Oct
28
2008

Breaking Media's Military Budget 'Taboo'

David Swanson comments (OpEd News, 10/27/08) on Rep. Barney Frank "having just blurted out the obvious but taboo fact that the U.S. military budget must be cut": When a Congress member steps forward and courageously articulates a forbidden truth that is absolutely necessary for our survival and well-being (and by "our" I mean our species, not just our nation), he must be praised…. Frank has already been attacked by the only presidential candidate who, during each of the three debates, suggested cutting military spending: John McCain. Rather than pointing out this flip-flop, the corporate media can be expected to pile […]

Oct
28
2008

Fighting New Media Abusers

Staying abreast of technological issues with repercussions in the areas of media consumer rights, privacy rights and corporate censorship, Free Press (10/28/08) is calling for the Federal Communications Commission to require all broadband providers to disclose any practice that monitors or interferes with their customers' Internet use. In addition to transparent "network management" practices, according to a new filing with the agency, Free Press wants the FCC to require Internet service providers to publicly disclose the minimum broadband speed guaranteed–not just the maximum potential speed offered. Two recent high-profile cases of abuse highlight the urgent need for tougher disclosure requirements. […]

Oct
28
2008

Islam Coverage a 'Disgrace'

Seattle Post-Intelligencer reader Muhammad Omer Iqbal posts on the paper's blog (10/26/08) about media in a "frenzy to denounce Islam and Muslims every time a terrorist activity takes place": Many Muslims believe that their faith was taken by terrorists when they indulged in some of the most heinous crimes. On the other hand, I am of the opinion that media played an even more important role when it chose not to talk about those Muslims who serve America and play a positive role here. Seven years after the attacks of September 11, it is a disgrace that American media has […]

Oct
28
2008

Chuck Todd and Tom Brokaw Know Latinos

Tom Brokaw, the interim host of NBC's Meet the Press, and NBC analyst Chuck Todd expressed bafflement on last Sunday's Meet the Press (10/26/08) at how Latinos had "turned on the Republican Party" and their "friend" John McCain: TODD: I mean, this, this Hispanic–one of the things we–underreported story of the cycle is how Hispanics have just turned on the Republican Party, hurting John McCain. Frankly…. BROKAW: Who is a friend of theirs. TODD: Who is a friend of theirs. BROKAW: Right. TODD: You know, this is a Shakespearean–you know, the S… BROKAW: Right. It's hard to know exactly where […]

Oct
27
2008

The 'Greater Sin' in Election Fraud

Looking at "the media attention granted the right-wing attacks on ACORN," politics writer Glenn W. Smith poses a question to Editor & Publisher readers (10/15/08): "Why does it seem to be a greater sin to be suspected of voter registration mistakes than to publicly engage in voter suppression efforts?" Smith's response to his own query looks to U.S. election history: One answer to this question might be simple editorial bias. E&P's Greg Mitchell detailed the right's pioneer suppression efforts in his book, The Campaign of the Century: Upton Sinclair's Race for Governor of California and the Birth of Media Politics. […]

Oct
27
2008

Campaign Press Worse Than Random

As we finally near the end of the U.S. presidential race, Norman Solomon looks back (Creator's Syndicate, 10/25/08) at "a year when the dominant media spin has been upended time after time" and analyzes "the latest twist of political storylines that have been rendered pretzel-like long ago": In a piece posted October 21 on the CNN website, Stuart Rothenberg and Nathan L. Gonzales note: "McCain's nonexistent coattails run counter to the initial conventional wisdom that said his moderate style and crossover appeal would lift Republican candidates down ballot." And so, as the long-running media saga of Barack Obama versus John […]

Oct
27
2008

$250,000 in PR vs. Peace

Blogging at the Women In Media & News website (10/24/08), Diane Farsetta does her usual outstanding job in exposing the hand of big-time PR in U.S. media. According to the PR trade publication O'Dwyer's, the Council for a Democratic Iran spent $300,000 on its new lobbying and PR firm, the Livingston Group, in the third quarter of 2008 alone…. There isn't a lot of information available about the Council for a Democratic Iran…. But the group's founder, Dr. Behrooz Behbudi, seems to be aligned with military hawks. Last year, the Vancouver Sun reported that Dr. Behbudi had "bought $250,000 worth […]

Oct
27
2008

Palin's Censorious Nature

Local CBS reporter Cynthia Fodor's revelation that she "had to submit which topics we wanted to discuss ahead of time" to get an interview with Sarah Palin has Think Progress's Ben Armbruster (10/27/08) putting the censorious nature of Palin's handlers into perspective: Fodor's revelations come at a particular disturbing time. Just last week, press freedom advocates Reporters Without Borders released its annual Press Freedom Index, which found that the United States ranked 36 out of 173 countries–a spot also shared by Bosnia and Herzegovina. But this isn't the first time the McCain/Palin campaign has attempted to control Palin's interviews. Earlier […]

Oct
27
2008

NYT's Economic Pollyanna: Tighten Your Belts

Dean Baker nails the New York Times' Ben Stein again for "telling people that it is important to save money in order to protect themselves against the sort of downturn that the economy is now seeing." Baker writes (Beat the Press, 10/26/08) that while it's obvious "people should try to put some money aside, most people get paid less than Mr. Stein and do much better work": Does anyone remember back in July when Stein told readers "we're dodging the worst"? How about the great piece from a bit over a year ago telling us about the "Chicken Littles" who […]

Oct
27
2008

Arming Lebanon

In a lengthySunday piece, New York Times reporters Robert Worth and Eric Lipton detail new U.S. plans for ramping up military aid to the Lebanese government. The piece relies heavily on quotes from U.S. and Lebanese officials, who unsurprisingly support this effort; one Israeli sourceis the most critical voice, wary of arms shipments to a regional foe. But perhaps most bizarre is this construction (emphasis added): An important moment for the army came in the summer of 2007, when it fought and won a three-month battle with Islamists in the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp in the northern city of […]

Oct
27
2008

Seeing Bad Luck in Bad Policy

Today New York Times reporter John Harwood wonders what happened to the idea, voiced in the aftermath of the 2004 election, that the country would see a long era of Republican dominance: How did such a turnabout happen so fast? In part, the answer stems from developments so rare that, as the former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan has said of the financial crisis, they occur "once in a century." Hurricane Katrina shattered the administration's reputation for competence in domestic affairs, just as problems in Iraq eroded its credibility on national security issues. Not even partisan critics of Republican policies […]

Oct
27
2008

Newsweek's 'Best Minds'

Looking past the election, Newsweek editor Jon Meacham explains in this week's issue that the incoming administration could use some advice: Even stipulating that giving advice is easy and taking action is hard, though, it is pretty clear that what we are calling the "Nightmare on Pennsylvania Avenue" (the economy, the wars, the lack of public confidence in the direction of the country) requires the best minds around. We came up with several this week. Who are Newsweek's "best minds?" -Richard Haass, Republican foreign policy professional (as Meacham notes, he "served two President Bushes"); -Nicholas Burns, who also served two […]

Oct
26
2008

Suddenly Feeling That I Know Too Much About John Moody

The story of the McCain worker who faked an assault and blamed it on an imaginary Obama supporter sheds a queasy light on the thinking at the top of the right's most important media outlet. John Moody, the executive vice president responsible for the editorial direction of Fox News Channel, had this to say (on a Fox News blog) about the assault claim before it was exposed as a hoax: If Ms. Toddâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s allegations are proven accurate, some voters may revisit their support for Senator Obama, not because they are racists (with due respect to Rep. John Murtha), but because […]