What's this blog really about?

You may notice a variety of topics here - from business, to charity promotion, even to local news, but the primary reason this blog was created was to alert readers to the hostile atmosphere and sexual harassment at The Danville Register & Bee. The readers and creator of this blog want a FULL FRONT PAGE apology in the Danville Register & Bee, plus the disciplining of those individuals involved. Until then, we'll continue to post regular updates. To tolerate THIS kind of behavior by a major media network is intolerable. And this isn't just ONE instance. Media General has been sued nationwide for racism and sexism, yet they CONTINUE to keep the offenders employed. Why? And why am I doing this? TRUTH compels me.

Monday, June 30, 2008

What Media General owes Danville

Advertisers - Do you only sell to young people? Some of you do. But really, you like as many customers as you can get. So - when Steve Kaylor told Teri Lea that he "didn't want any old people/grandmothers" working with her new publication (the only thing that's bringing money into the Register & Bee I understand). He essentially tried to eliminate a huge section of your market. Teri, being a strong woman and a smart one -who recognized her 50-something grandmother wasn't a blue-haired stereo-type, went against his admonition and kept the "grandmother." You go Teri! And she was right. All about Her is doing much better than Arnold's end of the editorial department. Maybe Arnold could learn from her huh?

Baby Boomer women (Women born between 1946 and 1964) are the fastest growing, largest market of consumers in the U.S right now. Don't take my word for it.

Marketing Profs s

"For decades, companies have been targeting Baby Boomers, the largest generational demographic in history. Born between 1946 and 1964, these coveted consumers have dictated the fortunes of products from the Hula-Hoop to minivans. At 78 million strong, Baby Boomers are now all past the age of 40. And the majority of today’s Boomers, and tomorrow’s, are women – women who span an 18-year age range, live diverse lives, have established careers and money to spend on themselves, and make more than 80 percent of their households’ purchasing decisions."

According to Imagio Creative:

"These women are not a niche market for a specific industry – they are THE MARKET for industries savvy enough to understand their needs and perceptions, their life transitions and their deep-seated hopes and fears."

The electronics and technology industry as well has sidled up to the bar to claim their share of her wallet. Launching two boutique concept stores aimed at women, Best Buy introduced EQ Life and Studio D this past summer. “We've determined that women's needs are not being met,” acknowledged Pam Langseth, Innovation Development Director at Best Buy."

And, The Mature Market (www.maturemarket.com) says boomers are the fastest growing market for travel. That not only means planes, trains and automobiles but the luggage, clothing, accessories, electronic, cameras and stuff travelers take with them.

And who is attracted to Danville these days? Why, the retiree generation - baby boomers. The Board of Supervisors thinks of retirees and boomers (of whom sit on the board) as a bonus. They pay the same taxes as anyone else, but don't need the same services in terms of schools or jobs. It's a financial windfall of sorts. Jimmy Farlow is building a very large retirement community in Danville and more and more businesses are seeing an influx of older citizens.

So WHY is Steve Kaylor saying "YOUNG WOMEN" for the publication "It's All About Her"?

I don't know. Not as sexy...not the kind of "panty dropping, alcohol story crowd" he envisioned I suppose. The newsroom - by the way, is only hiring young women these days. And white males.

So businesses, in your experience, who has and spends more money with you? Who buys the houses, the cars, the clothes? Don't you think that the newspaper owes its advertisers, who basically pay for the production and distribution of the publication through its ads - content that appeals to the largest market of buyers?

It's your money, your business. With a county that's primarily ag related I'd be asking for more ag stories since farmers also buy groceries, gas, furniture, paint, clothes and the stuff the rest of us buy. I'd ask why there weren't more articles and news on relevant local issues - everything from the issue about ambulances and volunteer rescue squads to why the hospital STILL hasn't fixed its billing problem.

Why is a local daily running the national news most of us get online already?

War in Iran - uranium in the news

"I sure wish I could be wrong about it." That, was what Seymour Hersh, a writer for the New Yorker said about his report in the April 17, 2006 issue of The New Yorker on the Bush administration's escalating tensions in Iran with a $4 million covert operation.

He writes in part:

"The Bush Administration, while publicly advocating diplomacy in order to stop Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapon, has increased clandestine activities inside Iran and intensified planning for a possible major air attack. Current and former American military and intelligence officials said that Air Force planning groups are drawing up lists of targets, and teams of American combat troops have been ordered into Iran, under cover, to collect targeting data and to establish contact with anti-government ethnic-minority groups. The officials say that President Bush is determined to deny the Iranian regime the opportunity to begin a pilot program, planned for this spring, to enrich uranium."

There's a June 30, 2008 update and Hersh said the escalation is only increasing. He gives an interview that you can listen to by clicking here. Once you're there click on the "New Yorker OUT LOUD" link in the upper left corner of the page. Or click here as well.

My prediction dear readers - that the U.S. will be at war with Iran soon after the election is shared by many.

Wait - there's more:

"It is hard to imagine that anybody could fail to act given what we're all watching on the ground in Zimbabwe." That was the quote of the day from Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, on the runoff election in Zimbabwe where men, women and children are being shot, stabbed, beaten and tortured on their way to and from the polls..according to Amnesty International more than 80 people have been killed so far and untold numbers tortured, beaten or attacked. And all we have to worry about in America is a parking place close to the polls.

What has that got to do with this blog? Well - in some parts of the world (soon to be this part of the world when the New World Order takes over) people are willing to risk their lives to stand up and make things better. Not all those killed were voting - but voters turned out in spite of the risks.

Hersh - bless his soul - dared to confront the Bush White House and expose their plot...if history proves correct Hersh, at some point in time will "decide" to commit suicide as everyone who tangles with the White House does....odd don't you think? I only hope he gets his hands on the real info about 9/11 before that happens.

Bloggers - citizen journalists, targets of bullies, assault victims - you are not alone. You can stand up. Others have and are and are going to continue to do so. As am I. Even if I end up living in my van again - I won't shut up. What Media General has done and is continuing to do is WRONG.

I am inspired by those around the world who won't shut up or back down. You should be inspired too!

What do they owe you?

What happens when you have a clerk-typist HR person? Conflicting information. First I'm told I owe $194 for my portion of medical premiums. Then it balloons to $797. Now it's back to $194 that I simply "owe" Media General. Uh huh. For what? Hard to get an answer. Spend less time in the break room or loading dock and more time in the office guys.

Hmmmm...well, what does Media General owe me? What do they owe the community? What do they owe the victims of their ongoing bullying?

You tell me. What does Media General and The Register and Bee owe Danville?


Why donations? To defray the cost of my medical bills for the PTSD and problems caused by working at Media General. I received an email from Ann Austin today saying the bill for my last three months of premiums is $797.60.

If I don't pay that then I'll have thousands of dollars more to pay for the overnight stay in the hospital for stress related heart problems. Plus - I'm still seeing a therapist for the PTSD. The donations go through Paypal who send me the money. If every reader just donates $1 I can cover the bill....although it is due today....sigh.

Anyway - prayers work too. God is greater than Media General. Their constant denouncement of Him will come back around - those of us who believe know this. Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess - that Jesus Christ is Lord - even those at Media General....Thank you for your prayers. If you are not a believer and are offended by that, that is your right. My faith gets me through.

Thank you - all who have written and who keep writing! I'm not stopping. The main stream media fears Media General attorneys, but thousands of bloggers really don't care!

Truth compells me - PTSD and the bullying

"Integrity is a very personal decision. Organizations get involved when someone in power wants to silence the one with integrity. The bullying starts small between two people. The entire organization enlists its goon squad when the morally superior whistleblower refuses to back down. Character assassination begins; the Target loses her job, family, friends and her health. Was the Target's decision 'worth it?' Whistleblowers would tell you they'd do it all again given a chance. Truth compels them."

Marinah Valenzuela Farrell, LM, CPM. Ms. Farrell is a midwife with Sage Midwifery in Phoenix, Arizona. To read her entire article, CLICK HERE. Excerpts are below.

According to the bully experts, Dr.'s Ruth and Gary Nami:

"Targets (those people attacked by bullies) are chosen as a result of a combination of circumstances (right person, wrong place) and personality traits. Targets tend to be individuals who bring themselves a lot of attention for being good at what they do or for having a personality that draws admiration. Targets unknowingly beget the ire of bullies who fear that their own inadequacies will be discovered or that attention will be taken away from them. Generally, targeted individuals are very intelligent, determined, creative and industrious.

At work, they go the extra mile, learn jobs quickly, come to "big picture" understandings with other professionals rapidly and are trustworthy. Being trustworthy is especially enticing to a bully when choosing a target.

Bullies do not know anything about being trustworthy and generally lack a true sense of integrity.

Targets, on the other hand, have a very well-developed sense of integrity and honor. Often, targets will refuse to side with others on issues based on personal moral objections or out of a desire to improve an idea or a situation so that "justice" can prevail and so that the playing field is more equal to all involved. Not surprisingly, targets are usually sensitive to world politics that involve justice and goodwill. Targets' ideas are usually incorruptible and they share them easily, with humor, sensitivity and compassion.

