.

Nor do I see armed Democrats “protesting” at the front door of any Tea Party or Republican Politician’s office.

I don’t see any Democrat talking about “secession” as Governor Rick Perry, Representative Zach Wamp (TN),  and others have openly spouted (and we all know what happened the last time they tried that one!).

We don’t have Liberals blowing away cops on the street because of something they heard on Rachel Maddow like they did on Glenn Beck. or here withAlex Jones and Glenn Beck.

You don’t have Liberals flying airplanes into Federal Offices to protest the Government.

You don’t have Liberals blowing up Federal Offices, including Day Care Centers and killing 162 people.

You don’t have Liberals mailing Anthrax to only conservative news people and Republican Congressmen and Senators.

You don’t have Liberals setting out to kill 108 people and to assasinate the President, or

Blowing away museum guards, or…

Plotting to mass murder police.

You don’t have a single case of a Liberal shooting a right wing Congressman or Senator – or even trying (thank God).

Now us Liberals telling the truth in calling conservatives “stupid”, and “hypocrits” may hurt conservatives minuscule, fragile manhood like hell, but it hardly rises to the level of threat to life and limb boradcast daily on one or more conservative media outlets – nor the sort of threats endured by many liberal bloggers on a day to day basis.

You conservatives enjoy having that 9 Year Old girl’s blood on your hands? Because if you don’t…

WTF are you defending this isht?

Buckdancing and obfuscation about the real issue – which was caused by the way by your “hero”…

“saint” Raygun.

Raygun?

Who shut down the public mental health facilities and dumped thousand of mentally ill on the streets?

Who, by doing so made it damn near impossible to commit folks like the Arizona assassin and the guy who took so many lives at Virginia Tech?

And lastly…

Who makes it impossible to prevent these sort of whack-jobs from buying guns?

It ain’t Liberals.

Another Black Woman Disappearance – Ignored By the Media

They are still searching for the body of a blonde teen murdered in Aruba – 3 years later. News of her disappearance riveted the mainstream media for nearly a year.

Black teen disappears over Christmas… The local News barely picks it up.

Don’t even mention the National News and MSM.

Police: National Media Needed in Search for Teen

Phylicia Barnes, a 16-year-old North Carolina girl who disappeared while visiting relatives in Baltimore, may have met with foul play, police say.

 

Authorities in Maryland are stepping up efforts to locate Phylicia Barnes, a 16-year-old North Carolina girl who disappeared while visiting relatives inBaltimore. But a local police official said the national media need to take note of the case.

“We are doing everything we can,” Baltimore police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told AOL News, noting that more than 35 detectives are working on the case, as well as two teams from the FBI.

“We would really like the national outlets to help us out here, so if somebody sees her in Missouri, they are able to alert authorities quickly,” Guglielmi continued. “It has been incredibly frustrating for me. We’ve been pitching this since the 29th [and] have not gotten any traction. This case is no different than the Natalee Holloway case. The only difference is Phylicia is from North Carolina, she went missing in Baltimore and she is African-American.”

Guglielmi added, “I just think if we could get America just to see her picture — that is all we are asking — maybe that will lead detectives to a break and save this young lady’s life.”

Phylicia lives in Monroe, N.C., but was visiting relatives in Baltimore. She was last seen around 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 28, when she left the apartment of her 27-year-old half-sister, Deena Barnes. According to relatives, Phylicia told her sister she was going shopping.

What happened to the teenager next remains a mystery, police said.

“Time is working against us,” Guglielmi said. “She has been missing 10 days. … This is not a runaway. We suspect some type of foul play. The question is, What kind of foul play?”

Investigators are preparing to examine video footage and process additional search warrants in the case, police said.

“We got some new footage [from] an apartment complex in the area, so we are reviewing that,” Guglielmi said. “We are continuing interrogations, [and] we have a couple more search warrants and things to process.”

Family members have described Phylicia as a straight-A student who was to graduate early from Union Academy in Monroe and planned to go to Towson University in Maryland. Her father, Russell Barnes, has said it is out of character for her to take off without notifying someone.

There has been no activity on any of Phylicia’s social-networking accounts, and police say her cell phone has been turned off since the day of her disappearance.

Authorities are looking at two possible scenarios in the case, Guglielmi said. The first is that someone in the Baltimore area did “something terrible to her.” The second is that she was abducted and taken elsewhere, he said.

Anyone who had contact with Phylicia in the hours leading up to her disappearance is considered a person of interest, police said. According to Guglielmi, Phylicia’s half-sister’s lifestyle makes the potential suspect pool large and difficult to narrow down.

“[Phylicia's] sister is college-age, and she had a lot of friends coming in and out,” he said. “I would describe it probably like a dorm room setting. They party, maybe do a little drinking, [but] there is no activity there that concerned us — no illicit drug use or sex parties or anything ridiculous. She was just a young lady with a lot of friends, [and] that makes our job difficult.”

Authorities have conducted interviews with all of the individuals whom they know were present at the apartment on the day Phylicia went missing. They are now interviewing those individuals again to see if their stories are consistent, police said.

Investigators have also served a search warrant at the half-sister’s apartment. Items of interest have since been sent to the FBI lab in Quantico, Va.

“We have taken out pieces of bedding and pieces of flooring, but we haven’t gotten any smoking gun in terms of the case,” Guglielmi said. “A couple more evidentiary things have to be processed, but it is a bit frustrating for detectives because usually you are guided by some kind of physical evidence, and in this case, so far we haven’t been able to find anything.”

The FBI’s Baltimore branch confirmed to AOL News that it is assisting in the investigation.

“We have a unit here in Baltimore called the Crimes Against Children Unit, which is assisting the Baltimore police homicide unit in trying to locate Ms. Barnes,” Special Agent Rich Wolf said.

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