Oct
31
2008

What David Broder Learned About John McCain

The dean of D.C. press corps' column yesterday was headlined "What We've Learned About McCain," but it's not clear "we" were watching the same campaign. After paying tribute to McCain's heroism, his "backbone," his "patriotic impulses," and on and on, Broder got down to supposed lessons– McCain didn't manage his relationship with a wounded GOP, for example. And then this (emphasis added): McCain was handed a terrible political environment by the outgoing Bush administration–a legacy of war, debt and scandal that would have defeated any of the other aspirants for the nomination. But because McCain could not create a coherent […]

Oct
31
2008

Non-Soviet-Style Trade

Corporate media economics reporters' knee-jerk repetition of the "free trade" moniker has pushed things to the absurd point that Dean Baker is forced to ask (10/30/08) on his Beat the Press blog, "What Does It Mean to Support 'Free Market' Economics?": New York Times readers no doubt asked this question when they saw that Charlie McCreevy, the European internal market commissioner, was identified as "a supporter of free-market economics." What does this mean? Did Mr. McCreevy oppose the bank bailouts? Is he opposed to copyright and patent protection? Or did the NYT just mean to tell us that, like almost […]

Oct
31
2008

'Atrocious Prose' or 'Rancid Racism'?

In his Altercation blog at Media Matters, Eric Alterman (10/28/08) points out the difficulty in critiquing the New York Post: It's hard to tell whether the paper is being offensive or idiotic. Steve Serby in the New York Post: "Good for Tom Coughlin. Good for Coughlin for tightening the noose around Plaxico Burress." Burress, a receiver for the New York Giants, is black, and his coach, Tom Coughlin, is white. Al Sharpton is on the case. I don't know what to say–it is the Post, which makes both atrocious prose and rancid racism equally plausible. This sort of thing goes […]

Oct
31
2008

Campaign Media's Religious Preferences

Hosting FAIR communications director Isabel Macdonald on his religion radio show State of Belief (10/25/08), Rev. Welton Gaddy raised the issue of corporate televangelist Pat Robertson's "really significant role in aiding and abetting Islamophobia." Macdonald pointed out how Robertson made some of the most outrageous comments about Muslims and Islam, and in addition to his broadcast on the Christian Broadcasting Network, he also appears regularly on Fox News as a guest. And he has called Islam a "bloody, brutal type of religion," has referred to Muslims as being linked to Satan on-air. He has made repeated extraordinarily racist and offensive […]

Oct
31
2008

Myopic Visions of 'Liberal Media'

Over at Conde Nasté Portfolio (10/29/08), Jeff Bercovici does a good job busting National Review writer Byron York for trying to "defend the focus of the political press on questions such as whether Obama was in church when Rev. Jeremiah Wright said 'God damn America.'" York had argued that "this kind of lament that we don't spend enough time covering policy issues is displaced…. [Voters] put it all in the Cuisinart and they come up with their vote, and I don't have a problem with it." Bercovici says he thinks York doesn't have a problem with it, that is, when […]

Oct
30
2008

AP: Obama Misleads by Not Promising Austerity

The Associated Press (10/29/08) does its usual sad job trying to fact-check candidate statements–this time working a hefty dose of neo-Hooverism into the mix. AP's Calvin Woodward charges that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama was less than upfront in his half-hour commercial Wednesday night about the costs of his programs and the crushing budget pressures he would face in office. For instance, Woodward responds to Obama outlining his economic proposals by noting: "His proposals–the tax cuts, the low-cost loans, the $15 billion a year he promises for alternative energy, and more–cost money, and the country could be facing a record […]

Oct
30
2008

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

Salon's Glenn Greenwald (10/29/08, ad-viewing required) takes apart a "sentimental, cringe-inducing retrospective from the Los Angeles Times' campaign reporter Maeve Reston, wistfully lamenting the loss of affection and friendship between John McCain and the reporters who cover his campaign–what she twice calls 'intimacy.'" Deeming the piece "an instant classic in illustrating how campaign reporters think and behave," Greenwald tells how Reston blames herself, at least in part, for the loss of friendship between McCain and his reporters. Back in July, with a couple of other reporters, she approached him at the back of his "Straight Talk Express" bus, when "as […]

Oct
29
2008

Reporters 'Feel Obligated' to Deflect McCain Campaign Reality

Economist Dean Baker is the highlight of a Politico feature (10/29/08) asking several political commentators the question, "Is the press really biased against McCain or does poor coverage reflect the reality of his campaign?": No one would expect Saddam Hussein to get good press. The reality is that he was a pretty bad guy and objective reporting would show this. While the analogy is overblown, the fact is that Senator McCain supports policies that are really bad for the vast majority of the American people and has run a terrible campaign. At the most basic level, he had been an […]

Oct
29
2008

Religious Ideology Stumps 'Conventional Reporters'

Interviewed for the online magazine Guernica (10/08), religion journalist Jeff Sharlet remembers what John McCain "spiritual adviser" John "Hagee got in trouble for"– "saying that Hitler was just doing what God wanted"–but says what Doug Coe," as "the Family's unofficial leader," has said is much more monstrous." While writing The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power, Sharlet found a government source tell[ing] us: "The Family totally circumvents the State Department and the usual vetting. If Doug Coe can get you some face time with the president of the United States, then you will take his call […]

Oct
29
2008

The World According to Fox News Channel

This is the tease for tonight's O'Reilly Factor: New Gallup poll shows McCain gaining ground. Karl Rove, Dick Morris and Dennis Miller weigh in.

Oct
28
2008

'Let Them Eat Tiramisu'!

Posting on the Nation's blog (Notion, 10/25/08), Jon Wiener quotes from a Los Angeles Times story on the hardships being endured by spouses of workers on Wall Street, where "the average income is $365,000, according to the Times, 'although top-flight managers typically make many millions more'": "Wall Street wives are finding that they must defer dreams and fancy things," the L.A. Times reported in a page-one story on Saturday. One wife, who had been looking forward to her husband's retiring with "$10 to $12 million," told the Times she was "so angry" with the stock market meltdown, which was "not […]

Oct
28
2008

Ad Money Swamps Media – Dilutes Election Coverage

Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman (Truthdig, 10/22/08) writes on the extent, and consequences, of a political season in which "commercial broadcasters are cleaning up… like never before, and you'll never hear them questioning the system that allows so much money to come back to them": The Obama campaign has "flooded the zone" with advertising. It has a full-time "Obama Channel" on Dish Network. Ads have been inserted into video games like Guitar Hero. The campaign has bought a full 30 minutes of prime-time airtime on NBC, CBS and Fox, six days before the election. Fox moved the start time of the […]

Oct
28
2008

Iraq Vacuum Filled by 'Good News'

In a TomDispatch essay (10/23/08), professor and author Michael Schwartz lets us know "What the Good News from Iraq Really Means": Even before the spectacular presidential election campaign became a national obsession… coverage of the Iraq War had dwindled to next to nothing. National newspapers had long since discontinued their daily feasts of multiple–usually front-page–reports on the country, replacing them with meager meals of mostly inside-the-fold summary stories. On broadcast and cable TV channels, where violence in Iraq had once been the nightly lead, whole news cycles went by without a mention of the war. The tone of the coverage […]