Targets also have personal vulnerabilities. Targets usually think highly of outside evaluations of their contributions—such as performance appraisals, management assessments, etc.—yet neglect to give themselves personal credit and do not value themselves highly even when doing stellar work.

Targets can't imagine that others would harm them, and they refuse to think badly of others even when faced with evidence that the other person's behavior is harming them.

Targets have difficulty resorting to aggression and refuse to address painful situations by violently lashing out or taking legal action.
They are forgiving in nature even when a bully obviously is taking advantage of this to further continue harmful behavior toward others or even toward the target who continues to forgive.

Many targets are perfectionists and want their co-workers or management to be perfect, too. Targets say "sorry" quite often even when they are not at fault and tend to feel guilty easily. These women internalize their anger instead of expressing it and can cope for a long time under extreme pressure—at times to the point of illness—before finally coming to terms with the extent of violence being done to them.

Other vulnerabilities can include:

* being single and not having a support person on a regular basis
* having caring responsibilities at home, e.g., an elderly relative, a disabled partner or a child with special needs
* being unable to change jobs, e.g., limited job opportunities, being a specialist
* belonging to a minority group
* having a different sexual orientation
* having a different cultural background
* having a different religious belief
* suffering an illness or disability, whether work-related or not
* not having the national language as your first language
* being too old or too young(4)

Prior traumas also may make a person more vulnerable. Abuse as a child or similar trauma are deeply imbedded in the psyche, so these targets often have a lot more insecurity and reluctance when dealing with the actions of a bully.

Drs. Ruth and Gary Namie, in their book The Bully at Work, write:

"Targets have unpolitical, and therefore impractical, expectations about how organizations and people should treat each other with integrity. Whistleblowers take seriously the responsibility to see that schools funded to care for special kids not misuse the money. Tobacco industry insiders went public with information that belied the falsehoods the industry wanted the public to believe….

Justice is a principle that causes Targets limitless pain. The entire complaint-response system disappoints the person hoping to see justice done. When bullies are confronted about their misconduct, they lie. This outrages the Target who may have taken great risks to have the bullying surface in public. Targets make difficult clients for attorneys. Though it is the law that does not provide protection, Targets hold attorneys accountable for not being able to do more to achieve justice in their case.(5)"

"Targets have a strong sense of justice, hold others to that higher moral standard and find themselves disappointed in systems they have entered into that profess to have high ethical standards yet, in reality, do not follow what they espouse. This is true of the nurse who enters into a community hospital as a way to help women of color and finds that women of color are the most mistreated; the midwifery student who goes to her first meeting full of desire to help women and only hears gossip about other midwives in the state; and the doctor who sincerely enters the profession to help the elderly and finds that she can't even embrace a dying person out of fear of a lawsuit.

These individuals begin to try to find better ways or to change the system. When changes are prevented, they begin using their amazing and seemingly limitless supply of perseverance and humor. This lasts until they get ill or begin to lose hope. Most of these individuals end up exhausted and emotionally depressed by the lack of follow-through in an environment where the potential and desire are there (such as in many hospitals or other health organizations), but the reality is vastly different."

A bully usually will begin to resent a target once the target becomes known for having the personality and work traits already noted.

However, other strong triggers come into play. If a target's performance draws attention to the bully by "comparison," the bully automatically will react. Any attempts by the target to help the bully or to assure the bully that she is not trying to malign the bully will only make things worse! This puts the bully on the defensive and, being fearful and insecure, she will lash out instead of attempting open and honest communication about these fears.

If a person is singled out and noticed when previously the bully had been noticed, the bully will react with immaturity at the loss of attention. This also happens if the target gets affectionate attention from professional peers (gifts, hugs, cards, letters of thanks, respect in meetings, etc.)."

Once the bully realizes that the target is going to take action against her, the bully moves into a different objective: elimination of the target.

This is done with continued violence against the target as a means to termination or in hopes that the target will "just go away" either voluntarily or as a result of the malicious distortions of the truth by the bully. The fact is, if the target does not leave the profession, organization or workplace, ultimately she will endure the hostility to the detriment of her health and with the debilitating effects of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

PTSD is a wide and varied normal response to stressful situations that occurs to many individuals all over the world and for different reasons. Although some common events trigger PTSD (such as a violent death of one's child), many times individuals may experience PTSD based on isolated events of significance only to them, based on their life history, geographical location, politics or many other reasons. Targets are known to experience some degree of PTSD, with effects ranging from mild to very traumatic and debilitating, ending in death due to the physiological manifestations of stress, or suicide.

Some scientists now believe that the effects of PTSD may also be caused by a number of smaller incidents, causing what is known as Complex PTSD. Many individuals will have a breakdown (of which there are different types) and suffer severe fatigue from lack of true rest. Simply put: Stress does not allow the body and the mind to rest. Since this article is specific to bullying, it is difficult to encompass more than a general introduction to the effects of PTSD. However, it is crucial that people know that the end result of bullying (whether done to adults or children) is a compromised and traumatized individual.

In brief, people suffering Complex PTSD as a result of bullying report:

* fatigue with symptoms of, or similar to, chronic fatigue syndrome.
* anger, over injustice, that is stimulated to an excessive degree (sometimes, but improperly, leading to the application of the words "manic" instead of motivated, "obsessive" instead of focused, and "angry" instead of "passionate," especially from those with something to fear).
* an overwhelming desire for acknowledgement, understanding, recognition and validation of their experience.
* a simultaneous and paradoxical unwillingness to talk about the bullying or abuse.
* a lack of desire for revenge, but a strong motivation for justice.
* a tendency to oscillate between conciliation (forgiveness) and anger (revenge) with objectivity the main casualty.
* extreme fragility, where formerly the person was of a strong, stable character.
* numbness, both physical (toes, fingertips, and lips) and emotional (inability to feel love and joy).
* clumsiness.
* forgetfulness.
* hyperawareness and an acute sense of time passing, seasons changing and distances traveled.
* an enhanced environmental awareness, often on a planetary scale.
* an appreciation of the need to adopt a healthier diet, possibly reducing or eliminating meat—especially red meat.
* a constant feeling that one has to justify everything one says and does.
* a constant need to prove oneself, even when surrounded by good, positive people.
* an unusually strong sense of vulnerability.
* occasional violent intrusive visualizations.
* feelings of worthlessness, rejection and a sense of being unwanted, unlikable and unlovable.
* a feeling of being small, insignificant, and invisible.
* an overwhelming sense of betrayal, and a consequent inability and unwillingness to trust anyone, even those who are close.
* in contrast to the chronic fatigue, depression, etc, occasional false dawns with sudden bursts of energy accompanied by a feeling of "I'm better!," only to be followed by a full resurgence of symptoms a day or two later.
* an initial reluctance to take action against the bully and report him/her knowing that he/she could lose his/her job.
* that later, reluctance gives way to a strong urge to take action against the bully so that others, especially successors, don't have to suffer a similar fate.
* proneness to identifying with other people's suffering.
* a heightened sense of unworthiness, undeservingness and non-entitlement (some might call this shame).
* a heightened sense of indebtedness and undue obligation.
* an unusually strong desire to educate the employer and help the employer introduce an anti-bullying ethos, usually proportional to the employer's lack of interest in anti-bullying measures.
* a desire to help others, often overwhelming and bordering on obsession, and to be available for others at any time regardless of the cost to oneself.
* an unusually high inclination to feel sorry for other people who are under stress, including those in positions of authority and those who are not fulfilling the duties and obligations of their positions (which may include the bully) but who are continuing to enjoy a salary for remaining in their post.(9)

To be targeted is to suffer intense periods of isolation and illness and, in some cases, to make a decision to speak out against the sociology of our work culture. For survivors, it also means breaking away from the guilt of what has been unjustly done and moving on to a place of strength, self-respect and self-love.

"Targets driven by a strong sense of equity, justice and integrity do make life challenging for those who wish they would simply disappear. Maybe they make us uncomfortable because they remind us of how we should all be, of what we should aspire to become. It is that guilt that allows witnesses to the bullying to abandon the principled, passionate and driven Target. God bless 'em. They are the salt of the earth….

The cost of being bullied...

Well, not only is it emotionally expensive to be bullied....but Media General says I owe $727.60 to pay my health insurance premiums during the last three months I was on medical leave caused by the PTSD which their workplace caused. See?! SCREWED once again by Media General....

Clerk typist "knighted" HR person Ann Austin - says that must be paid today. Well, so much for health insurance.

Warning to all who want to work for this company. THINK AGAIN.

Maybe sitting around all those stuffy attorneys won't be so bad after all.

This comment from a former Media General employee...

