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Underlying Rights

Gawker Identifies the Creepiest Troll on the Internet, and Reddit Rushes to His Defense

Under the username Violentacrez, 49-year-old Michael Brutsch of Arlington, Texas, anonymously created and maintained a multitude of racist, mysogynistic, and violent sections on the website Reddit. “Niggerjailbait” is one such example of his handiwork on Reddit, and it is as bad as it sounds – sexualized images of underage African American girls. In fact, underage girls was a specialty of Brutsch, and while he was careful to remove any content that was technically illegal, his many “jailbait” pages clearly pandered to pedophiles.

Brutsch/Violentacrez was also the moderator behind the infamous Reddit group “Creepshots,” which featured upskirt and other covert photos taken of unsuspecting women in public places. Though he was somewhat famous in the Reddit community, and had even been called out by Anderson Cooper, Brutsch’s true identity was unknown until Friday, when Gawker’s Adrian Chen published an article about him.

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Blogger Cheers LAT Decision to No Longer Cover UCLA, USC Football Practices

At this morning’s UCLA football practice, camera crews for ESPN and KTLA are said to have foolishly tried to set up shop in a restricted field area. As a result, coach Jim Mora sent them, the rest of the press corps and members of the school’s sports information department packing for the day.

Go Joe Bruin blogger Carlos Sandoval speculates that this action is directly responsible for a subsequent LA Times tweet announcement that the paper will no longer cover UCLA and USC football practices. And he, for one, is thrilled:

T.J. Simers has constantly bashed UCLA for seemingly no reason other than having an ax to grind while Chris Foster, though more moderate, has been an absolute douche while covering the team. Both act as if covering UCLA football is a labor, so I’m personally glad that they’re willfully leaving. It’s for the best, because they blow.

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Lane Kiffin Still Doing Lane Kiffin Like Things

After banning Daily News reporter Scott Wolf last week, you would think USC football head coach Lane Kiffin would get his act together and stop jerking around the media.

Yeah, not so much.

Kiffin was up to his usual antics on Wednesday with a press conference that lasted less than 30 seconds.

He really doesn’t like talking about injuries.

USC Bans Reporter from Trojans Game, Practices*

In August, USC promised to punish any journalist who passed on strategy or injury-related news garnered via the football practice sidelines. This week, they have put their money where their pigskin is. Or have they?

Per a report in the LA Times, Daily News sportswriter Scott Wolf has been barred from two weeks’ worth of Trojans practices and a September 22 home game for reporting that place kicker Andre Heidari (pictured) underwent surgery last week. Even though Wolf’s report does not cite a practice source:

“From our standpoint, Scott was doing his job,” Los Angeles Newspaper Group sports editor Gene Warnick said. “This wasn’t something that was part of practice. We were just trying to report the news.” A USC athletic department spokesperson declined to comment.

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Gay Blogger Goes Undercover at Anti-Same Sex Marriage Conference

Now in its fourth year, the “It Takes a Family to Raise a Village” (ITAF) conference hosted by the National Organization for Marriage’s (NOM) Ruth Institute had a most unusual guest at its recent San Diego summer confab: Media Matters for America blogger Carlos Maza.

Taking advantage of the event’s expansion to include recent college graduates, the openly gay Maza (pictured) applied as a gag, fully expecting to be smoked out by a quick Google search. Instead, he received a ‘Congratulations!’ email and soon found himself socializing on Day One (July 26) at a group dinner in Marina Village:

I told them I was a practicing Catholic (false) who recently graduated from Wake Forest University (true), where I was a member of the university’s debate team (true). I told them that I worked with my mom at a computer software company in Miami, FL (false) but was planning to move to Washington, DC in order to be closer to my long-term college girlfriend (absolutely false).

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San Diego Freelancer in the Middle of First Amendment Fight

Earlier this year, 48-year-old videographer for-hire James Charles Playford served a couple of days in San Diego jail after being found guilty of obstructing a peace officer. He essentially refused to identify himself to a sheriff’s deputy at a news scene and a minor altercation ensued.

