mansworld.not

Bringing Men and Women back together...before it too late. An exploration of why men have come to manage the world, why they do such a terrible job of it, and what we can do about it while there is still time. Religion, politics, media, art -- are all grist for this mill.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

STRATEGY MEMO TO PROGRESSIVES AND DEMOCRATS

STRATEGY MEMO TO PROGRESSIVES AND DEMOCRATS

Reframing the abortion debate:

Protecting corporate profits vs. protecting the unborn

The Fetus and Child Protection Act

Objectives: Use Federal legislation and state ballot measures to achieve the following:

  • Reframe the abortion debate as protecting corporate profits vs. protecting the unborn
  • Establish unwanted pregnancy as the cause of abortion
  • Establish Democrats as the moral leaders of the nation fighting to reduce abortions
  • Brand Republicans as secretly increasing the number of abortions because they are pro-corporate and anti-unborn
  • Drive a powerful wedge between Republican’s corporate backers and their religious constituency
  • Clarify a new Democratic position that is neither pro or anti-abortion, but pro-fetus, pro-child, pro-family and pro-women
  • Muddy the Partial Birth Abortion debate and make it backfire on conservatives
  • Put Republican candidates for Congress on the defensive, forcing them to vote against legislation designed to reduce abortions in order to protect tax breaks for their wealthy backers
  • Set up long term transfers from the Federal budget to traditional Democratic constituencies of teachers, midwives, nurses, and trial lawyers
  • Defund current Federal programs supporting covert programs to recruit young people into conservative causes
  • Defund current Federal programs supporting religious right organizations attacking the right to choose
  • Rally progressive mainstream Protestant churches to get involved in political debate on the Democratic side in a legal manner
  • Defund current Federal programs seeking to extend US anti-choice policy overseas
  • Block Federally funded religious right wing programs to take over schools and hospitals

Strategy

1. Generate a grass-roots groundswell of support for a Progressive position on the unborn and children that bypasses the religious abortion debate by highlighting unwanted pregnancy as the real cause of abortion and demands an end to Federal programs and tax and budget policies that cause abortions by encouraging unwanted pregnancies.

2. Provide grant and campaign funds to support the strategy. Progressive funders establish a campaign funding and grants program to:

  • Provide campaign support to Democrats and Republicans who will co-sign and introduce the Fetus and Child Protection Act
  • Provide grants to progressive think tanks to produce reports proving that it is unwanted pregnancies that lead to abortions, and that Federal and religious programs restricting access to birth control and full reproductive health information and services, including D&X, are driving the number of abortions.
  • Contract with a public relations agency to promote the reports and smear opposing pundits and politicians as anti-fetus, anti-child
  • Introduce the Act with a great deal of fanfare, hopefully with some Republican support, and a behind the scenes agreement to accept no amendments
  • Focus the introduction publicity on the recognition of unwanted pregnancy as the cause of abortions, and the shift of revenues from corporate and wealthy tax cuts to protecting wanted pregnancies and children
  • Label all opposition as in favor of tax cuts for rich corporations instead of funds to protect the unborn; drive home the belief: legislators must decide between greedy companies and the unborn position
  • Fund a non profit staff with religious contacts to work with mainline Protestant Churches to provide from the pulpit support for the Act
  • Launch a public support campaign led by religious leaders but fueled in part by VPR’s and paid media; concentrate heavily on the South and Midwest to undercut Republican strength, especially in populist leaning states like Kansas (!)

3. Fund the launch of state ballot measures to assert that unwanted pregnancy is the root cause of abortion and roll back state programs that encourage unwanted pregnancy, like abstinence only education, and transferring corporate welfare programs to pre-natal care programs. These ballot measures will be written to brand Republican candidates as pro-corporate/anti-the unborn and position Democrats as the champions of the unborn and children in the face of corporate opposition.

Polling support for strategy of transferring the blame for abortions to corporations.

