Danny Schechter – USA

Linked with Congress, banks and home owners.

Danny Schechter, nicknamed “The News Dissector,” is a television producer, independent filmmaker, blogger, and media critic who writes and lectures frequently about the media in the United States and worldwide … Schechter worked as a civil rights worker and communications director of the Northern Student Movement, and worked as a community organizer in a War on Poverty program. Schechter also served as an assistant to the Mayor of Detroit in 1966 … Schechter is also the executive editor of MediaChannel.org, for which he is the “blogger-in-chief” and writes a nearly-3000-word daily blog entry on media and society … (full text).

(He is an) Emmy-winning journalist and filmmaker whose latest project takes a look at the growing problem of debt in America. The new film is called “In Debt We Trust: America Before the Bubble Burst.” The film opens in select cities this month and next. Here now, a scene from “In Debt We Trust.” (full interview text).

He says: … “When I started to make this film people asked me, what are you doing a film about debt about? Nobody’s gonna be interested in that. Nobody wants to talk about money. This doesn’t affect anybody. What we’re seeing now is that this is one of the leading economic crises in our society. Two million Americans face foreclosure in their homes. Millions of people are straddled with debt. Credit cards started basically as a luxury; they became a necessity, and now they’re a noose for many people in our country. College students leaving school with $30,000 in debt; people unable to pay their bills” …

His Homepage, with his bio, with music and activism, and with more films and videos.

Audios and videos with Danny Schlechter on DemocracyNow. More on the same web, July 17, 2008.

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Danny Schechter – USA

Listen his audio-interview by Tavis Smiley, April 12, 2007, or read its transcript.

He writes: … Yes, Jay asked me to write because my film “In Debt We Trust” (InDebtWe Trust.org)–released in a final updated form in 2007, not 2006– was being promoted as important by KPFK. One of my concerns has been that when the film played in LA, none of the press there, mainstream or “alternative” bothered to review it or write about it. The issue was thought too obscure. Now its at the center of a global economic meltdown. The issues I raised, considered “alarmist” by some, later led to the ongoing financial crisis. That fact that it was ignored does not make my reporting inaccurate. If anything I understated the calamity to come even as I was exposing subprime lending, a subject that most of our “all around” muckrakers ignored. Others have called me prescient but not the former news editor. He knew better!
… (full text, July 6, 2008).

Homeowners ‘March’ Against Foreclosure, July 23, 2008.

His interview with Amy Goodman: … … “And South Africa, they will—I’m hoping that this film Viva Madiba will be seen in the United States eventually and in other countries around the world. It’s not just about him. It’s about the struggle of a people for freedom, a struggle that they prevailed on, and a time when so many progressive battles have been lost. And so, I think we need to respect what he’s done and try to learn from it. And that, to me, is the reason I’ve been involved in all of this. I think there are lessons in the South African struggle that apply here in the United States: non-racialism, non-sexism, unifying a people of all groups, working with labor, working with church and other progressive people, building a coalition that can win. I think that those are some of the lessons from South Africa that’s inspired me” … (full text, July 17, 2008).

Freddie Mac, When Are You Coming Back? July 14, 2008.

And he writes: …  While many eyes are focusing on the housing meltdown and its hugely negative effect on an economy clearly moving into recession, few are paying attention to the next bubble expected to burst: credit cards. Combined with the sub-prime losses, such a credit-card nightmare has the potential, experts say, of bringing down the entire financial system and global economy. You and your credit card have become key players in the highly unstable financial crunch, in which mortgage-lender cupidity combined with bank credit-card greed, with both wedded to financial-institution deregulation supported by both political parties and made manifestly worse by the Bush administration’s support-the-rich policies. It has brought us to a brink not seen since just before the Great Depression. While campaigning in Edinburg, Texas, in February, Barack Obama met with students at University of Texas-Pan American. “Just be careful about those credit cards, all right? Don’t eat out as much,” he said. After the foreclosure crisis, he warned, “the credit cards are next in line”. The coupling of home-equity debt and credit-card debt has gone hand-in-glove for years. The homeowners at risk can no longer use their homes as ATM machines, thanks to their prior re-financings and equity loans, often used in the past to pay off their credit cards. Indeed, homeowners cashed out $1.2 trillion from their home equity from 2002 to 2007 to pay down credit-card debts and to cover other costs of living, according to the public-policy research organization Demos … (full text, July 1, 2008).