Now, his employer – Connecticut based American News and Information Services Inc. – is tackling on his behalf the broader issue of San Diego press credentials. Per a report in the North County Times, the company has filed a federal lawsuit claiming that ID cards issued to news media by the San Diego Police Department violate the First Amendment and that privately issued credentials should be considered equally valid. Playford’s SDPD pass was rescinded some time ago when a restraining order was filed against him:

To qualify for SDPD credentials, a member of the media must demonstrate a need to regularly cross police or fire lines and must pass a criminal background check, said Detective Gary Hassen, a spokesman for the San Diego Police Department who is in charge of issuing the credential.

Additionally, the applicant’s journalistic outlet must have been in existence for at least six months. He said the agency has issued credentials to bloggers, most notably those who work for Patch.

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Burbank Broadcaster Ditches Hateful Spanish Talk Show

What began as a joint effort by GLAAD and the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) to get advertisers to boycott Liberman Broadcasting’s Spanish-language daytime talk show José Luis Sin Censura blossomed this week into something much more significant. The Burbank-based broadcaster, which was airing the show twice daily on 37 stations across its Estrella TV network, announced the program had been yanked altogether.

José Luis was the ringmaster of a mutated version of Jerry Springer, complete with chain link fence (!) protecting the audience from guests (as well as, perhaps, vice versa). Unlike Springer however, Luis did not bleep, edit or relegate to PPV the naughtier bits. As a result, hateful gay slurs, manhandling of women and more was regularly showcased:

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LAT Columnist Questions NFL Female Referee Sideshow

Away from the glorious glare of the London Summer Olympics, one of this week’s other big sports stories is the scheduled appearance on the San Diego Chargers field tomorrow night of the first-ever female NFL game referee. Her name is Shannon Eastin and such has been the media interest that a conference call was held with reporters on Tuesday.

Sam Farmer, NFL beat writer for the LA Times, leads off his take with a great first sentence – ‘Shannon Eastin is an accidental pioneer.’ – and follows with solid arguments. He thinks it was a mistake, with regular officials locked out since June because of a labor dispute, for the league to thrust her into the interim feminist spotlight:

The mystery: Why would the NFL want to create a sideshow in the middle of this labor mess instead of waiting to do it the right way? There is no need to draw additional attention to the stand-ins, most of whom are lacking big-time football experience…

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Anonymous Blogger VFX Soldier Finally Does an Interview

Several major media outlets have been chasing after an interview with the anonymous author of the entertainment industry blog VFX Soldier. In the end, the proponent of unionizing visual effects workers and doing away with international production subsidies chose to give one to Bob Oedy, lead organizer with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).

Oedy says that if people within the film and TV industry knew who VFX Soldier was, they’d be “blown away.” The blogger chooses to remain anonymous to avoid being blackballed and told Oedy his biggest media moment came earlier this spring:

“The topic that garnered the most response were my posts dedicated to recent statements made to investors by Digital Domain CEO John Textor. In candid recordings he told investors that he hoped to open schools where the government would give him grants and [VFX] students would pay him tuition so they could work on some of the projects they intend to make money off of. What caused the most outrage was when he declared, ‘Free labor is better than cheap labor.’”

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New TV Ad by Anti-Sex Trafficking Activists Calls For Closure of Backpage.com Sex Ads

Village Voice Media, the parent company of LA Weekly, continues to be targeted by activists fighting against child sex trafficking. The source of the controversy is the adult services ads on the VVM-owned classified advertising website Backpage.com. Despite numerous documented cases of pimps using the site to sell sex with trafficked women and children, VVM has resisted calls to shut down the highly profitable section.

With the advertisement below, sponsored by social service organization FAIR Girls, activists hope to increase public pressure on VVM to remove prostitution ads from Backpage.com. The ad, which will first air this Sunday on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, encourages viewers to visit the FAIR Girls website, where they can sign a petition urging VVM to shut down the adult services section on Backpage.com.

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