The Gallup Annual Values poll shows that Republicans and Democrats are 10 -20 points apart on questions of abortion, but the Barna Group annual poll of who do you trust, shows that they are almost exactly even in their extreme distrust of major corporate executives (only 4% of Democrats and 8% of Republicans reported they trust major corporate executives).

The FCPA utilizes these findings by building on Republican rank and file distrust of corporate executives, and by building on the one issue that Democrats and Republican rank and file agree on – corporate greed and corruption. The FCPA does not try to change attitudes; it reinforces existing attitudes. By doing this, it will create an opening for Democrats and Republicans to agree on an abortion position that puts the blame where it belongs – on Federal programs and tax policies that deny resources to women who want to carry their fetus to term and to families that want raise healthy children. Denied contraceptive information and even pills in some cases, and faced with poverty and fear, Federal policies drive women to abortions in order to protect corporate wealth. Instead of being the fault of liberals, abortion gets blamed on greedy corporations and superrich executives.

Wedge Issue

The amounts of funding in the bill are purposely extreme, on the order of the defense budget. This forces a showdown on priorities, and if successful (not likely, but that is not the point) will change the nation’s budget priorities for a decade and demand and end to tax giveaways to companies and wealthy investors. This will force Republican Congressional Reps, especially in states that are hurting financially, to choose between their corporate paymasters and the rank and file in the pews. No mater how hard they try to say it is the liberals’ fault, the distrust of corporate executives, combined with the framing of the issues as corporate greed vs. protecting the unborn, enough moderate and even religious Republicans will see the connection to demand they make the touch choice. We can only hope they stick with their corporate friends.

Democrats will be insulated from this by funds provided through the FPCA campaign PAC set up by Democratic donors, designed specifically to make up the threatened loss of corporate campaign money for Democrats who agree to support the bill. The Republicans can also do this, but we will be ahead of them…it will be too late because we will accuse them of protecting tax cuts for runaway companies instead of the unborn.

Finally, extract an agreement from all Democratic and Progressive players that they will:

  • Support the strategy without reservation
  • Not criticize or try to change the legislation or ballot measures
  • Not criticize other Democrats or even Republicans supporting the bill
  • Not nitpick positions or argue about the bill , the strategy, the coalitions, the progress of the program

Friday, June 17, 2005

The Fetus and Child Protection Act: a Democratic tool to fight Republican assaults on women

NOTE: This is a conceptual draft of a piece of legislation designed to divide the conservatives two major constituencies...people of faith and global corporations, put Republican's on the defensive on the abortion issue, give Democrats a platform to regain the high moral ground, and deepen support from women. It grew out of a question on Daily Kos and a string on Ruth's Group. It similar to but goes much farther than "prevention is the first step" legislation.




THE FETUS AND CHILD PROTECTION ACT

A draft conceptual bill for consideration by Democrats

Section 1. Purpose.

The purpose of the FCPA is to protect the unborn and provide every woman with all possible options to nurture her wanted fetus and bring it to term, give it a safe and healthy birth, and insure that every child is loved, desired and provided with the necessary physical, moral and spiritual sustenance to develop into a happy and productive American.

Section 2. Reproductive services to protect the sanctity of life

The FPCA provides funds for 10 years for pregnancy counseling, reproductive health services, pre-natal, post natal, early childhood education, maternity leave, paternity leave, and child care services.

(a) Pregnancy counseling

The FCPA provides funds in the amount of $10 billion per year for 10 years to public hospitals and clinics, operated by city, county and state governments, to provide men and women, and especially expectant mothers, with comprehensive information on all forms of reproductive health. Information must be provided by a registered nurse or nurses hired by the public hospital or clinic especially for this purpose. Care must be provided by a hospital or clinic employee on site and cannot be subcontracted to other organizations or private consultants. A minimum of one registered nurse must be on staff to provide reproductive information at all times. A registered midwife, hired by the hospital or clinic with funds provided under this act, must be available at all times to assist the reproductive health nurse. All applicable Federal laws must be followed in hiring, including active steps to prevent discrimination on the basis of race, creed, religion, sexual preference, and age. Information must be provided upon request provided to both men and women, who have the right to remain anonymous in their request and in receiving information.