You've gotta love former employees...this comment was just posted to my "Why I'm writing this" post. But I wanted to make sure folks saw it:

"Coscia was a straight up fraud. I don't know what he said to get the job but I know for a fact that he did not have a college degree. He, instead, had a mere technical school degree from some place in Connecticut. I know he was a big University of Conn. fan so I wonder if he tried to make out that he attended that university.

In addition to driving without a license during his entire tenure as sports editor, he also made up quotes, wrote a column from a bar in Florida, and on one occasion went to a college basketball game under the guise of reporting and did not write a story. Supposedly he was finally yanked after running up the corporate card but he should have been fired after the DUIs and for general incompetence.

I complained in my exit interview that the relationship between Arnold and Coscia was toxic to the newsroom and sports staff morale but, of course, that fell on deaf ears.

I don't know why Arnold protected that guy because Coscia was such a sneaky worm.

Arnold probably did not stand up against the breast incident because Arnold loves big breasts. Case in point, he hired this reporter years ago who had no business writing and could barely string a sentence together BUT she had huge breasts. Arnold loved her. On multiple occasions, this reporter plagarized whole sections of Web sites. Arnold was told about this and nothing happened.

By the way, I can't believe Ann Austin is the HR person. Wow, she moved up from paycheck distributor to HR. That place really is doomed."

One voice and photographs heard round the world

It wasn't so long ago that another lone voice said "No." The year I was born, 1955, Rosa Parks decided she didn't want to give up her seat for a white passenger. She didn't want to sit in the back of the bus anymore. One voice.

How many of you knew that in 1944 African American baseball player Jackie Robinson did the same thing? When confronted by a military officer on a bus he refused to move. He was brought up before a court martial - but acquitted. One voice.

His family and friends may know his name, but to the rest of the world he is known simply as "Tank man" or "the unknown rebel." One voice.

Tank man. That's the nickname of the anonymous man stood in front of a column of Chinese tanks on June 5, 1989 and stopped their advance. It was a photograph heard round the world.

This photo of his protest was taken by Jeff Widener for the Associated Press from the sixth floor of the Beijing Hotel, about half a mile (800 m) away from the scene, through a 400 mm lens. Similar photos and videos of the event were taken by a variety of organizations and flashed around the world.

There are dozens of such protests that we all know, but millions that occur every day. They are the still small voices of people willing to sacrifice all to say, "Stop."

I doubt any of the protesters above expected anything more to come out of their protest than to alert their tormentors that they weren't going to stand there and take it anymore. But they had reached the end of their rope. They were in a place where nothing mattered except they be heard. No matter what happened to them for speaking out, they were willing to do it. I totally understand.

Most crime victims are more than happy to speak out - unless the crime was a rape. Even the media (as a rule, but not always) will shield the name of a rape or incest or molestation victim. Why? Because those are the only crimes in which the shame/blame/humiliation is placed on the victim - not the perpetrator. That's not just my opinion:

This from The National Alliance to End Sexual Violence.

"Although rape and sexual assault occur at an alarming rate in our society, the vast majority of these crimes remain unreported. Victims remain silent because they fear being subjected to the intense public scrutiny and blame that often follow being named in the media. Our culture continues to condemn the victim for rape and, as a result, an extraordinary amount of shame and silence follow the crime. Publicizing the name of a rape complainant under these conditions only deters more victims from coming forward."

ANY crime involving sex or even alluding to sex, or that subjects women to humiliation - is always blamed on the women. Why? These women THOUGHT they were being filmed for a news story. That's the horror of it. They were simply doing their jobs. Having been a victim of abuse myself I can say three things:

It's intensely humiliating.
It's true - as the victim you are blamed - even when you have done nothing.
It's very hard to speak up and "TELL".

But I learned that if you don't tell, if you don't speak out - nothing changes. And unlike most folks - I LIKE CHANGE.

In and of itself, a snowflake weighs almost nothing. But enough snowflakes can collapse the limb of an oak tree, or the roof of a building. Powerlines easily accommodate one bird. But when flocks of them roost on the line the line can snap or stretch and sag until it touches the ground.

Environmentalist say it's not the fact you alone are recycling 10 cans a week - but the fact that millions of people are recycling 10 cans a week that makes a difference. Voters will turn out in record numbers to elect a president this fall because they KNOW now - ONE voice can make a difference.

Mac McLean's one voice said, in essence, "It's okay to defraud women and humiliate them." He was joined by a newsroom full of men who agreed with him because they laughed and gawked and made rude comments. They then went home or out somewhere and told their friends, who in turn told their friends, who in turn will tell their friends. So the message passed along - as it is every day among men who do this sort of thing, is that it's okay to objectify women, to laugh at their bodies and their sexuality.

Well - it's NOT. I'm one voice too. And I'm saying it is not and will not ever be okay. And I will keep saying it and keep saying it and keep saying it and keep saying it until the voices of those who say it is are silenced. I hope you'll join me.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Citizen Journalist kicks butt....

You go guys!!! Click here or type in URL below to view.


Citizen journalist in London steps up and refuses to be bullied by real jerk cop. Not only that - his speaking out results in some wonderful things!

Why I'm writing this....Re: comment

I had a comment from someone with a glowing recounting of the award winning stories of John Hall, a Media General reporter who also wrote about the explosion on the U.S.S. Iowa. Perhaps dear readers you misunderstand this blog. I am not saying there are NO good Media General reporters. I'm saying Media General's Corporate failure to enforce what they say is a policy of no sexual harassment company wide is the problem. This isn't about writing ability. It's about a corporate HR department who seems driven to protect a reporter who was sexually harassing women and a newsroom management team that seems just as driven to say that's okay!

By allowing/tolerating and refusing to take action on a newsroom that has shown an ongoing pattern of hostility, sexual harassment, bullying, relationships between supervisors and subordinates and retaliation against those who complain about it - they're sending a very clear message that is shocking. Some attorney has probably told them, "As long as you say 'Bad boys. Stop that now,' and show the courts you communicated the policy - whether anyone listened or not, you're okay." That's my guess. I don't know that for a fact, but - it's a good guess.

But my question is, if the same people are in charge and the behavior continues, are they really doing anything (seriously doing anything) to truly STOP it?

WHY would good writers like John Hall or Todd Foster - men who write and investigate well - want to be associated with a corporate office that allows that kind of behavior - or worse, keep a reporter on that they know does that? Can you say, liability!?

This isn't a blog about the quality of SOME Media General reporters WRITING abilities.
This is about the behavior of several Media General reporters that the corporate offices seem not to care about. I did some great reporting too - for about three months - until the bullying and retaliation started. Even after that Associated Press picked up my stories and I continued to win the occasional honorable mention in the Mega Awards. Even Guy Lucas noticed my efforts when it came to doing video, photos and writing.

Yet - Bernard Baker - who during my performance review said he didn't even know he was my supervisor for the past several months - he thought Darren was (Keystone Cops). Said my performance was suffering. Odd.

He said I was brilliant for the first three months, then went downhill. As I pointed out - that was the same time the bullying and harassment started over my complaining about Fred Ingram. Arnold Hendrix told me he could no longer "praise me in public" ie. the editorial meetings because it created tension and jealousy. Can you say BULLIES? Number one reason for bullying - jealousy....Even Bernard didn't care for Mac - saying one time he wished he could leave a package of diapers on Mac's desk with a note to "grow up."

I noticed my performance and joy in my job deteriorated rapidly for the next eight months as the PTSD set in while I tolerated Brandy's constant whining, trashing of co-workers and her complaints that the only reason Kyle wasn't fired was because he was Black. Remember Brandy? She complained that I took too many photos of black people.

The harassment from Mac and the atmosphere and hostility in general. I was taken off of stories and the kinds of tasks I did well - much like I hear Rocky Womack was taken off the Ag beat when he started gaining attention and recognition for his writing - which I thought was excellent - and did those who kept giving him awards for his writing. You go Rocky!!!

I struggled with whether or not to leave Danville and take a job elsewhere - I had several interviews and could have taken another job - but I asked myself, "Why should I be the one forced out? I didn't do anything wrong! I'm the target. They're making me the victim."

Then the layoffs in the graphics department started. That was ugly - there's no reason for anyone to hand a cardboard box to someone who's worked there for 35 years and say, "You have 15 minutes to get your stuff together and get out." No love lost there. No warning, no decency. I dare say the 750 people Media General is laying off in the next few months will get any better treatment.

Now I have several hundred - no, thousands of dollars of medical bills to pay off due to the PTSD and the stress caused by the bullying. And why? Because the Danville Register & Bee has a glorified clerk/typist for an HR person - not anyone with any real training or background in personnel or psychology or mediation or investigatory practices.

As another journalist said to me in response to that whole "federal crime" thing - this is the essence, not a direct quote -

"I think once Homeland Security finishes chasing down the people tearing the tags off of mattresses and pillows they'll get to that whole copyright thing (Kaylor's concern about the $1.85 bonanza he created by trying to buy a PDF and then claim you were making money on something NO ONE ELSE HAS EVER EVEN ATTEMPTED TO BUY! He was manufacturing/creating a crime where there was none!!!)

