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Listening Post
Super PACs: A new media weapon
How will Political Action Committees impact US politics and the 2012 election?
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2012 05:44

It is election year in the US and in the run-up to the vote, Republican candidates are head-to-head in the race to become their party's nominee. This campaign however, has seen the emergence of a new media strategy in the form of the Super PAC (Political Action Committee).
 
Super PACs are funded by American individuals, corporations and unions, who are legally allowed to donate as much money as they want to supposedly independent organisations but which are linked to a particular candidate. These Super PACs then unleash a slew of political TV ads that are not designed to support their candidate but rather take down the opposition. And so far they seem to be working. 
 
In this week's News Divide, we analyse this new media weapon and look at how it is impacting the Republican nomination.
 
Quick hits from Listening Post Newsbytes: Belarus enforces tighter laws on the internet; US Congress freezes aid to Palestine forcing a children's TV show off air; Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's weekly TV show returns to the airwaves; and Al Jazeera's signal is being blocked in Iran, allegedly because of the network's coverage of Syria.

Online animators with a political punch

For more than a century the world has been fascinated by animations. But a lot has changed in that time. Animation has become a slick, technical and often highly politicised medium and like most things, it is moving online.

In 2010, San Francisco-based cartoonist Mark Fiore - whose work we have featured in the Internet Video of the Week segment of our show – became the first online animator to win a Pulitzer Prize. It shows you how popular the medium has become and how seriously it is being taken.

Today, there are online animators across the globe and World Wide Web - each with their own particular brand but all with the same goal: to get their message out to as many people as possible.

Listening Post's Nick Muirhead looks at some of the most influential online animators out there and how in cyberspace, they can carry a hefty political punch.

The internet search giant Google annually produces a viral video that looks back at how the world searched the internet that year. Last year's offering is filled with the some of the biggest news stories and iconic images of 2011. Cram a year into a couple of minutes, lay it down with an emotive track and we are sure you will agree it makes 2011 look like a spectacular year. The video is called Zeitgeist 2011: Year In Review and it is our Internet Video of the Week. We hope you enjoy the show.

 
Listening Post can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Saturday: 0830, 1930; Sunday: 1430; Monday: 0430.

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