(b) Reproductive health care

The FCPA authorizes $30 billion per year for 10 years will be provided to public hospitals and clinics operated by city, county or state governments to provide full and complete reproductive health services. All services shall be provided by licensed medical doctors, technicians, and registered nurses. Services provided shall be comprehensive, including elective procedures deemed by women and their doctors to be necessary for their health and welfare. Applicants who wish services to be provided anonymously will not be required to provide name-identifiable documentation.

(c). Pharmaceutical intervention to protect the sanctity of life

The FCPA recognizes that access to adequate over- the-counter and prescription medicine is necessary to prevent unwanted pregnancies and to protect the sanctity of life. Therefore, the act requires that pharmacists and other medical drug providers fill all prescriptions for reproductive health care supplies, including, but limited to, birth control pills and devices, morning after pills and injections, and any treatments and drugs prescribed by licensed physicians and midwives to protect the health of a fetus or mother or to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Failure to do so will result in suspension of the pharmacist’s license to dispense drugs, and, if continued, of the business license of any firm employing the offending pharmacist(s). The FCPA authorizes $100 million to enforce this provision through a hotline for complaints, and prosecution of lawbreakers.

(d) Pre-natal care

The FCPA authorizes $25 billion per year for 10 years for pre-natal care to insure the health and welfare of the unborn. Such care will be provided through Federal grants to public hospitals and clinics by licensed physicians and registered nurses and midwives hired in addition to the existing staff of the institution. Applicants may receive such care on request without regard to financial status, age, sexual orientation, or residency. Care must be provided onsite by public hospital and clinic employees; care cannot be contracted out or otherwise provided by non public employees. All Federal laws regarding non-discrimination on the basis race, creed, religion, sexual-orientation and age must be followed in hiring.

(e) Post-natal care

The FCPA authorizes $ 25 billion per year for 10 years for post-natal care to insure the health and welfare of the unborn. Such care will be provided through Federal grants to public hospitals and clinics by licensed physicians and registered nurses and midwives hired in addition to the existing staff of the institution. Applicants may receive such care on request without regard to financial status, age, sexual orientation, or residency. Denial of care, or failure to staff this care as provided in the Act is a felony under Federal law and require the forfeiture of all Federal grants and liability for citizen suits.

Section 3. Education and the spiritual, physical and mental health of children

(a) Early Childhood Education

The FCPA authorizes $50 billion per year for 10 years for early childhood education to insure the spiritual, physical and mental health of all children. Such care will be provided through Federal grants to public schools by licensed teachers hired in addition to the existing staff of the institution. Early childhood education may not be contracted out to non-profit, private, or charter schools. All Federal laws regarding non-discrimination on the basis race, creed, religion, sexual-orientation and age must be followed in hiring.

(b) Maternity and paternity leave

The FCPA recognizes that the spiritual and mental health of children is threatened by pressures on parents that require them to deny time to their children necessary to nurture their minds and values. Thus, the FCPA requires employers to grant paid maternity and paternity leave of no less than 6 month upon request by any mother or father to be. The job of the parent on leave must be retained for the parent and available upon their return. Costs of this leave will be reimbursed through funds authorized by the FCPA to corporations, partnerships, or other business entities with annual income of less than $10 million. Firms with annual incomes in excess of $10 million may apply for reimbursement through a tax deduction

(c). Child care

The FCPA recognizes that the spiritual and mental health of children, and their physical welfare are often compromised by work pressures on parents that unavoidable, but which require children to be left alone. The FCPA authorizes $50 billion a year for 10 years in grants to states, counties, and cities to establish free child care services. Employers who provide in-house child care may deduct the cost from their income taxes. Parents who pay child caretakers may deduct all or a portion of their childcare costs, on a sliding scale with income, from the Federal income taxes.