And while HR person Bonne Mahler was excellent, she's no longer there and hasn't been for several months. Bonne - if you're reading this - hope you're doing well. You were right about Steve...

So Media General folks - feel free to send all the wonderful links to Media General stories, but this is about newsroom behavior. It's a fact. There were witnesses. I have one of the videos - the one posted to the web as part of the story about the panty dropping article. Yes - they posted a video of the bartender at the Purple Onion online to go with the panty dropping comment. Gee - is it still up? Don't know. Since they updated the website a lot of stuff has gone missing.

I have the emails where I complained to Steve Kaylor and Bonne - I've posted some of those. So - will you be good writers or will you too try to discredit the folks who have complained?

It seems to me that for a company that SAYS it's so intolerant of a hostile workplace it sure is tolerant. Maybe they mean they won't tolerate out-and-out beatings, assaults and non-consensual groping. Who knows. I'm still waiting for the apology.

Why speaking up matters

It was April 1989, when an explosion ripped through the U.S.S. Iowa's number two 16-inch (406 mm) gun turret, killing 47 crewmen. At first, Navy investigators theorized that Clayton Hartwig, one of the dead sailors, had detonated an explosive device in a murder/suicide attempt after the end of an alleged homosexual affair with another sailor. Initially that was the Navy's position and they pretty much stuck to it and it was "case closed."

But there just happened to be a young sailor on the U.S.S. Iowa that was from Knoxville, TN. A family member called the newspaper and they sent me out there to interview him. It turned out that he was one of the crew members on the recovery crew and he and others on that crew were convinced that there was more to the explosion than what the Navy was admitting.

Either God or guilt or honor moved this young man to speak out - because he told me an incredible story. Duty on this ship was his first - he was fresh out of boot camp. He and other crew members were on a smaller vessel that motored out to where the U.S.S. Iowa was anchored.

As they reached the ship they gathered their gear and prepared to disembark. They had to climb a ladder to board the ship and once at the top of the ladder each man was waved off to one side or another - assigned by random order to one turret or another based on how they came off the ladder. Well, this young man started up the ladder, but realized he'd forgotten his jacket. He stepped down to get the jacket and another sailor, a friend of his, got in front of him on the ladder. If, he told me, he hadn't have forgotten his jacket he would have been in the number two turret when it exploded. Fate - God - something intervened and that small act changed his life and the course of the investigation.

Whatever it was that moved him, he talked. He described the charred and burned bodies positioned throughout the turret - some holding each other, clinging to each other in obvious fear, others kneeling with their hands clenched in prayer - one whose hand was still clenched on a wheel that could have opened a door. The turret had been flooded after the explosion - saving the lives of many more crew members and saving the ship, but there were those who knew their time was short. That much was obvious from their positions he said.

Four-inch thick walls were ripped and shredded like paper. This was more than some explosive device a sailor could have. He didn't know what it was - but he dared to say it wasn't right. It was the first time he had seen a dead body and for the next few days he and his shipmates saw a lot of them.

I interviewed the Secretary of the Navy at the time and relayed what this sailor had said and asked for confirmation on it. When his story came out the Associated Press picked it up and the story grew legs. The investigation was reopened and the Navy's theory was disproven and abandoned. According to Wikipedeia:

"Testing at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, Virginia of powder in the same lot was able to reproduce spontaneous combustion of the powder, which had been originally milled in the 1930s and stored during a 1988 dry-docking of the Iowa in a barge at the Naval Weapons Station in Yorktown, Virginia. Gunpowder gives off ether gas as it degrades; the ether is highly flammable, and can be ignited by a spark. Iowa's CO, Capt. Fred Moosally, was severely criticized for his handling of the matter, and the Navy changed the powder-handling procedures. Iowa deployed to Europe and the Mediterranean Sea in mid-year, with Turret Two unrepaired."

All I remember from that summer was what a difference one story - by a young sailor who was willing to talk, made. It made a difference that may have saved numerous lives over the next two decades. The ship was decommissioned in 2006 and is in the process of being turned into a museum. But when I'm challenged - I always go back to that - my first big story.

I've met a number of people over my life who have dared to speak up and speak out and have made a difference. For the most part however lawyers and the corrupt or wealthy corporations and people who run them manage to sue or intimidate whistle-blowers into bankruptcy or poverty. For a local blogger (http://politicalsoup.tv/ronprice.htm) who experienced this when he exposed NC school board member Ron Price who he said was stealing opponent's campaign signs. click here:. Various other bloggers have picked up on the story however....and once again - POWER TO THE PEOPLE!


Anyone remember the front page of the Friday May 30, 2008 Danville Register & Bee? Yeah - great shot of the Piedmont DC-3 from the Carolinas Aviation Museum. Many of you attended the air show this year hoping to see it. It's been here in the past. Based on the photo and the caption under it you would have thought it would be here for The Danville Register & Bee sponsored air show. But it wasn't. And - it wasn't intended to be. This photo isn't even from a past Danville airshow!!

According to the caption:

"Attendees to this week-end's Sky-Fest will have the opportunity to see and ride in many kinds of aircraft. Many new attractions have been added to the agenda."

Hmmmm. Did YOU think that meant this plane would be there? Many did.

It does say "Courtesy Photo" but from who? And why would the paper prominently display a photo of a plane that would draw attendees - but that wasn't even on the 2008 airshow schedule? It's a lot like another Media General photo of a wrecked SUV that accompanied a story about a car that ran into a ditch - not only was it not the car that actually wrecked - or even a wreck from that site from another wreck. It was a stock photo of a car that had nothing to do with the scene or the wreck or even the model of the car!!! WHAT??!! But unless you read the caption you didn't know that.

Go to Google and type in "Piedmont DC-3" and the second item down is its 2008 airshow schedule..... a number of you asked where the plane was and got the same answer, "It wasn't scheduled to be here and we're not sure why the newspaper pictured it."

Misleading? Was it stupidity and incompetence by people laying the paper out who don't know one plane from another and who assume the world shares their ignorance, or was it a deliberate attempt to draw people to a Register & Bee sponsored event?

You decide. Makes you wonder how this kind of "error" is no big deal but other folks have been fired for less.....

Why the big deal?

Why, someone asked me - is this video a "big deal." Simple . Because the video and the reactions and response of the men who watched it and did nothing objectified and devalued women.

Objectification and devaluing makes women "objects" that men use - to whatever degree - for their own pleasure, but worse - it allows men to feel comfortable about taking any other action - like violence, out on women. At least one of the men who saw that video has hit his wife in the past. What kind of man hits a woman? When you consider women only as objects of sexual gratification you don't think of them as people. When women work for you or with you - you then tend to consider their contributions and work with less significance.

I can hear the groans, but substitute color or ethnic background (As Don Immus did yet again recently) and suddenly people "get it."

The tendency to devalue women is indicative of a greater problem in society - the primary reason why Media General has failed to take action to discipline those involved. My guess is the lawyers they'll have come after me will be all-white males - or possibly, if they have any female attorneys, women who don't value themselves or value a paycheck more than honor.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

True or False?

Most of you are familiar with snopes.com right? They're the folks who search out the internet rumors about things like say the man who was so angered about the IRS's refusal to allow him to take deductions for raising his three children that he threatened to turn the kids over to the government to raise. True or False? Well, true actually. Click here for the details. Please check it out. The true letter he wrote is really hilarious!

So snopes.com deals with weird, wacky stories. But recently Americans have stopped sending in the latest ghost story so much and are sending in more political stories and queries. They want to know. They can't turn to the media for help, so they're turning to snopes. I mean network media like ABC! What does it say about the credibility of the media when readers not only have to question whether or not there's a bias but they turn to a couple of basically bloggers on the internet for confirmation!? Seriously! Readers (myself included) trust Snopes.com more than the media.

Read this and you tell me. Who do you believe? ABC or the "cousin"?


Did you know that for the past five years - even up until just this year - journalists questioned whether bloggers were "Credible or legitimate journalists" - as though God had died and put the media in charge of truth....

If the media were doing its job - bloggers wouldn't have to do theirs.

Fascism in America

Fascism in America?!! Never! Oh yeah? Watch these clips from the BBC. Watch the first, then second, then third. This comes from the British Broadcasting Company. How many of you learned this in school?

Citizens in action - Climate Convergence in VA

I like this. Maybe they'll ban Media General press...they have an "anti-oppression" policy:

Anti-oppression Policy

The organizers of the Convergence for Climate Action believe that anti-oppression work is vital to community organizing and to building a movement to eliminate the exploitation of people and the planet.
The Convergence for Climate Action will have anti-oppression workshops and participants will be strongly encouraged to participate. In order to create a safe and productive environment for activism and community, we will not be tolerating behavior that demeans, marginalizes, or threatens people. Examples are offensive remarks about a person's gender, age, sexual orientation, race, mental health, culture, general appearances, income status, being a parent or a child, employed or unemployed, level of experience in activism, etc.... Any type of sexual, verbal, or physical assault will be taken especially seriously by the convergence organizers. On account of the short nature of the event and limited resources, convergence participants may be asked to immediately leave the event should they be accused of oppressive behavior. We thank everyone for helping to make the convergence a safe, comfortable, productive and super fun environment!

