Mediate breaks down all the different important stories Al Jazeera America squeezed into the 14 minute space rival network CNN devoted to it’s ongoing obsession with the missing Malaysian airliner yesterday. Check it out and be angry.

There was a time when broadcasting news was the responsibility of  every network in exchange for their free use of the public airwaves. It technically still is. The networks have to devote a certain amount of their broadcast day to “news,” but over the years the definition of that word has changed dramatically. These days, even on channels supposedly devoted to the cause, news is just fact-based entertainment. Drama and attention getting headlines win out over thoughtful analysis of difficult to digest but vital information. Why talk about the ins and outs of policy debates in Washington when you can glue your audience to the tube with breathless speculation on a missing airplane?

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Game of Thrones came back last night after “the episode” wherein Jaime raped Cersei. As expected, she put him right in his place after what he did to her, her pain clear on her face, her order for him to seek out and kill Sansa plainly clear. But the show continues to want us to like Jaime, as he then sends out Brienne to find and protect Sansa.

Rather than go over the show’s plot, which no one is going to read unless they saw the episode already, I’ll point you to the New York Times’ recap, which is far more detailed than I could write.  

I’d rather address a call to boycott the show by a reader. When pigs fly I would call for a boycott. Why aren’t you standing up for rape, the reader asked.  My answer, in short, because A) it’s a TV show and that is the choice of the artists to dictate how that goes. We are entitled to our opinions on what occurred. But to call for a boycott is to dictate how a show must deliver that content and to me that’s akin to fascism of a kind. So, no. B) calling for a boycott of Game of Thrones does not address whatsoever real world rape, either rape culture or rape, sexual violence, sexual exploitation or any of the real world problems that occur with extreme regularity all over the world every second of the day. I would be ashamed to put my fear and concerned on that one scene in Game of Thrones and shame on anyone else who does.

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While you were all busy thinking about something else the FCC made the tragic (even if inevitable) decision to allow ISP providers, or content providers, who pay more to give speedier access to customers. That is really how they are describing it to people. So you might think, hey great! I can pay for faster download speeds for my streaming content. Here in America what we really want is to be plugged into our various pleasure devices as the world literally collapses around us. But that is who we have become. That is what we are. So no one is going to protest this if they actually want this change to take effect. But those of us who have become comfortable with the freedom of choice – the freedom of speech – the equal access for all just lost big. Really big. What’s depressing about this? How few people give a shit. The only way to stop this if people get mad. Really mad. Like protesting with signs and pitchforks mad. Is that going to happen? I doubt it. Maybe Anonymous or 4Chan can do some serious damage to block this or protest this. But other than that, Americans don’t give a damn.

From Mother Jones:

The Federal Communications Commission plans to propose new open Internet rules on Thursday that would allow content companies to pay Internet service providers for special access to consumers, according to a person familiar with the proposal.

The proposed rules would prevent the service providers from blocking or discriminating against specific websites, but would allow broadband providers to give some traffic preferential treatment, so long as such arrangements are available on “commercially reasonable” terms for all interested content companies. Whether the terms are commercially reasonable would be decided by the FCC on a case-by-case basis.

…The FCC’s proposal would allow some forms of discrimination while preventing companies from slowing down or blocking specific websites, which likely won’t satisfy all proponents of net neutrality, the concept that all Internet traffic should be treated equally. The Commission has also decided for now against reclassifying broadband as a public utility, which would subject ISPs to much greater regulation. However, the Commission has left the reclassification option on the table at present.

So Google and Microsoft and Netflix and other large, well-capitalized incumbents will pay for speedy service. Smaller companies that can’t—or that ISPs just aren’t interested in dealing with—will get whatever plodding service is left for everyone else. ISPs won’t be allowed to deliberately slow down traffic from specific sites, but that’s about all that’s left of net neutrality. Once you’ve approved the notion of two-tier service, it hardly matters whether you’re speeding up some of the sites or slowing down others.

This might have been inevitable, for both legal and commercial reasons. But that doesn’t mean we have to like it.

This is simply not right. The blocking of sites they say won’t be allowed? That’s coming next. This is a slippery slope and once the freedom is controlled by money the freedom ends.

Sign a petition if you can. Have a fit publicly. DO SOMETHING.

Here are a few things you can do:

Write to the FCC and tell them you simply do not accept any action that hinders, controls or limits the freedom available on the internet:

Go here

This site has a lot of useful action you can take as a citizen to prevent this from happening.

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I’ve just about had it with the internet. I used to think, wow it’s so great that there are so many young strong voices protesting things that matter. I used to think that the youth’s collective outrage over things like sexual assault and racism was a good thing. But what it has turned into, what it is in danger of becoming is about as helpful to the collective well being of people overall that driving a hybrid SUV does for the economy. You see, this outrage at Stephen Colbert, for instance, or the worst of these – Lena Dunham – or now, Game of Thrones reminds me of the tragedy that online discourse has become. You see, none of it means anything. None of it changes anything. None of it helps anyone anywhere. These are examples of people who really have too much time on their hands because no one has yet tuned them into the real problems — the devastating station of many real life issues here on the planet earth. Every time one of these controversies, so-called, bubbles up I want to put my head through a plate glass window.
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“The police do terrible things to people, with impunity.” These are the words from Rust (McCoanughey) in episode two of the HBO series. That is probably the key to the whole thing.

If you have watched the show up to the last episode, coming Sunday, some of the things I’m about to write might make sense. Otherwise, they could be a spoiler depending on what it is you’re looking for. True Detective is not a typical television show where things happen that can get spoiled – unless you’re talking about episodes 4 and 5 where the filmmaking itself is so surprising knowing anything about it going in could be a spoiler. But I don’t think either of those episodes have much to do with how the story turns out.

All of the clues you need to figuring out the plot is is, according to writer/creator Nic Pizzolatto. After watching the episodes many times and going back to episode one there are a few things worth noting.

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It’s the heat of Oscar season and all anyone can talk about is House of Cards and True Detective. When did it become all about TV? It’s hard to say when but television has provided a global community in ways that film can’t quite match. David Fincher’s Netflix series House of Cards has revolutionized how production companies roll out TV shows but it has done more than that. Not only does House of Cards offer a seamless array of diverse cast members – women, African Americans, Asians – it does this without breaking a sweat, proving that it really is about how minds open and close that determines casting, not a white-centric ticket-buying audience or television viewership. Moreover, two of the episodes from House of Cards Season 2, are directed by women – Jodie Foster and Robin Wright. The strongest characters on the show are easily the women. Anyone who binge-watched the show recognizes this – and not girly women, straight up, strong, adult women.

While it’s true that television affords that luxury more than film – the power center isn’t determined, as is the Oscar race, by a mostly oldish, white male consensus. Television is more democratic. Film relies only on the box office numbers, particularly opening weekend. House of Cards, for instant, is simply not beholden to that crippling restriction. Art is flourishing on television. It is dying on film, where the box office is being driven only by big effects movies, dumb comedies, and the occasional Oscar movie. There are directors who are still making vital films worth seeing but a dumbed American public buying tickets on opening weekend should not be the determining factor is what kinds of films Hollywood makes. And yet…it is.
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