Section 4. Information and the Sanctity of life

The FCPA finds that unauthorized release of information about a woman, her pregnancy, her doctor or her unborn child may contribute to the unnecessary termination of a wanted pregnancy. Therefore, to protect the sanctity of life, all services are available to applicants, regardless of age, health status, or residency, on an anonymous basis if so requested. All medical providers receiving Federal funds are shielded from subpoenas and other information requests and may not release names of doctors, patients, or their records to public or private agencies, without written permission of the patients and their doctors. Coercion of patients to receive such permission is a felony under this act, punishable as set out in the US Federal Code.

Section 5. Coordination with other Federal Funds and Programs

(a) The FCPA overrides other Federal programs, including the relevant rules and provisions of Department of Education, USAID, the Office of Faith-Based Programs, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Housing and Urban Affairs, the Executive Office, and ………When relevancy is doubt and questioned before a Federal judge, FCPA regulations shall prevail. Programs which provide funds to schools, private organizations, and public bodies that fail to provide full and comprehensive information on birth control, reproductive health, pre-and post natal care, and referrals for all reproductive procedures requested by applicants, are denied Federal funding, technical assistance or support.

(b) The FCPA requires that any medical provider, whether private, public or non profit or which is associated with a public, non profit, faith-based, or for-profit organization that fails to provide full and comprehensive reproductive information and services or referrals to full and comprehensive reproductive services, be declared ineligible for any Federal funds for any program, including those not associated with reproductive health, until they are found in compliance.

(c) Education and protection of the unborn

The FCPA recognizes that unwanted pregnancies often tragically result in unnecessary pregnancy termination. Therefore the Act seeks to eliminate Federal funding or encouragement of activities that encourage or result in unwanted pregnancies, especially those offered by schools and other educational institutions directly or indirectly receiving Federal Funds. The FCPA recognizes that providing men and women with the information and incentives to refrain from actions that lead to unwanted pregnancies is paramount to protecting the sanctity of life. Therefore, the FCPA denies federal funds to any school, educational program or institution, public, private, faith-based, charter or non-profit institution that offers or accepts educational programs that fail to provide information on a full range of contraception and reproductive health measures, or that encourage activities that can reasonably be expected to increase the risk of unwanted pregnancies, or discourage activities that can be reasonably expected to reduce the risk of unwanted pregnancies.

(d) Reproductive rights and protection of the unborn

The FPCA recognizes that a serious cause of unnecessary pregnancy terminations is fear due to a perceived lack of reproductive options, both present and future. The FPCA seeks to provide women with the confidence that all of their present and future reproductive rights and options are preserved in order to encourage them to carry pregnancies to term as often as possible. Therefore, all Federal laws and agency rules that limit a woman’s right to decide herself to or not to carry a fetus to term are superseded by the FPCA. The FPCA is declared in full compliance with the Supreme Court decisions protecting the privacy and rights of women, and especially of expectant mothers. The FPCA eliminates all Federal limits on medical providers who offer services required by women in exercising their constitutional rights, including the right to privacy in tacking actions they feel necessary to protect their fetus or to preserve their options for carrying a future wanted pregnancy to term. Further, the FPCA supersedes state or local legislation that limits a woman’s freedom to decide herself, to or not to carry a fetus to term.

Section 6. Funding for the sanctity of life under balanced budget principles

The FCPA recognizes that providing the described information and services necessary to protect the life of the unborn and insure the spiritual, mental and physical health of all American children, adequate funds must be authorized from the Federal budget, but that such authorizes must be balanced by enhanced revenue from other sources. To accomplish this, the FCPA establishes the Fetus and Child Protection Fund and authorizes that the following revenue streams be dedicated to its programs:

(a) The Runaway Corporate Minimum Tax

The FCPA requires that corporations chartered in the United States, but conducting substantial business or holding profits or assets outside of the United States pay a minimum tax of 5% on all gross revenue, foreign and domestic. Funds derived from this tax will be deposited in the Fetus and Child Protection Fund and used for the purposes specified in this act to protect the unborn and young children .