Southeast Convergence for Climate Action!
August 5-11th in Louisa County, VA
The 2008 Climate Justice , global warming

This summer, join people from throughout the southeast and beyond for the second annual Southeast Convergence for Climate Action.

After the resounding success of last year’s convergence we are excited to continue the struggle for climate justice in the southeast with an engaging week of workshops, strategizing, and direct action! This year’s convergence will be hosted in Virginia, where communities are fighting uranium mining, nuclear power, mountaintop removal coal mining, and new (as well as old) coal plants. Once again we will unite to fight the coal industry’s stranglehold on our region while rejecting the deadly nuke industry’s attempt to position themselves as the solution to the climate crisis.

The convergence is a place to strengthen our movement, network with new allies, and take action against dirty energy while working to build a more community-based, sustainable world. Workshops will include: community organizing, direct action 101, debunking false solutions to climate change, blockades, sustainable living systems, media, anti-oppression, disaster response, fighting nukes and coal, and much more. The convergence will culminate in an empowering action to show that the southeast is serious about tackling climate change.

For more information check out: www.climateconvergence.org

Email: risingtide@mountainrebel.net | PO Box 7586, Asheville NC 28802

De ja Vu....

Funny how much you can get accomplished if you don't care who gets the credit and you're willing to stand up for what's right.

When I butted heads with the blackmailing publisher in Washington State when I was a newspaper editor there, the townspeople there donated five truckloads of items and held a yard sale for me and gave me the $250 they raised from the sale. I met people who told me they didn't want/need anything at the sale but wanted to support the truth so they bought something or they pressed a $5 or $20 bill into my hand. It was humbling to see the demand for honest reporting. I used that $250 for my first month's rent on my office directly across the street from my old paper. They didn't like that much and for weeks shut their blinds.

I did 100% of the work - the writing, layout, photography etc. myself. A friend helped out keeping the books. School kids sold the papers door-to-door making 25 cents on each 50 cent paper they sold. It was distributed in 32 retail locations in two states -I know. I delivered it myself too and even drove two hours down to Portland, OR and back every week to pick up the papers.

A had a couple salespeople come on once I got it rolling. But from the get-go it was a success. A state senator told me it was the first paper in 20 years to become a newspaper of record in the state - the first in 40 years to do so with under $1 million in start-up money. Just me, a home computer and a lot of community support and desire for the truth and someone to "tell it like it was."

No one else would call the Columbia River Gorge Commission on their lie, cheat and steal tactics and The Klickitat County Monitor did. The editorials were hard and the letters to the editors would make blood boil on both sides. It was a REAL newspaper - an exchange of ideas, emotions, facts and truth and community - not a spread sheet for all the local accidents and fires...see some samples of a few issues by CLICKING HERE.

But 100 hour weeks and living in the office and showering in the campground 20 miles away took its toll. After a bout with pneumonia in which I was so sick I couldn't move for days I sold it and moved into an RV in a campground. The new owners had their own agenda - basically wanting the paper to be the voice of the county commissioners and to be driven more advocacy than truth and facts. One of the men who purchased it said, "I read a newspaper every day, so heck yeah I can run one." They had no idea. So I quit rather than be a puppet to yet another agenda driven owner. Two years later it was defunct. It was the exchange and the heat of ideas and facts and debate that made it work - not the arm twisting that it became. Other editors who went to work there after me quit as well - also not wanting to be a shill for someone else's agenda.

Everywhere I've gone in journalism except for The Knoxville Journal, I've experienced deception, cowardice and greed when what people want is the truth - unless of course it concerns their own deceptions! I'm not perfect. I've been zealous and I've offended a lot of people! But I acknowledged it immediately when I was wrong - and on the front page - not buried somewhere. But I have always said and believed that the freedom of speech and the freedoms accorded us in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution are the most valuable freedoms in the world and that we will lose them if we don't exercise them. And most of the world agrees and is stunned at how little we in America respect and value our freedoms.

Every day we lose more and more and more of our freedoms. We no longer have a right to petition the government for a redress of our grievances unless we have a bank account equal to the gross national product of a small country. People can be sued into submission for speaking the truth. Freedom of speech has become a haven only for those wealthy enough to afford it. All an officer has to do is say, "Terrorist threat - domestic or otherwise" and the government doesn't need a search warrant - thanks to the Patriot Act. Citizens are marching in the streets of big cities and demanding an investigation into our own government's participation in the events of 9/11 - foreign governments and people know and believe what we ourselves don't - that 9/11 "Was an inside job".....and yet where is our media? Reporting on Britney Spears mental health breakdown and on the traffic accident or fire of the day. No wonder bloggers have made a difference. They're the only ones really reporting the news!!!

Corrupt government officials get away with crimes every day. 300,000 people in this country "go missing" every year and no one knows what's happening to them. Have you gone to the state's website to see how many people are missing in Virginia alone each year? 153 in the last year. Check it out. Click here.

Everyone is so worried about being "politically correct" that they have forgotten how to be "EC" Ethically correct.

Maybe Danville likes the way things are - or they simply haven't had anyone who spoke up loudly enough. It's not just Danville. It's all over. The state press associations in every state in this county have ethics but rarely do they investigate or enforce sanctions when a paper transgresses those ethics. Rarely will a newspaper turn on one of its own even when they violate core ethics. So you can't really depend on anyone but citizen bloggers to fight.

If the revolutionaries who dumped the tea in Boston had had internet access they might have blogged instead. But America was founded by people who valued their right to pursue happiness, to worship as they chose and to speak out to criticize the government and any wrong doing they saw. I'm not giving that up. Are you?

If - as many predict - including Biblical prophesy, the United States of America falls - and we're close to that now with Saudi Arabia and a proposed oil cartel that will require payment for oil in Euros, not dollars (we can print dollars. We can't print Euros) and we go to war in Iran life as we know it will change drastically. It's inevitable of course. I predict within a year...life and freedoms as we've known them will begin to fail to exist. Expect martial law, more disasters and more government control. Expect a national draft as well - we can't staff the wars we're in now or the bases we staff around the world. A draft is inevitable. We're so close to that already. For two decades now our presidents have publicly endorsed a "New World Order." We barely escaped it in the 1930's, so is it finally time to go round again?

We've lost our middle-class and are a nation of haves and have-nots. 70% of Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck. We are becoming as close to a dictatorship as we can be...the Patriot Act has gutted our civil freedoms - corporations are giving the government our cell phone conversations and computer records with impunity and Homeland Security has made us all suspect of anything and made it legal for the government to enter our homes without cause, warrant or notice. Congress in a secret session? You bet. See it here. And what did they discuss?

The media SHOULD have been exposing all this - but they've abdicated their honor, their duty and their calling to make a buck. And the people have let them. Why? I don't know. We're at the tipping point America. A few more years of rolling over and letting the truth fall by the wayside and it's over. We won't have that option any more. Don't believe me? www.brasschecktv.org. Spend a couple of evenings watching the free videos and see/think/consider for yourself. Go to YouTube.com and search "New World Order," and see. But 75% of the people have no idea...none. And what is our media, both local and national obscessed with? You got it...fires, shootings, celebrities - entertainment - things that grab our attention and play into our fear - but not that stimulate our brains. How much do you know about uranium? Not much. There has been no real coverage and there won't be. Not unless there's a new newspaper in town willing to cover it. Yet - it will impact this county MORE than any other business that could settle here - including the big company that's coming and making its announcement in the next few days, weeks....

Why? Ad dollars. Don't want to scare off advertisers. Do you want safety or truth? Unfortunately most of us prefer safety. But without the truth there is no real safety. With the truth we know where we stand and can make decisions. Without the facts, without the truth - we're in the dark. Where do you want to be?

Homeless, not helpless - and my connection to Tim Russert

In 2006 I was homeless - by choice. My dad died and the newspaper I was at was in transition and I could not stand the 14 hour days and 7 day workweeks and a boss who literally screamed at me and the staff. So when my dad died I quit my $50,000 a year job and moved into a $750 van.

Why? Because before my dad died I asked him, "Do you have any regrets?" He said, "Just one. I regret working so much and not taking time to do all the things I dreamed about doing someday when I retired."

So when he died, I decided I was working way too hard and was way too miserable and wanted no regrets. But I had another reason. I wanted to finish the story...

