Tag Archives: media

Episode 31 – Hands off Russia… Today!


Released: 26 Jan. 2015

On this installment of TLD, we have a go at the overlords of cable television as Time Warner Cable has kicked off Russia Today from its program listing. We debate current topics about Russia, including the current economic war resulting from American sanctions, why we need a multipolar world (and media), the possibility of thermonuclear repercussions, and other babblings as we salute one of our favorite news stations.

Music: Dickriding Obama, Boondocks (Season 3)


Letter to TimeWarner Cable: Bring Back Russia Today!


Dear TLD readers,

Please feel free to join my cause, you can email Time Warner here.

-Mike B


Dear Whom It May Concern,

I came home for the holidays and was looking forward to watching some Russia Today news at my parents’ and was disappointed (but not surprised) to find it’s no longer on TV.

This is not just a normal channel request. I work in the news industry full time. I’ve worked at NBC Studios in NY, I’ve worked for smaller independent newspapers and we (a co-editor and I) have our own website now. Having worked across the spectrum of mainstream and alternative media, I understand full-well there is often a great void, filled with special interests and money, between reality and the headlines for most big corporate news.

You don’t have to be a media insider to figure out that most media is relatively conglomerated these days, not just with other media but other industries altogether. For example NBC is owned by General Electric (maker of military hardware and a Wall Street hedge fund), and the rest of the big media are owned by News Corp or Viacom or something of that sort. Even most small local papers fall into the web.

I have found Russia Today to be largely an exception to the rule. Yes I am well aware RT is a Russian station, state funded even (so is US media via bailout money in 2008 for example). For some odd reason, they seem to relatively on par with American alternative media, the kind that’s less tied down by special interests and money.

Especially in light of today’s recent events (Ukraine violence, low oil prices and more), isn’t it more important than ever to get both sides of the great divide that separates US and Russian policy?

To say politics had nothing to do with the dropping of this channel would be terribly naive, no one who pays attention believes that. Again I know this isn’t your typical request for another channel, this is not about entertainment this is about having an informed public, and you reading this email are a gatekeeper. Please just try to bring it back, make some calls, pass this email to your superiors. And of course, hank you for your time,


Michael Bielawski

PS: Here is a link to some more background info here.

FAA Bans All Non-Emergency Aircraft Over Ferguson


Police lock down a neighborhood, refusing to let people leave on August 11, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. [IMAGE: SCOTT OLSON/GETTY IMAGES]


The FAA on Tuesday imposed a temporary flight restriction over Ferguson, Missouri, where clashes between law enforcement and residents have been going on for days after a police officer shot and killed an unarmed teenager over the weekend.

FAA Ferguson Ban

A map released by the FAA shows the area affected by a recent NOTAM banning low-flying aircraft over Ferguson, Missouri (the red circle). [IMAGE: FAA]

St. Louis County Police spokesperson Brian Shellman told Mashable the department’s commanders requested the ban “for safety” after their police helicopter “came under fire on Monday night.”

However journalists covering the shooting of teen Michael Brown were quick to criticize the ban. Some saw it as an attempted media blackout, meant to prevent news helicopters from filming over Ferguson.

FAA says flight restriction over Ferguson which hinder news coverage is “TO PROVIDE A SAFE ENVIRONMENT FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ACTIVITIES.”

— Tom Winter (@Tom_Winter) August 12, 2014

So reporters can’t walk behind police riot lines or photograph them from above, either?https://t.co/OduLXFYH53

— Matt Pearce (@mattdpearce) August 12, 2014

“We know that perception is going to be out there (shutting out the media),” Shellman toldArs Technica’s Cyrus Farivar. “But it’s really for the safety of pilots.”

Reporters in Ferguson have faced increasing difficulties covering the unrest there. Police have told journalists to leave the area, and some have reported police refusing their entry entirely.

A line of police cars with high beams on greets anyone trying to enter #Ferguson. It’s shut down. No media allowed. pic.twitter.com/pPE2m4G0UQ

— Antonio French (@AntonioFrench) August 12, 2014

Antonio French, an alderman of the 21st Ward in St. Louis and a prominent live-tweeter of the Ferguson protests, tweeted, “A line of police cars with high beams on greets anyone trying to enter Ferguson. It’s shut down. No media allowed.”

And on Monday, some journalists who entered the fray were met with tear gas and rubber bullets.

Police shooting rubber bullets at crowd, including reporters and photographers.#Ferguson

— Julie Bosman (@juliebosman) August 12, 2014

Police reportedly told Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowrey to move out of the way. “Your last warning,” they said. “You’re putting lives at risk.”

Eventually officers charged again. Handful reporters/photogs threatened if we didn’t move.

“Your last warning, you’re putting lives at risk”

— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) August 12, 2014

The temporary flight restriction (TFR) bans all aircraft (aside from first responders) at a height up to 3,000 feet and a radius of 3 nautical miles around the city. It will remain in place through 8 p.m. UTC on Aug. 18, the FAA said.

Shellman confirmed that the FAA’s restriction does include media helicopters. He also saidthe police could “request an early termination” should the situation on the ground allow it.

However, bans like these aren’t uncommon during times of disaster or unrest. The FAA enacted a similar ban over the site of the explosions towards the end of the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013.