(b) The Excess Income Surcharge

The FCPA requires that individuals, trusts or partnerships earning in excess of $10 million pre-tax earned and unearned income pay a surcharge of 1% on all pre-tax income. This surcharge cannot be diminished by tax shelters or operating expenses or offset losses. Funds derived from this tax will be deposited in the Fetal and Child Protection Fund and used for the purposes specified in this act to protect the unborn and young children.

(c) The war profits surcharge

The FCPA requires that corporations earning in excess of $50 million in gross revenue from contracts with the Department of Defense or for activities in a zone of active conflict , or in support of United States armed forces or the overt or covert armed forces of another nation or non governmental entity pay a surcharge of 5% on all such pre-tax income. Funds derived from this tax will be deposited in the Fetal and Child Protection Fund and used for the purposes specified in this act to protect the unborn and young children.

Section 7. Redirection of Federal Funds.

All Federal funding, including that provided by the Executive, for programs that offer information on reproduction, childbearing, marriage, or related topics, but which fail to provide full and comprehensive reproductive health information including services made explicitly legal and available by Federal and Supreme Court decisions, will be redirected to FCPA programs and provided to institutions and organizations that meet the criteria of full and comprehensive reproductive information and services.

Section 8. Enforcement: citizen standing

The FPCA provides that, in addition to enforcement actions provided for in the USFC and budgeted for in this Act, any and all citizens have the right to bring action in Federal courts to compel any public, private or not for profit medical provider or educational institution receiving federal funds to provide full and comprehensive reproductive health information and services. Institutions and organizations found in non-compliance will be required to refund all Federal grants received during the standing Congress, and to pay the aggrieved citizen 3 times the cost of litigation, with no limits on the cost of the litigation.

I am back

Sorry to be gone so long. I have been working for Music for America, a great group that holds the promise of delivering eprogressive young people to the polls and of creating a progressive infrastructure....what we need to take back America....and keep it. Check them out at www.musicforamerica.org.

See my next post for the Fetus and Child Protection Act: a Democratic response to Republican assaults on women.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Recruiting Children story not true

I have removed the post "US Military Recruiting 14-year olds" because it turns out it was an April Fool's joke by the original author which was picked up by a newspaper, editied and republished. I was referred to the story after April 1 and tracked it back to the original writer, noting that he sourced it correctly with several sources, which indicated his journalism was good. Unfortunately, he made it up as an April Fool's joke and then forgot to take it down and post an "I fooled you" note. My apologies for any worry caused to readers. A note about the April Fool's joke has also been posted to my other two blogs.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Stop Fake News



Start Change Now -> Stop Fake News: "Please send an email to the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department and ask them to Stop Fake News. "

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Guaranteed - a woman for US President

I am starting an email petition to insure that the next President of the USA is female. The petition will call upon the Democrats to go with a Hillary Clinton and Oprah Winfrey ticket and the Repbulicans to counter with Condi Rice and Elizabeth Dole (or vice versa). The petiton will be set up this week. In the meantime, click here for the Hillary video.

Monday, March 07, 2005

The Truth About TV News: When Opinion Dominates, Everything Becomes Opinion


By David Westin
Columbia Journalism Review

T he anchor changes at NBC and CBS News, combined with the emergence of Fox News, have brought up, again, apocalyptic thoughts about traditional television news. Network news will never be the same. Viewers are turning away from the evening programs. Cable can cover the big events. The Internet is quicker and livelier. All three networks are going the way of the dinosaur.