The year prior to my dad's death with brain cancer I had written a story for Tim Russert's book, Wisdom of Our Fathers, Lessons from Sons and Daughters. It was selected out of the 60,000 entries and was published the same year my dad died - in 2006. My essay is on page 141 of Tim's book. My father was the son of a town drunk. His father committed suicide when my dad was 19, leaving seven children - of whom my father was the oldest. The youngest was still in diapers. He literally came from rags and went to what many considered riches - putting himself through college at age 30, then through dental school after that. He didn't even start his practice until he was 40 because he stayed in school for more training so he could specialize in children's dentistry. He was a fighter too. But we had been estranged for 15 years. He'd divorced my mother - married a woman who wanted nothing to do with children from his first marriage - so, for a lot of reasons we didn't talk for 15 years - until I found out he had brain cancer. My phone call to him was the thing that sparked my essay to Tim Russert. Tim said he loved it.

Over the few months my father had left I managed to have dinner or visit with him quite a few times. After he died I wanted to write about that experience and at the same time - grieve while doing all the things - travel and photography, that he never got to do. I didn't want regrets. So I quit my job, bought a van and moved into it. For the next year I alternated between "full-timer" camping and "homeless." It was quite a journey, riff with bullies and people who hated what I was doing - hated the fact I had the courage to pursue a dream I suppose - and who just thought everyone should be a white picket fence, new car, mortgage and kid kind of person.

I'm not. For the next year I dared to dream, dared to risk, dared to be different, dared to grieve, dared to face homelessness. At the end of that year I started working for another paper - one my father had known well - although I was not aware of it at the time I applied. The newspaper was in my father's hometown, one he had grown up with. My working there angered some of his family.

"When your grandfather killed himself that paper put it in big headlines, Father of 7 kills self" - my aunt told me. They were not happy I was working at a rag that trashed and humiliated the family. Within a few months I had written a series of articles on the death of a hometown boy - a man who died less than two weeks before he was scheduled to come back from Iraq. The series won both Tennessee State Press Association awards and a first place in the East Tennessee Society of Professional Journalists Award. I was living in my van at the time. I "couch-surfed" at the home of a former publisher friend of mine for a few months during that time as well. Something about covering the death of a soldier over Christmas and New Year's Eve seemed to release something in me and I decided to settle down and move back into an apartment.

A few weeks later there was a strike at a plant in that small town. I spent the first week of the strike freezing but sleeping in my van on the strike lines - talking to strikers. Then the strike turned violent. As I stood in the road with my camera and tape recorder I saw men trying to pull replacement workers - scabs - from their cars and beat them. I heard death threats. Then the strikers began throwing rocks through windshields, torching cars, shooting into homes where children lay sleeping...it was bad. I wrote about it and the paper started getting threats and calls. They decided to quit covering it or to give it neutral coverage because of the fear of violence. They abdicated their position as a newspaper and took a position of a business. That meant that the community wasn't served, but their business interests were. So I quit - took a job with Media General and moved to Danville.

I was still living in the van folks!! For the first month - until I found a place to rent, I stayed at a local campground until they decided they couldn't allow rottweilers - then I alternated between a hotel room and "wherever."

For the next three months or so - until that fateful day when I went to Gretna and met Fred Ingram....I was happy - doing well.

Why am I telling you all this? Because it's where I have come from and what I came through to get to where I am today. I'm not ashamed of it. I've endured and experienced a lot to get here and I'm not letting anyone turn my story against me - as Media General will eventually try to do. So now you know. I'm a fighter. I've always stood up for the underdog - for those beaten down by corporations, by injustice. Read the stories I wrote for The Danville Register & Bee- about folks in this area - from the homeless man living in a hotel and beaten up by teenagers; to the woman who lived for a year without electrical power and others. Why? Because journalism is about helping and defending the disenfranchised and those who don't have a voice. It's not about humiliating women in the newsroom, or plastering photo after photo of car wrecks and fires on the front page.

Journalism is about community - or should be. And that's the kind of journalist I am - and have always wanted to be. And if Media General wants to trash me - then go ahead. I'm ready. I've had a lifetime of dealing with scum and pigs like you and I'm not backing down now.

Blame the victim

Ever notice how people - usually those who attacked the victim in the first place, BLAME the victim? It's a common response designed to somehow convince people that the victim deserved what was coming to them.

The accuser will try to find anything and everything they can to somehow justify the fact that the victim has no claim or is not justified in protesting what was done to her.

So they end up being doubly victimized. It's like going into a convenience store to get something on your way home late from work one night and getting shot when some punk robs the store when you just happen to be there. How would you feel if people and the media said,"Well you shouldn't have been in the store that late at night. What were you wearing? If you hadn't had a suit and tie on the robber wouldn't have felt threatened. He had to shoot you. It's your fault!" Now. How would you feel? Incredulous right?

Well - rather than simply admit this incident happened, fire the appropriate people and apologize - Media General and their staff of paid attorneys will do the same. Well, if you're so offended by sexual harassment, why did you keep working there? Something brilliant. Something to trash me - or try to. Sigh. It's how corporations work.

Okay - next thought. Have you ever complained about your high utility bill? Ever complained about anything more than once? Why? Because nothing was done the first time you complained...or the second right? What if you complain about the utility bills or the price of gas in one state, then move and wow! It's worse in another state? Are you allowed to complain again? Or are you being a whiner and malcontent? No. You see a problem and keep complaining or protesting or doing whatever you need to do in order to stop what's happening to you. I see bullies and I keep fighting back.

That's the thing with being bully fodder. No matter where you go the things that make you a target for bullies remain. If you're good at what you do, bullies - by their very nature, will pick. So - what do you do? You move or quit and go somewhere else - or you object. You fight back. You protest. I've found bullies exist most everywhere. So have the experts. But rather than quit and slink off to another job I take a stand. And - as with most bullying targets - the bullies win in the end because they are so vicious and unprincipled. But I get great satisfaction out of not being a doormat and out of giving them pause. Bullies aren't used to having people fight back.

But I grew up in the inner city of Memphis, TN. I had seen three people stabbed to death by the time I was 10. I ran away from gangs who tried to beat me up and learned early to fight back to survive. By the time I was 10 there were only one or two people who would mess with me. Others had tried but learned it just wasn't worth the effort. They might technically "win" and beat me up - but it cost them dearly because I did not just stand there and take it. Media General may decide to trash me - attack me...and discredit and try to humiliate me more than they already have, but I'm not going to stand still and take it. That's why I have this blog.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Constantly amazed....

I complain about a reporter who films the breasts of women without their knowledge or consent and what is the response I get from Media General employees? "You weren't doing your job." Uh - yeah, blowing the whistle on sexual harassment is my job.

Steve Kaylor even tried to play spoiler - by going to my web site (www.ravenscreekphotography.smugmug.com) and attempting to buy a photo of a PDF of a a front page of The Danville Register & Bee I had posted in my portfolio. He said I was "attempting to benefit commercially" from selling PDF's of the newspaper. He can't get people to buy the real thing - how does he think I'm going to benefit commercially by his paying $1.35 or $1.85 - whatever it was, for a PDF with a photo I took with MY CAMERA? My friends at Smugmug alerted me, canceled the order and then informed Steve his order was cancelled. Not much of a commercial benefit was it Steve.

See? Rather than admit they were wrong - they're trying to shut me up and attack me for speaking out. Typical. Then he had Ann email me and threaten to charge me with a Federal Crime. Just brilliant. Just brilliant. Now - part of what I told the EEOC was that I was being singled out and retaliated against. So, did Steve attempt to contact all the other Media General employees who post clips and photos and PDF's on their websites? Um. I doubt it. So - retaliation proved there. Just admit it. The paper made a mistake. You tolerated a hostile workplace and sexual harassment and bullying. When the bullying didn't force me out you just kept looking...But I wasn't a John Coscia. Explain why everyone waited so long to fire him? 13 citations!?! Eluding a police officer?! A newspaper reporter - an EDITOR -a MANAGER eludes and has TWO DUI's and he holds onto his job but you want to charge me with a Federal Crime for posting a PDF to my portfolio like how many other reporters (thousands!!) all over the country do?? PLEASE.

If you could have found anything else other than "You spend too much time on Poynter.org (A journalism website for journalists interested in what's happening in the PROFESSION of journalism) to legitimately complain about - they would have. I'm not the one who made such a huge mistake in Sting that I got the company sued. I haven't been there for 12 weeks, but I still see errors in the paper daily. I got a text message the other day that said said the Governor's name was "Timoty"....yeah. And then there was the sports story in which someone "SH*T a homerun...." lots of fans came out to see that happen again...

Guess it's hard to say I'm not doing my job when Guy Lucas' last post to the Lucas list said otherwise. Is it that you don't think Mac did anything wrong? I know a lot of people - including his victims, that would disagree with you on that. I know they've said as much too. So why not apologize?

Advocacy for victims

Newspapers today are little more than money making machines. They sell ads. They don't change or improve their community. This is a video I found tonight about how Peter Gabriel and other celebrities are helping put video cameras into the hands of people so they can document the abuses in their countries.

Americans have it relatively easy now....but that will change when the economy changes in the next decade. Meanwhile - see how citizen journalists in other countries use video cameras responsibly. Click here.

