February 11, 2015 – Arsenal For Democracy 116

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Topics: Mike Pence’s failed state media outlet, Nigeria elections postponement, UK elections early predictions. People: Bill, Nate. Produced: February 10th, 2015.

Discussion Points:

– Is Indiana’s short-lived state media outlet a harbinger of even more challenges for local journalism?
– What does the postponement of Nigeria’s elections mean for the country’s democracy?
– UK: What could a Labour-SNP coalition mean for Britain? What effect will the centrality of UKIP’s talking points have on the campaign?

Episode 116 (52 min)
AFD 116

Related links
Segment 1

AFD: Pence’s Pravda
Indianapolis Star: Pence starts state-run news outlet to compete with media
Fort Wayne News-Sentinel: Indiana Governor Mike Pence scraps plan for state-run news website

Segment 2

AFD: Nigeria military forces elections to be postponed
BBC: Nigeria election: Five questions about delay

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Pence’s Pravda

If you had told me a year ago — or even yesterday — that a conservative Republican governor would launch a taxpayer-funded government media outlet, I would have laughed in your face. But that’s exactly what Republican Governor (and former Chairperson of the U.S. House Republican Conference) Mike Pence of Indiana has just announced. This is supremely mystifying.

Gov. Mike Pence is starting a state-run taxpayer-funded news service that will provide pre-written news stories to Indiana news outlets, as well as sometimes break news about his administration, according to documents obtained by The Indianapolis Star.

Pence is planning to launch “Just IN” in late February, a website and news service that will feature stories written by state press secretaries and is being overseen by a former Indianapolis Star reporter, Bill McCleery.

“At times, Just IN will break news — publishing information ahead of any other news outlet. Strategies for determining how and when to give priority to such ‘exclusive’ coverage remain under discussion,” according to a question-and-answer sheet distributed last week to communications directors for state agencies.

 
Update: On January 29, 2015, Gov. Pence’s administration announced they were canceling plans for the project.

Jamming the works in Indiana

After much suspense since Republican legislators in 2011 passed a bill to put a constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage on the Indiana ballot, marriage equality supporters could breathe a sigh of relief today. The legislature, still firmly Republican and opposed to marriage equality, blocked its own momentum on a technicality which will delay the effort by at least another two years — possibly giving more time to stop it for good.

Indiana requires legislators to pass exact same text in two different legislative assemblies before a constitutional amendment can go on the ballot. 2011’s measure, much like the North Carolina Amendment passed in May 2012, banned both same-sex marriage and civil unions. This was extreme at the time but seems to have been a bridge too far for legislators just a few years later. Earlier, the House passed a different version of the text (dropping the civil unions prohibition), and today the Senate approved that new text without amending it back. There did not appear to be significant objection within the legislative membership to keeping out the old version, even if it meant a delay.
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AFD Ep 50 – Ethics, Efficacy, Insurance

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