It will surprise no one that, despite such doomsayers, I see a bright future ahead for network news, a future that can be even brighter than our past. There is a real and present danger, but it's not the changing technology and the increase in news outlets that everyone likes to talk about. To the contrary, I believe the new world offers us exciting opportunities to reach our audiences, as we find ways to deliver news that is available to people when and where they want it. For me, the real danger we face lies not in how we provide the news, but in what we are providing.

As we've watched an explosion in news outlets, we've seen a simultaneous explosion in the opinions being expressed every minute of every day over these "news" outlets. This rush to present opinion is beginning to drown out our reporting of facts. The clash of ideas is moving to center stage, while the search for truth is being pushed into the wings.

There are powerful business reasons for the embrace we're seeing of opinion journalism on TV. It's vivid, it's entertaining, and - let's face it - it's less expensive than reporting out a difficult story. Opinion offers a quick, efficient, and effective way to attract an audience in a cluttered world.

Seeking to report the factual truth of a matter, on the other hand, can be hard work, expensive, and inefficient. It requires developing or hiring reporters who truly know what they're reporting about. It requires following leads that may go nowhere. The emphasis on opinion is therefore understandable. But I have two concerns about where we are headed.

First, and perhaps most obvious, the more we fill up our reports with opinion, the less time we have for reporting facts. It's all well and good, for example, to have people who know what they're talking about give their views, for example, about whether we're doing what we should be doing to make our ports safer. But before we get to that discussion, shouldn't we spend some time finding out what security and risks already exist at U.S. ports? It may be interesting to hear a heated debate about health care in the United States, but shouldn't we know where we stand now, what the future is likely to hold, and what the options might be? Emphasizing opinion to the exclusion of factual reporting undermines the very value of the opinions being expressed. Opinion is interesting - and valuable - only if it is based on facts.

There's a second, far more disturbing, problem with the expansion of opinion in television news. It can create the impression among the audience that everything they're seeing is an expression of someone's opinion. Many outlets fail to do a good job of distinguishing between opinion and fact. As a result, audiences see people who look like one another on sets that look alike with similar graphics either expressing strong opinions or reporting the facts. Is it any wonder that the audience starts to believe that it's all the same?

Unless we're careful, we who are charged with reporting the news could lose sight of truth as our ultimate goal. We could end up in a world where, implicitly, none of us - not the audience and not the reporters - even believe any longer in the truth.

This may seem a radical - even a ridiculous - suggestion. How could it be that we would give up our belief in the truth? But look at some of the reporting we see on television today. Increasingly, some reporters don't even ask whether something is true or false. They jump over this basic question and go straight to an analysis of who's doing the talking and why. What is their affiliation? What hidden motive may they have for saying what they're saying? It's all about strategy and the political game rather than the facts underlying a debate.

Take, for example, the much-publicized Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. When their advertisements hit the airwaves last August, there was enormous media coverage of what they said, followed quickly by a thorough examination of who these people were and what motives they had, and then by comments from the Kerry campaign. But whether or not one agreed with the group's ultimate conclusions about Senator John Kerry, here was someone asserting claims of fact - claims that are susceptible to being proven right or wrong. Yet how much of the media attention was directed to the basic question: Were the accounts of what happened in Vietnam thirty-five years ago true or false?

The question of whether anyone can discern the "truth" about what happened thirty-five years ago - or even what is happening today - is one that has occupied philosophers for years. But as interesting as that academic question may be, those of us in network news don't have the luxury of giving up on our goal of truth-telling.

A different example comes from ABC News: one year after President Bush declared the end of major hostilities in Iraq, Nightline devoted an entire program to reading the names of American service personnel killed to that point. Here there was no dispute about the facts. These men and women had all given their lives in the continuing Iraq hostilities. The idea, while powerful, was not entirely original. Life magazine had done something similar in the 1960s when it published the pictures of American service people killed during a single week in Vietnam.

When we announced we would be doing this, we were immediately greeted with a chorus of skepticism and criticism from people who claimed we were motivated by antiwar sentiment. Sinclair Broadcast Group refused to air the Nightline program on its ABC affiliates. One TV critic even claimed we were doing it as a "craven ratings stunt for sweeps."