Now - imagine how Danville could change if citizen journalists used their cell phone cameras, video cameras and time to document community and share community. Many of you are already video-taping events and documenting those with your churches, families and friends. What if you could do that so everyone could witness it? Of course the Register & Bee will jump up and down and encourage you to submit your stuff there - but if you do that it will attract viewers and simply make The Danville Register & Bee more money. Instead - start a blog. It's free. You can post your video to YouTube and link it to your blog - all free.

Even better - use Adsense to put ads on your webpage and make money for your church or your community. It's possible. Become citizen journalists and document your own history. Then - if the paper wants to link TO your site YOU make the money.

Check it out. Go to www.wordpress.com or www.blogger.com and try creating your own site. It's free, easy and fun. If you want more challenge - go to www.squidoo.com and make lots of free sites!

But use your video, your camera, your writing and your community to HELP your organization, NOT to humiliate women. And those of you being bullied? A blog and some video is a way to expose the bully, to feel empowered yourself and to develop that intelligence and ability you have that makes bullies want to bully.

I have a comment...

I have a blog reader named "Dottie" (no last name) who has a comment...I'm waiting for their full name - even though I won't post the name I must confirm who it is...

She says I was fired and RJ was not. That's true. If you don't leave when you're pressured - you do get fired. R.J. was the best copy editor the Register & Bee had. His leaving was their loss. But he had a filthy mouth. I liked him but I didn't care to hear the constant cursing and the denouncement of Christianity as "bullshit" and "a crock."

Both myself and another reporter went in to talk to Arnold and complain about how the other copy editors were harassing and bullying R.J., calling him "crazy" and mental. So, TWO OF US, independent of each other - complained about how R.J. was being bullied - just as I was bullied and just as others have been. He left for whatever reason not having been there a year. He was the most well-read and brilliant copy editor in the place - but cursed like a sailor and I don't think he'll dispute that assessment at all.

The other copy editors sucked the juice of the leads and the story and butchered a lot of good writing - more than they helped. I have an email from Tampa about just that very thing. I'll post it tomorrow. R.J. polished stories, he didn't rewrite them in an attempt to be the reporter. He will be hard to replace. He was not appreciated either. It's not his talent or abilities - it was his language I didn't care for.

And yes - I was terminated because I started a blog about the sexual hostility and harassment that was going on down there. When you're in a little cliche where you get your rush trashing everybody...you don't see that.

Bullying survey

Dr. Gary Nami is in the process of collecting surveys on bullying for a study he is doing. If you'd like to take this anonymous survey, click on this link:


It is sponsored by the Bullying Institute and is in no way connected to me or my site. I'm just passing along the word!

Love this!!!!


Political Soup...

A friend of mine just alerted me to this website and I have to admit I wish I'd known about it sooner. What fun! Now THIS is citizen journalism!


Check it out!!

Basic blogs...

Blogs are a journal or "log" of events one keeps while online. For those of you who haven't read one before the post at the top of the page is the most current posting or entry. If you scroll down to the bottom or look in the column to the right you'll see the past entries. The post I think most of you are looking for is entitled "Were you filmed?" and it refers to reporter Mac McLean filming local businesswomen's breasts without their knowledge or consent and then showing the videos to the newsroom in a loud, inappropriate manner and the men, including the managers - who came over to look at the video and laugh. [Yeah - what if it was you? Or your wife? Funny then??]

Were you filmed is the original post. You can scroll to the bottom of this page or check the archives if you can't find it. I ask the question because there were two videos that I am personally aware of. One was posted online that I know of and the other was ???? I don't know. Steve Kaylor went in search of it when I complained initially, but nothing was ever done or said about it and he later denied having any knowledge of the event. I guess he forgot about our emails about it. I've posted them as well.

There may or may not have been other women filmed. I would say there were since the first two seemed to make Mac so happy. Any time a grown man yells "I can see her nipples" in a crowded workplace where both men and women are you have to wonder about his mental and emotional maturity and whether or not he actually listened to those sexual harassment videos. I doubt it.

The two men I attended with used foul language and curse words throughout the video, making it clear they had no respect for a hostile free environment. (Didn't you realize that was taped?) but only when the female HR person, Bonne Mahler was in the room. Apparently they never thought I'd blog about them saying C*** and B****.

R.J. Beatty - star of this year's public benefit spelling bee - I'm sure many of you will remember him from his frequent and loud use of the "F" word, is no longer there. The other reporter redeemed himself enough over the months that he may have just suffered under R.J.'s influence. Who knows...anyway. As I once told Steve Kaylor. I won't put it up for public consumption until I can prove it. I can prove it.

And yet - Media General keeps them all on...why??

How history is corrupted

In the 1930's Corporate America tried to organize a coup to take over the White House and oust President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Fascists from Corporate America wanted the U.S. to join forces with Hitler and Nazi Germany and become a fascist country. One of the main supporters? Prescott Bush - grandfather of President George W. Bush. It's true. But you have to dig past the cover-ups of the main stream media of recent years to find it.

(Fascist: Pronunciation:
\ˈfa-ˌshi-zəm also ˈfa-ˌsi-\

Often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition2: a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control )

The evidence and story is all there - in the New York Times and other papers - linking President George W. Bush's father and grandfather to the conspiracy. Scary huh? Most of us remember the name "McCarthy" and many know vaguely that he was trying to oust "commies" from America. Most laugh at what they now believe was McCarthy's paranoid witch-hunt, but the FACTS are - he was RIGHT.

Now there's an incredibly well researched and thoroughly documented book out that does explain just how large that conspiracy was and what the ramifications would have been if the coup had succeeded. But the mainstream media will try to bury the reviews. Why? Look at who owns the media and see. Many of those names associated with the coup were and are household names - General Foods, maker of Maxwell House Coffee, Birdseye, Colgate, Heinz Food, General Motors and US Steel - the Titans who formed the Liberty League - funders of the proposed coup.

Want to know more about the book? Read the reviews on M. Stanton Evans’ epic book, Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and his Fight Against America’s Enemies.”and info by clicking HERE.

Need more information and the New York Times story? Click here to watch this video.

Wake up America. Don't believe that Obama is any better than McCain. They're all cut from the same cloth....Obama's early mentors? Ask why the media has failed to explore the most “radical” association he had—with his childhood mentor and Communist Party member Frank Marshall Davis. Accuracy in Media broke the story. This is the unmentionable aspect of Obama’s life and career. But it is by far the most dangerous.

Educate yourself. It's the only hope you have.

More media exposed..

If you don't believe that the mainstream media controls us...then check out this site:


Free videos - many of them three to ten minutes long. See how mainstream media impacts our freedoms. See how thousands of Black and Conservative votes were tossed out in the last election. See interviews with Larry King and Ron Paul that were taped but never aired on television. See how media companies like Media General shape the news.

Was YOUR Vote counted? Will it be counted? CLICK HERE TO WATCH.

Now, ask yourself why your local media doesn't report on this? They'll say because the Associated Press didn't report it. Well, why didn't the Associated Press report it? Follow the trail. Don't let the mainstream media laugh at you and call it a "conspiracy" thing...Brasschecktv uses the mainstream media's own video and reports to make its cases. So - watch, listen and THINK for yourself.

Racism, decency and control

I haven't quite figured out why Media General is so resistant to just doing the right thing. There's not enough media outrage yet I suppose - OH WAIT!!! They ARE the media! They CONTROL the media. If they don't want the public to know about what's happening inside their hallowed walls - no one will!

Now - do you see how the media works and why freedom of speech is so critical. If YOU allow your media - any media - in New York, DC, anywhere - to control the content of your lives - then you are all slaves. Wake up America. I know you don't realize the threat that is unfolding as the government begins to get MORE involved in the media - but we're in a critical time in history. When one corporation, such as Media General can control and silence something like a reporter filming women's breasts and flashing it around a newsroom and a management that tolerates it and everything else - then don't you wonder what else they're keeping quiet about?

Do you understand that if the traditional MEDIA is the only people get their news, or become informed then those that CONTROL THE MEDIA, like Media General - control your lives? If Media General decides that the only stories they want to run about Blacks involve black gangs, shootings and robberies then the MEDIA controls how the population sees/perceives Blacks. Their editorials, their news - all the ways they get to decide what aspect of African Americans people see gives them more power than the plantation owners of this area.

Don't you get it? Gangs and Black violence may make up 10% of the population but if the paper reports it 100% of the time....readers don't know that.

The KINDS of stories and the way in which they are written impact YOUR businesses, your schools, your kids, your city government, your local politics. Don't you realize that? You should. IF you don't, then stop and think about it. This is exactly WHY Public Relations folks are so adamant about controlling the information they release. They know that PERCEPTION IS EVERYTHING.