The Question Carlin Left Behind: What Is Obscenity, June 30, 2008. /

… Another sign of the times. One of the featured acts at this concert is the Children of Agape, a choir of orphans who lost their parents to HIV and Aids. That is an issue Mandela has spoken out on many times. Nelson Mandela has moved on from the past to the present to the future. He is still campaigning for human rights, speaking out most recently against the Burmese junta and perhaps soon, as some in the ANC are now doing, against Mugabe. He is challenging us to care about Aids, and the condition of the world’s children. He has gone from insurgent to inmate to icon to inspiration. What a journey to learn from and that means recognizing its contradictions and failures as well as its successes … (full long text, June 26, 2008).

The Fed for Heads, by Danny Schechter, the News Dissector, July 14, 2008.

And he writes: … This system failure has been called a “market correction” by some, and just another bust in the business cycle that regularly builds bubbles that burst. So many institutions, regulators and corporate oversight bodies have aided and abetted this crisis that it seems as if there is no one to blame or hold responsible, except perhaps the mostly small fries that have already been busted. The Bank of International Settlements says the world economy may be “at some kind of tipping point,” adding, to underscore the sense of panic in high places, “these fears are not groundless.” At the same time it does not want to “apportion blame,” perhaps because so many are complicit and ignored warnings. The scale of the dodgy credit derivatives at the heart of this mess has grown an “eye-popping” 10,000 percent in seven years according to an official report quoted by London’s Financial Times. When the Financial Times is worried, we all should be worried … (full text, July 07, 2008).

Find him and his publications on Productions: Film and television, and Literature; on his weblog; on global vision.org; on Google Video-search; on Google Book-search; on Google Scholar-search; on Google Group-search; on Google Blog-search.

And he says: … “On Friday, July 11, as the world financial markets were quaking because of the threats to two government-linked companies with $5 trillion in mortgages, as the Senate rushed to complete a bailout bill for homeowners that may not bail anyone out, and as the Federal Reserve Bank announced tough new and perhaps irrelevant regulations on a subprime real estate market that has all but disappeared, news outlets were reporting the death of the owner of the Benihana restaurant chain and Larry King was doing another show about UFOs. With a distraction machine working overtime, we seem to be living in a permanent three-ring circus, with a constantly titillating sideshow often sucking up most of the airtime and attention. Britney Spears has replaced the bearded lady from days gone by as the iconic draw. In the central ring of this circus is the political campaign, with its focus only on the evolving Obama/McCain slugfest. Every sound bite, grimace, phrase and gasp is grist for endless punditizing with little in-depth analysis of the issues. In the second ring, there’s the news of the world that usually means superficial reporting about America in the world. Then comes the daily partial war body count and visuals about where the president is this week. Now we are also getting some news from China about the Olympics and back-and-forth about whether there will be an attack on Iran. That’s about it!” … (full interview text, July 17, 2008).

Is Who Becomes the Next President All That Matters? May 17, 2008.

LOS ANGELES (Top40 Charts/ MusicDish Network) – Polarity/1, the multi-genre artist best known for bold, honest, hard-hitting songs, is re-releasing his hit album, Yankin’ the Food Chain, now with re-mastered tracks. Polarity/1’s music has been incorporated by dance theaters and documentarists, including Danny Schechter’s feature-length film documentary ‘In Debt We Trust’ and Battery Dance Company’s 26th Annual Downtown Dance Festival last year … (full text, July 08, 2008).

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his photo;

Conflating Inflation: When is a crisis not a crisis? When the BBC says it’s a “slowdown”, by William Bowles, June 27, 2008.

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