There was no monolithic antiwar sentiment underlying the Nightline broadcast. I do not know the sentiments of all the dozens of people who worked on the broadcast; I'd be surprised if some were not opposed to the war. A plurality of Americans were. But Ted Koppel said openly during the broadcast that he was not opposed to the war. And I can tell you that the reason I approved the broadcast was my belief that part of the truth we needed to report about Iraq was a complete accounting of the price the nation was paying.

But whatever our collective motives, the much more important question is why those motives really mattered in the first place. We heard from many viewers. Some found the reading of the names a fitting tribute to young men and women who gave their lives for their country. Others found it a needlessly painful reminder of the price being paid on our behalf - and objected that we did not include a recounting of events that led up to the Iraq invasion. But how people reacted to the broadcast seemed to depend more on the views of those watching than it did on the imputed motives of those putting the broadcast on the air.

I made this point at the time to a senior White House official. He disagreed. He felt that our airing the program became a statement against the war, not because of what we said but because many people assumed our attitude was antiwar. To make the point clear, I asked him whether he would have had a different view if Fox News had put on the very same broadcast. He said that would be an entirely different case.

This was a fascinating and powerful response. The imputing of motives, even where there is no conflict over the facts, tends to distract from the fundamental and essential question: What is the truth?

One of my favorite quotes comes from the late Harvard philosopher Willard Van Orman Quine: "Creatures inveterately wrong in their inductions have a pathetic but praiseworthy tendency to die before reproducing their kind." It's been abundantly clear, at least since September 11, 2001, that, if Americans get it wrong at this point in our country's history, our survival may be at risk. And when I talk about getting it "wrong," I don't mean only our policies or opinions. I mean the underlying truth of our situation in the world.

This requires real journalism, and it will not be easy. It will require that some of us in the news business put ourselves in harm's way, as my colleagues are doing in Iraq. It will require continued and increased investment in things such as investigative work, beat reporting, and documentaries - an investment that some of us make daily but that others have trouble with in a universe of increased competition and reduced audiences.

Note that I talk in terms of an "investment," which by definition requires some faith that our audiences really want a responsible, reliable news report. And that faith must come from our owners, from news management, and from our newsrooms and reporters. If our faith is well-placed, then our investment will pay off in the form of loyal attention from people who come to us, day in and day out, simply because we present the truth, not mere opinion.

If we are willing to redouble our commitment to finding the truth - no matter how difficult - and reporting it to the American people, then network news will remain an important part of the republic we serve. And no one will doubt our future.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Congresswoman prevented from testifying by DOJ about emergency contraception for rape victims

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) was prevented from testifying on Thursday about the need to include information on emergency contraception in the Department of Justice's guidelines for the treatment of sexual assault victims before an advisory committee working to strengthen the federal Violence Against Women Act. Rep. Maloney was told that if she did not leave, security would escort her out. Today’s unfortunate incident raises questions about the basic willingness of the Justice Department to hear public comment on its decisions regarding women’s health,” Maloney said in a statement released by her office on Thursday. Full story here.

Women sue Novartis for discrimination

Big pharma just doesn’t get it. In addition to dozens of other suits, a major drug manufacturer is being used for discriminating against women. The State reported that a dozen women are suing drug maker Novartis, claiming the company discriminated against them on the basis of gender. The suit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan by 12 current and former female employees, alleged a "systemic pattern" of gender discrimination that prevents women from getting better, higher-paying jobs held by men and that women are subjected to a hostile workplace environment, and are penalized for taking time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

In a statement, the company denied the charges and said it is "deeply committed to equal employment opportunity for all employees, and is proud of its policies and programs designed to support the advancement of women in the sales force and throughout the company." Five of the plaintiffs had filed suit against Novartis in November; Thursday's filing was a class-action suit. Each has also filed complaints with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.