I LOVE the two egg and bacon special at the Schoolfield Diner on West Main St. Bill, the owner, is a great guy and he's a Danville icon. This old diner has been around 70+ years and has seen Danville's heydays and its downturns. When Dan River Mills was open he stayed open 24 hours a day. Not anymore. But he has great hot dogs and the atmosphere and interior of the place hasn't changed in 70 years. It's classic - not by design, but because it's original. If you want that old time feel of a diner where the men behind the counter still wear those little paper hats and aprons and everything is polished stainless steel then stop by there. Tell him Becky Blanton, formerly from the Danville Register & Bee sent you.

That's all true. Fact. Every word of it.

That's the good kind of news. If you're a business you like that kind of positive news. But what happens when it's not good? You want to keep it out of the paper. If you rent your conference center out and there's a wedding or birthday party there and someone gets shot (as has happened) and the newspaper only writes about that - then how do people perceive your place? Dangerous.

They won't consider it next time they're looking for a place to host a reception. So what do you do? You try to keep it out of the news and to downplay it so your business isn't hurt. That's almost impossible to do since the newspaper knows that readers LOVE to read about shootings. So they send someone over to snap a photo of your business and to get a quote which they'll add to a story they get from a police press release and THAT is what all of Danville will know about it.

The MEDIA gets to control ALL the content, the photos - everything. Scary huh? If you're a big advertiser the editor may think - well, we don't want to piss them off and lose their advertising, so I'll bury that story on an inside page and I won't run a photo with it. They're not supposed to think that way. They're supposed to think - Wow! This is really critical news and evaluate it based on that. A responsible editor will weigh the event in terms of long term impact, perception and truth and perspective.

Big advertisers know this and will threaten the paper with pulling their ads. The problem is - there is no alternative source for them to advertise in - so it works for a few weeks until their business begins to fall off. Then they grumble and moan but they start advertising again. They have to. Newspapers know this. There's a built-in buffer. The only time it really hurts the paper is when a story angers everyone and all the advertisers pull their ads!

If the businesses whose employees/owners for instance were angry over say, their employees having their breasts filmed without their consent.....decided to pull their ads - for three months or more - things could get uncomfortable at a newspaper. So - advertisers and consumers do have some serious control - they just never exercise it. America's founding fathers knew this. That's why we have "checks and balances" in our government. The interplay allows all parties to have control and on one group to have total control over the factors that affect them. When advertisers and consumers don't act - the power the media has just gets stronger.

For instance, going back to our hypothetical shooting - if that has been the fifth shooting there in three months - that information alone suggests something is going on there. A good editor will have a reporter look into WHY there are so many shootings and write stories based on what a media investigation finds is happening. Perhaps it is the only incident there in the history of the business. For ten years this has been a safe place. Then someone gets shot.

Well - that's probably a random act of violence that could have happened anywhere because of the people involved. So the story reflects that. The reporter's "angle" is one of, "A random act of domestic violence left one dead at one of Danville's most tranquil conference centers yesterday." See the difference? THAT is why Public Relations companies are called in. They know how to "Spin" a story so that a bad incident - even if it is not the company's fault - is placed in a light that impacts them the least.

What really happens when there's a shooting? A reporter is sent out to get a photo of something - anything - preferably a photo with a uniform, fire, crumpled car or broken glass - something to intrigue the viewer and entice them to buy the newspaper. The reporter stands around like everyone else at the scene - only they have a camera and notebook. They write down what they see, maybe talk to an officer - get a quote - any quote so we can show we "talked" to someone at the scene. Then we go back, badger the officer on duty for more information, or another quote or a press release. Then we put that together and PRESTO! A story. That's what you're reading. They aren't the investigator or the expert. They have a little bit more information, but not much. The police reports are posted online. You can read what the police say there yourself. What don't you get when this is how they report? You don't get the personal angle.

When I did a story months ago on a man who was beaten and robbed by teenagers at a local hotel, that could have been a standard press release/quote piece. But I decided to track the victim down, go out there, interview him and get HIS STORY. It made all the difference in his life. The VFW, local churches - lots of people came forward to HELP. That's what good journalism does. It brings communities together. But with "convergence" there's no time to do that. The Danville Register & Bee is cutting positions and reporters to show a profit. They don't care about you - the community. Don't you see that? They are a BUSINESS. Unlike YOUR business however, THEIR business can make or break you, intentionally or not.

When the school board superintendent withholds information from the press about anything negative - he's not hiding the facts as much as he's trying to avoid the tremendous impact he knows negative media can have. Sometimes that's good and sometimes its not. When schools, businesses, politicians make decisions that impact people the facts and the reasons behind their decisions NEED to be made public. When the media is overworked and understaffed - there are plenty of opportunities for mistakes to be made. At a good paper there would be an "Education Reporter." That person's beat would be education. They would develop sources and a professional relationship that enabled them to do the kind of in-depth reporting on schools and education that the public could benefit from. When you're covering 20 things instead of just one - that's not possible.

When you have the same territory to cover but half or one-third of the people to cover it with, mistakes are made. There's no time to be as careful because you have to get out the story. It's insanity.

In a city where there are good journalists and good media - presenting the facts in a neutral way can help citizens make decisions that improve their city. When the media is overworked, there's no time to investigate the facts or reach everyone involved but there's still a need to "feed the beast" ( A term news folks use to describe the great yawning maw of filling the pages and the television hour with news - any news just to FILL the space/time).

Good news is about MORE than just getting both sides of the story. Ask any cop about how helpful "Getting both sides" of a story in a domestic assault is. You don't get facts. You get two sides screaming about THEIR PERCEPTION of an event - not the facts.

When a reporter gets a comment from Gov. Kaine about gun control then pairs it with comments from passionate gun control advocates - that's not both sides of a story. Telling the real story involves looking into the history of an issue - seeing what was done before, how it's done now, how changes will impact the current population, what experts or leaders have to say when shown that historical evidence and adding some quotes and some links (for online media) to sites that provide even more information and facts. THAT'S how good journalism is done.

It's not supposed to be a free-for-all where the most articulate speaker - the person with the best sound bites or quotes, or the prettiest or meanest or stupidest is portrayed in order to subtly sway the story - "advocacy journalism."

Now, knowing that the media is powerful enough to impact your business, your community, your life - (yes your life. If you are arrested for DUI and found not guilty that Not Guilty charge doesn't end up in the paper...but your DUI is history. Unless someone looks it up on the internet and tracks down the conviction - that fact is linked to you forever. Newspapers don't follow up on that stuff) how comfortable do you feel?

What about corrections? Hundreds of them made every day in every newspaper in the country. Don't believe me? CLICK HERE to go to www.regrettheerro.com to see just how many errors newspapers across the country make EVERY DAY. What if this was your business? Would you want a little box on the bottom of an inside page? When I owned my newspaper I posted all my corrections on the FRONT page where readers could see them. If was my error - I owned it.

Yes, this is a long post - but I feel very strongly about the fact that readers across the country are NOT getting the news they need. Media is changing, and not for the better. More than ever people need to learn to check alternate sources for information. Anonymous blogs aren't the answer. If you have something to say - then put your name to it and say it. Develop credibility and accountability. THEN you'll get readers. THEN you'll make a difference.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Free speech - HOW CAN YOU SAY ALL THIS!!!

"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty." - John Adams [1772].

People in general don't know what free speech looks like, or sounds like. We're so used to people simply telling us, "You can't say that," or "You can't do that," that we believe them. Many people believe that being "politically correct" or PC speech is the law. It's NOT.

I am posting memos and emails, so people have the facts - easily retrievable by anyone with access to a Register & Bee server..like Media General, or by reading my email posting. But the point of this post is - do you understand what FREE SPEECH is? What does it look like? How can I say these things?

So those of you who have asked I'm posting a link to Bloggers Rights: There are many such sites on the internet. I like this one.

What I am writing/blogging are matters of FACT. They are matters of FACT about public figures - those employed by The Danville Register & Bee - and whose actions and behavior impact and influence the public in potentially negative ways - like filming women's breasts and denying such actions took place.

Well - there are the emails to prove that!!! Public figures must show malice. Well - I'm trying to protect the public by alerting them to the standards of business I know to be FACT at The Danville Register & Bee. Those who work there, have worked there and who know the situation have read this blog and agreed that it's all factual. When Sports Editor Drew Wilson asked for clarification that it was not HE who had the citations I was happy to clarify that. He was concerned about his reputation - my thinking and my opinion is - people who know him would know he wasn't the person referred to in the blog and two, working at the Register & Bee does greater harm to your reputation than someone mistaking you for the sports editor in question.

When I write about the FACTS of how a non-professional relationship between a supervisor and a co-worker violated what many believe to be sexual harassment and discrimination laws - I'm blowing the whistle on sexual harassment and a hostile workplace.
Please understand - I'm not alone in protesting what's going on down there. I'm just the only one willing to put my name to it because I believe in being upfront and out there to the person I'm speaking to - unlike the gossips, bullies and slanderers at the newspaper. Take it to court and expect to have people you weren't expecting testify.

So - they can retaliate again if they like - but I can back it up. And I will.